When the current ESAP program was launched, there were some goals behind it. Here, as succinctly as possible, they are presented in order of their perceived importance to the future of the League of Silent Flight:
• Integrate the pilots of electric powered sailplanes into the League of Silent Flight (LSF hereafter) thus maintaining and strengthening the status of the LSF as a significant voice for all facets of R/C soaring.
• Provide a challenging program comparable to but distinct from the well established SAP of the LSF to allow pilots of electric powered sailplanes to increase their soaring skills .
• Preserve the integrity of the original SAP and in no way dilute the accomplishments of its participants.
Now, let’s look at what has happened since the ESAP was launched just about two years ago by examining the LSF database. A total of 58 pilots have entered the ESAP program. The following table shows the status of the ESAP .
Number at Level
Status of LSF ESAP Participants as of 12/1/2015
Two interesting questions to ask at this time might be: How many current participants of the ESAP were also participants of the SAP? And, if so, what Level of the SAP had they achieved before entering the ESAP?
Forty-two of those entering the ESAP had previously participated in the SAP. The other sixteen ESAP Aspirants became new members of the LSF.
Previous SAP Level Attained
Number currently in ESAP
During that same period, 19 LSF SAP Aspirants achieved Level I of the SAP. So, it would seem that the LSF is not being overrun by folks flying electric sailplanes. Therefore, the recent call for a completely separate ELSF needs a bit more clarification. What exactly is broken and needs to be fixed? What advantage is gained by separate membership numbers? The current LSF database is set up to handle two distinct accomplishment programs.
The current ESAP hasn’t been in operation long enough to prove its effectiveness in increasing the skills of new pilots. Only when the first brand new LSF member achieves an ESAP Level V is it time to make a statement about the ESAP’s effectiveness. The only thing that’s been proven definitely at this point in time is that graduates of the original SAP can burn through the ESAP in a short period of time. Not too surprising as it’s rather like solving the same crossword puzzle in a different newspaper. This phenomenon was expected with the eagerness of being the very first ESAP V. But, it certainly validates the teaching ability of the original SAP and the potential for the existing ESAP to produce more skilled pilots. Loss of the capability to launch sailplanes by traditional methods probably accounts for many of the other SAP participants who joined the ESAP.
The primary objective of the original SAP was to produce skilled pilots not necessarily Level V’s. It is analogous to a proper physical education program. A good phys-ed program seeks to increase the physical fitness of all of its participants not just the athletically inclined. If one looks carefully at the way the ESAP was set up, they’ll discover “wiggle room” to tweak it only when and where necessary and let it evolve naturally. The dwindling number of new LSF members each year should be a concern of the highest priority. Rather than concern about the details of the ESAP program how about a little creative thinking on how to attract the purchasers of an ARF electric-powered sailplane into soaring and the LSF? Sadly, too many examples of how not to prevail. Such an effort may not be as much fun as picking nits in the ESAP, but would be more beneficial to the LSF in the long run. This effort should be a priority for every member not just another problem for the LSF Board.
It has been demonstrated of late that model aviation is under some pressure from forces outside the hobby. This, then, is a time to attract as many who enjoy R/C soaring into the LSF and thus provide R/C soaring with a strong voice (the LSF) in model aviation’s affairs.
As the ESAP approaches its 2nd birthday
2 years 4 months ago #1099
jdadmin wrote: The dwindling number of new LSF members each year should be a concern of the highest priority. Rather than concern about the details of the ESAP program how about a little creative thinking on how to attract the purchasers of an ARF electric-powered sailplane into soaring and the LSF?
If the goal is to attract new electric ARF owners I would suggest focusing on 2 areas:
1) reduce or remove perceived or actual barriers of entry
2) modernize sign up, tracking, and witness process
I would like to help out.
As the ESAP approaches its 2nd birthday
2 years 4 months ago #1100
I think if we are to redesign things and leave the past as the past, then a single and new program that would really unify all launch types is the way to go. Call it SAP2. Allow current SAP members to continue in the new program. Give the pilot the choice of using the launch method they prefer for each task. Winch, electric, bungee, hand toss, name it.