The USA F3J Soaring Team at F3J in the Desert in February 2016. (L-R) Gordon Buckland, Amy Pool (kneeling), Stoil Avramov, Kelly Johnson (kneeling),
Stefano Costantini, Jeff DuVal, Jim Schoon, and Daryl Perkins.
Is the LSF reinventing itself?
by Gordon Buckland
In the past few years, the League of Silent Flight (LSF) has gone through somewhat of an overhaul in an
attempt to become more relevant to
today’s Soaring pilots and to revitalize
interest in the program.
The LSF has probably helped shape
the futures of more sailplane pilots in
the US than any other single factor. This
has been accomplished not only through
the LSF Soaring Accomplishment
Program (SAP), but also by promoting
Soaring every summer at the Nats in
Muncie, Indiana, and sponsoring other
events and national teams.
In recent years, pilots have migrated
to electric-launch sailplanes and the
number of entrants in winch-launch
events has decreased across the country.
Over time, this would have been the
death knell to the LSF SAP as it was.
A couple of years ago, however, after
a lengthy debate, the Electric Soaring
Accomplishment Program (ESAP) was
born to welcome this new breed of
The ESAP was created as a parallel
achievement program that would not
detract from the existing LSF SAP that
has been successful for many years.
The new ESAP was enthusiastically
embraced by many pilots brandishing
their modern, self-launching Soaring
The race was now on to see who
would achieve the coveted ESAP Level
on August 15, 2015. Larry worked
through the five levels in record time—
completing the program in slightly more
than 12 months after he began. He also
became the first to achieve Level V in
both SAP and ESAP. Congratulations,
There was clearly new LSF
excitement in Soaring circles. Many blue
forms were produced at the conclusion
of events, as pilots worked to verify their
achievements in the new program.
The biggest hurdle for all pilots who
were moving forward with SAP or ESAP
was having enough participation in
events to meet the contest requirements
at each level.
Although mixed-launch events
(pioneered in 2013 by Raed Elazzawi
99 Model Aviation JULY 2016