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Oct 31, 2010, 02:19 PM
Dave Register
okiesoar's Avatar
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Event Format


OK, we’ve highlighted some of the history and the critical equipment for ALES in the US. For those who haven’t been to an event, what’s the event format look like?

Basically, it’s a simple thermal duration task with a landing. It’s flown MOM (Man-On-Man) with a single timer/assistant with each pilot. Each contestant in each flight group is assigned (or chooses) a landing circle and launches and lands from that circle and never has to move significantly away from it until the flight is complete. The launch is typically a mass launch occurring within ~ 5-10 seconds (or 30 seconds depending on format). All the contests thus far have been pre-seeded (all the flight groups are generated before the contest based on a random seeding algorithm). However, at Dayton the interest in seeded MOM was brought up (first round is random seeding, subsequent rounds are seeded based on scores in the preceding round).

That’s it in a nutshell. A few details:
- MOM was developed as an attempt to get a group of pilots into the same air at about the same time. On winches, about the best that can be done is a 3 minute or less separation among the pilots in the flight group and sometimes a wide disparity in launch heights depending on the strength of the plane and the winch. With winch-in-the-nose and the altimeter switches, the launch time is almost simultaneous and the achieved altitude is nearly identical for all participants.
- The NATS/Polecat/Dayton version of the task started with a 10 minute window with all members of the flight group launching within ~10 seconds of each other. The ASA version has a 30s launch window with the plane being launched any time within that window but the motor shut-off MUST be made at the end of that window. A 10 minute flight window follows the launch window.
- In either variant, the intent is to fly a standard TD event with the electric motor simply being an enabling launch device. In this case, the overhead for the CD is very low (no launch equipment, timing files, etc.). Since the contestants start and end at their own landing lane, there’s no wandering around the field looking up and tripping on fire-ant hills. And I do NOT miss the many times I’ve barked my shins on the trailer tongue after launch!
- The landing as flown this year is intended to be a small part of the overall score. It is flown on a 10m tape marked in 1m increments worth 5 points apiece (50 points for a perfect landing).
- From what I've seen, mass launches have not presented any unusual problems. In all of the contests thus far I’ve seen one launch ‘mishap’ when a faster plane overtook a slower one about 50ft up and munched the slower planes vertical stab. Other than that I haven’t seen other significant launch related mishaps. For instance, I tend to launch horizontal, get out about 100ft and then pull up once the field is a bit cleared. The mass launch is manageable without mishap with a little experience.
- Mass landings can be really cool. There haven’t been many but once or twice at NATS 4 or more planes were coming in within a few seconds of each other. From a spectators point of view it was really neat as you could tell who won by the ‘whoop’ at the landing circle.

I’ll simply note here that this is a format ideally suited for those who have been flying to US TD tasks. It requires very little administrative overhead from the CD and can accommodate small (club) and large (regional) groups of pilots. Once the launch and limiter format becomes comfortable to US pilots, the many variants of TD tasks could be usefully applied. But for now I believe the intent is to stick with the 2010 format for another year or so.

- Dave R
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Nov 01, 2010, 10:10 AM
Dave Register
okiesoar's Avatar
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Contest Kit


Don Harban has put together a 'contest kit' to facilitate a club's efforts to run or sponsor an ALES event. The kit consists of (see attached picture):

- 10 landing tapes and stakes (same ones we used at NATS and Dayton),
- 5 (or more) altitude switches,
- A CD with programs to seed and score a contest of up to 30 people.

With Don's kit, all you need to run a modest sized ALES event is a field operable computer (netbook works well), a flying site, a CD and a few pilots that want to give it a try. It really is that simple. Right now the kit has 5 loaner switches but I understand Don will be adding more as needed and as other vendor supply allows.

Don's intention with this kit is to make it available (by mail or.....) to groups or clubs that may not have the needed equipment readily available. This is a 'loaner' kit and the borrower should cover the cost of mailing it back to Don as soon as possible.

