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Old Jun 26, 2009, 07:25 PM
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S. FL
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Technology XC Alert!

Some may have been messmerized with some of the XC info coming out of the S Cal region. But in this case it is all bogus, that is in the sense that a single pilot was actually flying the plane at all times. It seems that a group, in different vehicles, one with a master computer, and a second vehicle with the pilot in a redundant scenario were doing all of the flying. It seems that this adventure is/was a government sponsored project of sorts. The attempt to portray this on this site as an honest XC event by average folks with XC intent is bogus in extreem.
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 08:53 PM
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San Diego
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Libelle,

The cross country event is being held with the same technology it has always used with the same rules.

The only difference is the ALOFT group is attending the event. I don't think you understand what the ALOFT group is doing. First of all, they are not competing in the contest. The pilot, the computer operator, and the driver are all in the same car and work together as a team and are responsible for their plane only. I don't know why you think there are different vehicles involved. The pilot is only the pilot during the launch and landing or if the plane gets below a certain altitude. He is not claiming otherwise. Regardless, it doesn't matter what the pilot calls himself because they are not competing in the event any more than a passing airliner is flying by at 30,000 feet.

The cross country contests just happen to be a good venue for them to test their software and system performance. They provided GPS loggers to record the competitors flight paths so they can collect data on how people tackle the same problem their software does. The GPS doesn't control anything on the other competitors models or provide any feedback during the event - they just record the flight path data for the ALOFT database.

I don't know all the specifics of the final application of this software, but I believe the intent is to use the autonomous soaring algorithm to extend UAV flight durations/range and/or control a viable unpowered UAV. If anything, the XC guys should be honored that they are able to provide data needed to improve the algorithm that will lead to important advances in UAV technology.

Hopefully the ALOFT guys will chime in here to defend what they are doing.

Tom
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:09 PM
Jesper Frickmann
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Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
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I actually fly with the ALOFT guys Dan and Adam on a regular basis at the DESS field near Wilson, NC. Although they wish they had a big fat government grant, the don't. Dan mostly bought the hardware for his own money, as far as I know.

Dan did ALOFT as his post grad project at NS State University. Adam works for a company on a government sponsored project, but this is unrelated to ALOFT. See more about ALOFT here: http://soaring.goosetechnologies.com/ and Dan's thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502046
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiesling
Libelle,

I don't think you understand what the ALOFT group is doing. First of all, they are not competing in the contest. The pilot, the computer operator, and the driver are all in the same car and work together as a team and are responsible for their plane only. I don't know why you think there are different vehicles involved. The pilot is only the pilot during the launch and landing or if the plane gets below a certain altitude. He is not claiming otherwise. Regardless, it doesn't matter what the pilot calls himself because they are not competing in the event any more than a passing airliner is flying by at 30,000 feet.

The cross country contests just happen to be a good venue for them to test their software and system performance. They provided GPS loggers to record the competitors flight paths so they can collect data on how people tackle the same problem their software does. The GPS doesn't control anything on the other competitors models or provide any feedback during the event - they just record the flight path data for the ALOFT database.

I don't know all the specifics of the final application of this software, but I believe the intent is to use the autonomous soaring algorithm to extend UAV flight durations/range and/or control a viable unpowered UAV. If anything, the XC guys should be honored that they are able to provide data needed to improve the algorithm that will lead to important advances in UAV technology.

Hopefully the ALOFT guys will chime in here to defend what they are doing.

Tom
Well, I understand your thoughts from the ALOFT point of view. In my mind and I think I may be correct, all of this technology applied to these ALOFT flights are simply not allowed given the technology and it seems so hands on by others in the prosess. My gripe isnt in that they have accomplished a goal, but in how they did/do it. Dont post on a site that you have accomplished this and that when you know you have done it in such a way as to not adhere to the rules as I believe they were intended. I await their XC "pilot" explanation.
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:29 PM
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I don't think it is necessary for anyone from Team Aloft to chime in. I have flown with/against the Aloft team 3 or 4 times now. Twice at Montague, and once at California Valley, which is likely the event that Libelle201B is referring to.

