Thread: Discussion USA F3K League
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Old Jun 07, 2012, 12:27 AM
Kiesling is offline
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Ryan summarized some of the key points pretty well in his previous post.

There are other reasons as well. By having a qualification process and forcing CD's to use the F3K rules, the community is forced to use these rules and become familiar with them. This is especially important since F3K is a new event and the rules are evolving quickly and it is important for the US F3K community to stay current. I know I am guilty as the next guy for not knowing the rules inside and out and I know that the qualification process using F3K rules has helped a lot of people understand the rules better and become more comfortable with them. It has also made people realize there are weaknesses in the rules that may need clarification. Understanding these weaknesses empowers the US team manager to ask for clarification at the World Championships before the event begins. Sometimes certain rule issues need many contests to show themselves. By having sanctioned F3K contests and forcing people to follow the rules, these issues are more likely to show themselves. In my experience, contests that are not sanctioned qualification or team selection contests, tend to be softer when it comes to enforcing rules. While this is okay for the occasional club contest, it works against us if all our contests are held to a lower standard. Once we are more engrained with the rules, they become second nature and are not nearly as tedious. For example, I'm sure most of us don't think twice about signing our score card anymore. That certainly was not the case just a few years ago!

The qualification process has certainly created the spark needed to create new contests in areas that had no contests before. As far as the comment that sanctioned qualification contests scare some people away goes, I think that is something that needs to be handled on an individual level. There are some people that are against contests in general. Does that mean that we shouldn't have contests? Of course not. My guess is that the people that have been scared away but are contest oriented, are those that have never been to a sanctioned qualification contest. If they went, they would see that it is just a contest like any other - just a little more formal. For what its worth, I remember when I first started going to contests in the late eighties, they were all sanctioned.

Regarding F3J, F3F, and F3B not having qualification contests, I believe that actually hurts these events. F3F is a bit of an exception in my opinion for a variety of reasons. One of them being that it can be difficult to plan for qualification events when a large percentage of events are cancelled due to lack of wind. F3B had qualifiers in the past. When the qualifiers were removed, there was a drop in the already low attendance at the TS. There was also a drop in the number of F3B contests in the US. Currently there is only one F3B contest a year in the entire country. I actually think that if we brought qualification back to F3B, there would be more interested generated and we would actually end up with more people involved with the F3B program. One of the biggest hurdles is being overcome ironically thanks to F3J! More and more people are getting F3B winches since F3J contests in the US have started to allow winches. Now that there are more F3B winches in the US than there probably ever have been, it is easier than ever for people to try F3B. They just need a reason, and qualifiers could be a good incentive for people to give it a try and see if they are interested. If even half a dozen guys gave F3B a try due to qualifiers and only one or two actually went to the TS, I would consider that a success. F3J has a similar problem. Even though we have around 40 guys at the F3J TS, there are not that many more people that are into F3J. Currently there are only 3 F3J contests a year in the US (F3J in the Desert, F3J in the Rockies, and the NATS). If we had an F3J qualification program I think we could at least double the number of F3J contests a year. I think that would also greatly increase the participation in F3J. There are a lot of TD pilots that are on the fence regarding F3J. If there were more contests for them to go to, they may be more willing to give it a try. Then the question is, why not start having a qualification process for F3J and F3B? The answer is, I would like to, but it requires clubs and motivated people to hold these contests. So far, I haven't gotten the support needed for F3B. We are working on getting more people involved in F3B in SoCal with some success, but it is a slow process. I haven't had the time to address the idea for F3J. For F3K, there is enough interest and energy to tap into for the qualification process to work. My hope is that by establishing the program early on, the qualification process will continue to provide motivation for people to hold quality F3K contests for years to come. If the community continues to grow as I hope, the qualification process will provide an effective means for keeping the TS participation at a reasonable level. (Right now, I think the bad economy is probably as effective as anything at keeping participation in check - I hope that this is not always the case and people have more vacation days and disposable income to participate in FAI events).

Hopefully these reasons and the reasons Ryan gave help explain the rational behind the qualification program.

Tom
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