LFSD West Coast Challenge
Long Flights on Short Days
Updated 12/9/2021 (current for 2021 calendar year)

Objective Updates [current 2021] [3/2006] [1/2005] [12/2019] [12/2021]

Updated 12/4/2019 for 2021 calendar year

The objectives of the LFSD West Coast Challenge are:

  1. Encourage our local pilots to share their flight stories
    • Which can enhance our community knowledge base
      • Which can extend our horizons and reduce the need for trial and error learning related to hazardous scenarios.
  2. Highlight flights from our winter home range
  3. Give credit to flights on shorter days

There has been some confusion about the purpose of the Challenge.  The initial reaction was that it's another contest to select the best pilots or flights.  We previously offered incentives for pilots to participate, but the primary goal is to encourage our local pilots to share their war stories and gain the added benefit of being able to build our community's knowledge base.

Another main objective is to highlight the advantage our local coastal range sites have in winter months by challenging the rest of the country to post better scores around the winter solstice.

We are attempting to level the playing field by giving more weight to flights on shorter days.  The graph is skewed to output higher scores for flights when our south facing Santa Barbara coastal range typically has an advantage over the rest of the country.  If we we're trying to be purist about balancing the length of the days, we would use a curve that would give more weight to desert flights near the equinox, but we have adjusted the expression to favor our south facing coastal range on short cold days.


Initially (2004 & 2005)  the "winning" flights were all on hang gliders flying from desert launches, but the participation was meager in 2005.  We can adjust the expression to favor our local range even more, but I think with today's crop of talented, athletic, and enthusiastic pilots, Santa Barbara should post the best scores with the 2005 (12/31/2004) expression.

Prior to 2020 the LFSD challenge was sponsored by Tom Truax (aka The Sundowner, paraglide.net).  The prize money was modest.  The challenge fizzled in 2006 after the spring flights were logged,  The fall 2006 flights were not logged, partly because... Tom [broke his ankle in 2005], and bought a house in April 2006.  His kids were young and he wasn't able to find time to fly again until 2010.  We resurrected the Challenge in 2020, using the same equation from 2005 and 2006. In 2020 but adding crowd-source funding in attempt to encourage more participation, but the donation total was only $315, which didn't justify the administration overhead, so going forward in 2021 we have dropped the awards in place of bragging rights...