RCGroups Hosts Monthly Sailplane Contests

Find out how you can compete against other RCGroups users in the monthly Big Sky Contest.

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Get Involved and Have Fun Doing It

I'm fresh off the NATS Soaring Week high, thinking back on the wonderful memories of competing and hanging out with soaring pilots in Muncie. On the way home I stopped off in Kentucky to have dinner with Gordy Stahl. I asked him in all his travels, what has he seen that gets people excited and involved with RC soaring. He said one word, contests. I can see why, contests are not just about winning, it's a time to get with your buddies, meet new friends and spend a day or two flying and challenging yourself against other pilots and the air. It is a great time whether you do well or not so well.

Now we know not everyone has contests near by, but that doesn't mean you don't have an opportunity to compete. Every month, RCGroups user Curtis in Texas sets up an online Big Sky contest right here on RCGroups. It's open to anyone and any electric or hand launch glider as well as slope planes. The only exception being no winches or hi-starts are allowed and that seems to be the trend anyway with the competition scene moving towards electric launch. It's a duration contest where you try to get the longest flight time and post your times.

This is a great way to go flying with a purpose and improve your skills. It's just for fun and that's what flying is all about. There is a main thread stickied at the top of the Electric Sailplanes forum that has all the info and specific rules for each plane type. Be sure to head there in the link below to read up and get started. I hope to see more of you participating and enjoying RC Soaring. Heck, use this as an opportunity to get your buddies flying gliders as well. Even a simple Radian is competitive and won't break the bank.

Check out the August Big Sky Soaring Contest Thread Here

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Aug 01, 2018, 09:53 AM
Sagitta Fanboy
While I love the Big Sky contests, and have a ton of respect for Gordy, he's flat out wrong on what gets people excited and involved with soaring.

The reality is that we only see contests getting people excited because the only social soaring we do is contests. But contests remain a niche within the community and declining attendance at them reflects that reality. Guys like Gordy are doing the community no favours when they push people towards contests as the main or only way to progress as a sailplane pilot.

The exceptions seem to be in the Aerotow/scale and slope communities, especially the former.

There is a serious lack of flat field soaring events along the lines of the Katie Martin Tribute, Soar Utah or any of the major Aerotow events (Visalia Aerotow, Horizon Hobby Aerotow, etc).

If you want to grow the hobby, you need to get people to the field. If you want to grow contests, first you need to get people out to events.

In order to do that, you need non-contest events (fun flies and social flying events).

In the soaring world, most of our events are contests. And we're small & shrinking & aging. The power guys do a LOT more social events, and are suffering far less from shrinking & aging. Maybe it's time to take a page from what works in other communities.

All that said, one of the great things about the Big Sky contest is it's more social than cutthroat.
Last edited by mawz; Aug 01, 2018 at 10:00 AM.
Aug 01, 2018, 11:00 AM
Registered User
Idk, every Sunday we have our "social gathering" of soaring with no contest, off winches, tho to be fair props are not allowed on our field
Aug 01, 2018, 11:13 AM
Registered User
Double post
Aug 01, 2018, 11:49 AM
Registered User
I'm curious. Why you don't allow electric sailplanes?

Dave R.
Aug 01, 2018, 12:50 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreisinger
I'm curious. Why you don't allow electric sailplanes?

Dave R.

The park we lease the land from wont allow electric flight. We wish we could. I like pure sailplanes myself but I know some other members would like it and I'm sure it would benefit the club if we could
Aug 01, 2018, 12:57 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshadam
Idk, every Sunday we have our "social gathering" of soaring with no contest, off winches, tho to be fair props are not allowed on our field
Note by social events, I'm talking organized, publicized events, not regular club activity (unless of course your club is publicizing that).

