History  

The NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SOARING ASSOCIATION is the combination of the the Ames Soaring Club and the Northern California Soaring Association, the merger of the two clubs having taken place in January, 1994, after nearly 45 years of co-operative soaring in the San Francisco Bay Area. The merger took place to simplify the board member election process, make more tractable the problems of billing the members of the clubs and to ensure complete coverage of the several classes of members by SSA (Soaring Society of America) insurance.

The Ames Soaring Club was rounded in 1948 by employees of the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. Its initial equipment included, naturally, war-surplus gliders, though these were soon supplemented by more recently designed and constructed aircraft. The ASC flew from various fields in the area of Fremont, including Warm Springs and Mowry Avenue.(Center Field). Pressure to convert the land to housing and business forced the club to move several times, finally to move from the area of Mission Ridge altogether.

A site was found in the eastern Livermore Valley - Hummingbird Haven. At this time, the NCSA joined forces with the ASC, to provide the lease of the site, construct hangers, and supply the tow plane and its pilots, not only to the ASC but to members of the NCSA who owned their own sailplanes.

This situation continued for nearly 35 years, until in 1989, the ASC/NCSA was forced to move , again due to land development pressure, and again eastward, to the Contra Costa County-operated airport at Byron, in the San Joaquin Valley.

The NCSA is the only club in the San Francisco Bay Area that offers its members basic flight instruction as well as encouraging crosscountry soaring flight. A student pilot who flies regularly may achieve his or her private license for half the cost of most commercial operators. The NCSA provides gliders for its members rental, as well as basic and advanced instruction. The NCSA has
several very experienced and well-qualified Federal Aviation Administration Certified Flying Instructors. (Only instructors who are members of the NCSA may give instruction in the club-owned aircraft, an insurance policy requirement.)

The NCSA, as noted above, operates out of Byron Airport. Some of the club's gliders may be moved in the summer months to the Sierra Nevada, to take advantage of the superb mountain flying, which is considered by many to be the best in the world. (Usually, depending upon the needs of student pilots and the stay-at-homes, a couple of aircraft remain at Byron through the summer.) The club operates, weather permitting, on the weekends, though weekday operations may be scheduled as demand and conditions warrant.

A more extensive history of the NCSA by Toodie Perl-Marshall can be found here