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Old Aug 06, 2014, 09:12 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Tulsa, OK
Joined May 2004
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Don't Like Dorks? (Landings, that is)

I've been doing some testing to see how distance tasks might be incorporated into the ALES format using the planes that we generally fly. In reviewing the rules for Scale GPS Triangle Racing I have come across a landing rule that might be interesting and challenging for those among us who are perpetually whining about the evils of dorking our planes for points.

The Scale GPS Triangle Rule requires that planes land on a landing strip -- that they first touch down inside the boundary of the strip realistically and then roll to a stop inside the boundary. Differing points are awarded for touching down inside the strip, having the nose come to rest inside the inside the strip and having both the nose and tail come to rest inside the strip.

For us, perhaps we could define a strip 10 meters long and 1 meter wide (it could actually be laid out with two 1 meter lengths of PVC pile and two 10 meter lengths of rope staked out on the ground.

For a landing to score any points the plane would have to come to a rest at least 30 cm from where it first touched down (an estimate by the scorer would be sufficient). Scoring would be as follows:

Touch down inside the strip boundary and come to rest at least 30 cm from point of touchdown = 15 points

Touch down inside the strip boundary and the nose comes to rest at least 30 cm from the point of touchdown AND inside the strip boundary = 30 points.

Touch down inside the strip boundary and the nose comes to rest at least 30 cm from the point of touchdown AND inside the strip boundary AND the tail also comes to rest inside the strip boundary = 50 points.

Dabbing down and flying around is not permitted.

I don't know whether the strip dimensions are optimal, but this would result in landings that are more scale-like than the despised dork.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Sylmar, California
Joined Oct 2003
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Sounds very artificial to me. And subjective - 30 cm from initial touchdown point - how to identified that initial touchdown point?
Better and much more simple solution (improving safety big time as well) - under wing skeg. Very limited slide, no plane dorking required, simple, save flaps, no subjective guessing, no new landing rules, common landing with typical TD contests, could use the same landing targets at the combined contests. I've used under wing skeg on my electrical gliders before questionable "no skeg" ALES rules. Works great. Never had to dork plane on landing, never had striped servo on landing. Changed to opposite with ALES flying. Unless dorking plane on landing (seen initially undetected broken motor mounting walls with bad unsafe surprises later), unpredictable and unsafe slides (almost at each contest plane hits pilot/timer), does not changed winners circle. For several years trying to see real rational for "no skeg" rule. Other then mental inertia of flying community cannot found a one single real good point.
Alex
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 10:49 AM
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United States, PA, Perry
Joined Apr 2002
496 Posts
No skeg rule, means no dorking, just learn to land. Practice is easy, but time consuming, with electric power. I have 1200 hours in full size sailplanes, never dorked one of them. Bill
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 10:53 AM
agnotology
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Joined Jan 2007
3,727 Posts
We just need better thermal flight tasks, so there is points separation between the top pilots without landing points at all.

Kevin
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 11:01 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Tulsa, OK
Joined May 2004
2,794 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eremenko View Post
Sounds very artificial to me. And subjective - 30 cm from initial touchdown point - how to identified that initial touchdown point?
Better and much more simple solution (improving safety big time as well) - under wing skeg. Very limited slide, no plane dorking required, simple, save flaps, no subjective guessing, no new landing rules, common landing with typical TD contests, could use the same landing targets at the combined contests. I've used under wing skeg on my electrical gliders before questionable "no skeg" ALES rules. Works great. Never had to dork plane on landing, never had striped servo on landing. Changed to opposite with ALES flying. Unless dorking plane on landing (seen initially undetected broken motor mounting walls with bad unsafe surprises later), unpredictable and unsafe slides (almost at each contest plane hits pilot/timer), does not changed winners circle. For several years trying to see real rational for "no skeg" rule. Other then mental inertia of flying community cannot found a one single real good point.
Alex
First off, you will not find me on the list of people who are upset by dorking the plane. I have experimented with all kinds of landing approaches with regular TD and electric planes and, within reason, I have found that there is no problem with the rule as it is.

