ALES class in monthly SBSS contests?
The special January contest is now history. Quoting the contest announcement: "To see how ALES would fit in with our regular thermal contests, we will be running a trial contest this month."
So, what did you think of the addition of ALES?
What ideas do you have that might make the marriage of ALES and TD better?
From a TD guy, yesterday I thought went very well with the Addition of ALES. It was well managed, nobody openly complained, contest was short. I did notice we had a great turn out. Maybe this format will help the club grow.
ALES addition is a big positive for potential club growth.
It did add 1/2 hour to the day for all of us.
One improvement could be scheduling:
ALES could have a separate pilots meeting, and start earlier.
ie: Start the first round of ALES @ 9AM (or other), because it can be concurrent with setting up the winches, and with the TD pilots meeting.
Yes, some of the ALES pilot/timer persons might miss the TD pilots meeting, but the ALES CD could brief them on any major changes in the TD agenda.
As far as the "other days" approach, SBSS only has Curtiss field privilege agreement for the last Sunday of the month. (which affects AMA insurance for events)
SBSS does have AMA coverage @ Los Paseos park.
I do not believe the club agreement for use of the park allows the use of powered aircraft (at this time).
I was a little surprised there wasn't more overlap with pilots flying both ALES and TD, I might have been the only one? Anyway I enjoyed it.
I thought that the trial ALES contest showed everyone at the SBSS contest
that TD and ALES pilots could safely fly together without any major conflicts
at the Curtis field. I would like to discuss the aspect of having a monthly
TD & ALES contest at the next SBSS meeting in February.
Al and Don mentioned to me that they would like to move the line of ALES
pilots a few yards further North, so they could have more room to set up
eight or ten tapes. This would provide better separation between TD pilots
on landing and ALES pilots on launching and landing. Doing this would allow
a few more ALES pilots to participate in the contest and Al could enter the
scoring information into the national ALES contest data base. There did not
seem to be any conflicts between ALES or TD pilots while flying their planes
in the airspace above Curtis field.
Both contest directors, Al Strahm and Bob DeMattei need to decide how to
handle the scheduling so that a Pilot who wants to fly in both contests can
do so without missing a class launch window in time.
I would like to add a new tool for both TD and ALES contest pilots to use
during their perspective contests and I discussed the development of this
new tool with the TD Contest Director and all he said to me was "NO, NO,
NO!". His reason was that the TD contest rules that he published stated:
[Thermal sensors: Any type, radio, mechanical, lights, etc. Not allowed in
contest. Use them in practice to learn your ships responses.] .. My new
Thermal sensing tool would display the location and volumetric size of the
rising thermals in the airspace above the contest field and all of the contest
pilots could use this information during the contest. I believe that the AMA
contest directors do not prohibit the use of thermal sensors during an AMA
Cheers, . Randy Shore
While you guys know, I am a huge supporter of the ALES format, I voted "not sure" That was a test run with a small group, to see if we could even do it! We had no idea how we were going to do it, so, Bob, Don, and myself, just made it up as we went along. I thought it went off great, fairly seamless to the TD guys, we had a great turn out for a monthly contest:D Saw some new faces:D I believe everybody likes the ALES mass launches. But, on the other hand a lot of new questions came up as well. the first being, how do we deal with pilots that want to fly in both open and ALES? I know a number of the open expert guys have ALES planes. And, yes I would like to get more tapes out there to make the ALES part larger. Don and I have 10 tapes for the club to use, or any one else that wants to put on a contest. Aric Wilmunder has provided us with the scoring program, that is very easy to use, not sure why Bob is not using it in the open expert MoM? So to sum it up, I am very receptive to any and all suggestions on how to make it better, and make it more fun, and flow seamlessly. And I really want to thank all you SBSS members that decided to let us try this! ALES is in it's infancy right now, and as far as I know, our test on Sunday was the first of it's kind, any where! A Good friend of mine told me "you need to take baby steps, before you can run"
I think everything went very smoothly for both ALES and TD. I think you could easily move the ALES tapes a little farther north (away from the winches) and add a couple more spots for flights. Our field really is pretty small as compared to most of our sister clubs and I think we are really maximizing our field usage. The only concern I had was the close proximity of the tapes to the winch lines, but there were no incidents.
Pilots flying in both contests - not sure how much that would slow things down since timers are needed for each type of contest. It seems that it takes an additional 5-10 minutes for the pilots/timers to return to their other ship and pair up with perhaps a different timer. We try and finish contest flying by noon so everyone can pack up and get home and before the wind picks up. There is also a consideration for other users of the field (soccer, cricket, baseball). A 12:00 finish gets us off the field by 1 PM. Rich and I agreed on the earlier start format for ALES and we can discuss at the meeting on Feb. 8.
Randy, regarding the use of devices for finding thermals, it would not be fair unless all planes in a given class are equiped with them since the thermals are rarely in the same place for very long. Call me if you want to discuss.
Regarding the use of Los Paseos Park for ALES, unfortunately San Jose Parks and Rec. does not allow any powered planes in that park. There is a posted sign at the parking lot stating the allowed use of the park.
I too, like the idea of ALES at the SBSS contests and I support anything we can do to improve the integration.
I didnt fly in contest but looked to run smoothly to me. Ales looks like a blast. Hope it stays relatively low cost and simple and not go the way of F3J, which from what Ive read the original intent was a low cost fun competition event to offset the high cost F3B events. It has evolved in to much more than that! Especially if it goes from hand tows to winches. Even if not the cost of a couple of sets of towers at events may come close to an F3B winch, heck, maybe even more when you factor in multiple contests! Keep ALES simple, cheap and fun for all! I say anything to help grow soaring/club/turnout is a positive.
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