Right now the kit is here at my place (I borrowed it for the Dayton contest) but should be back at Don's a little later this week. It really works and really helps reduce the angst of setting up a club contest. You can contact Don about availability either through his Yahoo Groups site or by the message service here in RCG.
http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/RCALES/

- Dave R
Nov 01, 2010, 11:01 AM
Tailspin

More Data


May I suggest that any of you that are going to host a contest or be the CD of one, put a place on the score card for the plane information at a minimum.

This is one area where a data base of who won what with what would help. I know a lot of us, me included, kind of pick equipment on what some "expert at the time" says he has been successful with, not really scientific.

I for one would like to know in a couple of years of contests if one kind of plane has an advantage in what kind of conditions. So far, a lot of light bent wing planes are flown in this event and I have not seen any moldies compete so do not know if they are competitive or not.

I do not think motor/battery stuff is as important right now because anything that gets to 200M in 30s or less is good enough but maybe the domination of Supra class planes will not be as marked in this event as winch launch.

If this request kind of takes hold, I would volunteer to establish the data base or if there is some on line system we could all use (how about Google Docs?) and feed into, it would not take too much time and the information would be useful to all of us.

Jack
Nov 01, 2010, 11:33 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jiafret
May I suggest that any of you that are going to host a contest or be the CD of one, put a place on the score card for the plane information at a minimum.

This is one area where a data base of who won what with what would help. I know a lot of us, me included, kind of pick equipment on what some "expert at the time" says he has been successful with, not really scientific.

I for one would like to know in a couple of years of contests if one kind of plane has an advantage in what kind of conditions. So far, a lot of light bent wing planes are flown in this event and I have not seen any moldies compete so do not know if they are competitive or not.

I do not think motor/battery stuff is as important right now because anything that gets to 200M in 30s or less is good enough but maybe the domination of Supra class planes will not be as marked in this event as winch launch.

If this request kind of takes hold, I would volunteer to establish the data base or if there is some on line system we could all use (how about Google Docs?) and feed into, it would not take too much time and the information would be useful to all of us.

Jack
Jack,

I am working to modify the programs in the package to allow the collection of not only plane data, but also of flight and landing data. My intention is that the CD will have to enter Plane data, but the collection of flight and landing data will essentially be imbedded in the scoring program so if CD's will simply save the results and return the contest file, the flight data will be easily accessible to anybody's data base.

I also intend to increase the number of rounds that can be flown and scored.

In addition, the programs will be modified to facilitate the printing of personalized score cards which will include each contestant's flight group assignment for each round on the card.

All of this will be set up so that the only information which needs to be entered into the program is the contestant's name, frequency, plane type and flight times and scores for each round. The only cells that are active in the program are the ones needed for input entry -- everything else is locked and protected. The program furnishes current standings after each round.

That being said, it is designed to be very, very simple and as close to foolproof (if you can enter simple numbers and names) as possible.

Happy Landings,

Don
Nov 01, 2010, 03:42 PM
Dave Register
okiesoar's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by jiafret
May I suggest that any of you that are going to host a contest or be the CD of one, put a place on the score card for the plane information at a minimum.......
Jack
Jack makes a lot of excellent points. Although RCG is a convenient forum for discussion, archiving is tougher. A suggestion might be to post information here or on Don's Yahoo group and archive the summary over there? That way it's on-line and available.

Been meaning to post some overall comments along these lines. These don't cover all the planes that have been successful this year but reflect the general mix I've seen across the country. I'll try and 'harvest' some pics of representative planes from the contests and post tonight or tomorrow. I took a few pictures but not nearly enough to provide the kind of detailed feedback Jack highlights.

As a general answer for what we flew in the US in 2010, just about everything worked. I wouldn't say there was a dominant design across the country. One plane was a bit more successful than some but it's not a dominant design by any stretch. I’ll be happy to share the details of that one as it's a home-brew and not generally available.

At every event there’s been at least one Radian, sometimes more. They have all flown well and, as I recall, have placed at 2 events. I believe John Leuke put flaps in his (Muncie, Dayton) for 3rd at Muncie. John's plane predates the Radian Pro. I'm not sure if John used the stock power system. Bob Anson (San Diego) took 2nd (Sat) and 3rd (Sun) in outrunner class at Polecat with his Radian.

Also at Polecat, a SunDancer2 took 1st in AL while a PolyFlapDancer took 1st in Outrunner class. I'll dig up more data on the Polecat planes tonight.

