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View Poll Results: What is your interest in ALES XC competition
What a ridiculous idea! Are you kidding? 1 1.64%
OK for some, but not me. 2 3.28%
Iím interested, but only if Iím not penalized for using my motor for a safe off-field landing. 13 21.31%
Iím interested and prepared to take a zero flight if I power up anywhere on the course. 40 65.57%
Great idea, Iíll help put rules together and run a contest. 11 18.03%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Dec 09, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Joined Nov 2005
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Steve, those are some ideas for sure. To me, the purity of flying the event just using the ALES launch has great appeal and I think that ships like the Aspire and Tragi can be used as is. Just have to battery up for the possibility of flying about 8 hours is my only problem. I have not gone through the process of fitting some more Mah in the airborne pack, but that can be done. Since I can get the altitude telemetry module in the ship, I can go with out a vario and go from there.

Around here, XC is a one contest a year, so I am not going to far with this because the investment is not worth it. But for a couple days a year, it could be fun!

Marc
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 01:14 PM
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United States, CA, San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVSS Boss View Post
Steve, those are some ideas for sure. To me, the purity of flying the event just using the ALES launch has great appeal and I think that ships like the Aspire and Tragi can be used as is.

Marc
I would suggest that "purity" is already not an issue since we already have all sorts of gadgets like the vario and altitude telemetry accepted as normal stuff. Electric power is just another tool to use in making XC more attractive.

Steve
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 01:19 PM
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USA, IL, Wheeling
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Originally Posted by sneu View Post
Electric power is just another tool to use in making XC more attractive.
+ a Billion, Steve
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Old Dec 09, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Joined Nov 2005
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But Steve, I guess I said that in reference to figuring the winner by miles traveled vs. introducing some electrical measurement into some formula. The use of the ALES launch just eliminates one more winch.

Marc
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 03:26 PM
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United States, CA, Diamond Springs
Joined Mar 2004
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Originally Posted by sneu View Post
How about thinking a little different and add efficiency to eXC? In my opinion thinking of a electric motor as a "winch in the nose" is not taking advantage of the interesting options it offers.

Here is one possible idea that could be fun--using the same logging devices that are being used for F5B gliders, measure the total electrical energy used to complete the task.Using energy and time combined to determine the score would make for a interesting event. In addition landing off field would be unnecessary since the motor could be restarted to get out of a bad situation making more areas available to eXC than are to winch launched planes.

The energy information can be easily read from the onboard logging device or can also be sent down to the ground by telemetry using the data link built in to newer radios or by a separate transmitter. I have been flying such a device for nearly a year in my F5B glider and it works fine. In the stand alone version only 2 connections are needed to the power leads between the battery and controller.

Electric power could open up eXC to other planes that would not normally be considered a XC suitable. Smaller planes like the Aspire and other F3J planes could be pressed into use by those wanting to give XC a try.

Steve Neu
This is an interesting idea. In California the XC community flies non-powered XC specific designs on three courses, Montague, Davis and Cal Valley. We use winches. My club, SVSS also does an annual XC fun fly called the "Thermal Safari" which is a two day event on various courses out in the country varying from 30 to 50 miles. Adapting this to E-XC would open up all sorts of great potential courses that we dont currently fly mostly due to a lack of suitable landout spots. For instance I would love to fly a course circumnavigating the Sutter Buttes here in N. Calilf..

For scoring (if it was a race vs. a fun fly) the total energy used combined with some sort of average speed factor to determine placing sounds interesting. Everyone finishes and there would still be a method to determine the best pilot standings. I would love to be able to use an Aspire for XC but good luck fitting enough battery, vario, gps, etc., in that skinny fuse.

Of course, we would lose the white knuckle XC experience of desperate low saves and landing out which is also a big part of the XC "adventure".

Steve
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Amherst, NH
Joined Apr 2005
379 Posts
28 votes cast so far

First I'd like to thank everyone for voting and letting their opinions be known. I think there is an opportunity here to pump some frankly sorely needed fresh blood into the cross country soaring community.

I'll offer my opinon on some of the points raised so far.
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiesoar View Post
...One of the performance trade-offs is likely that the e-launch ship will be heavier.
- Dave R
Dave - the guys that are serious competitors in XC today are flying at the FAI limit for weight. The popular events (see http://xcsoaring.com) are stricly races where speed == weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudyIFR View Post
... There is a huge difference if you know you can save the model as you'll be more apt to range farther out in the search for lift than with a model with no motor in the nose. ...
Curtis
Montana
Curtis - That maybe so, but for some guys the pain of 'taking a zero' is almost as bad as losing a plane. The risk/reward thing is not a forgone conclusion in my mind, but we will likely learn more with experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by okiesoar View Post
... The 200m limit (660ft) would make the launch roughly consistent with a decent winch launch (specific altitude number might need to be discussed but 200m is a starting point). 30s is to keep from ranging all over the field during the launch. The thought being to make e-launch roughly comparable to a winch launch.
- Dave R
Dave - I think there are very few (if any) really competitive XC ships that launch that high even with maximum line lengths. But the competition is not about launch height, there is a lot of pilot work to be done before leaving the course and accumulating distance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkallev View Post
"ALES" is really just another launch method ... more people are coming around to that way of thinking.

