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Old May 25, 2008, 08:13 AM
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Curious Question

Guys:

I've had a question on my mind for awhile.

Having been in r/c soaring long enough to watch F3B successfully evolve into the ultimate competition that it finally is after overcoming many, many obstacles. Never the less I always ask myself if there's any room for improvement. While I think F3B has got it right I'm venturing into the realm of perhaps a stupid question:

Are there any possible improvements to consider?

I can only think of one: standardized winch lines. Same strength mono distributed by the hosting club. May seem like a strange idea but I'm always looking for the elusive level playing field. Once other costs are overcome having an adequate stock of varying sized mono for different conditions may/can be financial road block (at least it is for me). It's never been a real problem since guys I've been lucky to fly with are more than willing to share what they have. It also helps to minimize line breaks that put smaller less resourceful teams at a disadvantage. I think most regard (legitimately) line choice as a part of the strategies and challenges. However, in my very limited F3B experience it does present logistical problems (team size, number of winches, adequate stock of costly lines) that have to be dealt with.

Is this a reasonable question? Has it been brought up and considered?

Just curious,

Brian Agnew
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Old May 25, 2008, 11:25 PM
launch high, go fast
luvF3b's Avatar
Australia, TAS, Devonport
Joined May 2008
152 Posts
I don't think standardising mono would create the level playing field you seek, because the choice of line is driven by so many factors, for example:

atmospheric conditions - wind and thermal strength
model size and weight - larger/heavier models require a slightly larger diameter line
drum diameter - large diameter drums for smaller diameter lines
team tactics - going for every last meter of launch height versus having a reliable launch with no line break
number of winches - generally would like 3 or 4 laid out in each direction, equipped with the appropriate line diameters to cater for the above points.

To me, having a range of line diameters to choose from is just another variable the F3b pilot can tinker with in the quest for ultimate performance. So in competition I like to have a range of sizes that cater for all eventualities (eg 1.05 mm to 1.35mm). In practice where I don't have multiple winches and a team around me I tend to go for 1.2 - 1.3mm, it makes my day more enjoyable without having to replace broken lines, change lines etc. I'm there to fly after all :-)

I think the biggest step that could be taken in F3b to "level the course" is to find some way of group scoring in speed to minimise the impact with cycling air - "speed lotto sucks". The Europeans have been experimenting with a match race type of scenario. Two pilots are drawn to fly against each other in a given working time. On the toss of a coin, the first flys then the second. If the second guy doesn't better the first's time, he goes again. The winner is the guy with the lowest time at the end of working time. This would be quite a spectacle, but not sure how it would work in a large competition.

Cheers,

John
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Old May 26, 2008, 08:03 AM
I do this for fun!
Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined Sep 2004
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Just curious LuvF3B,

I too am having trouble seeing how you'd score that across a larger field of competitors.

I wonder if it could be an elimination contest. Traditional speed is run until the last round. Then the 2 guys with the longest elapsed times start and launch on the buzzer in 2 parallel courses. Time starts from the buzzer. Winner goes on to race next competitor until eliminated, then new winner continues his/her way down the elapsed time order until everyone's done. Allocate scores according to a mathematical progression which gives first say 2,000 points and then decreases by smaller and smaller increments going down the ranking.

The last round would take a while, but it'd be a great spectacle and it would overcome the speed lottery. It would place great emphasis on the last speed task (but that happens now), however as the best guys tend strongly end up at the top of the rankings it would more fairly differentiate them on the day.

Just a thought. It's been a very long time since I've played at F3B.
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Old May 26, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Southern California
Joined Sep 2003
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It's a version of MOM racing. Man on man is the only true equalizer, that way at least each pilot is in the same conditions. Less variables.
FWIW
Tim
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Old May 26, 2008, 12:15 PM
the flying is good
dephela's Avatar
USA, CT, Hamden
Joined Oct 2002
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Conditions can be different at each end of the winchline.
It's been two lines each having their own 1000's the time[s] I've seen it done.
I don't know if that makes it an even field but it goes a little quicker.
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Old May 26, 2008, 12:40 PM
Challenge is rewarding
djklein21's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Aug 2004
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I am definitely not for limiting winch lines. This would be another force in plane desin trends. Small, weak lines would favor smaler planes, while arger winch lines would favor larger planes. The standardized winch is enough.

Besides, until you are proficient at F3b, you don't need a large selection of lines. Line size is truly a secondary optimizer. Everything else is far more important. So only when you are very good at F3b, does going to a smaller line size benefit you.
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Old May 26, 2008, 10:22 PM
or F, J, K, or even TD
FLY F3B's Avatar
Joined Jun 2007
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I don't know guys. I am not sure that dividing the speed round up into smaller groups would help or hurt the overall standings. I am in favor of reducing the effect of cycling conditions, and rewarding those that fly consistantly tighter courses in all conditions.

