Monthly Soaring Magazine Articles for 2016

January - Scenario Based Training by SSF Trustees

For the past 3 months we have been talking about Scenario Based Training (SBT), the method the airlines and military use to train their pilots. SBT focuses on developing the Aeronautical Decision Making and Risk Management (ADM/RM) skills needed to safely and enjoyably fly. Read the full article.

February - Scenario Based Training – A Practical Demonstration by Richard Carlson

As you open this months magazine some of you are planning on attending the SSA convention this month in Greenville SC. The SSA staff and local soaring pilots have put together a great program and there will be lots to see on the exhibit floor. But that's not all there is for you in Greenville. Read the full article.

March - Check-out Time Again by Tom Johnson

It is that time of year again. Time to dust off your skills set. Yes, it is that annual soaring season checkout time. Time to see if you can still fly tow, thermal, and land an engine-less aircraft. Now I fully understand that some of us fly the year round but most of us take some kind of break during the year so put what I am suggesting into action on your next Flight Review, or better yet, go get a "beginning of your soaring season" Checkout when you get back from your break.
Read the full article.

April - Annual Soaring Safety Foundation Safety Summary by SSF Trustees

This report covers the FY15 (November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2015) reporting period. This summary is printed in SOARING, the complete report can be found on the SSF web site ( A review of the NTSB accident database shows a 37.9% decrease (18 vs 29) in the number of US soaring accidents during this time period compared to the FY14 reporting period. However, the number of fatal accidents in FY15 increased by 66.7% (5 vs 3) compared with FY14. The good news is that the number of insurance claims fell significantly in FY15. While the long term trend in accidents reported to the NTSB continues to decline, there is general agreement that more steps must be taken to continue reducing the number of accidents and to eliminate all fatal accidents. Read the full article.

May - Towpilot Currency and Proficiency by Burt Compton

You are the Pilot In Command of your glider and ready to launch by aerotow. You assume that your towpilot in the towplane is “current” because...
Read the full article.

June - Towing Gliders is Easy by Tom Johnson

Grandpa Pettibone is an icon to those who flew in the Navy. He is the fictional cantankerous CFI who reviews the accidents and incidents of intrepid Naval Aviators like Youthly Puresome and Truly Handsome. He looks at the events from a perspective of disbelief that highly trained individuals could make such dumb decisions. Of course, the implicit joke is that flying tactical Navy airplanes appears to be easy, but in reality is a very hard and demanding in extremely dynamic situations.
Read the full article.

July - Safety Through Training by Richard Carlson

Over the past few years the Soaring Safety Foundation has been working to update the activities and programs it provides to the SSA membership. This article give a quick rundown on some of those activities and encourages you, the SSA member, to engage with us to help reduce the number and severity of accidents here in the U.S.
Read the full article.

August - Safety Management by Tom Johnson

Safety. What is it? What does it mean when someone tells you to "Fly safely"? Webster defines it as the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury. Aviation safety is a term encompassing the theory, investigation, and categorization of flight failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education, and training.
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September - FAQ's: Stalls by Tom Johnson

During the last couple of issues, writers and readers of this magazine have been discussing stalls and various topics associated with them. We, at the Soaring Safety Foundation, resoundingly applaud informed discussion among the membership, especially on a topic as fundamental and important as a well-informed understanding of stalls. As the "Safety Guys", we also have to occasionally act as referees and try to keep the discussion "in-bounds". We attempt to do this be separating fact from opinion, and procedure from technique. Read the full article.

October - Teaching Stalls and Spins by Richard Carlson

In the early 1980's the Soaring Safety Foundation applied for, and received, authorization to run a Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC). The instructions for submitting this application were found in Advisory Circular 61-83. This was not a blanket authorization, the FAA requires that FIRC providers reapply on a regular basis to ensure that they update their training material and procedures. At the present time the FAA uses A/C 61-83H and FIRCs are authorized to operate for 2 years. Read the full article.

November - AIRSPEED! by Richard Carlson

I tell all my students that I'm a big fan of the clipboard instruction technique. That's the method where when they do something wrong I whack them on the back of the head with a clipboard. Read the full article.

December - Preventing Rollout Accidents by Burt Compton

You are on the downwind leg of your landing pattern ready to turn base leg and keeping your touchdown spot in sight. Airspeed? Just right for the conditions. Spoilers or flaps? Adjusting as needed for a moderate sink rate and a good angle to the runway. Traffic? You think you are the only one in the pattern and there are no aircraft or vehicles on the runway, but a few are lined up along your landing zone. Wind? The windsocks indicate that the wind is light with a slight crosswind. Read the full article.