Feb 18, 2012, 09:28 AM
United States, CO, Denver
Joined Sep 2005
Thanks John, This needs to be discussed.
1. Autopilot - A device that completely controls the aircraft.
No, this then becomes a programmer's contest.
(which could be a class unto itself if interest and participation warranted)
2. Airspeed control - A device that controls the airspeed .
No, again you have a device in the plane making decisions and actions for the pilot, thus becoming the pilot. Those participants with this device should compete in the autopilot class above.
3. Gyro stabilizer- A gyroscopic device the helps stabilize the aircraft by controlling on or more control surfaces
No, This is still a device making decisions that are controlling the glider other than the pilot. If a gyro is needed to overcome a poor glider design without enough effective dihedral, then make a new wing joiner for more dihedral, or chop off your wingtip and design in a new tip with some polyhedral to fix your roll stability. If you then need better directional stability for tracking, try extending your vertical fin taller, making a longer rudder, or adding a dorsal in front of the vertical for more area there.
4. Video telemetry
No, this can easily bypass the safety rule that the model must be visually seen from the vehicle. Situational awareness is likely to be better, a significant advantage at extreme heights. This guy could probably compete in the autopilot class too.
5. GPS telemetry
There was discussion and interest in this during a forum at Montague. Several competitors were interested in it as a means to verify that you've made the turnpoint, The pilot is however no longer using his judgement as to whether he's made the turnpoint. He's now being told that he's there. At least one voice and maybe more were concerned that added cost and complexity to stay competitive will drive people away from XC not advance or promote it. I"m on the fence on this one.
6. Airspeed telemetry
Yes if done via voice or a digital readout. This is information to the pilot, not something taking the place of the pilot.
7. Vertical speed telemetry (Vario)
Yes, but I concede the fact that TD pilots are the most likely place to draw new competitors from and some of them are likely to shy away from even trying it because of the need to purchase a vario and a specialized ship. A non-vario class has the best chance of pulling new participants. I'm going to test this theory this summer.
8. Altitude telemetry
Yes, this is information to the pilot from which he can make tactical decisions from. The pilot is still the pilot.
9. Flight computer in chase vehicle to assist the pilot in utilizing any of the above telemetry.
Yes, A flight computer in the chase vehicle can be as simple as the old fashioned slideruler styled whiz wheel, a look up table printed on paper, to a calculator or a pda, to a full blown computer. All should be fair game in the chase vehicle.
Having flight computer calculations done in the glider and sent down to the pilot as a speed+5, speed+10 voice or digital, etc is in the same category as having GPS data sent down to the pilot. It's still just information from which the pilot must decide to accept or reject then act upon, but is a calculation or judgement that the teams are currently making that will be removed from the team and given to a device. I've been working on this and it could be an equalizer for a 2 man team.