There was nothing unethical or unusual about their participation. It was the culmination of their graduate project work, partially supported by industrial concerns. While I can't speak for all of the participating teams, most of us that ever voiced an opinion were fascinated by what they were doing, interested in the algorithms that they used, and interested in how their plane behaved against our planes flying by visual/vario telemetry only.

These events were the perfect venue to compare their ability to analyze, program and respond to the same flight conditions as the other teams. I say event, not contest. For Aloft the "contest" didn't exist, nor did we see them as competitors. In truth they weren't official contestants, but that didn't change the value of their participation.

Not sure why Libelle201B finds this so objectionable. Don't know if your were actually at one of these events and had a chance to talk to the Aloft guys, they were very interesting and engaging. If you weren't you missed something very positive.

The active XC'ers were very accepting of Team Aloft and don't seem to care, why do you?

JT
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libelle201B
Well, I understand your thoughts from the ALOFT point of view. In my mind and I think I may be correct, all of this technology applied to these ALOFT flights are simply not allowed given the technology and it seems so hands on by others in the prosess. My gripe isnt in that they have accomplished a goal, but in how they did/do it. Dont post on a site that you have accomplished this and that when you know you have done it in such a way as to not adhere to the rules as I believe they were intended. I await their XC "pilot" explanation.
I think I see what you are saying. I think the "misleading" part comes from what your point of view is. If you are not familiar with the ALOFT project, then their claims of accomplishment will appear very misleading when you find out they are using an autonomous system. I haven't read all their posts, but I could see it coming off that way. From Dan's point of view, he is always referring to the autonomous system. He lives and breaths the stuff, so it probably doesn't even occur to him to clarify (not that he needs to) that he is talking about the autonomous system and not the traditional pilot with a TX in his hand when he posts on RC groups. Does this make sense?

Tom
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:36 PM
wishes this caption was longe
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Wow, you made about the most ignorant post I have ever seen. You act as if they were pulling the wool over everyone's eyes-as if they were cheating. Everyone knew what they were doing and they were not even official competitors.

I also fly with Dan and Adam and have seen the ALOFT team in action many times. Dan and Adam are super nice guys and have worked harder than anyone I know to fly XC, investing incredible amounts of time and effort traveling all over the country pitting their plane against the best XC pilots in the US.

It is very sad to see their accomplishments belittled this way. Don't be such a hater. I think your comments about this being some kind of "fake" XC event would not go over well with all the other "human" teams competing.
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 09:55 PM
Yep, Naza-controlled Tricopter
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The ALOFT effort is one of numerous excellent attacks on the technology of thermaling UAVs. Here are some links to others:
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Pho...5-0198-12.html
http://bbsnews.net/article.php/2005100709240786
http://www.physorg.com/news8540.html
http://members.shaw.ca/sonde/index.htm
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/FLYING...VS-a0137521664

There are also many solar-powered sailplane UAVs, going back to Paul MacCready. A recent one:
http://www.tdg.ch/actu/suisse/ailes-...ier-2009-06-26
http://www.solarimpulse.com/index.php

All the guys who undertake this research are pushing numerous exciting technologies in important new directions.
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Old Jun 26, 2009, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by will_newton
Wow, you made about the most ignorant post I have ever seen. You act as if they were pulling the wool over everyone's eyes-as if they were cheating. Everyone knew what they were doing and they were not even official competitors.

I also fly with Dan and Adam and have seen the ALOFT team in action many times. Dan and Adam are super nice guys and have worked harder than anyone I know to fly XC, investing incredible amounts of time and effort traveling all over the country pitting their plane against the best XC pilots in the US.

It is very sad to see their accomplishments belittled this way. Don't be such a hater. I think your comments about this being some kind of "fake" XC event would not go over well with all the other "human" teams competing.
Based on what I read in a post, it seemed that a pilot was not in absolute control at all times. I have nothing to begrudge ALOFT and their equipment/experiment, I believed from that particular post that that was how folks out there were flying XC. I felt is was reflected as such. I am not a "hater" by any means . I also find XC really exciting. For those that fly XC as I believe it is supposed to be flown, no problem! Congrats to your buddies if they didn't have a computer or some other gadget flying their plane
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Old Jun 27, 2009, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libelle201B
Based on what I read in a post, it seemed that a pilot was not in absolute control at all times. I have nothing to begrudge ALOFT and their equipment/experiment, I believed from that particular post that that was how folks out there were flying XC. I felt is was reflected as such. I am not a "hater" by any means . I also find XC really exciting. For those that fly XC as I believe it is supposed to be flown, no problem! Congrats to your buddies if they didn't have a computer or some other gadget flying their plane

Wow...ground control to major Tom: The ALOFT crew isn't even trying to compete with "normal" XC pilots. They're trying to develop an autonomous soaring program for UAV's to utilize to maximize loiter time.

