Like it or not, soaring and sailplanes are an integral part of the best (and perhaps only future) we have as general aviation sport pilots. Even without any new restrictive regulations, the cost of gas will drive a majority of all decisions made in the future. It already has driven the decisions and designs of zillion dollar airliners, and they have money to work with. As gas gets more and more expensive, awhatever meets the definition of an affordable airplane will start looking more and more like a glider. Those of us who love and lived in gliders will have less of an adjustment to make, but unfortunately it looks like everything will be going that way. In order to fly further or longer on a gallon of gas, you are forced to look at the airplanes that go further and longer with no gas. Simple physics.
Now before anyone gets too mad, I truly hope I'm wrong. I hope that:
1) something happens with oil and energy that makes gasonline cheap again
2) we find so much oil in those Dakota and Canada sands that we can have an unlimited supply
3) some inventor figures out a way to get the oil out of those sands cheaply
4) somebody figures out how to make a battery with the same e-density as gasoline.
But if history and corporate greed in the past is any indication, looks like we're all going to be first in line trying to marry my old girlfriend Laminar Flo
Several of us on this website have flown hundreds of miles with no gas on board (640 miles is my high mark 6-87), using only 3 or 4 gallons of gas for a Pawnee tow to 2000 feet. Other friends of mine have gone well over 1000 miles. You mugs all better start taking glider lessons !