“Contest corner” column ideas


These are organized by topic, but I’m not going to write in that order. Instead, I’m going to vary the topic month to month. Feel free to suggest other topics, or to express enthusiasm for hearing some of these sooner rather than later. 


Local contests/other formats:

-Northern Illinois,

-GTA, Arizona, Governor’s cup

-Enterprise Comp in UK; ways to do that in the US

-Options in the current rules. MATs with many assigned points; Triangles.

-The Grand Prix. Lessons (Chip?) Strategies. Participant contests vs. spectator/pro contests.


Rules issues:

-World vs. US scoring. Pros and cons. What’s in the world scoring!

-The line vs gate controversy

-Radios for regionals?

-ELTs and contests

-Sports class vs. club class

-A US team contest?

-Cellphones, weather data

-Sports class tasking.

-Rules controversies as they come up.


“Safety talks”:

-Dehydration, Sun, oxygen

-The numbers – how dangerous is it, really?

-Being better than average. Quantitative limits and preplanned actions and thoughts

-Psychology, state of mind; Fish stories, good thoughts, bad thoughts

-How to fly the finish line.

-How to fly the finish gate.

-Abandoning the task.

-Landouts; avoiding the stall spin

-Landouts: committing to the landing

-Close-in landouts

-Avoiding midairs. Prestart, gaggle flying, gaggle avoidance.


Flying faster tips:

-MacCready theory lives

-Upwind/downwind turnpoints, new graph

-Average vs. marginal climb rate; centering time.

-Flying fast to the ridge

-Ridge vs. thermals

-MacCready setting vs. altitude

-Using gaggles.

-Psychology and decision-making. Avoiding self-evaluation, tenacity, open minded

-Changing gears

-How big to make course deviations

-Altitude band

-Flying in wind; zigzag flight

-Energy lines.

-Thermal entry and exit (no more “dive through the core”)

-Start time choices

-PST strategies – using wind; when to stop; avoiding beer suck



- Circulation patterns; Pagen, altitude bands, bunching.

- Size of clouds, moisture, where to look for lift, sniffing for the core. 


Random speculation

-Dynamic soaring possibilities

-What contests will look like once we have thermal detectors


Stories / reporting

- Site reports. What’s it like to fly a contest at Hobbs, Minden, Uvalde, Miffiln, Newcastle, etc.

-“Lessons learned,” contest reports

- Good stories from contest flying.