LSF - League of Silent Flight
A slim, graceful, long-winged craft arcs upward smoothly and steeply into the summer sky, accompanied only by the faint whistle of air accelerating past its gleaming surfaces.
All eyes focus on the machine as it dwindles with each passing second - a surging aerial trout playing out yards of taut singing line. A tiny parachute blossoms and gently returns the shining nylon filament to earth. Someone hurries to pluck the blossom before it touches the ground and soon another, and then another sailplane seeks the sun. Little sound of movement is evident among the small group of pilots whose gazes pierce the sky. Yet there is tension and keen anticipation: all are alert for the tiny, almost indiscernible lift of a wing that signals a bubble of warm, rising air. Now, a turn begins and then at tightening sweep into the lift The pilot curves his obedient ship upward, betraying his or her satisfaction by just a hint of a smile and a noticeable relaxation. Minutes, or perhaps more than an hour later, the sailplane reappears at a lower altitude and is electronically grooved to a perfect landing on the grass at the feet of its once-remote master. Such a scene is repeated and recreated thousands of times during the soaring season all over the world by men and women of all ages and talents.
Who are these people? What are they doing? And WHY?
They are R/C Soaring Enthusiasts: imaginative individuals who prefer to do their thing by piloting sleek radio-controlled model sailplanes. Why? A million answers; yet, no answers. To ask is to miss the point. To do and to be is enough while sharing a carefully kept secret. They know the close fellowship, companionship with the birds and the wind, and a supreme challenge.
In these frantic times which seem, more than ever, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, there is an oasis; cool, clean, quiet and very personal. The serenity of soaring is available to each of us just for the asking. Those who pause to refresh themselves at the spring always return to it, or, having found it never depart.
The League of Silent Flight was formed to accommodate pilots of like mind and interest, to codify and give voice to the soaring spirit; to promote a framework within which each soaring pilot may share an easy camaraderie with another while sharpening sharpening skills in a world-wide-accepted discipline of growth and achievement. Members of the League, or LSF, as it is known "have been there", have tasted silent fight and the sense of belonging. But to know is not always to say - for fear that speech and proclamation of one's innermost feelings may sever the tenuous bonds. And so, LSF prefers a quiet program through which its members, at their own pace, may acquire soaring skills through self imposed discipline, perseverance and a search for understanding. We seek to know our environment and to probe its secrets by attempting increasingly difficult tasks. By so doing, we begin to discover ourselves.
Do you fly? Imagine launching a motor-less craft and keeping it aloft for an hour or more by seeking out lift --wherever it may be. That's LSF. Try landing unerringly, ten times, within five feet of a spot chosen by someone else? That, too, is LSF. Have you the patience and the stamina to brave hours of wind, squinting into the blistering sun while trying to navigate a tricky slope in turbulence? You have? Then you should be LSF. A competitive spirit in your veins? Can you accumulate several thousand points in flight competition with your peers in six contests against others of your kind who try as hard - or even harder - to win? You're really LSF. Do the names Harris Hill, Torrey Pines or Die Wasserkuppe create a wanderlust feeling? Aha! You MUST be LSF. Yes, you can achieve these skills, and LSF will lead you to your new flying adventures. There are great memories and wonderful new friends to be made through the LEAGUE of SILENT FLIGHT.
And how shall you be known, one to another? By your deeds and sportsmanship - and by a small, white, soaring gull intertwined with the sky-blue letters "LSF " proudly worn over your heart and displayed on the Wings of your timeless, silent machine.
We won't try to find you. But, if you are our kind, YOU'LL FIND US. Over 7500 LSF members worldwide will show you the way.
Main Image: Ken-by-Geppetto Bassetto, Jojo Grini and friends, Lee Achison, Cliff Browneye's Super V, Kurt Zimmerman