At the other end of the size spectrum are several e-AVAs and e-Supras which have flown very capably. At Albuquerque Bruce Twining took 2nd in Unlimited with his e-Supra while Bob Burson took 2nd at Muncie with an e-AVA. As mentioned, a Radian took 3rd at Muncie while the SunDancer2 took 1st.

Also at Albuquerque, Buzz took second in 2.3, with a home-brew while Bruce took 3rd with (I forgot - sorry!). Dave Shoemaker took 3rd in Open with a Sky Sergio. A SunDancer2 took 1st in both 2.3m and Unlimited at Albuquerque.

At Dayton, John Mikena took 1st with a borrowed Vista (courtesy of John Leuke), Ed Franz took 2nd with a (?? what was that Ed?? I believe a 2m span plane) while the SunDancer2 took 3rd.

Other planes I've seen out there working very well include Buzz Averill's Gentle Lady e-conversion at Albuquerque, as well as several Electron's that have worked very nicely. Dennis Clingan's own design flew admirably at both Muncie and Albuqerque. Randy Brust flew Muncie and Polecat with a very nice ship but I've lost the details on that one.

Pictures of a number of these planes at Muncie can be found on pp10-11 of this Nats News:
http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/080210.pdf

Generally, bigger flies better but there’s a trade-off between larger planes that work efficiently at altitude and smaller ones that favor low level lift. The conditions across the US have varied enough that sometimes the smaller guys are favored and sometimes the larger ones. Floaters have worked fine but my impression is a plane that can cover some ground has an advantage. I think when we look to Europe, that trend seems to hold up – 2.5 to 3m spans built fairly light and capable of covering some ground.

Sorry there isn’t an exhaustive list. At this point I’d really encourage any ALES pilots that may be following this thread to offer their experience. But quite frankly every event has seen a potpourri of plane with a mix of Radians, 2m kits/ARFs, 3m+ e-conversions and home designs.

- Dave R
Last edited by okiesoar; Nov 01, 2010 at 10:27 PM.
Nov 01, 2010, 07:35 PM
Tobias (aka glider hangaround)
Fluffracka's Avatar
Thanks for a very informative thread and all the work you have done, it is a great inspiration and gives ideas for trying to get some interest for ALES here in Sweden. A small group up north has tried a similar format this summer with nice results and happy pilots, so maybe the time has come to get this rolling next season.

And a small suggestion to dharban, wouldnt it be an nice idea that every club, group, cd and whoever that borrows the contest kit ads a CAM switch as thanks. Then the kit pretty soon would have even more switches to use, a simple way of make a "good for me, good for you, good for us, good for them" development that everyone benefits from...
Nov 01, 2010, 07:47 PM
You looking at me?
Ed Franz's Avatar
My plane Dave, is my much loved Cox Dust Devil. You are correct that it is a two meter. Power is a Axi 2820-10 on 2 cells.

Ed
Nov 01, 2010, 07:48 PM
You looking at me?
Ed Franz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharban
Jack,

I am working to modify the programs in the package to allow the collection of not only plane data, but also of flight and landing data. My intention is that the CD will have to enter Plane data, but the collection of flight and landing data will essentially be imbedded in the scoring program so if CD's will simply save the results and return the contest file, the flight data will be easily accessible to anybody's data base.

I also intend to increase the number of rounds that can be flown and scored.

In addition, the programs will be modified to facilitate the printing of personalized score cards which will include each contestant's flight group assignment for each round on the card.

All of this will be set up so that the only information which needs to be entered into the program is the contestant's name, frequency, plane type and flight times and scores for each round. The only cells that are active in the program are the ones needed for input entry -- everything else is locked and protected. The program furnishes current standings after each round.

That being said, it is designed to be very, very simple and as close to foolproof (if you can enter simple numbers and names) as possible.

Happy Landings,

Don
Is the program going to allow for seeded MoM?

Ed
Nov 01, 2010, 08:16 PM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Franz
Is the program going to allow for seeded MoM?

