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 Reasons people aren't attending contest: Anker Ber
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flyeslhost

157 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  12:55:36 PM  Show Profile
Sent on Sunday, September 25, 2005 at 07:44 PM
At this time 79 responses have been received out of 169

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This may move to a separate topic, but let me kick off the discussion by voicing some opinions:

I and several other CRRC members travel to 4 or 5 ESL contests, other than our own, every year. This is fairly high for the ESL and I believe I can explain it:

A) We carpool, which has several benefits: The social interaction and the shared cost are the most important factors.

B) We share hotel rooms to help control costs. We also have one person of the group take responsibility for booking hotel rooms for the whole group.

C) We actively recruit new members to the group.

Can we do better? Yes, but it becomes hard. On the old days Chris Schuch's family owned a motor home which we would use to drive to contests. It was a little rough to camp out, but a pile of fun. Unfortunately, the best we can do nowadays is SUVs, minivans and wagons. Cutting lodging costs would help, but we have become picky and the "Cat Lady" AKA the "Hillside Motel" near Reading, doesn't meet our standards any more.

The is another, important, dimension, which is the "draw factor". We have a top 5 list of contests that we always try to go to: LISF 1 and 2, DBSF, LASS, and the ESL EOS.

LISF: Its the closest, Stilwell field is great except for the ballfields, but the restriction is reasonable (if you land there, you are out for the day, but you can fly over them). We also really enjoy the MOM format, and personally I like the gang there.

DBSF: Great field, reasonable distance, and well-run contests.

LASS: The kickoff contest of the year. Reasonable distance, gorgeous sod farms, wide open spaces, howling winds, lashing rains.

EOS: DBSF plus the fact that it is the EOS, what more can I say.

Then there are the contests we rarely go to. It is worth examining why:

SKSS: I hate to be brutal, but the flight restrictions over the housing development do a lot to take the enjoyment out of competing there.

SJSF: The size of the field and the height of the trees surrounding it make it a challenging place to fly. My personal view is that I would like to include SJSF on my list, but the group as a whole isn't enthusiastic.

CASA: CASA used to be on our "cannot miss" list in the 80's and early 90's when it was held at the National Geographic headquarters. It was the biggest contest, by far, and the site was gorgeous. Frank Pond's field is fantastic, but Manassas is a long, long drive from Boston, and it is really hard to make it a weekend trip.

So in summary:

Pluses: Easy travel, good field, well-run contest.

Minuses: Long distance, hotel cost.

I have deliberately omitted our own contest. I would appreciate comments on why people do and don't come.

Anker

flyeslhost

157 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  1:31:39 PM  Show Profile
Here is the list of "frequent flyers" from 2004, with more than 2 contest days. Worth studying:

First Name Last Name Contests
TONY Guide 15
Paul Bell 14
Phil Barnes 13
TERRY Luckenbach 13
George Hill 12
David Walter 11
JOSE Bruzual 11
Bruce Schneider 10
Mike Lachowski 10
THOMAS Kiesling 10
ANKER Berg-Sonne 9
FRITZ Bien 9
PETER Schlitzkus 9
Jan Kansky 8
JERRY Zeigenfuse 8
John Jenks 8
KERRY Cochrell 8
RICK Brown 8
STEWart Swanson 8
Gary Atkinson 7
JEFF Newcum 7
JOSH Glaab 7
Luis Bustamante 7
TOM Broeski 7
DALE Hart 6
Jeff Steifel 6
John Bitzer 6
LEE Messick 6
Leszek Zyga 6
Mark Drela 6
ALAN Schwerin 5
Carl Luft 5
Chuck Robinett 5
John Hauff 5
Robert Cherry 5
Benjamin LAWLESS 4
Bill Groft 4
Bill Vida 4
Ed Anderson 4
Eric Schlitzkus 4
Frank Strommer 4
John Nilsson 4
Miner Crary 4
Pete Nicholson 4
Ray Meyer 4
Rich Watson 4
Steve lucke 4
TOM WALKER 4
Fred Tyra 3
John Appling 3
Phil Abatelli 3
Regis White 3
ROBERT Buxton 3
Robert Magee 3

Anker
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flyeslhost

157 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  1:34:07 PM  Show Profile
Anker,

I will respond to your question about CRRC.
I for one attend the Nats, and on some years your contest is the week following the Nats. Its' a little hard to get up and go after a week at the nats. You have to take care of the house, the dog, etc.
When it is 2 weeks away it is easier, but still sometimes family events interfere.