In case you didn't understand I've included a glossary:

XC - Cross Country sailplane flying

Autonomous - In which an entity either natural or synthetic controls itself and self-determines it's own actions to accomplish a goal.

Soaring - Unpowered flight utilizing solar heating of the Earth to maintain altitude above ground level.

UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - see also (UAS)

Loiter Time - Amount of time a given vehicle may remain within an area of interest and/or work before requiring maintenance and/or re-fueling.
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Old Jun 27, 2009, 07:41 AM
Jesper Frickmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libelle201B
Well, I understand your thoughts from the ALOFT point of view. In my mind and I think I may be correct, all of this technology applied to these ALOFT flights are simply not allowed given the technology and it seems so hands on by others in the prosess. My gripe isnt in that they have accomplished a goal, but in how they did/do it. Dont post on a site that you have accomplished this and that when you know you have done it in such a way as to not adhere to the rules as I believe they were intended. I await their XC "pilot" explanation.
Take a look at their website I listed above. They clearly write unofficial record. They don't make any claims whatsoever that they are competing in XC on equal terms. They just want to see how their little computer fares against experienced XC pilots.
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Old Jun 27, 2009, 08:12 AM
Who needs a pilot??
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Alexandria, VA
Joined Jul 2002
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Hi Libelle,

I'd be happy to answer any lingering questions you have. I'm sure it will all make sense with a bit more explanation.

I wrote a paper on how the software works: http://goosetech.homelinux.com/soari...s_GNC_2008.pdf

I'd also be happy to explain further about the manual override mode and how the safety pilot fits into the equation. Page 7 of my performance testing paper has a paragraph directly on this: http://xcsoaring.com/techPicts/Edwar...nce%20test.pdf

Please ask away!
Dan
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Old Jun 27, 2009, 11:33 AM
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Interesting

Hi Libelle,
This may even be more interesting. About 40+ years ago the altitude record for power planes was set at Dahgren (sp) Proving Grounds, I think or next door? Government owned. Still stands.

The operators/pilots had access to radar guided Tx antenna and HUGE binocs that were attached to the radar guided "gun placement" FAA clearance and TX wattage??? All written up in AMA's MA the way it was done.

I am not sure anyone today would have access to such sophicated Gov. equipment or permissions.

The team members were ALL great guys, some of the early leaders/fathers in RC, who were just regular Joe's with access to neat suff. They (at least some) either worked there or consulted for the Gov.

The ONLY POINT of this is: maybe the recent ALOFT isn't too far removed, if at all.

Jim
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Old Jun 28, 2009, 09:09 AM
turn, turn, turn.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libelle201B
Based on what I read in a post, it seemed that a pilot was not in absolute control at all times. I have nothing to begrudge ALOFT and their equipment/experiment, I believed from that particular post that that was how folks out there were flying XC. I felt is was reflected as such. I am not a "hater" by any means . I also find XC really exciting. For those that fly XC as I believe it is supposed to be flown, no problem! Congrats to your buddies if they didn't have a computer or some other gadget flying their plane
What a crappy appology. ....AND a crappy congrats.

Just my opinion.
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Old Jun 28, 2009, 09:41 AM
Turn down for what?
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
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Yeah, no kidding Ken. I am flaberglasted how Lib is confused about what Dan and his friends have been doing. In every post I have seen from those guys it was clear to me they had an autopilot type project going. Also in every post I have read it was clear to me that although they flew the plane during a contest they were not official entries in the contest.

For a guy that does not post his real name Mr. 201B is lobbing out some strong complaints...

Ryan
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