L.O.F.T. (League of Flight by Thermal) is an A.M.A. (Academy of Model Aviation) sanctioned radio controlled model sailplane club located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our primary flying field is located at 4900 St. Joe Road as part of the IVY Tech North Campus.
Our focus is primarily on the enjoyment of flying R/C sailplanes (i.e. model aircraft that have no motors and use external launchers such as winches, hi-starts, or human effort to launch.) For glider guiders, the thrill is in the hunt of the elusive thermal, or rising warm air. In a way, you can say that flat-land glider pilots are solar powered since that’s what generates most thermals.
Gliders can also be flown using what is called “slope” lift, which is generated by air being forced over hills or obstructions by wind.
Frank Wren and Ray Hayes put together a nice background on the beginnings of L.O.F.T. club itself here. Lots of nostalgic info and pictures of guys who are still coming to the field to fly (and, sadly, some who are dearly missed.)
We are now in the midst of adding A.L.E.S. (Altitude Limited Electric Soaring) to our activities. A.L.E.S. leverages the advances that have been made in electric power systems to allow gliders to be launched under their own power without the need for complicated field equipment. The addition of altitude limiters allows the competition to remain focused on thermal duration flying rather than power system efficiency.
The joy of it all, though, is the thrill of silent flight in the great outdoors.