Rules of the Northern

Illinois Soaring


Sponsored by the Chicagoland Glider Council Inc.

Updated: April 26, 2017


Northern Illinois Soaring Contest Rule Changes as of April 2017

1.     Any day on which three pilots fly a handicapped distance of 40 statute miles will be treated as a contest day.  Turnpoints are any public-use airport on the sectional chart in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana or Iowa and those RLAs listed on the Worldwide Soaring Turnpoint Exchange for the contest. The contest data base can be downloaded in a wide range of formats from that source. SSA glider handicaps will be used.  The contest will be scored using the SSA’s Winscore program.

2.     Tasks may be declared in advance or not.  If a pilot declares a task in advance (by radio or posted announcement at the take off airport), a 10% bonus will apply in recognition of the increased difficulty of flying a declared task. Pilots need to inform the scorer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if they flew a pre-defined task.  Tasks may be of any type recognized in the SSA regional sports class soaring rules (“SSA Rules”):

A.     Assigned tasks with mandatory turn-points and no time limit, although minimum time will be one-hour if no other period is declared;
B.     MAT (modified assigned task) tasks consisting of a series of assigned turn-points that must be flown in order, but the series may be cut short by returning to the finish and will be scored as completed tasks; a time minimum task time may be included (also with any declared time or the default 1-hour period); or

C.     Turn area tasks with a set time or the default duration of 1hour, and defined turn-points with a defined radius for each as specified in the declaration (turn areas, the and finish must not overlap and must be separated by at least two statute miles).

3.     While a scoring formula providing, in effect, a bonus for longer flights makes sense in terms of recognizing the increased difficulty of longer tasks, applying the bonus may be discouraging flights in club gliders that must be shared since pilots may not feel competitive.  Therefore, the bonus will be eliminated.
4.    Although the default time will be one hour, pilots are encouraged to declare longer time periods if glider availability is not a factor. 
5.     The start cylinder will be 2 statute miles in radius centered on any of the starting airports (Chicago Glider Club, Hinckley, Dacy or Sky Soaring).  The top of the cylinder will be the lower of 4,500’ MSL or 500’ below clouds if clouds are present.  The finish cylinder will be 1 mile in radius centered on the same airport from which the flight began.  The floor of the finish cylinder will be 1,500’ MSL.  The penalty for low finishes as provided in the SSA Regional Sports Class Rules will apply to finishes below that altitude.  A pilot can start the task by thermaling through the top of the cylinder.

6.     Scores will be computed using the SSA Rules.  Scores will be tallied on a monthly basis.  There will be a monthly winner each month from April through October.  A month will count for purpose of determining a monthly winner as long as at least three pilots each fly at least two contest days in the month.
7.     Scores will also be maintained on a cumulative basis for the year and the pilot with the best score for the year will be recognized at the end of the season.  The contest will start on April 1 and end on October 31. 
8.     Pilots must submit the flight log to the scorer in a format that can be read by the SSA Winscore software, with a statement of the turnpoints claimed and the definition of the task, and with a statement as to whether it was declared in advance. Because Winscore requires the total weight of the aircraft, pilot and equipment, pilots must provide that weight with the first flight log submitted and advise the scorer of any revision of more than 10 pounds during the course of the season. Winscore adjusts the standard handicaps based on weight.

9.    As in past years, pilots may carry water ballast in NISC contest flights. All pilots who take off with water will be scored as if all the water on board at takeoff was carried throughout the flight. When submitting flight logs for scoring, pilots are required to inform the scorer of the weight of the water on board (both in the wings and in any tail ballast containers) and of the revised weight of the glider at takeoff with water. (Winscore adjust handicaps based on glider weight. The adjustments can be significant. As an example, an ASG-29 with a light pilot and no water will weight about 803 pounds. The same glider with a pilot 60 pounds heavier and carrying 30 gallons of water will weight about 1103 lbs. Winscore calculates -- and we will apply -- a handicap of .8582 for the first pilot and .8075 for the second pilot.) Pilots should familiarize themselves with safety and handling issues for their glider before carrying water. For pilots without extensive experience flying with water in the model of glider used for NISC contest flights, careful review of the applicable provisions of the Pilot's Operating Handbook or other manufacturer information and of all applicable limitations relating to operating with water ballast is recommended – as is a discussion with an instructor experienced in flying with water ballast in similar gliders. As in all aspects of NISC flying, the pilot is solely responsible for the safety of his or her flight and for complying with all regulatory and POH requirements.