But if thoughts were to progress down these lines, I would want to see that speed be broken into groups of maybe 10 or 20 as the number of entries would dictate. Heck, just food for thought, we could even fly-off all of the 1000's for the top score...again for the sake of talking about options, then you would take the overall winner of the round and give him the well deserved 1000, and the others would get their 1000 minus the difference between their 1000 and the ratio of their flyoff flight divided by 1000. Example: 1000pts (round 2b speed) - (900pts flyoff speed) / (1000pts) = 991 round 2 speed. This scenarion will add a few speed runs to an already long contest, but might work to even the field...I don't know, sounds kind of cool though. What do you all think?

Hope to hear from everyone on this...Europe, NZ, Aus, S. Africa what do you think?

Mike
PS. don't mess with the launching system, and rules. All is good there.
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Old May 26, 2008, 11:51 PM
launch high, go fast
luvF3b's Avatar
Australia, TAS, Devonport
Joined May 2008
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Hi Skybroken,

To help me try to understand, I guess that you're saying that the early rounds are run to establish a seeding order, and then only the final round counts for points scoring?

So, In a six round competition the maximum score would be 6000 (so that speed/distance and thermal would be equally weighted) with the rest of the pilots gaining a proportion of that by some formula (perhaps the method suggested by FLY F3B above?). I see one down fall, you could crash in the last round and score a zero for the whole speed comp even if you were the top seed entering the last round.

I think it has to be done on a round by round basis.

John
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Old May 29, 2008, 03:16 AM
I do this for fun!
Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined Sep 2004
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Hi LuvF3b,

I'm with you in that I believe each round of speed (and the other tasks of course) needs to be scored.

My suggestion (and that's all it is, honest) would be to score each 'traditional' speed round as per normal. The top guys should end up at the top of the scores as they always seem to, except perhaps the occasional bad luck story will happen where one guy never gets any air and ends up down the ranking.

OK, so the final round would have a maximum score of say 2,000 points for speed so that the hard luck pilot would have an opportunity to win his way to the 2,000 points in the final speed round.

If the safety issues of having 2 pilots flying speed at the same time can be worked through, then I think this would be an exciting addition to an F3B comp. I'm under no illusions that the devil is in the details and a proposal like this would take a LOT of detail work to be implemented safely and fairly.

The alternative point of view is that the weather conditions will even themselves out for all pilots in a multi-round competition. Given that the same people seem to end up at the sharp end of major F3B comps that assumption would seem to be working fairly well in general .

Ken.
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Old May 29, 2008, 09:11 AM
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line sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by djklein21
I am definitely not for limiting winch lines. This would be another force in plane desin trends. Small, weak lines would favor smaler planes, while arger winch lines would favor larger planes. The standardized winch is enough.

Besides, until you are proficient at F3b, you don't need a large selection of lines. Line size is truly a secondary optimizer. Everything else is far more important. So only when you are very good at F3b, does going to a smaller line size benefit you.
I doubt that I'll ever come near the proficient area of the learning curve. I'm stuck in the incompetent zone.

I've been able to get to a couple of the more recent TS. Observing the teams that were better prepared and had unlimited man-power and lines (it seemed) they were in a position to really push the extremes for lines chosen depending on wind, conditions........I thought it really was an advantage and their launches were significantly better than the rest. Fearful of holding things up with a broken line I always used the heavier stuff. Still have yet to launch using the lighter lines.

Regardless, F3B has evolved and has managed to "get it right". Not much room for excuses. Watching 4X F3B WC DP put and end to all of the other questions for me. If I've asked him what changes he might consider worthy I don't remember his answer. I think in the past he has suggested a better system for timing the speed task. This is especially necessary when he flies speed since no one gets to see the plane flying at Mach 2.

Brian
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Old May 29, 2008, 10:11 AM
launch high, go fast
luvF3b's Avatar
Australia, TAS, Devonport
Joined May 2008
152 Posts
Skybroken:

I wasn't actually suggesting 2 guys flying at the same time, but separately in the same working time, say 7 minutes, on the same course. As each attempt only takes 1 minute (or less), both pilots can compete in similar air. The disadvantage I see is that this will take a longer time to get through the speed task

Brian Agnew:

Line diameter is only a "tweak" on the performance. Piloting skills, and setup skills are far more important.

For years I took your approach, using larger diameter lines even for still conditions. Simply because I couldn't be buggered constantly changing line to suit the conditions. (fellow pilots would comment that I was using barge rope!) Once teamed up with a knowledgeable group of pilots, I was able to start chasing launch height with lower diameter lines in poor launching conditions.

