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Mar 11, 2015, 12:37 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

On traveling to other soaring clubs

I was having a discussion with an out-of-town pilot yesterday and the subject of traveling to other clubs came up. The point he made--and I agree--is that those who just fly at their home clubs probably don't know what they are missing. He shared an even more important point that the more our members travel to other clubs the more we can expect them to reciprocate and come to our big 2-day events (and even to some of our monthlies too).

Out-of-town flying- The benefits

I do a moderate amount of out of town flying (CA and Arizona clubs within driving distance). From my travels not only do you get flying experience that makes you a better pilot but you meet new people and greatly increase your soaring friendships. And another key benefit is that you have a chance to represent SVSS. I can tell you virtually every time I fly at another club I am asked about how our club is doing. This gives me a chance to give a rundown on our events and plans for the season. Great club PR!

Where to go

If you're fairly new to RC soaring there's a chance you're not familiar with where else you can fly. I'll share my short list below but whether you like TD or ALES relatively close clubs within driving distance have those bases covered. In terms of cost you can do a contest travel weekend pretty cheaply. I always stay in a comfortable but not expensive motel and bring most of my food in a cooler. Others camp out or stay in their trucks when the weather's nice and the club field allows it.

So here's a short list of clubs where I fly:

CVRC (Central Valley RC / Visalia) - they host their big annual Fall Fest that many SVSSers attend but they also host separate monthly TD and ALES contests. The average attendance at the TD contests is ~20 pilots but they are a very skilled group of fliers: great thermaling skills and very good landers too. If you plan to win their monthly contests you gotta be on your game. You can stay on the field or stay at one of the nearby motels.

SBSS (South Bay Soaring Society , Forum link ) - SBSS hosts a monthly TD + eTD contest that alternates between a high school field in San Jose and a really nice park in Hollister. Their San Jose field does have some trees to be aware of but their club members will be happy to tell you what parts of the field have the best lift. Great group of guys! When I fly in Hollister I drive down the day before and stay in a motel 5 minutes from the field.

FSS (Fresno Soaring Society ) - they host their annual Fresno Classic with TD, RES, unlimited ALES, and foamie ALES classes. This year's contest is on March 28/29 and is always a great event to attend. Details here. Guys from all over Calif attend this event. A great way to meet new pilots and see some really skilled pilots do their thing.

CASL (Central Arizona Soaring League) - This is a very progressive club that has two big events every year in February at a soaring site just outside of Phoenix. One is the well-attended F3J in the Desert contest and the other is their Southwest Classic TD contest. I was not able to attend this year but their Classic TD contest last month was staged for the first time ever as a full man-on-man format with 8 TD winches! Over the weekend in Visalia I spoke with several who flew there and they raved at how well the contest went. Flying man-on-man is the ultimate in contest fairness but is not easy to set up because it requires so much winch equipment. But they pulled it off and from all accounts it went very smoothly. This club also is running monthly TD, ALES, and F5J contests so they are a very busy club!


I hope to drive down a few times this season and fly with several SoCal clubs that are part of the SSSC group (Forum link). They have a well-planned contest circuit that covers clubs from LA to San Diego. Lots of good and friendly pilots fly at their monthly club events. The Bakersfield club (SSJSS) is also a small club that has contests every month.

If you want to try some out-of-town contests please post here or send me a message and I'll be glad to help.

Chris B.
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Mar 11, 2015, 01:27 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

F3J in Central Cal Apr 18-19

I also want to point out that F3J TD contests are on the upswing in the West. Tuan Le hosted his first SoCal J event in Nov and Phoenix in Feb had 64 pilots. Now Rick Johnston is hosting his first ever Central Calif J event on a huge wide-open ranch near Atascadero on Apr 18-19. SBSS has already fielded two 5-man teams half of which have never flown in an F3J contest (link) and CVRC will enter 1 and probably 2 teams.

Any SVSS TD pilots up for the challenge?
Mar 11, 2015, 02:25 PM
E sailplane thermal hack
I'm thinking of traveling up to Spokane,Wa for their two day ALES event. I prefer to go to places that my wife would enjoy visiting as well.
Mar 11, 2015, 05:11 PM
Registered User
jtlsf5's Avatar
Consider the Montana 2-day in August. Good event, good people, stuff for the wife to do.

Mar 13, 2015, 09:54 AM
E sailplane thermal hack
Thanks JT, MT DOES sound good! My Wife would DEFINATELY love me it there.
Mar 17, 2015, 09:33 AM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Looks like we have some SVSS folks going to the Fresno Classic soon: Neil and Joan, me, and possibly Scott Meader too. Should be a blast. Unfortunately their date falls on an ALES contest weekend or I know a few others who would have gone.

One thing about the newer Fresno site (see image): it's got some trees and obstacles to contend with. If the wind is similar to 2 years ago longer final approaches to landings will have to navigate over the trees and power lines on W. California Ave. The satellite pic doesn't really give perspective but it makes it a bit "interesting." There are also a line of tall trees on the W edge of the field, and a couple of very tall Eucalyptus trees on the E side. We are lucky with such a wide open Davis field. Practicing for Fresno involves using a slightly shorter or steeper final approach similar to what is needed when you land on the SBSS San Jose high school field.

Mar 19, 2015, 06:53 PM
Registered User

An Invite

Not going to Fresno march 28-29. Why not join the South Bay Soaring Society for their monthly thermal contest on March 29. Details below.

WHAT: South Bay Soaring Society March Thermal Contest

WHERE: Brigantino Field, Hollister, CA

WHEN: March 29 @ 9:00am


CLASSES: OPEN (expert (e), sportsman (s), fledgling (f))

RES (e,s,f)

2 Meter woodie

Electric Thermal Duration (ETD)

COST: $5.00 per class (correct change appreciated)

For LSF compatibility: All pilots will fly the same tasks (5, 9,12 and 14 min) in order. Pilots will be broken into two groups without regard for class. Each group will fly MoM style. We will use a fly one-time one mode of operation.

DIRECTIONS: Take 101 south past Gilroy to Hwy 156. Take 156 East toward Hollister. When 156 turns Northward, follow signs toward Hollister (right turn). Field is on the right about 1 mile further on

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