2014 Race

This year, 2014,  marks the ten year anniversary of The VSA Race Series.  The Race has always been appreciated as a day of fun flying, an opportunity to have social events, a day for learning experiences for even the experienced pilots, an opportunity to compete, and a day to experience the many enjoyable aspects of the sport of soaring.

The Contest Director (CD):

  • will provide a short list of possible tasks for that day
  • will either specify which task may be flown during the morning pilot meeting or may delay the selection of tasks or
  • may delay the approved list of tasks until actual soaring conditions are verified.
  • will announce the time that the gate is open.
  • will simplify scoring by eliminating
    • – starting through top of gate
    • – allowing additional miles to be added to stated task distance, etc.


The Participants:

  • will fly one of the tasks specified for that Race Day
  • must submit a task card and a flight log ASAP after landing (handicaps will be applied)
  • will receive a 10 % penalty for water ballast
  • winning pilot is expected to describe the flight and should explain why they were able to win
  • points will not be accumulated for a season winner

The Schedule

Races will be held on the following days:

  • Saturday March 22
  • Saturday April 26
  • Saturday August 23
  • Saturday September 13


The data base of turn points used in the race series is published by John Leibacher on the Worldwide Soaring turn point Exchange, located at http://soaringweb.org/TP/NA.html#CALIF   The data file for the 2014 VSA Race Series is called “wsc12a″.

Task structure:

  • The start gate will be a cylinder, with details of height and size specified by the CD.
  • Pilots must fly within one statute mile (sm) of each turn point, or as specified otherwise by the CD.
  • The finish gate will as specified by the CD.

Speed calculations:

  • Raw speed is stated task distance divided by time on course, however the scoring distance used for the calculation will be the distance published for that task, minus the distance from WSC to the Start Gate ( see footnote 1).
  • Start time is when the pilot leaves the start cylinder and entering the finish cylinder or crossing the finish line.
  • Extra task distance cannot be increased by flying closer to or past a designated TP.


Task Info

The CD will create a short list of tasks, specifically chosen for the soaring conditions for that day, using the current WSC database (“wsc12”).  Each pilot will receive a description of each of the tasks on that short list prior to flight.

The following is a sample of some of the tasks that the CD may use, however, the CD will create a sort list of tasks each race day.  Although the CD may select from this list, other tasks may also be used.  This list is for purposes of illustration only.

Sample tasks

Sample tasks






Footnote 1: Calculation of speed using adjusted distances.

Example task is start at Goat, go to TPs, return to Goat and then finish at WSC.
If two pilots fly the task from start back to Goat at the same speed of 70 MPH, then task speed (including to the finish at WSC) will be the 70 MPH for both pilots.  But, we know in reality that the average speed for a pilot flying 125 miles will be much higher than for a pilot who travels 325 miles due to the tow distance from the finish to the start gate.  The solution is to not include the tow to the gate in the total distance when computing speeds.

If Pilot A only gets credit for traveling  100 miles  instead of 125 (125 – 25), then his speed of 70 MPH becomes 55.9 MPH.
If Pilot B only gets credit for traveling 300 miles instead of 325 (325 – 25), then his speed of 70 MPH becomes 64.6 MPH.

Subtracting the distance from the finish gate back to the start gate (25 miles in this example) virtually eliminates the advantage of electing to fly a short course, when a longer course could have been completed at the same speed.  We normally use three gates and here are the distances to WSC (if other gates are used, CD will subtract the appropriate distances):

  • WSC to Goat = 32.0 SM
  • WSC to Bear Valley = 16.6 SM
  • WSC to WSC = 0.0 SM

Why didn’t we think of this rule ten yeas ago?



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