Current Events: 

Rochester Soaring events are held on the third Saturday of each month. For more details about the time and location please see the event calendar page.


April - Spring Tune Up and LSF task event
This season we are going to begin with a tune up event. Dust off your sailplanes and bring them out to the field and get them ready for the upcoming season. We can dial in those mixes and launch settings for all of our sailplanes. Feel free to tweak the CG and really spend some time getting your sailplanes flying their best. This will be a no pressure event and you can expect to get in a lot of stick time if you want. This will be the perfect event for that new sailplane you got over the winter. As always this event is open to e-launch and string launch sailplanes. I will have the little sport winch along for any of you who want to practice winch launches. I will also have the One Winch and a hi-start for anyone to use. In addition to tuning up our sailplanes, this event will provide an opportunity for people to work on LSF tasks. I will have landing tapes out for your level one and level two landing tasks and we should have plenty of people who can witness those timed flights. Hopefully the thermals will be strong and we can all get in those needed flight tasks.

May - Rusty Thumbs event
The Rusty Thumbs is our longest running event and this season it will once again start things off. Hiss and Boink is the name of the game for May. Some of you might be thinking what in the heck is Hiss and Boink? Well it is a format where everyone launches from the same device. Traditionally it is a short hi-start. Task times are short also so a lot of flights can be accomplished in a short time. Landings are also important in this event and we will be using a runway landing. Landing points will be awarded based on how far your sailplane comes to rest from a 20' line. No harsh landings allowed here, hence the name. If you want landing points you need to slide your sailplane to the spot. No landing points are awarded for dork landings. You might be asking yourself, "Who determines whether or not the landing counts", well the other pilots of course. Participants get to call out "Boink" in the event of a questionable landing.

June - My Fair Maiden event
This event has always been centered around maidening new sailplanes and this years event will still focus on that but I would also like it to be a showcase event for the many sailplanes that were passed out last summer from the estate of Vern. I know where these airframes and wings ended up and I hope those of you who received them have had a chance to get them in flying condition. What I would like to do is coordinate a flight group consisting entirely of Vern's sailplanes. I can think of no better way to remember him than to have all of his sailplanes in the air at the same time. 

Historically the My Fair Maiden event has been a ladder event but this year I want to do something different so I an going to make it an add em up event. I am working out the details but basically the way it will work is that there will be a flight window and the objective is to have you sailplane in the air for all of it. Now this is impossible because the max flight times will be shorter than the working flight window so relaunching will be required and launching does not count as flight time. Landing will also count and the landing task has yet to be determined. Most likely it will be an in/out circle but I might change that. You will have to come to the event to find out. 

July - ALES No strings Attached Event
We have been holding ALES events since 2012 and this years event will hopefully be the best one yet. The ALES event is open to any e-launch sailplane, regardless of size. If you want to fly a 30" micro Radian go for it. If you have a 3.5 meter e-launch woody please bring it and fly it. Do you have an old classic free flight model you electrified? Many of those are wonderful thermaling planes and you would be welcome to fly it in this event. Motors can only be used for the launch portion of the flight and can only be run for a maximum of 30 seconds. Many people have 2 meter Radians and those sailplanes work perfectly  for this format. 

If you have been thinking about trying one of our events and you have a e-launch sailplane then be sure to attend this one because it will fun and it is a very simple format to fly. Be sure to bring a few extra batteries or be able to fast charge your flight battery at the field. 

August - The Big One
This event is probably he biggest one we will have all season. We will be hosting the MRCSS club in Rochester for a man-on-man style event. This event is open to electric launch and string launch sailplanes. We will be flying from winches and I will have one or two OneWinches set out for people to use should they not want to use the high power sport winches. Be sure to bring some snacks and a chair to sit in as we will be doing a lot of soaring. Additionally we will be setting aside a rain day for this event so if the weather is really bad on August 20th we will move the event to August 21st. This is a first for us so be sure to make a note on your calendars. Please note that you can fly with us in this event even if you are not a member of MRCSS or Rochester Soaring. The more the merrier I say. Besides, Rochester Soaring doesn't really have members so come and join us for a day of fun and a chance to meet some new soaring pilots.