Most power clubs run fun flies and other events to bring folks from outside the club in. That's far less common with soaring clubs.
Aug 01, 2018, 03:51 PM
High Lift Coefficient
Sailhigh's Avatar
Agree with mawz. My club holds TD monthly contests and I would say a minority of the members attend those. Funfly in the slope community are far more popular.
Aug 01, 2018, 04:00 PM
Registered User
Flat field fun fly activity ideas? May to run this by the guys. Not sure anyone would be down with inverted limbo with $2500 airplanes
Aug 02, 2018, 10:58 AM
Registered User
Yeah agree with Mawz "The power guys do a LOT more social events, and are suffering far less from shrinking & aging"...but in another way....at my local field the soaring guys do what they can to keep the power guys from flying, whether using any contacts at the local city office to outlaw plane types or being super grouchy at the field - cant even say hello just coming at us with fist pounding their chests. The only friendly one among them was friendly as he was trying to sell a $900 sail plane...could have sworn when i was growing up...older ppl were more dignified.
Last edited by TheMustangOne; Aug 02, 2018 at 11:03 AM.
Aug 02, 2018, 12:17 PM
Hot Dawg Glider Pilot
schrederman's Avatar
So.......... Winches and Hi-starts are excluded? Exclusion is not necessarily a good way to grow the hobby. Exclusion shrinks numbers. It doesn't grow them. Even back in 2003 & 4 when we ran "woody" contests in Houston, we included non-woody models in their own class. The trend then was away from building... as the trend now is away from string launch, but there are many of us that will always build and string launch as long as our bodies will allow. I don't discourage anyone from flying electric sailplanes. If that's your thing, and it helps keep RC Soaring alive, then by all means... go for it! All I ask is the same consideration. I jokingly refer to myself as the "Quintessential Purist Snob"... but it's all in jest. I will always be in favor of, and promote RC Soaring in any form.

Just my $0.02's worth....

Darth Purista..........
Aug 03, 2018, 12:31 AM
Registered User
There is a group flying gliders that care less about winch, or higher performance gliders. They fly the low cost gliders many of which come from Hobby King. They allow one to get 20 minutes to an hour of flight time while doing some thermaling. Some end up doing FPV flying. For $200 one can have fun flying gliders.

I purchased a Phoenix 2000 to learn how to set up the transmitter as I do not have any glider fliers to fly with to help me. It turned out once I learned to fly and do mixing the Phoenix 2000 was fun to fly. It could thermal and was strong enough to take a beating and keep on flying. I now have better planes and I still take out the Phoenix 2000 and fly it once in while.

Maybe some of those flying the cheaper gliders might move up to better planes if they attended fun flies. Of course that would mean some would have to get on the pages where the low price gliders are on line. The normal way event are promoted would not bring in many of the lower cost gliders.

Art

Art
Aug 04, 2018, 08:22 AM
Registered User
mdickey's Avatar
My former club in Ohio has fun fly/contest practice every week that is open to any AMA member. We help people get their old or new planes in the air and offer to help anyone who wants it. We started with just 3 guys and now are up to 6-8 that show up each week. Someone came last week with a beautiful Aquila and hooked his first thermal. He had tried to fly several times without help and didn’t see the appeal. Now, he comes just about every week.

Contests are the best place to go once the pilot is interested and confident that they are in control of the plane though. You fly with other people who are out there for fun, time for pilots better than you and then go home happy for seeing your friends.

I do agree strongly that the fun fly events are a necessity to get people involved.
F3RES was an attempt to get people building for less $$, but it needs an electric aspect to be more successful. All foam events would be another way to get new people involved due to costs. Those guys at flite test got a lot of new people into flying because their designs were cheap and simple. The soaring community is going to need to find a way like that to get us younger guys involved.
Aug 04, 2018, 12:46 PM
"its not a hobby its obsession
jiggz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by old1104
There is a group flying gliders that care less about winch, or higher performance gliders. They fly the low cost gliders many of which come from Hobby King. They allow one to get 20 minutes to an hour of flight time while doing some thermaling. Some end up doing FPV flying. For $200 one can have fun flying gliders.

I purchased a Phoenix 2000 to learn how to set up the transmitter as I do not have any glider fliers to fly with to help me. It turned out once I learned to fly and do mixing the Phoenix 2000 was fun to fly. It could thermal and was strong enough to take a beating and keep on flying. I now have better planes and I still take out the Phoenix 2000 and fly it once in while.

Maybe some of those flying the cheaper gliders might move up to better planes if they attended fun flies. Of course that would mean some would have to get on the pages where the low price gliders are on line. The normal way event are promoted would not bring in many of the lower cost gliders.

Art

Art
After years of warbords I just started sloping .. it's great .. I have been using 2 foamys ..radian ..lightning ..love it so much just bought a molded as u can see the big difference between foam and molded ..
Aug 16, 2018, 06:47 PM
Registered User
Maybe there is a way to have multiple types of planes and perhaps even different tasks compete together. Maybe something where they fly against a theoretical perfect score for the task they choose. and their success against the other flyers is based on the percentage of that perfect score they achieve. Maybe too complicated. But it could allow any type of plane to compete equally against any other.


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