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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:05 PM
danstrider is offline
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Who needs a pilot??
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Alexandria, VA
Joined Jul 2002
1,222 Posts
Hi all!

Binoculars?
Okay you laugh at binoculars, then how about tracking optics?
Audio readout of an airspeed sensor that simply says "too fast" or "too slow"?
Audio readout of GPS heading between turns that says "come 30 deg right" to help align long straight runs?
If I had to put down a wager, a netto vario is well within the current spirit of the rules but is beyond current commercial-off-the-shelf offerings.

By the way, you guys were all awesome sports flying against an autopilot. There was a whole lot of work that went into the soaring software, but I do concede that there is a distinct difference between piloting via sticks and doing what I did. I had no idea it would turn out to be as successful as it was, and had expected much less frankly ... but I am really surprised nobody has come close since.

FWIW, the price of a hobby autopilot is already at or below the price of the varios you guys all use, so the $ argument is a tough sale. It's going to happen eventually. So could there be a nostalgia class competing alongside the unlimited autopilot class? Maybe that's what this thread is really about :-)

If this thread is concerned with barrier-to-entry, I'd argue that airframe and travel are the two largest cost barriers. Travel costs aside, it's reasonably easy to look at the contest results and see that without an MXC, an SBXC, or dropping a grand following in Greg's XC #10 or Super Supra footsteps, it's really difficult to be competitive with the XC establishment on the cheap (I really thinkGreg is on the right path to encourage new participation with less expensive airframes). Maybe instead of an allowable technology limit, there should be a dollar limit. If I can make a $500 airframe and a $1500 whiz-bang autopilot and beat your $2000 airplane, is that interesting? What if your $2000 airplane beats my $5000 airplane?

I definitely miss XC, yet I wonder if disallowing tech does the sport a disservice rather than encouraging new technological breakthroughs that might "bring in the younger participants." If someone waxes the field using an autopilot, say, make a class distinction and encourage others to come along. How interesting would it be to fly alongside a fleet of self-admittedly geeky teams flying autopilot-driven Cularis?

I dunno, just hanging out on the groups on a rainy night, thought I'd play a little devil's advocate.
Dan
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