September - Add em up Redux
We had such a good time in June with the Add em Up event I thought we would do it again. Basically there is an overall flight window of 16 minutes where in you have to try to get 15 minutes of airtime. No single flight can be more than 8 minutes and the launch time does not count as flight time. Landing will be the 50 point tapes. Believe it on not there is a lot of strategy that goes into this format and it is a lot of fun to boot. It will be open to electric and string launch sailplanes.

More events to come...

Past Events:


April - Fun Fly
This season April is looking very flyable. The snow has melted off, for the second time, and the temps are warming up. This will be a no pressure get together, just a nice time flying with friends. If you are new to Rochester Soaring or if you want to see what it is all about, this will be a great chance to talk with different pilots and ask questions. I will be sure to have the Everything Hobby Radian there for people to fly. I will have a buddy box set up so inexperienced pilots can try their hand at soaring. I will also make sure to have the OneWinch and the small sport winch there for people to use.

May - Rusty Thumbs Event
Once again the Rusty Thumbs event begins our soaring season. This years event format is going to be a little different than past seasons. This year we will be flying a format called Hiss and Boink. The format is simple but not necessarily easy. It goes something like this. The CD shows up with a hi-start, and sets the distance for launch (everyone uses the same tension). He also lays out a 20 foot rope parallel to the wind (that's the landing target). Airplanes are 2-meter, RE or RES. The CD may fly two classes, but usually those of us with spoilers will just tape them shut. Every task is four minutes, and each second is a point (4x60=240 points per flight). There is no penalty for exceeding four minutes. 100 landing points are available, based on how far the nose of the airplane is from the 20 foot rope after a "hiss" landing. A hiss landing is smooth and straight, usually parallel to the rope. Any other landing is a Boink, and earns no points. The assembled crowd loudly declares boinks, usually. Obviously, landing points are important, but so is landing form: dork it or ground loop, and it's a Boink.The procedure is easy: line up and launch, one after another, taking turns timing (and coaching). Once you land, get your airplane out of the landing area and wait until everyone else has flown before going again. Keep it up for four or five rounds.

June - My Fair Maiden Event
The My Fair Maiden event has always been a fun event focusing on maidening new sailplanes built or refurbished over the long winter months. This year will be no different. I like to think that having an event like this helps to motivate builders to get those projects finished. The event format also lends itself to flying a new sailplane. No 10 minute task with a 100" tape landing here. Nope, this will be an open launch ladder event with flight task times beginning at 3 minutes and increasing by 2 minutes per ladder rung. The landing task will either be a large 25' landing circle or it will be a runway landing. We have never done a runway landing task before so it may be fun to try one. This is a great way to participate in an event with a new sailplane while working out the bugs and trimming the plane. In addition to the ladder event there will also be a longest flight task running at the same time as the ladder event. Now I know some of you are thinking this event will be easy but we have a very challenging field and in past events breaking 7 minutes has proven all but impossible by even the most seasoned pilots. So come and join us and be sure to bring that new sailplane. This event will be open to traditional string launch sailplanes as well as e-launch sailplanes. DLG and hand launch sailplanes are welcome as well. 

July - ALES No strings Attached Event
This years ALES event is being held in July. We have been holding ALES events since 2012 and this years event will come with a little twist. As in previous years we will be launching to 150 meters and we will be using 5 meter landing tapes. We will be flying this event in flight groups and it will be man on man. So far everything sounds normal, well here is the twist. This year pilots will have the option to launch to either 100, 150 or 200 meters. Here is how it will work. 150 meters will be the standard launch height and if you want to fly the event and never change a thing you will be fine. But you will have the option to reset your CAM to 100 meters and fly the round with a bonus or you could set your CAM to 200 meters and take a penalty. You might be asking yourself why would I do this. Well the answer comes down to risk and reward. Maybe you think you are launching into a lift cycle and you feel confident that 100 meters will allow you ample time to find that big thermal. Go for it and get a bonus added to your flight. On the contrary, maybe you think you are launching into a sink cycle so some added launch altitude may be just what you need to stay aloft just long enough to find that next thermal and bury the flight group. I hope you make it. You will have a penalty right off the bat so you will need to make that extra altitude pay off. Pilots will be free to reset their CAMs for each round as they see fit. I think it will be fun. Be sure to practice resetting the CAM so you can do it quickly and reliably, launching to 200 meters, when you wanted to launch to only 100 meters, will cost you.