10.     If not otherwise provided in the NISC rules, the 2017 SSA Regional Sports Class Rules will apply.  All pilots will be responsible for their own flight decisions and for compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations. Any complaints or protests may be sent to the scorer who will resolve them, unless he is involved in the matter, in which case it will be referred to a neutral and experienced contest pilot for decision.

11.    By submitting a log for scoring or otherwise participating in the contest, a pilot agrees to be bound by the release of liability set out in full in complete rules.


Basic safety issues:


Don’t count on RLAs to be landable, especially for gliders! RLAs are often narrow. They can be misplaced on the map and databases. Some may have reverted to crops or become housing developments. Others are not often mowed or maintained, and may present a hazard due to high grass or potholes. RLA conditions can change over the course of the season. RLAs are private property. The Northern Illinois database carefully distinguishes between "airport" and "private". "Airports" are public use airports, and their location and landabilty is much more reliable. Fields with the "private" or "landable" attribute (depending on software) are RLAs, and subject to the above unreliability.


This warning includes such fields used as turnpoints.

Chicago airspace is very congested. Power planes are not looking for gliders, especially away from airports, and gliders are very hard to see. We strongly suggest that you purchase and install a transponder and/or a passive traffic avoidance device (zaon mrx) or power flarm. In any case, keep a sharp lookout. It is a good practice to occasionally take some turns on long glides so you can see behind you.

When possible, plan your flights to take you away from common approach routes, class B and C airspace, and the 30 nm Class B veil. Be aware of airways (the blue lines on sectionals) and VORs, and anticipate power traffic on airways and in the vicinity of VORs.


All pilots are required to comply with FARs, including cloud clearance and visibility requirements. You must wear a parachute on NISC flights.


Be careful around parachute operations, especially Skydive Chicago, Rochelle, and Beloit. Monitor their frequency when nearby. Parachute operations communicate with Chicago Center before jumps, so they know you're there but they don't know your intentions. Talking to the parachute operator is a good idea.  Note:  Skydive Chicago is not a permissible turnpoint.  This rule has been adopted to discourage NISC flying in the area of that airport


The most common source of problems in cross country flying is putting off the decision to land in a field until too late, and as a result not doing a proper field inspection and pattern. Commit in advance of every flight that you will not make this mistake. Expect a scolding from the scorer if your trace shows a straight-in landing to a field at low speed, and points penalties for repeated violations.


Unlike SSA contests, there is no contest management to check weather and airspace (NOTAMs, TFRs, etc.). Each pilot must take responsibility to obtain this necessary informaton. Don't assume that because you hear others on the radio that they have done so.


Ask for help. Any of the NISC pilots at your airport will be delighted to guide you through the rules and procedures.


Please read the full rules for more information by clicking on the link below ("pdf").

Competition Rules

The complete competition rules can be viewed as a pdf that can be downloaded and printed.

Results for 2018: 2018 Results

Below are the results from previous years (in Excel format).


Previous Winners

The Northern Illinois Soaring Championships is a sports class contest. It has been won by pilots flying everything from a 1-26 to a Ventus. The top 8 daily scores (8000 points max) are counted each year. If not enough contestants fly, then some years have a lower possible maximum score (see rules for complete details). The winner is awarded a traveling plaque to hold for 1 year. The top 3 finishers from the previous contest are listed in order along with their aircraft and their point total/maximum possible points. Congratulations to all the previous winners of this contest.

 The following list of winners will be brought up to date.

