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Overall U.S. Soaring Team Structure
To understand the United States Soaring Teams and how teams are selected, managed and organized, you need to understand the overall framework in which teams operate. It needs to be stressed that these positions are filled by hard working volunteers who contribute considerable time and energy to competitive soaring. They deserve our respect and admiration.
All competitive soaring issues in the U.S. fall under the purview of the Contest Committee which in turn is made up of several sub committees managing the areas of rules, site selection, records, IGC representation, and the U.S. Soaring Teams.
U.S. Soaring Team Committee
United States Soaring Teams are managed by the U.S. Team Committee as established and ratified by the Soaring Society of America Board of Directors in 1995. Charged with overseeing the affairs of the Soaring Society of America with respect to its representation at Federation Aeronautique International (FAI) approved World Soaring Championships the original U.S. Soaring Team Committee was an operational body primarily focused on the effective conduct of the U.S. Team at specific World Soaring Championships.
As more classes and championships were added it became obvious that the original system established in 1995 could no longer meet the needs of U.S. Teams and the soaring community. At the February, 2002 SSA convention held in Ontario California, the SSA Board created the U.S. Team Task Force. The goal of this task force was to accomplish a fundamental review of how U.S. soaring teams did business, solicit community input, investigate areas for improvement, develop solutions, author a report and provide implementation assistance. The operating principals of the task force are transparency, accountability, competitiveness and sustainability. See the U.S. Team Task Force page here.
At the January, 2003 Soaring Convention held in Dayton Ohio, the U.S. Team Task Force presented its findings to the SSA Board of Directors. The Task Force defined and examined 14 areas and made recommendations based on their findings. This process included posting these topics on the Internet for public comment. The topics and draft reports are posted on the Team Committee page. Central among these findings was the need to modernize the U.S. Team Committee. At the Dayton meeting the SSA Board voted to adopt the Task Force recommendations unanimously and charged the appointed members of the U.S. Team Committee to form the new organization.
New U.S. Team Committee
A critical element of the 2002 Task Force’s vision for the future U.S. Team was the creation of a re-purposed and newly defined U.S. Soaring Team Committee. The new committee has a broader focus and assumes responsibility for the selection, overall management, and funding of the U.S. Teams. This responsibility and authority is subject to SSA Board oversight. The intent is for the relationship between the SSA Board and the U.S. Team Committee to develop into the same relationship that exists between the Board and the Rules Committee. The U.S. Soaring Team Committee is responsible for long term strategic planning in team affairs.
The six-member committee includes the Contest Committee Chairman, the U.S. Team Chairman, the SSA President, plus three members elected by the members of the SSA. The procedure for selecting the three elected members is nearly identical to that used for the Rules Committee elections: nominations from SSA directors, SSA-conducted election and staggered elected terms with one position up for election each year. The establishment of this committee provides some much-needed institutional continuity to U.S. Team management as individual volunteers come and go. Operational aspects of the U.S. Team will be handled by the U.S. Team Chairman and the various team captains.
See more on the U.S. Team Committee page here.