August 15th - MRCSS/Rochester joint Event
This event is a first for us. We will be joining the MRCSS club at their soaring field near Farmington for a joint team event. It will be open to all types of sailplanes:  e-launch, winch, and bungee/hi-start; molded, wood, and foam.  This event will be be scored as teams; each team will be comprised of one MRCSS member and one Rochester member.  Team scores will be the sum of the two members.  This event’s focus is on fun and getting to know a few more glider guiders in MN! I am really looking forward to this one. The MRCSS club are a great bunch of guys, flying with them and getting to know them better will be a real treat. Due to the team nature of this event we will need commitments from pilots wanting to attend. We will post the signup deadline soon.

September - 

October - Fun Fly


April – Fun Fly
Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us here and it will be warm enough and snowless enough to fly. I like to think positive so we will give it a try. This will be just a simple fun fly to dust off the winter cobwebs. I will have the OneWinch, hi-starts, and the small electric “Winky” winch available for use so bring anything you want. As usual, this event is open to string launch and electric launch sailplanes. We will also have the big landing circle set out for those of you who want to start thinking about landings.

May – Rusty Thumbs Event
The Rusty Thumbs event is our longest running event and it is our kickoff event for the soaring season. This year’s Rusty Thumbs event will be a little more structured than in the past. It will be a low key event consisting of an open launch ladder format. We will start with 3 minute tasks and increase them by 2 minutes with no upper limit. We will have the big landing circle out and we will have our 5 meter landing tapes out for you to practice with. There will be no bonus points for landing. In the event we have a tie for longest flight time there will be an all up, last down fly off to determine the winner. Electric launch and string launch sailplanes will compete side by side in this event.

June – My Fair Maiden Event
This event is the one I most look forward to every year. It is designed to be both a soaring contest and a show case event for those winter build projects. If you have a new plane this is the event you want to bring it too. It is an open launch event so you can launch when you are ready. Flights will be an 8 minute task but you only need to record your 6 best flights so you can launch as many times as you want to within the contest time window. The only hook is you need to decide if you want to record a flight right after you complete it. No fair simply picking your best 6 flights of the day. Once you record a flight it is there to stay so you need to decide if you think you will be able to get a better flight before the event is over. It is a great format for tuning up a new plane. Lots of short trimming flights are not going to hurt you. There is also no penalty for going over the time so if you hook a boomer and want to go for a personal best or a LSF or SSP task, no problem. Your long flight will still only count for 8 minutes though. Again, the landing circle and landing tapes will be out but this time they will count for landing bonuses. So how will that work you ask? Well, you will have a choice of landing in the big landing circle for a 25 point all or nothing bonus or you can elect to land on the tape for a possible 0-50 point bonus. Hmmm, how brave are you feeling? We will see. Electric launch and string launch planes are welcome and we will have the OneWinch, low power hi-starts and the small electric “Winky” winch so we should be able to get just about anything you may bring into the air. In the unlikely event of a tie, we will have a flyoff round to determine the overall winner.

