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Old Jun 03, 2015, 03:21 PM
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ALES skeg rule

I highly recommend to read article "The rants of a mad sailplaner? Dorks, Skegs, Electric Launch, and Mixed Launch - Advantages Earned / Convenience Rewarded" by Gordy Stahl in the Soaring Digest June release - /url]http://www.rcsoaringdigest.com/pdfs/RCSD-2015/[/url]
Lots of good information. I specifically would like to point to the following (from that article):
- "The current ALES no skeg rule is dangerous and should be ended as it is
repeatedly proven unsafe at event after event. Some sort of anti-slide device
should almost be mandatory.
More ALES pilots have lost landing points or flight points for hitting themselves or
timers or others this past season than many seasons of TD or RES... and more
nice planes damaged by ankles."
Agreed for 100%.
Alex
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 04:43 PM
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My 2 cents,

Exercise proper energy management and don't stand so close to the pin.

I have no problem with the current rule.

Dave
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 04:51 PM
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My 3 cents. What Dave said.
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 05:16 PM
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In defense of Alex the club he most often flys with does not use the standard Ales tape, but does use a very abbreviated TD tape. He is an excellent pilot and understands energy management. LJ
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 05:29 PM
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"The current ALES no skeg rule is dangerous and should be ended as it is
repeatedly proven unsafe at event after event. Some sort of anti-slide device
should almost be mandatory."

Baloney!

Maybe Gordy would like to back up his apocryphal observation with some real facts. Who has been injured? How many? How bad? This is a non-issue.

Yes, some guys have dented the leading edges of their planes. So what? There are many ways that we "wear" our planes out. Tell us WHO has been hurt and whether a skeg would have made a difference.

The ALES rule (and the F5J rule) were written with the SPECIFIC intent of changing the nature of our landings and REDUCING the extent to which landings would determine the outcome of our competitions. As much as Gordy might like to see ALES as a more precise analog for TD flying, that was never, never, never the intent of the guys who wrote the rules.

Gordy is an excellent pilot with a particular set of skills that was honed on landing tasks typified by the 100 point, 8 foot tape -- about 1 point per inch. ALES and F5J mostly use a 10 METER tape for 50 point in 5 point increments (some ALES events are using a 5 meter tape) -- a little over 1/8 point per inch. The max point zone is between about 40 and 80 inches long depending on the tape used -- about 35 square feet. You don't lose your first 5 points until you land outside this 35 square foot zone. Gordy is accustomed to TD landing graduated such that you lose 5 points for landing outside an LZ that amounts to a little more than a half of a square foot!

Gordy has consistently harped on concepts that would make ALES more like the TD that he is used to. And there is nothing whatsoever wrong with his desire to get there. But many of us don't particularly WANT ALES and/or F5J to be identical to TD. One thing for sure, a move to skegs would be the first stop to 8 foot 100 point tapes and contests where variations in landings play a bigger role in outcomes than they do in ALES.

The simple facts are that there has been no demonstration that ALES without skegs is any more dangerous than TD WITH skegs and that the ALES and F5J landings were intended to reduce the value of landing scores in the final outcome. ALES and, especially, F5J were intended to increase the relative emphasis on thermal skills over landing skills.

Unlike TD, we have the simple option of reducing launch altitudes if the thermal task proves to not be satisfying enough in differentiating pilots skills.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 05:55 PM
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And baloney back! Alex is 100% right. Of course here we go again with a long winded dissertation of anti-skeg-ites. May it begin..........
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 05:57 PM
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I would add that in terms of pure damage potential, uncontrolled, sidewind, downwind string launches, where the model is under significant tension which gets worse under stress is more of a problem.

I've seen people get clipped on landing, me included. Mostly like swatting a mosquito as the majority of the energy is already gone.

Those that I've seen hit on launch range from bruised to cut to knocked out. So where is the real problem?

The ravings of St. Gordy seem to carry more weight than they should because he has no problem verbalizing his thoughts to any and all, regardless of whether they're interested. Volume and verbosity do not equate to sane, logical and correct.

JT
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 06:06 PM
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I do not know what type of flying you are involved with, Don. May be it is a "Baloney!" to you. I am not going argue with you. It is your business. But I personally have seen MANY times when ALES planes hits people on landings. Including significant damage to planes, and some minor injures. Happened to me and my flying partner as well. I can see that during our TD contests landings are mach more safe and predictable due to use of the landing skegs. Saving a lot of $$$, "blue marks" on the pilots and helpers bodies, frustrations. Also (we found that long time ago), skegs save flaps on landings. I almost forget what broken flap on landing is up to the point when I've started flying ALES. immediately remind me days when I did not use skegs. Most common damage in ALES flying (for me and my flying baddies) are broken flaps due to drug from grass, or airframe damage due to unexpected slide (very difficult to control on the wet grass). So, I do not like to argue with pilots who I do not know, do not know what type of contests they are flying, on what fields, conditions, and so on. I share my and my flying baddies experience and opinions. I believe skegs would make landings more save for pilots and planes. Does skegs will change contest standings? Definitely not. Class of the pilot define that. And most important - why do not use skegs? Cannot see any reasons. Existing ALES rules? That what I will call a baloney. All known to man sports constantly adjusting rules.
Thanks,
Alex
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2000 View Post
And baloney back! Alex is 100% right. Of course here we go again with a long winded dissertation of anti-skeg-ites. May it begin..........
I would certainly concede that Alex is right IF the landing task is the typical TD landing task. At least right now, that is not the case in most places.