Second off, while skegs may reduce the inclination for some people to dork, I have not noticed that big of a difference in landings between events that allow skegs and don't allow skegs.

Finally, all I am suggesting is a rule which eliminates the dork by requiring the plane to land in a more or less horizontal attitude. If it slides a bit it is, by definition, not dorking. As I posted, the 30 cm is just an estimate -- a foot or so. The fact is that if the plane slides at all -- 6 inches or 6 feet, the landing is not a dork. It's not so much HOW MUCH a plane moves after it touches down as it is WHETHER IT MOVES AT ALL.

I simply made the suggestion as something people might try.

I am not particularly good at landing. That said, when I practice a bit, the 5 meter or 10 meter tapes generally used in ALES right now are not particularly difficult to score on.

Looking at the NATS results, the good pilots are not having any particular difficulty scoring 45's and 50's without skegs. If you want to change the ALES rule to allow skegs, the tape should be changed to the 100 inch 100 point tape used in TD -- where skegs are allowed.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 05:43 PM
Thermal Sniffer
Brady Baggs's Avatar
Clayton NC
Joined Jun 2005
475 Posts
Landing points become more important as the planes get better and better. Soon most F5J ALES planes will all make the 10 minute task. You can limit the altitude but still landing points will win contest. No to dork on ALES planes is the best way to land with out damage of course. But the dork landing is the best way to score higher. I am thinking the no skeg rule is a good idea not because it's a safety rule. What's safe about a big rotating carbon blade on the front anyway ? But the no skeg rule for now at least will make a bigger separation on landing. Soon the new planes with big flaps will have the advantage by landing so slow that a dork is less risky. So far I have yet to risk a dork with my new ALES plane. But probably will when I get my b kicked at some contest.
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Old Aug 06, 2014, 05:50 PM
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United States, PA, Carlisle
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If you were at the NATs, you wanted position 7 or 8 on Saturday- longer, thicker grass!!

Seriously, though, I find it comes down to good energy management and good rudder control. I often have neither!

Dave
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Old Aug 07, 2014, 06:44 AM
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Don, I thought you had a runway landing option for use in ALES? I have always thought that RW landing was a better option here, even using the old style RW landing of the string and tape. We have talked about this before, haven't we?

Bill, it is interesting, even though the rules do not allow a skeg, nothing is said about sticking a model on landing, that is pilot option. And atleast with my TD models, when I have a skeg on I land flatter and with less stress on the model that with no skeg (think F3J landings). This horse has left the barn.

Marc
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Old Aug 07, 2014, 08:20 AM
Skye Malcolm
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Upper Arlington, OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreisinger View Post
If you were at the NATs, you wanted position 7 or 8 on Saturday- longer, thicker grass!!

Seriously, though, I find it comes down to good energy management and good rudder control. I often have neither!

Dave
Dave

That's what I thought until I tried landing on that tall, wet grass. All through day 1 of ALES at the NATS I couldn't hit even an LSF level I landing (<3 meters). I can only explain it by my pathetic lack of practicing landings leading up to the event. Now some of you out there may be more gifted at landing but for me I openly admit it was a key thing that has been holding me back from doing better in soaring competitions. Last year I shot several dozen landings with my ALES plane and the next local contest I was almost perfect, hitting 45 and 50 every time. This year I haven't practiced and my performance in contests reflects that.

Skye Malcolm
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Old Aug 07, 2014, 10:16 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Tulsa, OK
Joined May 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.M. Gellart View Post
Don, I thought you had a runway landing option for use in ALES? I have always thought that RW landing was a better option here, even using the old style RW landing of the string and tape. We have talked about this before, haven't we?

Bill, it is interesting, even though the rules do not allow a skeg, nothing is said about sticking a model on landing, that is pilot option. And atleast with my TD models, when I have a skeg on I land flatter and with less stress on the model that with no skeg (think F3J landings). This horse has left the barn.

