George Moffat's involvement with soaring extends from the late 1950’s to the present, most of that time deeply involved in competition. Looking back, I can see that it was a time of amazing development in ships, instrumentation and flying techniques. In the early years, the so-called Golden Age of the Sixties, the big break-throughs were in design. In order to stay competitive I owned or flew eight different sailplanes between 1961 and 1970. The first 80 pages of Winning on the Wind consisted of flight reports on 29 ships in an effort to trace the amazing development during the period. All these ships are in museums now, so that section has been supplanted by a long article on the changes in competitive soaring over the years between l962 and 2004. Ship development, largely driven by the availability of new materials such as glass, carbon and kevlar, has leveled off in the last dozen years.
The second section of the book, is about competition techniques. “Low-Loss Flying,” safety, leeching, and under called tasking.
These articles on racing techniques are valuable for the non-race oriented cross-country pilot, since efficient flying is more enjoyable and allows you to fly farther and safer.
In the early Sixties there was almost nothing written on maximum-performance flying; we sort of picked it up by trial and error, mostly the latter.
The third section of the book comprises a sort of soaring biography, covering more than forty years of competitive and record flying. Some of the articles were written shortly after the events described, some, like “Chavenay,” were produced some fifteen years later. A few, like “HP-8 Days,” were written in the spring of 2004, describing events and feelings almost half a century old. What I hope they accomplish, collectively, is to give an idea of my personal changes in approach to soaring over a forty year period. In the early days, ship design and technology seemed like the cutting edge and fascinating. Later, especially as I gained more experience in World Championship level competition, I realized the winners were those who could best handle the psychological pressure. This interest culminated in 1997 and 1999 when I became U.S. Team Coach and started to study sports psychology and its applications to big time winning.
Several of the articles are about friends--some of them among the memorable people one meets in a lifetime. Unfortunately several are no longer with us as they were the sort of people who liked to stretch the envelope, see where the limits really lie. This section is a sort of soaring autobiography. You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of people he admires.