The optimum is to choose a diameter that is loaded to (I guess) 80-90% of it's breaking strength for the given conditions so that maximum energy can be stored as stretch. Heavy diameter lines just don't do this in poor launching conditions. Light diameter lines (ie <1.1mm) are reliable given the following constraints:
- Matched for the wind speed. Too low a diameter will cause breaks if the wind is too strong and too much tension is built by the glider.
- Matched to the model, as larger area models will generate a higher tension (as will a liftier airfoil)
- Matched to the drum diameter of the winch. Large drum diameters limit the tension that can be put into the line by the winch because it stalls. So for small diameter lines, a larger drum diameter is needed.
- ANY damage to the line will cause a breakage. It is important to "run the lines" before every launch and inspect them for abrasion, nicks and cuts. On lighter lines, ANY damage will cause a line break.
- After 2 - 10 launches the lighter diameters become permanently stretched, and no longer offer an advantage. The reliability also decreases.
- The turnaround pulley needs to be polished and free running. Any friction or sharp edges will cause lighter lines damage, and breakage.
- Knotting at the parachute needs to be done with a braid covering over the line to avoid breakage at the knot.
- Silicon spray needs to be used on the line as it is wound onto the winch drum to avoid the line damaging itself.

So you can see that, with care, and constant change out, the lighter lines offer an advantage in poor launching conditions, but at a cost of potentially decreased reliability and a dollar cost in having to change them frequently.

The biggest factor in launch height is still model trim, pilot skill and the quality of the throw.

Cheers,

John
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Old Jun 02, 2008, 10:48 AM
Play loud, Fly high
Gil Gauger's Avatar
Vincennes,IN USA
Joined Apr 2007
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Another Question

I am curious as to the opinion of hardcore F3B pilots as to whether the relative balance of the three tasks is intact. It seems to me that as the speed times have fallen over the years the scoring formula skews the competition to weighting speed as the dominant factor. I do realize that distance is a close second because of the complete lap counting issue, and that the duration time was increased in the past to address task balance. I have always wondered about a revision of the one plane per round rule to include a fixed ballast per round requirement as sort of an entry level version of F3B. The logistics of flight order would obviously be just as important, maybe more so, but the focus of ballast selection would shift from optimum per task at that alotted working time, to optimizing a compromise solution for anticipated conditions. This is offered more as a discussion idea than a rules proposal. Just curious.
Also, who and what are the current unofficial champs of the speed run post finish line ballet?

Abused CD, ret.
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Great input. More please?

That's a lot of good stuff put into well put compact responses.

The way I read the responses though seem to support what I'm saying/asking. There's a lot of hurdles to jump over for guys with only a couple of winches and with maybe a helper or two chasing around broken lines. The "teams" which produce the individual members of "Team USA", usually, again from my very limited experience, have access to 3 winches with 3 grades of mono and plenty of helpers to sort through and fix the mess of broken lines from guys free to push the limits, have a significant advantage. 2 of the 3 tasks (duration/distance) are MOM so they can potentially be the tasks most likely to produce an advantage that having varied and accessible mono choices bring. Speed is a different story since pilots are forced to deal with conditions presented to them.

Again, I've been very fortunate to have teams generously join in. Always felt guilty because I only brought what little mono I could conjure up/afford.

Mr. DP WCX4 made all of this a moot point, but I seem to remembered it was a big consideration/issue when deciding to go as defending WC or a member of the team.

Splitting hairs and doesn't seem to be an issue worth pursuing but I enjoy and do value the input.

Thanks,

Brian
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 01:05 PM
isoaritfirst
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Not a Brummie/but close
Joined Sep 2005
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If you want perfect even conditions for all pilots then stay at home and use a sim.

Cyclic conditions are all partof the game - you have some amount of choice on when you enter the course, and you need to be able to understand what conditions you have on course if you are to maximise on your run - its all part of the skill - which is why despite cycliic dconditions on the whole the best pilots continually win comps.

Its not just about flying a tight course - you also have to understand how hard you can push/pull.
Mike
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Old Jul 17, 2008, 09:10 PM
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You want to make F3B a more even flying event.
Keep duration as it is, maybe reduce winch line to 150 metres, that will test thermal pilots.
Leave distance task as is.
Speed runs to be done in groups of 6 - 10 per heat depending on entry's and that will give a max - min score to that heat and most important of all is to have a 1 minuet working time and the next flyer is ready to fly as the last flyer finish's his 4th leg on a siren/bell then the next flyer's working time starts then, that way there would be no advantage for thermic air and ever pilot has a chance to win a round.

Mick
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