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US Team Selection

To reach the pinnacle in any sport is a remarkable achievement. This is especially true for pilots who are selected to become members of the U.S. soaring team and go on to represent the United States at World Gliding Championships.

Team Selection

United States Soaring Team pilots are chosen by the Soaring Society of America (SSA) based on recent performance in National and World-level competition. After each of the US Nationals, competitors' scores are compared to the winner's score. The winner of each Nationals receives a score of 100, and the other contestants are ranked relative to the winner's score. The pilot's current year and the best of the two previous years' performance are considered when selecting U.S. Soaring Team members with the current year being weighted more heavily.

Photo #5884 | Team PhotoU.S. Soaring Team rankings can be very close with only a fraction of a point separating competitors. When U.S. pilots do well in world level contests they earn bonus points that count toward their selection to future US Soaring Teams. The number of team members who represent the United States at a World Soaring Championships is ultimately determined by the World Championship contest organizers and the SSA.

US Pilot Rankings

All of the classes (Club, Standard, 15m, 18m, Open) now follow the same team selection guidelines, with a slight modification to use all of the nationals for the Junior and Feminine Team selections.  See links to the ranking lists above. 

How It Works

The ranking of potential US Team members is basically the average of this year's National's standing and the best of the previous two years. The ranking is done separately for each competition class. To favor recent performance, this year's standing gets weighted a bit more than the best of the previous two years, but that's basically all there is to it!

Example of 15-Meter team rankings.

  Score Name 2003 2002 2001 WGC'03 WGC'01
1 98.8882 Butler 0.9850 0.2564  0.9931    
2 98.6703 Kiiha 1.0000 0.9723      
3 97.9363 Seaborn 0.9855 0.9604 0.9727    
4 96.9288 Gimmey 0.9582 0.8743 0.9813    
5 96.0771 Masak 0.9760   0.9442    
6 94.3512 Mockler,  Dave   1.0000 0.9753 0.8914  

There is a bit of fine print that comes up for pilots who have been on a US Team within the last three years, and we'll get to that after we explain what the 'standing' is and how a pilot’s current year's standing gets favored a bit. A pilot’s standing for selection to a team for any national contest is simply the pilot’s score divided by the winner’s score; for example, if the contest winner’s score is 5000 and a pilot’s score is 4000, then the pilot’s standing for the year is 4000/5000 or .80.

To even things out a bit from year to year, the selection process adds in a pilot’s best standing for the best of the previous two years. So if a pilot has a standing of .98 in 2003, .97 in 2002, and a win (a standing of 1.00) in 2001, their overall standing would use the .98 in 2003 and the 1.00 in 2001.

To give more weight to recent performance, the current year’s standing is multiplied by 52 and the best of the previous years’ standings by 48 – yes, they add up to 100. So you can think of the final result as consisting of 52% from the current year’s standing, and 48% from the best of the previous years’ standings. In our example, the pilot’s overall standing would be 52 x .98 + 48 x 1.00 = 98.96. For the entire selection (subject to revision) document in Adobe PDF format go here.

See the team calendar for championship happenings over the next several years.

US Junior and Feminine Soaring Teams

The ranking of potential team members in these two categories uses the same selection procedures as for the other teams but their performance in any of the U.S. national competitions counts towards team selection. To be eligible, Junior and Feminine candidates must have achieved a score equal to at least 60% of the national winner's score in a nationals. The Junior Soaring Team is made up of pilots under age 26.

2013 Changes to Club Class Glider List

The Team Committee has extended the list of gliders that can be used to qualify for Club Class team membership. Overall guidance for defining an approved club class glider is withing the handicap ranges of 0.898 (LS6C) and 1.115 with no two seat or motorgliders elegible. The final arbiter is the SSA official handicap list (here) with a C suffix (for club). 


IGC Rankings and Team Selection

The IGC ranking system provides an official seeding list of competition glider pilots participating in International contests and contests sanctioned for inclusion. The Ranking List has two components: Pilot Rating and Competition Rating.

A Pilots Rating is the result of his/her performance in IGC sanctioned competitions. The Competition Rating depends on the type of competition, the quality of the pilots competing and the number of competition days. IGC ranking has no impact on US team selection.


Photo #5886 | US Team Logo

USA Team Selection Points

USA Pilot Rankings

Posted: 6/1/2010

US Team 

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