July – The Rochester Invitational
This one is a new event for us. It has been my experience that every power airplane club has a few pilots who either have, or try have tried their hand at sailplanes. Some are guys flying Radians and some are folks who have a sailplane sitting in the garage but who are not sure how to launch it or are not sure how to find thermals. Sometime this spring I am going to send out a letter to every AMA airplane club within 50 miles of Rochester and I am going to extend an invitation to all of these pilots to bring their sailplanes and join us for a soaring event. The event itself will be broken down into two parts. Part one will be a simple meet and greet and we will give pilots a chance to get some air under the wings of their sailplanes. So basically it will be a fun fly type of event. The big landing circle will be out so pilots can continue to work on landing skills. Part two of the event will be a mock man on man soaring event. I will have launch stations setup and I will have some MoM scorecards premade so that we can go through a few rounds of a sailplane contest. Nothing hard core here, I simply want people to see what an actual soaring contest looks and feels like. Hopefully this will give people a chance to see what soaring events are like and hopefully they will continue coming to future events. 

August – The No Strings Attached ALES event
Yep the title says it all. This will be the 3rd annual ALES event. Sorry string launch guys, you will need to sit this one out or go get yourself an ALES plane. It will be a man on man format, 10 second launch window, 5 meter landing tapes, you know the drill. This year we will be stepping it up a notch and will be subtracting points for time under and over the stipulated task time. So start getting used to landing your plane exactly on the specified time. We will be launching to 150 meters and task times will range from 7 minutes to 10 minutes depending on conditions. If we have great air and everyone is making 7 minutes then we will increase the flight times to make it more challenging. In the unlikely event of a tie, we will have an all up, last down fly off round to determine a winner. The ALES event is always a lot of fun so be sure to make this one if you can. 

September – All-in Event
This is the big one, the closest thing to NATS west of the Mississippi, ummm and south of Minneapolis, and north of Iowa and east of I-35. Well OK, we may not be the NATS but if you come to this event you will have just as much fun. The Whole 9 Yards is going to be a man on man soaring event open to both e-launch pilots and traditional string launch pilots. Pilots will be called up to the flight line in groups consisting of both e-launch planes and string launch planes and they will be competing together in the same event. E-launch pilots will need to use a height limiter capable of limiting their launch height to 150 meters. We will be using 5 meter ALES style landing tapes so super accurate landings will not be required but the big landing circle will be conspicuously absent. Landing points will only be had by making it to the tape. Points will be subtracted from your score for flying over the designated task time and we will have a designated landing zone. Yep, you will be required to land your plane in a fairly large area in order for the flight to count. Landing anywhere will not be good enough for this event. This event is the final test of all the skills we have worked on throughout the summer. Given the requirements in this event I really doubt that there will be any need for a fly off round.

October – Fall Fun Fly
This one will be weather dependent and we will end the season the same way we started it, casual flying with friends. I have no doubt there will be stories to tell of all the summers epic saves and memorable moments. It is my hope that we all end up massaging the cramps out of our cheeks from all the laughter and smiling. Just remember that it is hard to keep track of your plane while tears of laughter are running out of your eyes. 


August - Soaring Clinic 101
This event is is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in soaring to come out and see what it is all about. If you have a sailplane be sure to bring it with you along with your transmitter as we will help you get it in the air. You can learn how to use a hi-start, an electric winch, and a OneWinch. Event formats will be discussed and practiced. Landing tapes will be setup for practice and a large landing circle will also be there. It will be an open fly event so people will be flying all day. If you are working on LSF tasks or SSP tasks this will e a great event for you as witnesses will be there. 

It will be held at the Marion Road field and will begin at 10:00. Feel free to stop by at any time and we hope to see you there.

July - Altitude Limited Electric Soaring
This event is specifically geared towards electric powered sailplanes. Height limiter devices are used to limit the launch height of the plane to 150 meters and motors are not allowed to be used after the initial launch. The fun thing about ALES events is that by limiting the launch height we really focus on the soaring aspect of the event. Scoring for a man on man format is a little different than our previous events but don't worry about that, All you need to do is keep track of how long you were able to keep your plane in the air, I will take care of all the rest.

The hope is to fly at least 5 rounds, maybe more depending on turnout. After the third round we will take a short break to recharge batteries and for me to calculate the event standings. I hope to see many of you there. 

