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Elmira and the Soaring Movement [Title] [[Picture of soaring plane]] The story of Gliding and Soaring and of the Annual National Soaring Contests, held each year in Elmira, is one of successful cooperation among widely diversified groups. Starting with a passing observation of the terrain by a nationally famous glider pilot, soon followed by a most successful trial soaring flight in August, 1930, Elmira was quickly established as the soaring center of the United States. Plans were immediately made for the first National Soaring Contest to be held in America, which took place in September, 1930, sponsored by the National Glider Association and financed by the Elmira Association of Commerce. This Contest proved beyond a doubt that the topography in and around Elmira was eminently suited for the conduct of soaring contests of national scope, and every subsequent National Contest held in America has taken place as Elmira. With the succeeding Contests steadily growing in size, increasing demands, both financial and physical, were made on the Association of Commerce. As a result the Elmira Area Soaring Corporation was formed in August, 1937. Established solely for promoting and fostering gliding and soaring - particularly in the area of Elmira and Chemung County - the organization has been a prime factor in the general development of motorless flight in the Unites States. Like the Elmira Association of Commerce, the E.A.S.C. is a non-profit membership organization whose affairs are administered by a board of directors, and until recently, a paid manager. In 1941, the E.A.S.C. initiated the first program of glider training for Army pilots, thus giving Elmira the distinction of being the cradle of the Army Air Forces Glider Training Program. In subsequent war years, hundreds of pilots were trained by this non-profit corporation under contract with the U.S. Army Air Force. Throughout the many years that gliding and soaring have been famous at Elmira, the promotion of the contests has been a community endeavor. Local business men have provided much of the funds for operations expenses. The Association of Commerce has in many years directly underwritten the meets. During those years that the E.A.S.C. was the sponsor, the Association contributed liberally to its budget. With the resumption of these annual Contests, it is only proper that the Association of Commerce, which financed the first Contest in 1930, should once again promote and sponsor this first post-war national Contest. Quite likely, as the soaring movement picks up momentum again, the Elmira Area Soaring Coporation, or some similar group, will once more take direct sponsorship of this program. In any event, one can be sure that whether actually sponsoring or not, the Elmira Association of Commerce will always be active in the promotion of gliding and soaring, both for this community and for the promotion of the sport on a nation-wide basis. Elmirans can feel a real sense of satisfaction for their efforts in pre-war years in promoting the art of motorless flight and sponsoring these National Contests where so much has been learned. When the war clouds gathered, the Army found the foundation for a glider program had been well laid during the many years of soaring activity in the Chemung Valley. In many foreign countries this same type of activity had been going forward under government sponsorship and finance. In America, however, it was carries forward through the vision of many of the leaders in the movement plus the financial assistance of Elmira business men. For whatever value to the war effort Elmira's contribution over the years may be measured, all Elmira is happy to have had that opportunity. Gliding and soaring and the promotion of these Contests is just one of the many functions of the Elmira Association of Commerce. Created to promote and encourage the development of our community, both economically and socially, the Association carries forward its program to make Elmira a better place in which to earn a living and a better place in which to live. We welcome the members of this great soaring movement to Elmira. May this first post0war Contest be the best ever. L. JEROME WOLCOTT, Manager, ELMIRA ASSOCIATION OF COMMERCE
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