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Old Jul 01, 2012, 09:30 PM
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Qualifying for the US F3K Team Selection, 2013-2015

I intend to follow the process of qualifying for the F3K US Team Selection Trials in 2015. I will post every step I take and what it required of me to accomplish it. Anyone who follows along can do what I did, and perhaps get much further than I will.

It was not easy to find out how to get started. I had to finally contact my Regional Soaring Competition Representative for the AMA, and he put me in touch with Tom Kiesling, the current Chairman for F3K in the US, who is the current source of most of the information I have. I was also assisted by several top competitors, and by the AMA itself.

Basically, to qualify (according to Mr. Keisling - there is no official source documentation), I must attend an AMA-sanctioned contest of at least two days duration, with at least twenty people attending, and place in the top 30% of the preliminary rounds. If I cannot attend a two-day contest, I must perform the same at two, one-day contests. There is a web site for F3K in the US, but it is privately maintained, and only the qualifying criteria are current (sort of). Go to f3k.us and select "USA F3K Team Selection League".

Top 30%. I only have to do it once, and I will have 12-15 opportunities over the next two years to do so. I think I can do this.

Be warned: there is not a lot of organization present. This is a new sport, there is no logistical foundation to provide resources, and all is volunteer effort by people with great aspirations and egos. The result is what may appear to be incomplete or misleading information from supposedly authoritative sources. It's nobody's fault. It's alright with me, I used to work with fighter pilots. I will figure it out if I'm able, and readers can follow along, or help guide me.

Be warned twice: I am aware of some of the controversies in the air, and I will not debate them here. I will only present what I do, and what it gets me.

Yours, Greg
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Old Jul 01, 2012, 09:38 PM
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Qualifying for the US F3K Team Select: Step 1 - Get Registered.

Tom Kiesling coached me on this, as did the Morris Brothers and others. It's easy: call Colleen Pierce at the AMA during normal Muncie business hours.

On the AMA Web Site (www.modelaircraft.org) select "Contact AMA"

Scroll down to "Competition and Events"

Select Colleen Pierce, FAI Team Coordinator. Her telephone extension is listed.

Colleen will need: your name, AMA#, confirm your address, take your day-time telephone number and your credit card number (unless you wish to send a check). It costs $20. And that's it, you're in.

Colleen was very pleasant, took my information in 1:52, and now I'm REGISTERED!

My first opportunity to qualify will be at the Blue Skies of new Mexico, July 14-15. It's time to get busy.

Yours, Greg McGill
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Old Jul 01, 2012, 10:02 PM
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I think this is going to be a great thread, Greg! And I know you can get qualified... maybe even at the first attempt in a couple weeks

But unless the rules changed, I don't think you need 20 people at a contest. Last cycle you needed at least 6 for it to count (so it would spur more sponsored contests even in North Dakota). The 20 people rule is a USATour requirement.

Good luck Greg!
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Old Jul 02, 2012, 12:57 AM
Mike M.
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Yep, you will make it Greg. Of that I have no doubt. Looking forward to flying with you, and following your thread.
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Old Jul 02, 2012, 06:08 PM
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With the Blue Skies of New Mexico coming up (as the first opportunity to qualify), I started going over my equipment.

My airplanes needed some work after the Blue Skies of Colorado: Blaster #1, in particular: those repairs have been accomplished, and that airplane is waiting test flying. The other two airplanes (another Blaster 3 and a Legend) are in good shape - regular and reliable flyers.

My battery for charging gave up the ghost at the contest, just refuses to hold a charge (it's a lead-acid battery). So, it's off to AutoZone for a replacement.

Also, I wound up sharing my transmitter and one airplane with another contestant, and I became aware that I needed a larger-capacity transmitter battery. So, I sent an order to HobbyKing for two LiPos to fit my transmitter. They are "in the mail", and will get charged and installed in due course.

I have other stuff (a tool box, sun shade, airplane rack, folding chairs) but they are all adequate and I'm satisfied. It all fits on the PT Cruiser if I'm alone, and is easily compartmentalized if I share a ride. I even threw out the silly aluminum stakes that came with the sun shade, and substituted big nails. I can keep everything under shade and out of the rain. The only thing I haven't been able to deal with is carrying adhesives without spillage or leaks. Can't be done, so I don't do that anymore. Repairs are now done at home.

Yours, Greg
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Old Jul 02, 2012, 06:43 PM
Turn down for what?
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glidermang View Post
It was not easy to find out how to get started.


