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Hobbs hosts the 18m and Open Nationals

Dear SSA Faithful:

We have had a very busy week here in Hobbs. I can't remember a busier week, except maybe during one of our conventions.

Hobbs is hosting the 18 Meter and Open Class National Championships. As a result, we have fifty racing pilots with crews here parked on the ramp just across the street from our office. They come in and visit, check on their membership status, request additional credentials, buy merchandise and ask questions. I'm not complaining...this is GREAT. We don't usually have the opportunity to get some so much face time with our members (except once a year at convention).

In addition, several of our staff has volunteered to help with the contest management. We have exercised our event management skills (which has direct benefit when we get to running an SSA Convention). But the biggest benefit is that the staff is getting hands on, real world experience with the mechanics of soaring and the things soaring pilots do. The things they are learning are invaluable.

I personally had a very busy day yesterday (Thursday).  The Airspace Manager, Geoff Haynes and the Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, Scott Wilson from Cannon AFB arrived here just before the morning pilots meeting. Both are new to their jobs, and very concerned with working with us to keep Cannon's F-16s and our gliders from having an unscheduled meeting. The folks at Cannon have responsibility for the Bronco MOAs, which overly the Hobbs task Area as well as the Pecos MOAs, which overly some of the airspace down at the soaring site in Marfa, Texas.  I felt it prudent to spend some time with these folks, not only so I would have a personal relationship with them, but also to educate them about soaring. They were amazed that airplanes with no motors could fly so long and so far.

Later, Sam Spencer and his crew showed up to cook for the contestants. Sam is the President of the Lea County State Bank (LCSB), SSA's partner in the credit card program and one of the few places in the country that will make loans on sailplanes. We had also invited the entire cadre of local elected officials from both the county and city to join us at the supper. I wanted to make sure I was there in order to schmooze with these folks. We were surprised to also have several city and county employees join us, including the county manager and the city planner. This event, the supper and invitation to all the local government officials, is an attempt to impress upon them the importance to the community of this gliderport. Without  this constant reminder, my fear is that the local governments will view this vast undeveloped tract of land as something other than a gliderport and important soaring site.

This morning, the contest made the front page of the local newspaper with an almost half page picture of Garret Willat pushing his Nimbus into his parking spot at days end.

From Hobbs, where we are still running our string of 100 degree days........

Posted: 7/27/2006 By: General News

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