The Outlook for 2015

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Now that the year 2014 has is history, it is time again to look at the state of the Evergreen Soaring club.  We have still fewer tows than several years ago and our XC flying has decreased considerably.  We had to cope with particularly rainy weather in spring, the Oso landslide TFR and the unavailability of towing or instruction at times.   Let’s call 2014 a year of consolidation and work on increasing our activities again.

Our glider fleet is in good shape – we have 4 metal gliders (2 L-23s and 2 L-33s) that stay tied up on the line and are available all the time and we have 2 higher performance fiberglass ships for more advanced soaring.  The G103 will be on the line again about April and the DG-300 (which has now joined the operational fleet again) is available in its trailer.  Both had been out of service for longer time periods but should now live up to expectations.  Likewise, our two Pawnee tow planes have been kept well maintained  (and re-enginged in the case of 17Z) and can be relied upon.

Last not least, the club has a pool of well qualified and experienced flight instructors and tow pilots that keep our flying and training operations going.

The financial outlook for the club looks fairly solid, with adequate reserves for the anticipated self-insurance of the gliders.  However, a big unknown is the insurance situation for the tow planes.  If we don’t get hull insurance we may have to look hard at self-insurance (i. e. no hull insurance on the tow planes).  While nobody likes this situation we may have to live with it.

As towing fees are one of our main income sources we should encourage increased club activity as much as possible.  That means adequate staffing for weekend operations, proper upkeep of our combined fleet (gliders and tow planes), and a willingness to fly and to explore even on days that seem to be less than optimum.  And finding new checkout procedures for potential new tow pilots (after the demise of our Cub) should not take too much longer.

That brings up another point – XC flying.  Last year saw a dramatic 40 percent decline in XC flying by Evergreen members as measured by the accumulated OLC points and flights.  While there were some unusual circumstances (weather, Oso TFR, tow plane unavailability, etc.) in 2014 this is a disappointing tendency and we should encourage everybody to live up to our mission statement.  Mentoring advanced students by experienced pilots should be a standard introduction to XC flying as well as promoting camaraderie and club identity.  As there are now a number of eager new XC pilots (some with their own gliders) we should expect a resumption of our historic growth in XC flying.

So, let’s look forward to another year of opportunities and unique experiences that our scenic surroundings have to offer to soaring!