I also consider CASA a cannot miss event. The hospitality of Frank Thompson, the relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful field. It's a cannot miss. I am worried that CASA's numbers are dropping. It appears electric has taken over and there are few sailplane fliers anymore. They are having problems getting their own club members to come out and compete, and help.

I wish Sussex County Thermal Sniffers would allow a contest. The best damn field anywhere. Near (the old vernon valley great gorge resort/ playboy resort) now called Magic Mountain I believe. 100 acres of the softest sod farm around, surrounded by hundreds of acres of sod farm.
There are no tree line generators to speak of, but plenty of lift off the black dirt. I am now an outsider since I don't show up often. I used to be a vocal member, I took care of equipement for years and did the secretary position for a while. I would like to see about getting them on track... It would be close to you. It is in Pine Island NY...


Jeff Steifel
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h61orangeman@hotmail.com

3 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  2:25:12 PM  Show Profile


Simple.......compete on an "even playing field". To much luck is involved with the other methods....no good...if I lose I want to lose because I got beat....not because "Sonny" was lucky enough to fly at different times under different conditions.....judge me at that particular time with a particular group in the same air.....if I wanted to be lucky I would play the numbers......no other choice but MOM if it costs, up the fee....but when you travel so far ALL the LUCK factors (as much as we can control) must be gone !!!!!!!!

Hans
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Anker

83 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  2:40:11 PM  Show Profile
I think I can list incentives and disincentives.

Starting with the disincentives:

Distance: Uncontrollable. It seems that up to 4 hours driving to get to a contest is something most of us are willing to do. 8 hours is at the limit, and any more is an almost insurmountable disincentive.

Gas cost: Somewhat controllable by car pooling.

Hotel cost: The biggest cost. Somewhat controllable through room sharing and roughing it. Can be almost eliminated by putting each other up.

Meal costs: Somewhat controllable, but most of us want a real meal after a long drive and a hot day at the field.

Incentives:

Meals: Extremely controllable. At CRRC we believe that the included lunch is a strong incentive. The evening cookout at CASA is another draw.

Prizes: Extremely controllable. We have found the crystal mugs at CRRC to be a strong draw. It works equally well for sportsmen and experts. Experts don't appreciate eopxy mixing boards AKA Plaques.

Can work either way:

Field quality: Pretty much uncontrollable, in the NE you have to take what you can get. We are lucky to have Stillwell, Daniel Boone, Horsefeathers, the sod farms at Lancaster. We have to live with Davis, the SJSF field, the SKSS field.

Contest format: Extremely controllable. I hear loud and clear that an early start, many rounds, MOM, is what the majority wants.

Friendliness: Extremely controllable. Another lod and clear message. Welcome sportsmen, help them.

Anker
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F3jeb

103 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2005 :  3:42:15 PM  Show Profile
This are some difficult hurdles to over come, but maybe with a small ingestive program such as what you proposed earlier in terms of a "sleep over body" program to help cut cost down. Perhaps introduce a raffle like price where at a contest we draw to win gas money for the ride home?
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Anker

83 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2005 :  09:19:29 AM  Show Profile
Not much activity here. Is it because the fundamental reasons are being addressed in the other three initiatives?

Anker
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jsteifel

40 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2005 :  09:58:29 AM  Show Profile
I think we lost them when we split the groups.
And now we are starting to get the same respondents over and over.



Jeff Steifel
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mikel

106 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2005 :  9:21:31 PM  Show Profile
ESL contests alone can't create pilots out of thin air. It has to start with the clubs. Most of the soaring clubs seem to now be overrun by electric pilots. And a lot of them don't seem too interested in soaring contests.

One other thing I haven't seen in a long time is any LSF paperwork. I guess there aren't too many guys working on LSF levels so then you don't need the contests.
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Fritz

19 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2005 :  08:54:29 AM  Show Profile
The reason many new pilots gravitate to electrics is that we don't set up winches for them to fly sailplanes. When used to I attend ESL contests, our club was lucky to have a high-start out for new pilots. We have to get the newer guys to a point where they invest in equipment so that other new pilots can fly when we can attend contests.

CRRC has about 10 new pilots who are interested in participating in contests in the future. They come out every Sunday I set up a winch and retriever. They say they fly electrics when we're off on the ESL circuit.

-Fritz

Edited by - Fritz on 10/18/2005 9:06:41 PM
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gldrgidr

22 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2006 :  12:12:48 PM  Show Profile
A lot of people have older gliders that are no longer competitive. What if we have an incentive program to get these pilots to come to the contests. How about 100 free points for anyone who flies a glider with rubber band wing attachment. This would include most of the old gasbag gliders and current beginner gliders.

