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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:01 AM
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I've updated my blog at :
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:18 PM
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I think you guys should consider the use of a RTH function.

It's not a full-blown autopilot. There are several on the market. All they do is bring the plane back to the launch site.

Since you guys often lose sight of it, it would be so easy to just flick a switch on the radio and back it comes.

We are not talking about an autopilot with programmed waypoints, but one that has only one in its memory and brings the plane back circling over the pilot's head.

You could even agree on a specific brand and model that costs around 100-150$
so you know everyone has the same with just that simple function.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Beaverton, OR
Joined Apr 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KondorFPV View Post
I think you guys should consider the use of a RTH function.

It's not a full-blown autopilot. There are several on the market. All they do is bring the plane back to the launch site.

Since you guys often lose sight of it, it would be so easy to just flick a switch on the radio and back it comes.

We are not talking about an autopilot with programmed waypoints, but one that has only one in its memory and brings the plane back circling over the pilot's head.

You could even agree on a specific brand and model that costs around 100-150$
so you know everyone has the same with just that simple function.
Nice thought but I believe we agreed that there would be no electronics between the RX and servos; so that rules out RTH or RTL.

Nothing wrong with transmitting the data down to a laptop in the chase vehicle where you would could view the information.

- Bob -
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 10:48 PM
doz
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Sports evolve along with technology. A lot of times people reject certain new ideas or equipment on "principles" ... Often an excuse for retaining status quo or not having to shell out to be competitive. I have recently gotten interested in autopilots. As a professional software developer, I am interested in computer control , video, GPS logging, and contest scoring. Thus I feel that ANY new technology is worth giving a try if, for no other reason than to foster new ways of having fun with our complex toys. Enjoy evolution. On the other hand, if you would rather, stagnate, and watch th world continue on without your participation. Just saying.....
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 11:55 PM
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Doz

If anything the Cross Country Soaring community has embraced technology more so than most other aspects of RC soaring. We score the contests with GPS, most gliders have variometer and altitude telemetry. Many of us have experimented with gyros, airspeed sensors, and other techno gadgets. We welcomed team ALOFT to participate in our events. If you are not familiar with ALOFT it was a project headed by Dan Edwards in which he designed and constructed a glider/drone that would fly a cross country task completely autonomously. It worked quite well. While his accomplishment was truly innovative and amazing, when we flew against team ALOFT we were competing against Dan's ingenuity as a programmer not as pilot against pilot.

Speaking for myself, all this has lead me to the conclusion that yes we should welcome technological advancements but not at the expense of changing the basic aspect of our sport which is a test of piloting and soaring skills. That is why most of us have no problems with the transmitting of information to the pilot but we draw the line when the pilot relinquishes control to a device.

John
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Old Jul 08, 2012, 02:23 AM
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Some little news.
I have completed the module HW and opened a little blog in French as some asked me there. XC is gaining traction in Europe and more and more people wonder what could be a new form of competition in our skies. No XC as you do in your side of the pond because of the space available at home but sure pple want something new.
I've lately worked around the airspeed measurement and I got something that work correctly.
http://glidebywire.blogspot.fr/

What kind of software are you using for scoring ?
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Old Jul 08, 2012, 09:04 AM
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DOZ if you wish to use all this really neat tech join the Air Force they've been using it for years.
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Old Jul 08, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 07:23 AM
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Finally got myDG600 ready to race with my equipment.

One TEK probe :


One Pitot tube :


One glider for racing :


All the pipes from the probes are plugged to the vario/GPS just behind the main gear. The GPS antenna stick to the main gear structure. Two tubes for the Pitot for a very precise airspeed reading. A big rx battery because flight are longer when using a vario .
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 01:49 PM
yyz
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Zenoid,

What type of racing are you doing and do you have a plan for calibrating the airspeed part of the telemetry package?

Mike
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Old Aug 05, 2012, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Calibrated airspeed (CAS) is the speed shown by a conventional airspeed indicator after correction for instrument error and position error. Most civilian EFIS displays also show CAS. At high speeds and altitudes, calibrated airspeed is further corrected for compressibility errors and becomes equivalent airspeed (EAS).
When flying at sea level under International Standard Atmosphere conditions (15C, 1013 hPa, 0% humidity) calibrated airspeed is the same as equivalent airspeed and true airspeed (TAS). If there is no wind it is also the same as ground speed (GS). Under any other conditions, CAS may differ from the aircraft's TAS and GS.
Calibrating the airspeed is one thing I can't do, it is related to the builder choice to place the Pitot tube. One have to flight runs in still air and compare GPS and airspeed to see if it need correction or find a better place. On my DG there is no integration issue. I didn't have any issue either with the low speeds on my EasyGlider (low 30 km/h), Pitot was in the nose. Instrument calibration is done when the module start for a few ms. The Pitot need to be protected during this period, this is the zeroing.
I think I'll have the time to race with a pilot who use my system late August. I'll use my FrSky/android smartphone App and he will use the PDA/2.4Ghz radio modem I did before. We will race at a slope, arround a 5 or 6 waypoints on few laps . Waypoints windows will vary in altitude so we can have a 3D race. My budy will use either a 5m Vortex or a 5m Pegase. He sure will win because he is a very tallented pilot