The 5 meter 50 point tape (and especially the 10 meter 50 point tape) with 5 point graduations is by the intent of the guys who wrote the rules designed to reduce the emphasis on landings and compensate, to some extent, for the lack of a skeg.

And it does a pretty good job.

I am pretty much of a crummy lander (I have a pretty significant uncorrectable depth perception problem) and my objective TD flying WITH A SKEG was to get more than 50 out of 100 points on every landing -- something I seldom did. With the 5 and 10 meter ALES/F5J tapes I can reasonably expect 40 points or more.

To suggest that skegs are NECESSARY for ALES/F5J tapes is silly. The less difficult, lower value nature of the current tasks pretty well makes that unnecessary.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eremenko View Post
I do not know what type of flying you are involved with, Don. May be it is a "Baloney!" to you. I am not going argue with you. It is your business. But I personally have seen MANY times when ALES planes hits people on landings. Including significant damage to planes, and some minor injures. Happened to me and my flying partner as well. I can see that during our TD contests landings are mach more safe and predictable due to use of the landing skegs. Saving a lot of $$$, "blue marks" on the pilots and helpers bodies, frustrations. Also (we found that long time ago), skegs save flaps on landings. I almost forget what broken flap on landing is up to the point when I've started flying ALES. immediately remind me days when I did not use skegs. Most common damage in ALES flying (for me and my flying baddies) are broken flaps due to drug from grass, or airframe damage due to unexpected slide (very difficult to control on the wet grass). So, I do not like to argue with pilots who I do not know, do not know what type of contests they are flying, on what fields, conditions, and so on. I share my and my flying baddies experience and opinions. I believe skegs would make landings more save for pilots and planes. Does skegs will change contest standings? Definitely not. Class of the pilot define that. And most important - why do not use skegs? Cannot see any reasons. Existing ALES rules? That what I will call a baloney. All known to man sports constantly adjusting rules.
Thanks,
Alex
Alex,

I would observe that a significant portion of the apparent increase you are seeing in landing collisions relative to your TD experience is that, at least for right now, ALES is attracting a substantially greater number of inexperienced pilots. I have observed that, for the most part, average, experienced TD pilots are not having any more problems hitting themselves or others in ALES comps than they do in TD comps.

As I observed, I am a crummy lander. But when these ALES type comps came up, I did a lot of testing to see how effective our switches were at providing uniform launch altitudes and to see how hard you could thump our noses without damage. With the possible exception of planes with 4 mm prop shafts and Radians in particular, I found that, short of hitting a rock, that it was nearly impossible to damage the power system. I am not recommending this, but simply observing that a reasonable energy management landing with the plane a foot or two above the ground at the windward end of the tape allows the pilot to dump the plane in or ahed of the spot and simultaneously retract the flaps. And by dump, I DO NOT MEAN CRASH, simply gently nosing in gets the job done. Typically, even on wet grass, I am not burying the nose, but I slide 2-4 feet. The landing is surely not greasing it in flat -- but it IS a positive end to the flight. I have done this for years AND NEVER INCURRED ANY DAMAGE WHATSOEVER. A pilot loses 5 points or less for coming to rest inside a 120 inch diameter circle. A typical TD pilot has to land inside a 10" circle to do that well.

Alex, it you are talking about flying ALES planes for TD landing tasks, I agree completely with your observation. But most places thats not what we do -- and it is INTENTIONALLY not what we do because the guys who wrote the ALES and F5J rules DID NOT WANT TO DO TD LANDINGS. It might be useful to see how a 5 or 10 meter ALES tape works for you -- it is far, far different from the 8 foot 100 point TD tape.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Jun 03, 2015, 08:32 PM
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I really don't like baloney, I prefer turkey.

