West Michigan Soaring Society


The West Michigan Soaring Society is a low key group of RC pilots with a passion for all forms of RC soaring. Whether your interests lie in winch, high start or electric launch, hand launch or aerotow, have never flown, or are an experienced contest flyer, WMSS has a spot for you. Our members come from all walks of life, from young to old, and we all enjoy the challenge of finding lift and soaring. Come join us to fly, learn, or just watch. We are open to anyone with an interest in soaring, and even if you’ve never flown anything before, we can let you safely try your hand at flying. If you find yourself daydreaming in the clouds and marvel at hawks and eagles mastering the rising air currents, come join us at WMSS. Spread your wings and soar!!!

Memorial Day flying at Clarksville

Here are pictures of John’s Explorer. That’s a lot of sailplane. Flies wonderfully. Launch picture captured a “lucky break” just ahead of the chute before tension got too high.

I went out with my DLG for a while.

-Tim Gess


May 21st Fun Fly Contest – Clarksville, MI

Our Club Vice President and Contest CD John Windstanley writes:

   Hey WMSS, I really enjoyed today, great fun.  Today’s contest task was 3 rounds of 5 minutes with a 25 point in-or-out 25 foot landing.  The winners are Francois 4th (449 points), Jim McConnell 3rd (515 points, although his last flight was 10 minutes long.  Still a max in my book.  Jim Martin 2nd (552 points), and Tim 1st with an 805.  I’ll take last place for never finding my own lift and just piggy backing off of everyone else, ha!
Here’s a video of a beautiful day…

Flying Today


Francois and I got out for a bit of flying in Coopersville today. There was lots of sunshine and very little wind, but not much lift to be had. Francois had the long flight of the day with 7 minutes on his Radian. I was close behind with 6 minutes on my Laser 2m. Francois also flew his Olympic II. I was going to fly my Duck but was having electrical connection issues on the left wing that was preventing the flap from working correctly. Flying season is officially open. 🙂

I love it when I stick the landing…

I love it when I stick the landing...

The Radian and the Laser 2m…

The Radian and the Laser 2m

Snow Fly 2014

For the 9th year in a row the WMSS has braved the weather to get in some winter flying. This year it was particularly difficult this year with 10 degree temps and 15 mph winds. Tim Gess generously held the event at his home in Clarksville. It was a great time for all and the Chili was excellent and well appreciated. We had a great time and even with the bad weather there was lift was to be found. Here’s who attended from Tim’s email:

Carolyn, Cliff, Kathy, John, Tom, Ben, Nate, Dennis, Richard Alban (from Lansing), and Paul (Tim’s dad) all made for a warm time on a very cold day.

Here’s a video John Winstanley put together (will need Quick Time):






New Years Day flying

Our place will be open for flying New Years Day starting at 11:00. Maybe John will do his 15 minute flight while the rest of us hide out in the shop…
Our address is
9774 Hastings Rd
Clarksville, MI  48815
42° 50.857′, -85° 17.530′

Home phone 616-693-2480 cell 616-558-0007

We have some ideas for friendly competition if actual soaring is out of the question.
Again, just let us know if you’re coming and how many. Feel free to bring family.
So far we have on the list:
Tom Sheets (confirming by phone)
Francois (if granted kitchen pass)
Paul Gess (My Dad – treasurer now for Walter’s RC club in Saranac. We might be able to discuss with him the ideas for competitions during the year.)
Cliff Browneye and his friend Carolyn.

Fall Flying at WMSS

Saturday was a better than expected day for flying. Temps warm, few clouds, modest wind at 5-10 mph (we expected 10 – 15 mph). We started at 10:30 AM and found some ridge lift from the trees early, then the wind calmed down and thermals started popping. They seemed to be moving pretty fast so you had to stick with them downwind. Naturally John Winstanley did well downwind and got a 1/2 hr. flight with his Xantipa. Katie, Larry Jeffery, Cliff and Francois all got in some great flying. I flew my Shadow and the Cross Tail Duck. It was a great day to fly.


Katie with sailplane in the distance.



A Great First RC Glider

This is a great video put together by John Winstanley a WMSS. Thank you John!

Breaking News:

Most glider pilots would agree that in this part of the World at least the winds have been far higher than many of us care to fly.

Not Sunday August 13th though…probably the best glider day this year at our Hudsonville sod farm.

We all had all the lift we could handle. John Winstanley winch launched  twice. The first with his lightweight Supra for an hour long flight. His second launch was a Windrifter (without spoilers), which ended with a 1 hour 6 minute flight. Two hour plus flights for John, back to back. A joy to watch John!

DATES: Saturday, August 26 with weather day falling on Sunday the 27th. One Day Fun Contest: Rules to be announced soon.

LOCATION: AAA Turf, Hudsonville, MI see map under “Glider Flying Fields” tab.

TASKS: Our CD is thinking and will announce soon

AIRCRAFT: Any glider type you care to fly.

PILOTS MEETING: Yet to be confirmed but probably, 9:30 AM, event start 10 AM, last launch 3:00 PM. When last competitor lands field opens to general

QUESTIONS: Call or email, John Winstanley CD, 734-516-6213johnw5734@aol.com  

Keep your eyes here for more formal flying information.

Visitors are always welcome.