Yannick
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Old Aug 19, 2012, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchewn View Post
...
A. ANY DEVICE THAT PROVIDES ANY INFORMATION TO THE PILOT: YES
B. ANY DEVICE THAT AUTOMATICALLY CONTROLS ANY SURFACES ON THE AIRPLANE: NO
As someone who finally got his LSF 10k under his belt and also being a software engineer I can see that the idea of having any aids that helps the plane fly is very intriguing, BUT in the spirit of the sport I have to agree with "pchewn" simple rules A & B. point made.

background:
I tried about 6 times unsuccessfully to get my 10k and return done until I found perfect conditions and an excellent support crew at the NATS this year. flying with a non-compensated picolario and reviewing that day, the only feature I missed was experience under my belt (and a bean bag for my soar(spelling#8-) neck #8-). If someone can fly 112km under the same conditions and with the same telemetry, I think the challenge is (and should always be) piloting skill!!!

I'm scared to fly a plane above 2000ft, should I use an autopilot to fly above my comfort level? heck NO! just need to practice until I can safely do it! If I need to stabilize my plane electronically I choose my plane poorly. If I loose sight of the plane because I f... up, deploy parachute (or similar fail-safe device, RTH etc) and forfeit the contest! no harm done, zero points, lesson learned!

before we seek help in electronics, what we really need is some guidance on how to get into XC flying and practicing for it, a 1k or 2k is just not the same as a 10k or more because you can run the whole course without thermal-ling once. maybe that's a topic for a new thread?

On the other hand (and here speaks the computer geek) I would be the last person rejecting any attempts to improve XC by trying new gimmicks. they might not be accepted in the traditional XC contest, but over in europe they're now flying triangle GPS courses with scale planes for some time, also something very cool giving the fact that I don't wanna know what happens if I'm caught riding in the back of a pickup truck in germany and get stopped by a police officer, they usually have no sense of humor #8-(. also people do XC by walking through a park, might sound silly over here, but you just don't have that much open space in europe besides all the legal implications.

telemetry is getting cheap and main stream in newer 2.4GHz system (multiplex m-link, graupner hott, futaba fasstest, etc), lets use them wisely, e.g. audio output, add sensors to it... time and ingenuity from you guys will eventually tell what works out and what not.

just the 2 cents from someone who will soon be living in germany and will really miss the US style XC.
ingo
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KondorFPV View Post
I think you guys should consider the use of a RTH function.

It's not a full-blown autopilot. There are several on the market. All they do is bring the plane back to the launch site.

Since you guys often lose sight of it, it would be so easy to just flick a switch on the radio and back it comes.

We are not talking about an autopilot with programmed waypoints, but one that has only one in its memory and brings the plane back circling over the pilot's head.

You could even agree on a specific brand and model that costs around 100-150$
so you know everyone has the same with just that simple function.

Probably a good idea. And you'd score it like using a motor in full-size soaring: you get credit for distance (no speed points since you technically "landed out") up to the point you flip the switch to activate RTH. The RTH switch could also be programmed to mark that position on the GPS logger (full-scale uses motor noise to mark that spot in the GPS logger).
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:05 PM
Who needs a pilot??
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Alexandria, VA
Joined Jul 2002
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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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Old Jan 28, 2013, 11:59 PM
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Dan

Good to hear from you again, it was the success of your project that really got me thinking about what should or should not be allowed. The purpose of this thread is to try to ascertain if there is a consensus on what technology should be allowed.

As of now it seems the consensus is to limit the technology to telemetry only. The rules however should not be set in stone. As the technology advances and gets cheaper and easier to use the consensus may well shift to allowing more. We really do not want to discourage anyone from participating. In fact we need to do everything we can to get more people flying XC. Some think allowing more tech will attract more people while I have heard others argue that more tech will discourage new comers by adding cost and complexity. The one thing for sure is there will be more and more tech stuff available at a cheaper and cheaper cost and it will eventually find its way into our sport.

It would be great to have you fly again at Cal Valley, I would even set up special class for "Techno Geeks " in which all tech gadgets are allowed!

John E
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