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The Soaring Society of America's most prestigious competition award, also know as "Sailplane Racing's Top Gun" award, the Hatcher Trophy was created in memory of Ron Hatcher a well known contest pilot. At the end of each racing season, the scores of national champions from the four FAI Classes and the World Class nationals are compared to determine which achieved the highest percentage of the maximum cumulative score possible for the competition. The computation of the recent years' scores is available.
( photo of 2002 winner Ron Tabery courtesy of Gena Tabery )
The recipients of the trophy have been:
History: Awarded with great respect and in loving memory of Ronald Hatcher, who was killed in a competition accident at Sugarbush, Vermont on June 22, 1986. Presented by his wife and soaring friends in admiration of his enthusiasm, devotion, and skill in the pursuit of soaring competition.
Purpose: To select and honor the most outstanding competitive performance by an United States pilot during the prior year's competition season. The award will be presented at the Annual Banquet of the Soaring Society of America. The winner's name will be inscribed on a suitable plaque.
Award: An exquisite composition in highly polished stainless steel of a magnificent frigate bird (common name "Man of War Bird") in flight by Peter Dandridge, The subject is particularly appropriate to the purpose of the award because of the sea bird's incredible soaring ability. The sculpture measures 3 ½ feet in height and rests on a base of black maple in the shape of an ocean wave by Bruce Dyson.
Eligibility: Eligible pilots must be United States citizens, or resident aliens. Eligible competitions includes U.S. National Championship sanctioned by the Soaring Society of America and World Competitions recognized by the Federation International de Aeronautic, in both cases limited to FAI recognized moterless classes. In each case, requisite minimum number of contest days and the minimum number of competitors to declare a champion must be flown for the competition to be eligible.
Rules: The trophy will be awarded to that pilot recording a final cumulative score or the competition which is the highest percent of the theoretical maximum cumulative score possible for the competition. The theoretical maximum score will be computed as the sum total of the winning scores for all official competition days. For both U.S. National and World competition, the performance of non-eligible pilots will be included in the theoretical maximum score as applicable. The winner of a World Championship will automatically be declared the Hatcher Trophy recipient. In the case of multiple World Championships in a single year, the winner will be declared in accordance with the same process outlined above for multiple National Championships.
Amendment: Recognizing that the sport of motorless flight is continuously evolving, it is the intention of those endowing the trophy that the purpose, rather than the letter of these rules be followed. To that end, an Awarding Committee made up of the Contest Board Chairman, the Soaring Society of America President, and the Executive Vice President of the Soaring Society of America (or the incumbents of comparable official positions should they be reorganized or renamed) will meet annually to review whether these eligibility and rule requirements continue to serve their intended purpose. If not, the Awarding Committee may amend them by majority vote and publish appropriate notice as to their actions.
Endowment: An endowment of $5000 has been established for the award. It is the desire of those contributing that these funds and any investment income earned by them be reserved exclusively for the maintenance and preservation of the trophy. No stipend shall be awarded to the recipient.