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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 23, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbeach View Post
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
The electric SBXC I built a number of years ago was intended to cart launch. The customer supplied the cart along with the SBXC kit and power package; I put it together, tested and debugged the whole thing until it launched succcessfully from the dolly. This was written up and published in Quiet Flyer, May 2003 issue.

One key to the self-launch success was that the net thrust angle while on the cart was slightly down to ensure that the plane did not lift from the cart before adequate flight speed was attained. This lesson cost a $50 set of carbon prop blades, but was a necessary step in the process. Once I added shims to the cart deck to make the thrust angle 3-5 of degrees down, I could "drive" the plane as long as necessary to get up to speed, then rotate and lift off at will. Customer had no issues and flew the plane successfully.

JT
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:28 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
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Curious about x-country weight ...

Isn't a good chunk of the weight, the lead acid battery up front?...
Can't that be reduced?... or do you want it to max out in weight?
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Sharp View Post
Curious about x-country weight ...

Isn't a good chunk of the weight, the lead acid battery up front?...
Can't that be reduced?... or do you want it to max out in weight?
XC planes generally fly better at max FAI allowable weight. The floaters that fly XC generally suffer due an inability to penetrate. Thus, max weight at the desired CG is optimal. Exactly where the CG is can be a matter of taste, but you still prefer to max the all up weight at just a smidge under 11 lbs.

JT
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 11:22 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
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Thanks for clearing that up for me.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:37 PM
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Well I might as well jump in here.

We have a very successful ALES series going at our club, so I know that format well. I am co-CD for the club event. We have even had people join the club just so they can participate.

I have never flown XC so I am not that familiar with the rules and process, but it seems to me, as has been stated, that this is just an alternate launch method. Unlike TD, launch height doesn't seem to be all that important as time and distance don't start till you enter the course and that doesn't happen till you say it happens. Right?


Launch Advantage?

If you fly an electric launched class and a pure glider class, then this question does not apply. But if you are mixing them, then this question might apply. Does the amount of time burned up getting high enough to enter the course impact your score? I would presume it does as it would consume some of the flight window, if there is a flight window.

Would the electrics have an advantage with a 200 meter launch? Naturally you can set launch height it to anything you want but just asking as I have never flown XC.


Relights -

As far as scoring goes, to me a relight is the same as a zero flight. I presume that means you have to go back and start over as if no flight was made. It is the pilot's choice to forefit the flight to save the plane.

I don't know how it works for pure gliders. If they land out and go back to the start to relaunch do they get credit for time and distance for that leg or do they take a zero and start over?

When we chose the ALES unit for our club contests we chose the Soaring Circuits CAM unit because it would allow a relight if you were below launch height. We were far more concerned about safety than about anyone trying to cheat. But I am sure that a restart indicator could be added to the CAM unit if that were necessary.



Safety -

Like it or not, having that motor onboard and having it able to restart at low altitude adds a measure of safety to XC. If you land out with a pure glider you could end up in a bad place with little or no option to avoid a situation. For typical TD or F3J events that is not as much of an issue as we are typically flying over a field or not all that far out.

But for XC you are planning to fly "off field" over areas where RC soaring would not normally take place. That means that off field landings can be in bad places. Having the motor restart option may encourage you to take risks but it can also mean avoiding hurting someone, damaging property or getting XC banned in the future because you hit someone's home, their car or their kid. Some may say that having seat belts in a car encourages reckless driving, but I am glad they are required anyway.


Will I join in?

I have not decided if I will attend the NATs this year. And I have not looked at the calendar to see where XC falls. But if I go, and if there is an ALES/XC, and if this is adjacent to an event I plan to fly I might take a spin with an e-Supra.

I don't have anywhere to fly XC where I live so I would not build or buy an XC ship knowing I have no way to practice. But I would consider taking a shot with a ballasted e-Supra.

If that worked out well then I could see me building an E- as it might open up practice opportunities on Long Island that I would not attempt with a pure glider.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Miamisburg OH
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Back to my launch question. It sounds like a launch dolly is the best answer for the heavy planes. I did launch the Pegasus from a dolly the first few times I winched it but since it only stayed there for about 5 ft, I just started launching from the ground. The only problem I see with the dolly is having enough smooth ground to launch from. Some fields that I fly from are rough enough to toss the plane off the dolly before it reaches flying speed. JT, how much space did the E-SBXC need to get airborne?
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lueke View Post
Back to my launch question. It sounds like a launch dolly is the best answer for the heavy planes. I did launch the Pegasus from a dolly the first few times I winched it but since it only stayed there for about 5 ft, I just started launching from the ground. The only problem I see with the dolly is having enough smooth ground to launch from. Some fields that I fly from are rough enough to toss the plane off the dolly before it reaches flying speed. JT, how much space did the E-SBXC need to get airborne?
John,
As I recall (this was back in 2003) it took 50-75' of roll before I was satisfied that I had sufficient speed and rotated to climbout. This was a 15# plane and a project for someone else, so extra safety margin was in order. Considering the same plane had been hand launched on its maiden flight by a friend running and throwing before I hit the power, I'm guessing 8-10 mph is plenty of foward speed.