And I usually use a retractable wheel, but skegs are cool........
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Old Jun 04, 2015, 12:07 AM
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Then we should be seeing a large contingent of people making rules changes for F3B and F3J to add skegs as a Safety Rule?
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Old Jun 04, 2015, 12:24 AM
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Dan,
As I've wrote, I share my personal opinion. In the West Coast of USA, where I am flying, most common are TD contests. We have learned long time ago, that in our type of the TD contests and landing tasks skegs do not change winning circle. Skegs provides better landing control and more protection to airframes. This is why we are using them. I know, that in Europe pilots do not fly our type of the contest, and do not use skegs. I am not going to change that. We are happy here, they are happy over there. It is our choices reflecting local specific of the soaring competitions.
In general, I could see three levels of flying:
- Hobby or fun level (fitness would be equivalent). Pilots mostly flying for fun. Easy going participation.
- Sport level - people serious about hobby, flying competitively. Investing a lot of time and effort to soaring.
- Professional level (would be equivalent to profession sport). Top level pilots like JW, DP, LJ - well known USA pilots.
Our TD contests, and ALES now are contests for fist two type of pilots. For professionals are E3J and F5J. Much more challenging, requires lots of effort and equipment. I am not worry about international competition and associated rules. I am okay with no skegs rules for F3J and F5J. That is competition for professionals. Or limited group of the pilots here. If they decided do not use skegs - it would be they decision. They know that flying better then anybody else. No arguments. Only respect.
TD and ALES contests are for majority of the flyers. If we can make flying more safe without impact to performance or competition, we should do that. I've seen results of the use of the skegs in TD contests - it only helps. Cannot see any downsides. When I started flying ALES, that type of the contest got me immediately. Finally, we could have a club contests man-on-man! Plus, no need for a winch. Most of our local clubs cannot afford to have multiple winches. ALES becomes a solution to have a real man-on-man contest. Great! Even cheap class (Radian) could be flown on the very good competitive level (almost impossible for TD contest). We already flying multiple ALES classes. But, I found two issues with ALES. First - we added dangerous propeller. Some pilots (even very-very experienced and excellent high end pilots) already paid the price of injures. For us we developed a rule (actually, common practice) to start motor after plane left launching hand, and after landing first to disconnect battery before picking up the plane. Helps prevent accidents a lot.
Second problem - uncontrollable slides on landing and common flaps damage. It just happened. It should happened. Very similar issue to TD landings before we implemented skegs. Logically, base on our TD experience, skegs would reduce those landings risks-issues. And it really works. I've seen the difference. What is the negative side of using skegs? Non. Cannot see one. Very similar to arguments between F3J and TD flying relative to using skegs. We grow up from that in TD long time ago. Everyone flying skegs for TD contests here. Only inertia prevent our local USA soaring community to accept logical chose - aloud to use skegs for ALES. That is my personal opinion, as well as opinion of the majority local pilots. That opinion is based on experience and logic. I am a proponent for skegs use for ALES. For local clubs ALES flying.
Thanks,
Alex
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Old Jun 04, 2015, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtlsf5 View Post
I would add that in terms of pure damage potential, uncontrolled, sidewind, downwind string launches, where the model is under significant tension which gets worse under stress is more of a problem.

I've seen people get clipped on landing, me included. Mostly like swatting a mosquito as the majority of the energy is already gone.

Those that I've seen hit on launch range from bruised to cut to knocked out. So where is the real problem?

The ravings of St. Gordy seem to carry more weight than they should because he has no problem verbalizing his thoughts to any and all, regardless of whether they're interested. Volume and verbosity do not equate to sane, logical and correct.

JT
I've been flying with the good guys like JT and the other boys at SVSS for about 2 1/2years now. I started with Electrics, cause that's ALL I can fly here in Chico. I have until recently 0 experience with TD. But I now have been to TWO of their TD comps flying my E soaring machine. It was an eye opening experience :-O
As JT said, the LAUNCHES were Faaaaaaar more scarey than ANY landing I've witnessed in ALES. What surprised me most was when I learned that the MAIN separator between the top pilots was a very few inches in landing. In ALES and now F5J I've been spending ALOT of practice managing energy to get those precious landing points. Then I watch these TD pilots come in fairly hot,then mainly just lawn dart their plane to the spot, I was horrified :-O,,,, I thought to myself : what kind of skill does that take????,,,,, then I watch someone like Aric or JT in ALES carefully managing speed and energy ,, oh YA, and LJ too ,, the plane comes in gradually slowing to a crawl and then gently plops down for 50 points, almost every time in their case. Now THATs skill!! And yes sometimes a sudden unexpected gust comes up and ruins it somewhat , but that's part of the fun right???? But,,, I've NEVER been afraid when watching and timing for them, not like watching somebody out of control on a string launch. Then there's Kipp flying his 125oz SHARON 4.2m coming in :-o ,, NOW we're talking INERTIA!!! And yet even HE can manage that big ole plane pretty darn good ,, NO skeg,, and I'm not afraid timing for him either,, sure I've had to jump out of the way couple times,, but no biggie. And you guys are talking about HOW dangerous landing a little 60oz plane is??????!!!
Come on!!! There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with the current No skeg rules in Electric comps for any Reason!!! It's a soaring comp, not a freakin Lawn Dart comp.
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Old Jun 04, 2015, 08:51 AM
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I also (not that it means anything) feel that "Lawn Darts" should be banned. Just for the sake of argument let me "throw this into the fire".
Why is it ALES anti skeg guys always bring up "energy management" as a rationale for no skegs. How about we start a movement where "Lawn Darts" are banned at TD contest and see how many TD guys can hit the mark (no skegs allowed there either). JMHO but an ALES pilot who consistently gets 50's is probably more accomplished than a TD/F3J guy who Dorks 90's
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