Marc
Marc,

We do have the option in ALES of the old style RW landing. As you know, that has been the standard landing at the TNT for years. And it is just fine. In fact, with regard to the "so-called problem" of dorking planes all three options, the 10 meter tape, the 5 meter tape and the runway are all "just fine" with regard to minimizing the "so-called" necessity of minimizing or eliminating dorks. I merely made the suggestion in this thread as an interesting alternative stimulated by what the scale planes are doing -- more for interest than solving a problem that really does not exist in ALES (except as an excuse)

In the many contests I have flown in where the RW landing was the option I have not personally noticed much less "dorking" than I have seen with the traditional spot. I have found, at least personally, that it is easier for me to score on the RW than on the spot. The RW landing is fun. But it is often a hassle to set up and/or change when the wind shifts. One of the beauty of ALES is the absolute simplicity of setting up and running a contest. To me, anything that moves away from that simplicity had better serve a really useful purpose.

You have seen me fly and know well that I am not a podium class flyer or lander. A good day for me at TD with the 100 point tape was keeping my landings above about 40 or 50 out of 100 points (1.5 meters). That was with a skeg and modestly pounding the plane into the ground.

When I started experimenting with how ALES might work I wanted to know how much of a pounding our ALES planes could take. It turns out that with a decent firewall and a motor or gearbox with a 5mm shaft or bigger shaft will take more of a pounding than most of would ever care to witness. (The Radian is a different story, it has a small shaft that is likely fabricated from a less than optimum material.)

And those who watched me land at last years NATS or Polecat probably know how indifferent I was to how hard I pounded the plane on landing. (BTW part of my problem landing is less related to energy management than it is to a fairly severe depth perception problem that I have.)

That said, I learned some tricks that help with my depth perception problem and this spring I decided to work on improving my energy management skills. One thing that our skegless ALES planes allow us to do more effectively than our TD planes is LANDING PRACTICE. My best advice for those guys who are whining about dorking their planes is to spend a half-dozen or so 2 1/2 hour sessions of 50 landings each landing on the 5 meter tape. Most of you who do will be able to be able to keep your landing scores at 40 or above with that effort. The sessions will help build "landing memory" into your brain and you will be just fine without unreasonably pounding your plane. I can promise that virtually any "dork whiner" who goes out and systematically puts in three or four hundred landings will be able to compete without having to resort to the evil dork.

ALES and F5J were designed to minimize the relative emphasis of landing over flying and I think that is working out. The landings should be pretty much tie-breakers. My concern lies not so much with landing and dorking as it is the extent to which the flight task might fail to sort out skill levels and result even in our relatively easy landing task becoming "the contest" as happens in a contest where 60 or 70 percent of all the flights put up are maxes.

Again the suggestion in this thread was more to give interested people something different to try rather than suggest that ALES comps IN ANY WAY requires anybody to subject their planes to unreasonable abuse.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Aug 07, 2014, 03:56 PM
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Don, I will give you kind of a simple answer. The guys that stick will stick, and a RW or a spot landing will not change that. But the guy that does not stick, likes to come in flat, he can be nice to his ship and have a better chance to score. No matter what landing you have, you are not changing the basic tenor of an individuals style, and if you want to take out dorking, then you have to have someone watching and judging if someone did that. That is a can of worms that I do not want to have if I am CD'ing.

Also to consider is that good fliers will get tighter times on a RW landing as well. You are giving them the opportunity of two-three seconds over the "spot", versus only a moment in time on a spot landing, and they will take complete advantage of it.

And as someone above said that tasks should be tougher, to me, that is where things should go, 150M launch all the time minimum and maybe go to 12-13 minute tasks.

Marc
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Old Aug 07, 2014, 04:55 PM
aka Mr.Side-Winder
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United States, OH, Cincinnati
Joined Jun 2007
395 Posts
Marc,
I'm with you on the task launch height. 150m is closer to that of a winch launch, and I think this would separate the scores out at contests, and allow people to come back from a bad round easier. At the NATS, almost everyone was getting 10min fights at 200m launch, on Every round. It really came down to a landing contest, and if you had a bad round. You were pretty much out of it.
In handlaunch, you could often come back after a bad round, if you took a risk and it payed off, sandbagging the round, and this in turn also created some interesting dynamics with the scores between pilots.

-Jeff
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