I am a long time LSFer that has been away from contest soaring for quite some time. I finished all of my Level V tasks except the 8 hour slope flight way back in 1991. Just haven't gotten around to the slope flight (yet). I haven't done any serious glider contesting since 1991. We lost our local flying field some years ago and there is no good place near me to set up a winch or hi-start. But now I'm thinking about contests again because of ALES.
We have some guys in our local power club that are now taking up soaring because of ALES. These are guys that years ago wouldn't even consider it. But now they are finding out that soaring is fun and is a challenge, and they are seeking ways to improve their skills. My opinion has always been that the fastest way to improve one's soaring skills is to start working through the LSF achievement levels. I was going to recommend they go to the LSF web site and get started. Imagine my surprise when I found out there is NOT a SAP for electric launched gliders!
I think that LSF is really missing an opportunity here to gain new members! Due to lack of suitable/large flying sites these days, electric launch is the ONLY way for many folks to enjoy soaring. I don't understand what difference it makes whether one gets launched by hi-start, winch, or an electric motor. ALES contests are rapidly appearing on the soaring scene here in the north Alabama/southern Tennessee area, and it is bringing new flyers into the hobby. These ALES flyers should be able to participate in an LSF SAP program to build their skills, just like us old guys did when we got started way back.
I think LSF needs to catch up with modern times. My recommendation is that the LSF create a separate ALES SAP, and retain the current SAP for hi-start and winch launched gliders. Keep the two totally separate - accomplishments from one SAP would not be transferrable to the other.
I don't understand what is so hard about this, and why it is even being debated. To me, getting more soaring pilots into the LSF can only be a good thing.
Somehow I missed the ESAP proposal that is detailed in the News section on the home page. It just didn't show up the first time I looked at the News section. So, obviously my posting here is OBE! My apologies! I must say I am happy to see the proposal and I will definitely vote "yes" for it.