How about a trouphy or plaque for the highest finishing gasbag?

We've already have lots of classes (maybe too many).
Adding a RES class probably isn't a good idea - You wind up with bagged high performance gliders or Allegro-Lites.
Adding a Nostalgia class won't include gliders like the 2 meter Spirit.
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Fly2High

70 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2006 :  4:40:49 PM  Show Profile
This was the same thinking I had when I included a 'Top Javelin HLG' for LISF's HLG contest. I am trying to get those who might have older planes to still be involved. Basically, I like to think it is more about the fun than the competition and this gives a little incentive to those who do come with older equiptment to try this kind of event.

I agree that having a Nostalgia class would allow those interested to come to the contest. It might even get some of the newer guys out as well.

It seems that in our club, the newer guys buy up the older stuff from the experts when the experts buy new planes. this might give those on a budget or have an older plane the desire to compete. Going to competitions will allow them to interact with experts and gain helpful knowledge and hints to improve their abilities.

The only downside is you will have nearly everyone winning an award. (sounds good to me! It gives me a shot at winning something even if it is 'best in last place'.) The groups at each class level might be low. Those that come could be spread out over the many available classes.


Maybe this should be a new topic but why doesn't the ESL host an 'ESL BBQ' where there is no contest, just a fun fly to get people together. It will be say in the middle of the contest season. It would be hosted by a different club each year. Just something to get poeple together outside a contest environment. you could have a little aerotow, winch, F3J and hand launch flying at different times of the day/weekend. Food would be up to the hosting club. Maybe have clinics setup throughout the day. Some of the proceeds go to the ESL and some to the hosting club. We would advertise it in major magazines. Maybe this would draw in more from the local areas to join the hosting club and get interested in the various types of launch/competition.

What do you think???

(some days my wife says I am too into sailplanes... If you have to have an illness, I guess this is mine/all of ours!!)

Frank
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gldrgidr

22 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2006 :  7:04:40 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Fly2High

This was the same thinking I had when I included a 'Top Javelin HLG' for LISF's HLG contest.


Another name for the top javelin hlg class would be the Surgeons' Funding Class or the Crippling Class. I flew javelin hlg for two years back before everyone switched to dlg, and I'm still hurting from it.
If you include the javelin hlgs, then you will have to allow highstarts. That's fine for local contests, but would reduce the high competition level that exists at current ESL hlg events.

quote:

I agree that having a Nostalgia class would allow those interested to come to the contest. It might even get some of the newer guys out as well.



Actually I was not in favor of a Nostalgia class mixed in with regular ESL TD events. We have too many classes already. The Nostalgia class would exclude many of the newer beginners gliders.

quote:

The only downside is you will have nearly everyone winning an award. (sounds good to me! It gives me a shot at winning something even if it is 'best in last place'.) The groups at each class level might be low. Those that come could be spread out over the many available classes.

Frank



If you have too many classes, you make the awards meaningless and the contests confusing to the beginner.
We need to make an effort to get beginners to the contests or we need to conduct more local contests. The experience gained by newbies in local contests will give them the confidence and inspiration to become the new ESL sportsmen contestants.
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Fly2High

70 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2006 :  12:07:29 AM  Show Profile
The reason I went for so many awards for LISF's first HLG contest was because our club has so many who fly different types of hand launch. I wanted them to come out, bring whatever they had and experience what a HLG contest is like. Maybe like me they will enjoy that type of competition. Maybe it will get them interested and purchase an entry, intermediate or competition DLG for use next year. Maybe they will see how it improves their ability to ready the air at lower levels or give them greater confidence in their flying abilities. Or they might want to just do it and add DLGs to the recreational aspect of their hobby. Maybe they will see that it takes less, cheaper equipment and they could stow a plane in the car quickly and go fly after work or during lunch.

Or they may just get turned off by HLG completely....

Either way it gives them and me an experience in something we haven't done. My goal was in a time of losing contests to hopefully add one back. I felt that L.I. is centrally located to most of the ESL clubs and our unlimited contests draw a good crowd so this might bring some new faces our to the field. By offering every kind of hand launch, I wanted to see what people were willing to fly and in the future what aspects to focus on. Up until this June I was still flying javelin and doing OK at it. Discus is so much better and yet I still love javelin HLG. Lots of guys have javelins but got discouraged with the altitude they were getting. Now DLGs can be expensive and many great pilots don't want to or are fearful to take the plunge expecting it to be no better than their efforts with a javelin HLG. I am hoping that with my contest to open some eyes and change some minds a little. If everyone goes home with an award then maybe they will want to return next year. Either way I hope it will be a mind changing experience.