April - Rusty Thumbs Event
The Rusty Thumbs has become our standing first of the season event. This year will be no different. It is scheduled for April 20th and will begin at 11:00. If you want to show up early and fly feel free. This will be a simple fun fly event with no serious emphasis placed on precision landings or exact flight times. I will have the landing circle out and I will have a 5 meter landing tape inside that circle for those of you wanting to freshen up your skills. The Rusty Thumbs event is open to both string launch and e-power launch sailplanes. So, dust off those planes after the long winter and charge up your batteries because Rochester Soaring is getting going for another season of fun.


September All Comers Event

Our September event will be modeled after the ALES event in that it will have flight rounds and will be scored for flight duration and landing skill. Unlike the August event, this one will be open to pilots flying both e-power and string launch sailplanes. All pilots will fly against each other over the course of the day and pilots can elect to fly either e-power or string launch sailplanes. Yes the e-power planes will being flying side by side with the string launch planes. This will be a first for Rochester Soaring and to the best of my knowledge, a first for this region. Pilots are welcome to bring multiple planes and can elect to fly which ever plane they want to on a round by round basis. So if you want to fly your string launch plane for rounds 1 and 2 and then decide to use your e-launch plane for the rest of the event, well that's fine by me.  This event will be taking place on September 22 at the Marion Road field, Please look at the flying site page for details on location and driving directions. I hope to see you there.

ALES Event

ALES (Altitude Limited Electric Soaring) is a relatively new style of thermal duration soaring which utilizes a small electronic device to limit how high an electric powered sailplane can launch. The objective of this style event it to equal out the launch height so many different types of electric launch sailplanes can compete from a equal height. We held an ALES event in August and it was a lot of fun. We will be holding more of these events and I will endeavor to keep the website more up to data with information and event dates. 

My Fair Maiden Event

This will be a new event for us this year. It will be the place to showcase all those new sailplanes that were either built or bought over the long winter months. The event format will be one of ever increasing task times, the perfect format for wringing out the possible bugs in a new plane. Task times will start at 5 minutes and will increase to 15 minutes in 2 minute intervals. This will give you 6 target flight times to meet but you must accomplish them in order. There will be no limit on the amount of attempts that can be made on any one flight time but there will be an overall time window that you have to accomplish all the tasks. String launch and e-power sailplanes are welcome. Launch height for the e-power planes will be limited to 450' to make it reasonably equal to the string launch planes launch heights. I hope to see you all there. Pilots meeting is at 10:30 and the event will start at 11:00. See the event calendar for location details.

Rusty Thumbs Spring Event

This year the Rusty Thumbs event will be held on May 5th at the Marion Rd. field. It is a casual event where people can bring out their planes and shake off the dust from the long winter. It is open to both string launch sailplanes and e-launch sailplanes. This year I will have a landing zone marked out so that people can practice their landing skills. The soaring will start at 11:30 and will go until people decide to leave. I am planning to have some challenges for those of you who are looking to test your thermal finding skills. I hope to see you all there.

90 in April Event 2012

This event will run for the entire month of April. Normally April is a questionable month for flying here in Minnesota but this year things are looking great. The event will go like this:

The objective is to get 90 minutes of soaring time logged in the month of April. Flights may be entered using either a traditional string launched sailplane or an e-powered sailplane. Your log book can contain flights using both launch methods. Flights do not need to be witnessed by a second party to be counted, this is an on your honor event. The rules are simple, launch you plane and keep track of how long your flight lasts. The clock starts when either the plane comes off the launch line or when the motor powers down. Electric launches should be limited to a reasonable height, let's say 600 feet. Do your best to judge the height. 

For every launch there can only be one motor run, so basically you launch, fly as long as possible and land. Landing skills are just as important as flying skills so lets practice both. Keep track of your total flight time and how many flights you log and report it back to me. I will post individual's progress here on the website. Sound straight forward enough? Flights can start to be counted as of April 1st and will go through the end of April. Who knows, I might even be able to scrounge up some kind of award for the person who logs the most amount of flight time with the least amount of launches. Be sure to have fun.