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June 1, 2000

As we work on our respective L.E.S. vouchers it might help us to see how someone else did it. The technique (as with most sailplane flying) is "area-dependent," but still we will find it interesting in how Bill Jenkins, Memphis, TN, #001 - Level VI accomplished his.

Bill is the first to complete the League for Electric Soaring Flight Achievement Program in August '99.

When the L.E.S. was under development in early '92, there was no thought of a timetable for its flight achievement program. The concern was that the program had to be comprehensive and challenging with each increasingly difficult step representing a marked improvement in flying ability, and this demonstrated skill-level had to be judged against an objective criterion of performance.

Only in this manner could the L.E.S. accomplish its principal goal -- to add significance to EVERY flight.

To capitalize on the e-sailplane's unique characteristics, a few new tasks were designed with the pilot having a choice between powered vs. non-powered goal and return flights.

The program settled on six rather than an expected five levels of achievement.

Bill, known as a dedicated modeler and national competitor, was the first flier to qualify for membership.

On the same day in mid-August '95, he attained his first required thermal flight of 10 minutes and achieved all ten of his 10-foot spot landing requirements.

The next day, he flew his second 10-minute thermal flight to earn L.E.S. #001 and Level I.

Then working on his Level II requirements, on the same day in early September of the same year, he attained all ten 5-foot spot landings. Also in September, he flew his two 15-minute thermal flights.

However, it took to the end of October that year, to finish the required Level II competition points.

Two of Bill's contest achievements were a 1st of 16 in Dallas and 3rd of 17 in New Orleans.

Now flying as a Level II, he started on his Level III program, which he completed late July, '96, with a 1st of 28 at the Nats in Muncie.

With spot landings no longer a requirement, a goal and return task was. He chose to use powered flights exclusively and when he attained his 3/4-mile powered goal and return flight, he had already made his two, 30-minute thermal flights.

With the tasks becoming progressively more difficult, it took until early October, '96, to attain his Level IV during competition in Dallas, and he started accumulating competition points with a 1st of 21 and a 1st of 13, both at the Nats.

Again, he used a powered flight to meet his 1.5-mile goal and return requirement.

One of his two, required 45-minute thermal flights lasted for over an hour.

For his Level V voucher, his single, one-hour thermal flight was attained one summer and his 2-mile goal and return flight was attained the next.

Accumulating competition points took the most time and at the Nats in early August '97, he was 1st of 15, and this completed his voucher to attain Level V.

Bill started working on the last Level VI as soon as he had gained his Level V and had received the new, blank, Level VI voucher from the L.E.S.

He quickly attained the first of his two required 1-hour thermal flights; it took a little over a year to get the second.

Another year went by before he attained his powered 4-mile goal and return flight.

The very difficult competition tasks took from mid-October, '97, until early August '99, when he was 3rd of 19 at the Nats. While accumulating Level VI competition points, Bill flew 10 events at six contests with at least 10 entrants and in so doing, flew against 197 competitors while averaging 3rd place!

Please note that the L.E.S. competition requirements for Level VI are three wins and 8,000 points by the L.E.S. formula.

For Level I, it took Bill but two days -- for Level VI, it took almost exactly two years.

Bill serves as a good example of the L.E.S. flight achievement program and his attaining the ultimate Level VI is an objective mark of excellence in electric sailplane flight.

Congratulations to Bill!

Ken Cashion, Recorder


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