Either way, the ESL will have gotten another contest pilot, me, in addition to another CD.

I can say that my efforts are paying dividends already. Rich is having a great time with his DLG. He gets to fly at the local field and is using it to improve his unlimited skills. Plus he is having a ball specking out from a discus launch. The same can be said about Frank and I have word that 2 other club members have placed orders for XP-4s.

The awards may end up being meaningless. Then again if it makes everyone who comes happy that they took something home, then my other goal will have been met.

Come, take home a trophy. I have plenty to go around. Let's all get together and have a great time. I know that I did when I went to Don's, Denny's and Mark's contests (a couple of times I even came home with a little wood!). Hopefully, pilots coming to L.I. will be able to say the same thing.

If it wasn't for everyone's encouragement to host this contest maybe I would still be doing HL at LISF and would be content never having done a contest. Remember I was a LISF member for a number of years(8 yrs) before I competed in my first ESL contest (last year). Now I'm hooked. Maybe I can spread my experiences and get others like me to try out contests as well. I know for me the reason I never competed was that the Sportsmen are so good, I felt either I would be completely embarrased with the little skills I have or be completely trounced. Either way I might have a poor experience. I got so much out of volunteering all those years at the ESL contests LISF held. The encouragement and advice contestnats gave me was greatly appreciated. Novice class would have allowed me to compete against pilots with similar skills and to compete on a level playing field. To me I am all for the ESL telling me what class to be in. This way those with superior skills will be experts, those with lesser will be sportsman and those just starting out will be Novice. Personally I have seen too often pilots remaining in Sportsman when they should go up and occasinally Experts that should come down. Maybe they stay because they like winning but what does it matter if you win against those with lesser abilities than you have. It's like having a Math contest where a 2nd grader competes against a grad student. I know that if I was the 2nd grader I might be reluctant to compete again knowing who I have to compete against. Maybe they stay because they like to measure how good or bad they are doing against the top Experts. All that is fine and dandy. I know every skill level likes to do that. If class was based on merit then EVERYONE would be able to compare themselves with those top pilots. Your reward for good flying would be to mover up and actually compete with them. Remember Experts, wether low or high, are what Sportsmen compare themselves with.

I have had a great time at the contests I volunteered at and competed in. If a newbe gets wind of the comments about that one should go up, he wins too often and what not, it might be detrimental to them competing. Too often people compete because they fell they have a chance, no matter how remote, to win. If the Novice class gives that chance to some then I'm all for it and it may bring more pilots out. With our aging groups of pilots maybe we should have a senior class. These were the guys that taught us how to fly and still have alot to give. Getting them to the field in their own class may also increase attendance. It would also help new pilotss to improve. Hey, we all learned from them. Let them continue to give to our hobby.

OK I have rambled on too long....

I'll get off my soap box now...

Sincerely,

Frank
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gldrgidr

22 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2006 :  12:51:23 PM  Show Profile
I think it's great that we have local contests to bring more flyers into the hlg arena. SJSF has had local hlg contests that welcomed newbies into the hlg world. We still need these local contests where people with limited or no experience can come out and have fun, without feeling any pressure to compete. They can learn what's involved with timing, learn to understand tasks, and some basic contest strategy. A local contest is the best place to learn all of this. I'm not saying that we should turn absolute newbies away from the ESL contests. I'm saying that we need more local, non-ESL contests. These can be single day contests. Clubs don't need to spend a lot of money. The awards can be computer printed certificates. At the very minimum, every club that is now holding an ESL hlg contest should have a preliminary local contest a couple of weeks (or even months) before the ESL event. This would help to get the newbies the confidence, interest, and experience to go to the ESL event. Maybe this should be an ESL initiative.
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Fly2High

70 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2006 :  9:50:31 PM  Show Profile
LISF tries every 2nd Sunday( rain date 4th Sunday) to have a club HLG contest. Last year we had 5. This year, not so lucky.
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aeajr

476 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2006 :  4:37:54 PM  Show Profile
Fly2High,

Dont' forget LISF's every first Sunday is 2M and Unlimited TD contest.

Best regards,
Ed Anderson
aeajr on the forums
Long Island Silent Flyers
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