JT
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 12:19 PM
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One thing to consider if using the ALES CAM limiter is that (if I understand the CAM correctly) the limiter sets its initial altitude on the ground at the start when you power it up. If set to 200 meters it will shut the motor off at 200 meters above the initial launch point and not allow a "restart" until the sailplane falls below 200 meters agl. For example if launched to 200 meters and then altitude falls to 160 meters a restart would be possible but the CAM would shut down the motor once 200 meters is reached resulting in only a 40 meter climb.

In XC flying this would not be a problem as long as the entire course only varies in ground altitude by a few meters. If the course had sections, or hills, where the ground level rose more than 200 meters the CAM would not allow a restart in those sections. I'm thinking the southernmost section of the Cal Valley course where ground altitude rises 900 ft over the starting ground altitude.

correct me if I am wrong in my understanding of how the CAM limiter operates

Steve
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Well, then you could not restart. Kinda like a pure glider.

Oh well.
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Old Dec 27, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Winch Launching an XC ship

I have a Vyger at about 11lbs, you can see it go up on the winch on my YouTube channel "GordySoar".

I do it myself...well after I changed the original CG from 30% to 45%...and changed all the pushrods, and servos. Like most ships of its day there was a lot of flex and slop in surfaces, so having the CG at 30% made sense to keep it from tucking at dive speed. But once I tightened everything up, there is no flexing...so no worries about tucking and blowing up.

Without all that nose weight, I can left hand throw it for a glide, vesus the original smash.

It also dramatically changed how it handled in the air.

I've thought about converting it to electric launch also, since its tough to winch launch....well.

But then I thought...nah. Like Marc mentioned, for one or two days of flying a year...not worth the expense. Conversion would be very simple now days in any case.

Relight for zero works for me....actually relight to land....after passing goal would be fine too, since the task is done.
I'd considering doing it at for the NATs.
Gordy
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 04:45 PM
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ALES XC at the 2013 NATS - YES!

It's official. We will have an ALES XC competition class at this year's NATS.

Practice day is Friday June 28, competition days on the 29th and 30th. We'll be on the same course as last year, which is very XC friendly. Preregistration is encouraged, but onsite registration will be available. All planes must be flown on 2.4G.

I'm working on rules for the event, and they will be posted soon over in the cross country soaring forum. That thread is at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1781109

I won't start a new poll, but I do have a question.

As long as the 200 meter motor shutoff occurs, does the motor run time matter? Or putting it another way, should ALES ships be required to land prior to each 'power up'?

For winch ships, we allow unlimited launch attempts prior to entering the course. Obviously, they have to land in order to relaunch. Should we make ALES planes land before relaunching? If not, then the limit of a 30 second max motor run seems meaningless. I anticipate someone would get to 150 meters in the first thirty seconds, let the switch reset, and then power up again to get to 200 meters.

Regardless of how many motor runs are allowed to get to 200 meters, ALES ships must shut off the motor prior to entering the course. Additionally any motor run subsequent to entering the course will void the flight (zero score).

Comments? Questions? Who'll be first to say "Count me in!"

David
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 05:08 PM
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Dave, I'm your huckleberry!

And in my mind, I do not care about a powerup for a relite of an ALES ship, IF: the pilot is "standing at the launchsite". Seems pretty simple to me, but do not really care if it is not flown that way.

Marc
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 05:46 PM
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First I would like to say thanks to David Beach for making this happen. I am sorry that I will not be able to participate.

I presume this is ALES vs. ALES not ALES vs. winched gliders.

As long as it is ALES vs. ALES, it doesn't matter what rules you impose on the launch and relight prior to entering the course. HOWEVER, not all ALES units will let you relight without resetting on the ground, or so I believe. If you are going to allow a reclimb before landing, before entering the course, then that could influence which ALES unit the pilots use.

Likewise, if you are going to offer a relight when on the course, with a penalty, that needs to be known in advance as it may influence what ALES unit people buy.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 06:11 PM
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The launch is just an annoying necessity:-)

Don't confuse XC with TD
Altitude Limited in the case of XC makes sense because it makes the pilot have to be thermally competent enough to gain "start" altitude. And while its possible to go on course for 700' ....hopefully the crew wouldn't bother.

Restart till your LIpos burst in a blaze of fire:-)

Up to 200m
The rest should be up to the pilot

Restarting will speed things up likely allowing more guys into the race.

So yeah let them eat cake..er I mean restart ....and trust that some one wont while in course.
Gordy
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 06:21 PM
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Not sure yet if I can make to the NATS this year, but I am most of the way through converting an old Pegasus to e-power. Geared Nue 1509 in the nose weighs nearly as much as the lead that was in there to get the cg reasonable. Shooting for 1200 watts. I left the normal towhook under the wing on it, and added an aerotow release under the motor. So that is three ways to get it in the air. Only thing left would be to add a throwing peg on the left wingtip.
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