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Friday, February 13, 2015

Virginia Soaring Association’s 2015 Winter Soaring Summit 
Nearly three dozen sailplane instructors from the soaring clubs comprising the Virginia Soaring Association (VaSA) met in Charlottesville on January 17 for its third annual Winter Soaring Summit. It was hosted by Dr. Jim Garrison, the Regional Director for the mid-Atlantic area of the Soaring Society of America, a member of two Virginia soaring clubs (Skyline Soaring and Shenandoah Valley Soaring), and an active competition sailplane pilot.
This year’s conference was attended by nearly thirty active glider flight instructors and other soaring club leaders.  They shared experiences, success stories, and problems encountered in managing their flight instruction programs for glider pilots.  Topics included standardization of syllabi, record keeping, maintaining flight instructor competence, instructor liability, safety issues, and how to deal with ‘problem instructors’.  There was also an update from John Molumphy, Designated Pilot Examiner qualified in gliders in Virginia on common issues that Clubs could address to assure success of candidates for a rating.      
This year's conference theme was the sharing of information and ideas about flight instruction activity within the state’s substantial and growing glider community. 
Virginia appears to be relatively unique in the country as a state where the soaring clubs meet regularly to improve safety.  The Virginia Soaring Association was established in 2012 at the suggestion of the Virginia Department of Aviation’s Executive Director, Randy Burdette. Comprised of the 6 soaring clubs in Virginia, it gives the soaring community a unified voice as it interfaces with the Department of Aviation and other facets of General Aviation within the Commonwealth. Finding ways of being good neighbors while sharing Virginia’s skies and many airports with Power Pilot friends is always important to them. For more information, visit the website