There has been a thread stickied at the top of this forum for a few years now where the process is discussed, where Tom posts official team documents, etc. All you needed to do was ask questions in that thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glidermang View Post
Basically, to qualify (according to Mr. Keisling - there is no official source documentation),
Tom has posted team program documents several times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glidermang View Post
I must attend an AMA-sanctioned contest of at least two days duration, with at least twenty people attending, and place in the top 30% of the preliminary rounds. If I cannot attend a two-day contest, I must perform the same at two, one-day contests.
The contest needs to be AMA sanctioned and needs to be on this calendar:

http://f3k.us/page3.html

You can qualify by placing in the top 30% of a 2 day contest with at least 6 pilots and 10 rounds or by placing in the top 30% of two single day contests with at least 6 pilots and at least 5 rounds. Prelim results are used.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glidermang View Post
There is a web site for F3K in the US, but it is privately maintained, and only the qualifying criteria are current (sort of). Go to f3k.us and select "USA F3K Team Selection League".
I would love to find a volunteer who is either good at html coding by hand or has the software to edit web pages to get this site a bit more current. Send me a PM offline if you can help.

Best of luck with your goal. It is a good one to have. Let me know if I can answer any other questions.

Ryan
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Old Jul 05, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Ryan:

I appreciate the comments, and thank you. In particular, I did not look at every portion of the f3k web site, just enough to see that it wasn't entirely up to date. That was my fault. That was also the point when I was put into contact with Tom Kiesling, and took the path that I have.

In the meantime, here is the official registration form. I didn't get it, I just called Colleen direct, but here it is:
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Old Jul 05, 2012, 11:01 PM
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The Blue Skies of New Mexico is coming up in a bout a week. I'm off work until afterwards, so there's plenty of time to get ready.

And also, plenty to do. I launched my Legend this afternoon, with the receiver disconnected. I hate being dumb, but I can't seem to get over it. It's repairable, and since it has been flying very well, I'll get it put back together. The only damage is to the fuselage.

My registration is in for the BSoNM. I'm still waiting for the new transmitter batteries to arrive. My two Blasters are flying very well, although I still have some minor work to do on one: the auto-connect for the wing servos came loose, and when I re-epoxied it, it now interferes with the ballast installation, and I sure wish I had had it today.

We are firmly in the grip of what we call the monsoon, with humidity and afternoon thunderstorms. The atmosphere has been hugely unstable the past three days. It has been perfect weather for practicing "find the thermal" (they ARE there, really!).

Yours< Greg
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 10:01 AM
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It turns out that today is the last day to prepare for the Blue Skies of New Mexico.

My registration is in, my LiPos are all charged, the replacement 12-volt source for my field charger is up and running. My new transmitter battery is not in, but on the way. I've got a volunteer set-up assignment from ASK, and my wife is even coming along to assist with scoring and logistics.

I've been over my airplanes, and fixed a bunch of little stuff. Also, some big stuff: I managed to launch my Legend on Friday with the receiver unplugged, while learning to use the radio timer. Life is hard, yes; but it's harder when you're dumb. A broken boom and fractured pod - spliced and buttressed with a 4-5 gram weight penalty. I flew it Sunday evening and it is fine, once again.

There are current 23 entries. I have to place 6th or 7th to qualify. I've looked at the task list, and know how well I have to do each one to make the grade. I've done that well in each task, but never for a whole contest, and that's the next big step: put it together, and hold it together.

Yours, Greg
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 10:06 AM
Turn down for what?
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glidermang View Post
There are current 23 entries. I have to place 6th or 7th to qualify.
You will want each of those 23 pilots to make flight attempts in at least 3 rounds. That typically isn't a problem but heads up on that. Entries are not counted in the # of pilots if they don't show up or if they only fly 1 or two rounds.

Ryan
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 10:35 AM
or F, J, K, or even TD
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Good luck Greg!

Mike
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 10:48 AM
Sink? Circling now to confirm.
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Good luck Greg, Hope you do well this week. To me, you sure appear to by flying better than last time we flew together.

I would just offer a little suggestion to help you this weekend.

Offer to time for whoever is in the lead after each round! And then drive them to the sink every time! Make sure the sink is 1/4 mile away at the least. Good LUCK!
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 12:13 PM
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I'll try to make you deserve that 6th or 7th place, or I'll be pushing you up from underneath.

Maybe your next chapter will be "How to pick a timer" , they can make or break a contest for you.

Philip
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Philip:

I know what you mean, I've literally lost entire rounds because the timer was unclear on his duties (partly my fault, for not making things understood). But overall, my timers have been very good - including you, and many thanks!

Yours, Greg

Yours, Greg
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Old Jul 11, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Nothing like last-minute emergencies: I was flying a bit yesterday, and a servo gave up the ghost on one of the Blasters. An aileron servo (Hyperion) started ratcheting at full deflection.

I had two in the spares box, so I've pulled both servos and replaced them. Check out this afternoon.

Other than that, we might be ready for the Blue Skies of New Mexico. Tomorrow we leave for Albuquerque.

Yours, Greg
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