Originally Posted by pchewn
A. ANY DEVICE THAT PROVIDES ANY INFORMATION TO THE PILOT: YES
B. ANY DEVICE THAT AUTOMATICALLY CONTROLS ANY SURFACES ON THE AIRPLANE: NO
As someone who finally got his LSF 10k under his belt and also being a software engineer I can see that the idea of having any aids that helps the plane fly is very intriguing, BUT in the spirit of the sport I have to agree with "pchewn" simple rules A & B. point made.
I tried about 6 times unsuccessfully to get my 10k and return done until I found perfect conditions and an excellent support crew at the NATS this year. flying with a non-compensated picolario and reviewing that day, the only feature I missed was experience under my belt (and a bean bag for my soar(spelling#8-) neck #8-). If someone can fly 112km under the same conditions and with the same telemetry, I think the challenge is (and should always be) piloting skill!!!
I'm scared to fly a plane above 2000ft, should I use an autopilot to fly above my comfort level? heck NO! just need to practice until I can safely do it! If I need to stabilize my plane electronically I choose my plane poorly. If I loose sight of the plane because I f... up, deploy parachute (or similar fail-safe device, RTH etc) and forfeit the contest! no harm done, zero points, lesson learned!
before we seek help in electronics, what we really need is some guidance on how to get into XC flying and practicing for it, a 1k or 2k is just not the same as a 10k or more because you can run the whole course without thermal-ling once. maybe that's a topic for a new thread?
On the other hand (and here speaks the computer geek) I would be the last person rejecting any attempts to improve XC by trying new gimmicks. they might not be accepted in the traditional XC contest, but over in europe they're now flying triangle GPS courses with scale planes for some time, also something very cool giving the fact that I don't wanna know what happens if I'm caught riding in the back of a pickup truck in germany and get stopped by a police officer, they usually have no sense of humor #8-(. also people do XC by walking through a park, might sound silly over here, but you just don't have that much open space in europe besides all the legal implications.
telemetry is getting cheap and main stream in newer 2.4GHz system (multiplex m-link, graupner hott, futaba fasstest, etc), lets use them wisely, e.g. audio output, add sensors to it... time and ingenuity from you guys will eventually tell what works out and what not.
just the 2 cents from someone who will soon be living in germany and will really miss the US style XC.