Progress ...
+1 - XC is not about the launch, or the spot landing for that matter.

I've gotten enough encouragement from the responses here to approach the LSF board about opening the 2013 XC event to ALES equipped sailplanes. No promises, but it might be a good time to start looking at motor/battery combinations for that dusty old XC ship I know some of you have.

Let's see - 30 seconds of motor run on each additional launch attempt equals how many fewer minutes of flying time on the course?

More to come,
David
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 04:50 PM
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No. VA
Joined Nov 2004
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I'm not an XC pilot, so take this for what it's worth. I think that relights on the course could be a time advantage for ALES (only so much usable daylight), as they don't have to lay out the winch and bring it in again. If the winch-launch pilot has to return to the beginning of the course for a relight (e.g. because he left the winch behind), that's a big disadvantage. Also, having the ability to use the motor in flight presents a temptation for abuse that simply isn't there with a winch launch. I'm not saying anyone would cheat, but might the traditional pilots question an ALES pilot who happened to do really well?
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Wazmmo, there is no relite on course, you would need to go back to the start field to initiate another flight. You cannot start another attempt on course if I was CD'ing.

Dave Register made a comment about wieght. My Tragi wieghs 70 for ALES, now, if I get about three times the RX battery and do what I have to to get the CG back, I am guessing that will add another 10oz. So, I am guessing 80oz all up ready to go and any ship we fly now at that weight will be loaded, but can you imagine what it will be like when you head down course at altitude, wow baby!

Marc
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 05:56 PM
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One other thought. I conversed with another ALES guy today, how many guys are really looking to fly this? I might, but if no one else is I am out.

Marc
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 09:05 AM
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United States, IL, New Lenox
Joined Feb 2005
79 Posts
Xc ales

Marc & All,

Not sure if I can even make the NATS. But, I am very interested in trying XC again (you set the hook last year). Having ALES as a launch method would be my preferred method if I can make the show.

Ron
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 12:40 AM
Sailplane Flyer
Berthoud CO
Joined Oct 2007
367 Posts
This summer I completed an e-conversion of my 4m Orca for exactly this purpose.

I wanted an easy way to practice and learn more about XC and it is awesome. For my first XC flight with the Orca I grabbed my son and his buddy, launched with a 10 second motor run, jumped in the car in we flew 32 miles straight line. I brought it down at that point from a stiff neck and no co-pilot.

Skip and I also used it to chart out a new course in our area and again it worked great. If you got into a pickle apply power.

For a true competition you could simply remove the propeller blades and launch via a winch. After all the motor is just ballast at that point...

For an ALES version contest you could keep it simple by allowing an estimated launch height and then all normal XC rules could apply - correct?

My transmitter motor switch also starts a timer which in this case provides an easy record of motor run time which could be recorded and observed when you leave the start and then again when you land to verify no motor runs.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Tulsa, OK
Joined May 2004
2,691 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeverzuh View Post
This summer I completed an e-conversion of my 4m Orca for exactly this purpose.

I wanted an easy way to practice and learn more about XC and it is awesome. For my first XC flight with the Orca I grabbed my son and his buddy, launched with a 10 second motor run, jumped in the car in we flew 32 miles straight line. I brought it down at that point from a stiff neck and no co-pilot.

Skip and I also used it to chart out a new course in our area and again it worked great. If you got into a pickle apply power.

For a true competition you could simply remove the propeller blades and launch via a winch. After all the motor is just ballast at that point...

For an ALES version contest you could keep it simple by allowing an estimated launch height and then all normal XC rules could apply - correct?

My transmitter motor switch also starts a timer which in this case provides an easy record of motor run time which could be recorded and observed when you leave the start and then again when you land to verify no motor runs.
Actually, Mike, the ALES version of XC would probably default to the switches that we already use which cut the motor off at a preset altitude/motor run time limit. While there are several versions of these switches out there, some of them (even the inexpensive ones) can provide confirmation that the motor has not been restarted.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 09:16 AM
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Miamisburg OH
Joined Dec 2003
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A question for the experienced XC pilots. When you winch launch the planes that are right up against the weight limit, do you have a helper toss the plane or do you use a launch dolly? I recently picked up an old Pegasus and was thinking about chopping the nose off and replacing the lead with a Neu 1509 and gearbox to have more opportunities to use the plane. I have winched it from the ground but wonder if a ten pound electric sailplane can be reliably hand launched.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Amherst, NH
Joined Apr 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lueke View Post
A question for the experienced XC pilots. When you winch launch the planes that are right up against the weight limit, do you have a helper toss the plane or do you use a launch dolly? I recently picked up an old Pegasus and was thinking about chopping the nose off and replacing the lead with a Neu 1509 and gearbox to have more opportunities to use the plane. I have winched it from the ground but wonder if a ten pound electric sailplane can be reliably hand launched.
John, with a winch it's typically a good throw from an experienced helper or ROG. I've used a dolly for aero-tow with great success, but never tried it with an ALES ship. I think it will work fine, but I don't have any first hand experience (at least NOT YET).

David
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:24 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
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I'd be willing to be a team member for anyone wanting to practice first.

Semi local States, of course.
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