Year Participants Place Pilot Sailplane Points
2018 11 1 Mike Shakman ASG-29-18 6272
2 Bob Spitz ASW-28 4737
3 Hubert Elsen ASW-24 2623
2017 16 1 Herb Kilian ASG-29-18 7881
2 Mike Shakman ASG-29-18 7743
3 Mark Akerley ASW-27 6940
2016 19 1 Herb Kilian LS8-15 7187
2 Mike Shakman ASG29-15 6627
3 Mark Akerley ASW-27 3860
2013 28 1 Herb Kilian LS8-15 8000
2 Mike Shakman ASG29-15 7720
3 Hubert Elsen ASW-24 6937
2012 24 1 Herb Kilian LS8-15 8000 (11 x 1000-day)
2 John Cochrane ASW-27 8000 (10 x 1000-day)
3 Mike Shakman ASG29-15 7400
2011 19 1 Herb Kilian LS8-15 8000
2 John Cochrane ASW-27 7938
3 Mike Shakman ASG29-15 7585
2010 16 1 Herb Kilian LS8-15 8000
2 Mike Shakman ASG29-18 7355
3 Bob Spitz ASW-28 6945
2009 21 1 John Cochrane ASW-27 8000
2 Herb Kilian LS8-15 7992
3 Bob Spitz ASW-28 7095
2008 25 1 John Cochrane ASW-27 8000 (10 x 1000-day)
2 Herb Kilian LS8-15 8000 (8 x 1000-day)
3 Bob Macys Ventus 2B 7965
2007 22 1 John Cochrane ASW-27 8000
2 Herb Kilian LS8-15 7769
3 Neal Ridenour ASW-27 7691
2006 19 1 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7775
2 Herb Kilian LS8 7584
3 Motti Pikelny Ventus 7513
2005 16 1 John Cochrane ASW-27 7928
2 Herb Kilian LS8 7875
3 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7871
2004   1 ? ? ?
2 ? ? ?
3 ? ? ?
2003 18 1 Herb Kilian LS8 7987
2 John Cochrane ASW-27 7931
3 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7728
2002 13 1 John Cochrane ASW-27 8000
2 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7796
3 Jeff Russell LS 4 7784
2001 16 1 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7693
2 Neal Ridenour ASW-27 7543
3 Bob Macys Ventus 2B 7526
2000 15 1 Duane Eisenbeiss Discus 7972
2 Mike Shakman ASW-24 7745
3 Don Kroesch Genesis 2 7684
1999 22 1 John Cochrane Discus CS 7719
2 Rudy Kunda ASW-27 7618
3 Bob Macys Ventus 7576
1998 20 1 John Cochrane Discus CS 7795
2 Rudy Kunda ASW-27 7766
3 Nigel Cripps DG-303 7536
1997 28 1 Neal Ridenour Mini Nimbus 7791
2 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 7743
3 Bob Quas SGS1-26D 7524
1996 21 1 John Cochrane Pegasus 7849
2 Kevin Hobbs Std Cirrus 7474
3 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 7354
1995 25 1 Kevin Hobbs Std Cirrus 8000
2 John Cochrane Pegasus 7770
3 Bob Quas SGS1-26D 7752
1994 20 1 John Cochrane Pegasus 7898
2 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 7642
3 Mark Akerley LS-1 7544
1993 10 1 Mike Shakman Pegasus 4604
2 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 4550
3 Bob Macys Mini Nimbus 3792
1992 17 1 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 7786
2 Neal Ridenour Mini Nimbus 7617
3 Bob Macys Mini Nimbus 7579
1991 18 1 Bob Quas SGS1-26 D 8000
2 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 7777
3 Neal Ridenour Mini Nimbus 7685
1990 12 1 Duane Eisenbeiss Discus 4000
2 Bob Macys Mini Nimbus 3774
3 Mike Shakman Pegasus 3471
1989 12 1 Bob Macys Mini Nimbus 7156
2 Mike Shakman Pegasus 6890
3 Rudy Kunda Pegasus 6883