The Soaring Society of America held its 2008 annual convention in Albuquerque, N.M., Feb. 14-16. A full schedule of events began with a glider flight instructor revalidation clinic. Dianne Black-Nixon, SSA chairman of the board, welcomed the attendees to the “Land of Enchantment.”
The list of exhibitors included many organizations and business enterprises that look to the sky for soaring activities. A soaring safety seminar, conducted by the Soaring Safety Foundation, set the first priority of safe flying for all aviators.
Many soaring experts gave presentations on wide-ranging subjects. Speakers included Kathy Fosha, Richard Maleady, Sumon Sinha, Ted Beckwith, Bob Wander, Robert Mudd, Bob Carlton, Dean Carswell, Frauke Elber, Cindy Brickner, Hank Nixon, Al Bowers, Doug Haluza, Garret Willat, Kempton Izuno, Paul Remde, Attie Jonker, Einar Enevoldson, Russell Holtz, Shelly deZevallos and Bernald Smith.
Bob Wander was master of ceremonies during the 40th annual SSA awards banquet. Leonardo and Ricardo Brigliadori were the featured speakers.
Gary Ittner received the Hatcher Trophy, also known as “sailplane racing’s top gun award.” Karl Sommer was the recipient of the Henry Combs Perpetual Trophy, awarded annually to the pilot or pilots completing the greatest number of straight-out diamond distance flights during the previous year.
SSA online contest awards were presented to Doug Haluza, Jim Payne, Russ Owens, Warner Springs, Bill Hill, Dale Kramer and Kevin Wayt.
James Ketcham received the Lewin B. Barringer Memorial Trophy, presented to the pilot making the greatest straight-line distance soaring flight during the previous year, other than at the U.S. National Championships.
Corey Sullivan received the Rudolf W. Mozer Trophy, presented to the U.S. Junior Soaring champion. Devin Bargainnier and Mitchell Wagner received the Paul Kolstad Memorial Scholarship Grant, which is SSA’s highest award given to young adult members who are active in their soaring club and mirror achievements of Paul Kolstad.
Doug Jacobs, Ken Sorenson, Gary Fogel and Ray Johnson received Exceptional Service Awards, presented to recognize those whose service to the SSA has been of utmost value.
Jim Kellett received the Exceptional Achievement Award for achievement of such importance, in the opinion of the SSA directors, as to warrant special recognition normally not available under other established awards.
R. D. Carswell received SSA’s highest award, the Warren E. Eaton Memorial Trophy. The award, named after the founder and first president of the SSA, recognizes a person who’s made an outstanding contribution to the art, sport or science of soaring flight in the United States.
For more information, visit [http://www.ssa.org].