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Kolstad Century Awards

SSA's recognition of youth Cross-Country soaring achievements

Photo #7039 | Kolstad Century LogoThis is a training and achievement ladder for young pilots through age 24, similar to the SSA ABC badge program (for basic soaring), the SSA Symons “Lennie” badge program (for wave soaring), or the international FAI badge program.

It is open to any young soaring-pilot, SSA member, and USA Citizen applicants who safely complete cross-country soaring flights of increasing distance and submit them with documentation to FAI badge standards.

The sponsors of this program, from throughout the USA soaring community, hope this system will stimulate young SSA member pilots towards advanced soaring ranging away from the home gliderport. In the process, they may well set some SSA Junior State Records, and they can attain basic eligibility for the annual Kolstad college scholarship.

RULES for the KOLSTAD Century Badge Program

  • OPEN TO AGES 14-24, inclusive, as of September 30, and may apply to any flight prior to age 25.
  • OPEN TO SOARING PILOTS: Flying experience of at least FAA Student Certificate in sailplanes
  • OPEN TO SSA MEMBERS: Folks who have shown a commitment to the USA soaring community.
  • LEVELS: The badges available are the
    • Century I (for a X/C soaring flight in excess of 100 km)
    • Century II (for a X/C soaring flight in excess of 200 km)
    • Century III (for a X/C soaring flight in excess of 300 km)
    • Century V (for a X/C soaring flight in excess of 500 km)
    • Century X (for a X/C soaring flight in excess of 1000 km)
  • TASKS: The distances referred to are total flight distance with turnpoints. Remote Start and Finish points may be used, with all other definitions and guidelines the same as the FAI Sporting Code for FAI Badges.
  • PRIZES: A pin and patch, white on blue background, similar in design to SSA ABC and FAI badges, and recognition in SOARING magazine in the monthly badges column.
  • MULTIPLE AWARDS: Only one award may be claimed per flight. Larger distance -or smaller- Century badges may be claimed on subsequent applications
  • APPLICATION download.  The documentation of the flights must be to current FAI standards
  • COMPLETED APPLICATIONS may be sent to:

Kolstad Century Badges
Soaring Society of America
PO Box 2100
Hobbs, NM 88241-2100

TESTIMONIALS to the KOLSTAD Century Badge Program

Kim McEligot (1977 Kolstad Scholarship Winner)

The Kolstad Awards were a motivator which encouraged Kim to improve his skills and `reach for more'.

"The reward for succeeding reinforced the drive to improve and has helped me throughout life."

Eric Nelson (1990 Kolstad Scholarship Winner)

"Many thanks to those responsible for making the Kolstad Junior Awards available to interested kids like me - it was no small help in nurturing the cherished combination of learning and flying that thrills me still. It remains an honor to be included in the company of other past recipients."

SUCCESSES for the KOLSTAD Century Badges

Kathy Fosha (2003 Kolstad Scholarship Winner) was trying to complete her FAI Silver Badge to become eligible for the scholarship. The weather was not cooperating in allowing her a 5 hour flight as the days were getting shorter. She switched her plan to trying for a straight-out 100km flight in the Colorado Soaring Association's 1-34. That did the trick and, in the process, she flew over Scott's Bluff, NE, where Paul Kolstad had landed for his 300km in 1966, and landed at Kimball, NE, where Al Parker had ended the first ever 1,000km flight in 1961. Sure enough, a local asked “did you fly from Odessa, TX, too?”. The following year, Kathy flew her first Regional contest and then Nationals and over Christmas break, the SSA Youth Committee selected her to go study soaring with 3-time World Champion George Lee in Australia.

DONORS to the KOLSTAD Century Badge Program

Paul and Ken Kolstad, 1966The fund that financed these awards was established in 1968 by the members of the Colorado Soaring Association (CSA) and the Black Forest Soaring Society (BFSS), principally Mid and Ken Kolstad, soaring pilots since 1941. Their sons Ralph and Paul, as well as daughter Marg, soloed young in gliders (later, even sons Dave and Andy became pilots), making for a remarkable soaring family.

The larger expense of the fund is the annual Kolstad college scholarship grant. Both the grant and the century awards serve to honor the fine soaring experience of Paul Kenneth Kolstad (1951-1966), holder of Gold Badge #288 with two Diamonds by age 15. Paul still holds the Colorado State Record for Junior Goal with his flight of 208 miles from Black Forest to the Scottsbluff, NE, airport on 11 July 1966. He earned the Goal Diamond with this flight. He earned the Altitude Diamond at Westcliffe, CO.

In 1980, the Kolstad trust was donated to SSA, along with management of the Century Badge awards program and the annual scholarship grant. Members of the SSA Committee overseeing the badges included the Chair of the SSA Youth Committee, the SSA FAI Badge Secretary and Committee members, and members of the Kolstad family (Mid, Ken, Ralph, and Marg). In 2005, the Kolstad Committee was relocated within the Youth Committee and it is presently chaired by Ralph Kolstad, Paul's older brother who went on to be a naval aviator and airline pilot.

Initial income for the endowment was generated in large part by sales of a large wall poster of USA soaring sites and significant soaring flights. For many years, the Colorado Soaring Association held a Labor Day chicken barbeque fund-raiser, featuring Ken's favorite “Cornell chicken” recipe. Most often, this was in conjunction with the Black Forest Soaring Contest, and ticket sales and gifts at this event went a long way to keeping the fund healthy. More recently, Texas Soaring Association has been a similar benefactor, and Chris Woods is presently donating income from the sales of his Hilton Cup documentary DVDs.  In 2011, the fund received a generouis donation of $25,000 from the Barron Hilton Foundation.

Funding flight achievement awards should be an undertaking of the whole soaring community, much as the flying of any glider is a cooperation between pilot, launch crew, and whole clubs or staffs of people. Accordingly, all soaring pilots should consider themselves invited to contribute to the endowment fund.

Tax-deductible donations to "SSA" for the "Kolstad Youth Fund" may be sent at any time to:

Soaring Society of America, Inc. 
PO Box 2100
Hobbs NM 88241-2100.

Credit Cards are welcome.


Posted: 12/25/2010