Letter From the US Junior Soaring Team…
One way to contribute to help these capable young pilots… and have fun doing it,,, is to take one of the available seats at the Region 5N Contest… LEARN MORE!
Dear Fellow Soaring Pilots,
The 2015 Junior World Championships at Narromine, Australia were a pivotal point, when the US Juniors finally became a competitive team!
Consider the fourth contest day: Team USA is lined up three abreast, ready to start. We shoot out of the gate, driving hard toward the beautiful thermals over the higher ground. We are pushing these Standard Cirri up to 90 knots, working the good air and avoiding the need to thermal. Boyd gets out a little ahead. No matter, he goes half a mile further into the turnpoint and we reconnect heading toward the second turn area.
The sky darkens – cirrus clouds set up ahead. Will we be able to make it around today? We tighten up our formation, gingerly considering every nibble that comes our way. By the time we make the final turn area, the gaggle coalesces. All three of us come back together and it is a mad rush to make it home. Garret gets on the radio and tells us that the pilots ahead are coming in hot. We drive out onto the final glide lower, passing others along the way. We hit large swaths of good air and finally we are redlining these gliders and scoot into the finish. All three of us finish within a minute of each other, all within the top of the scoresheet for the day. Rock on!
Team flying is so incredibly exciting and we learned so much from the 2015 Junior Worlds! We felt that we were finally 100 percent competitive. We had learned how to play the game the way the top European teams play it and we saw how successful we can be at it!
Flash forward two years and we are now gearing up for the next 2017 Junior Worlds in Lithuania. To further develop the skills we learned in Australia, we will follow a vigorous training schedule for this summer that will make us the most prepared US Team to ever go to the worlds. In May-June the three of us will go to a US team camp in Cordele, followed by guest flying the Standard Class Nationals. In July, we will be flying together in the Junior camp at Harris Hill. We will arrive early in Lithuania to get even more practice flying together and get used to the sailplanes. We will be mentored and coached using every tool at our disposal that will make us as competitive as possible. Our goal is to put a US team member on the podium and we will have all the resources available to make this happen.
In order to make our goal a reality, we appeal to the soaring community to help us with the funding. We are desperately short of funds, needing an additional $12,000 to make it possible for us to go. All three of us fly because we are either part of fantastic clubs and thanks to the sponsorship of owners who allow us to fly their gliders. We are only able to compete thanks to the SSA contest fee rebate program. We hope to represent the US and our soaring community and make this experience a reality. No donation is too small and we hope that the US soaring community can be a part of this great endeavor. With your support, there is no doubt that the outcome of Lithuania will be successful for further team growth and advancement through the scoresheet.
Melanie is strictly ground crew (N1K), but is an avid lover of the sport. She is the ussoaringteams.org web master and loves new ideas so feel free to ask questions, offer suggestions, and give her additional content!