Author Archive for John Cochrane

Deviations, Part I

I’ve been torn in my efforts to fly faster lately. For a few years, I’ve been working hard to better  follow “energy lines.”  I’ve been trying to emulate my buddy Herb Kilian at the Chicago Glider Club, who is regularly wipes us all off the scoresheet by floating along in lift while I bore a…

Logan 2011 – a more sympathetic view

I disagree with Frank Payter’s pessimistic view of the 2011 Logan contest and especially with a pessimistic view of this site.  I’m not a “local expert.” These are just my views based on flying half of the nationals there. Overall, Logan is a very promising site. It has good weather, a good task area, a…

The Future of Contest Soaring: Classes and Rules

Once upon a time, there was one class: the open class. Standard class came about as a very sensible idea to create a class with good performance, but simple operation and limited cost, in an era when open‐class wingspans, costs and complexity were increasing, and their handling became more difficult.

Gizmo Future

Soaring has a lot of articles about the future of technology. They tend to focus on hardware: new materials, new gliders, new airfoils. They envision the variable-geometry, boundary-layer controlled, 70:1 300 pound glider of the future. The far future. But this is the electronic age. Most of the big changes in soaring in the last…

X. A Vision

Let me close with a vision for contest soaring; perhaps reversing my charge to talk about the past with facts and instead talk about the future with hope. I love contest soaring. Selfishly, it’s very time-efficient – you go and fly on days you wouldn’t get out of bed on a safari. And those weak…

IX. Safety

The final trend I will comment on is safety. Contests are getting slowly safer. If you watch the spectacular “Sunship Game” from 1970, you’ll not only be struck by how much everyone smokes, and how little they wear in the sun, you’ll be struck by the amazing amount of glider carnage, and the casual attitude…

VIII. Rules

To some rules are boring. But rules make the race! The only difference between a glider race and a tiddlywinks contest is the rules! The character of racing has changed a lot as rules change, and it will continue to evolve. 1. Measurement vs. incentives. The Big Picture of rules evolution in the US is…

VI. New Classes

We not only have two new race formats, we have an abundance of new classes. 1. Handicapped racing One of the biggest innovations of the last 25 years has been the introduction of handicapped racing. As in all other sports that have handicapped racing, such as sailing, there’s a lot of whining over the winter…

V. New Races

The last 25 years have seen a huge structural change in how contest flying is organized. I start with two whole new race formats, the OLC and Grand Prix 1. OLC The OLC (online contest) is a big development. Pilots send their traces in from around the world, and are scored on various formats, most of…