Ed
The programs that I have written assign flight groups to contestants to ensure reasonably random distributions between and among competitors. The objective in each of them is to have really dirt simple programs to support initial attempts using this rule. There are three programs -- one which accommodates up to thirty contestants and three flight groups with up to three entrants sharing the same frequency, one which accommodates up to 20 contestants and two flight groups with up to two entrants sharing the same frequency and one which accommodates up to 10 contestants and one flight group.

These programs are very, very simple to use -- as mistake proof as possible -- and intended to facilitate a minimum of delay between rounds.

I believe that we are approaching the time when it will be reasonable to require contestants to either fly 2.4 or show up with "dial a crash" modules on their 72mhz systems which will allow seeded contests to be arranged without having to accommodate frequency conflicts. While I like seeded MOM as much as everyone, as a contestant who frequently travels great distances to contests, I would rather fly than sit around waiting for flight group assignments between rounds.

I am about 3/4 of the way into a sort of "universal" seeded MOM which assumes no frequency conflicts. It will accommodate up to 120 entrants in flight groups of up to 15 contestants each -- but it will also support small contests with smaller flight groups. It can be switched on to accommodate and assign reflights if desired and it can be switched on to accommodate throw-outs if desired. Immediately after entering a round's scores it will print out current standings and round scores and assign flight groups to the contestants. Like the three "kit" programs it is simple and virtually impossible to accidentally mess up. It is protected and locked except for cells which require entry. There is no need to duplicate entries which are made once -- like the entrant's names.

As time allows I will be posting files for all of these programs on the Yahoo Group for interested groups to test and use. I will also be posting screen shots and instructions for them. The files for the 1.0 versions of the first three programs should be posted within a week or so.

This will not be completed all at once, but certainly in time for next year's events.

I believe that one of the things that will help ALES competitions invigorate interest in our sport will be the simplicity and "compactness" of conducting these competitions. With a little planning, contests can be held on 5 acre or less sites with scorekeeping, even for large events, done very simply by a single scorekeeper. The need for assistants and "traffic cops" should be reduced significantly. And the ability to get much more flying in for each of the competitors should increase interest substantially.

Happy Landings,

Don
Nov 02, 2010, 03:35 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiesoar
Generally, bigger flies better but there’s a trade-off between larger planes that work efficiently at altitude and smaller ones that favor low level lift. The conditions across the US have varied enough that sometimes the smaller guys are favored and sometimes the larger ones. Floaters have worked fine but my impression is a plane that can cover some ground has an advantage. I think when we look to Europe, that trend seems to hold up – 2.5 to 3m spans built fairly light and capable of covering some ground.

- Dave R
I'm an American living in Spain where we have had about 1 1/2 years of experience with this format. We copied the UK rules with the exception of only having one single open category.
I can confirm what has been said elsewhere in this forum. The formula generated immediate interest and quickly grew in popularity. The reasons are multiple: 1) fairness (we had plenty of experience with other rules formats being gamed); 2) simplicity and ease of administration; 3) cost effectiveness (no need for expensive engine setups because whatever can get you to 200m in 30s is ok); and 4) focus (on TD and not on motors, engine efficiency, landing or other factors).

With respect to successful planes, some plane characteristic began to stand out quickly. The concept does seem to favor a larger plane. The smallest winner we have is about 2.8m. The largest planes entered into contests are about 3.6m.
But, the concept also tends to favor good pilots! (That seems obvious, but it's not.) In the past, we had people who won because they had figured out good engine/prop combinations, or because they had a very competitive plane. Now, pilots with good thermaling skills tend to stand out more. Recently, we had a number of competitions in which well-piloted homemade planes won.

What was said above about the importance of conditions is true. Windy conditions definitely favor the planes with higher wing loading and better penetration. We have lots of molded planes that compete and do very well. One contest was won by a Pike Perfect. Supras have done well. The traditional problem of molded airplanes is that they all struggle with their weight. (Welcome to the club I guess.) It's less a problem of efficiency than it is of maneuverabilty and landing.
It appears that many of the manufacturers including Pike and Nan are coming out with special light versions of their traditional 53J planes. I recently did well with a Mibo Electra, which is a light version of their Vision Plus (http://f5jes.files.wordpress.com/201...iru0014f5j.jpg).

What can be said generally about the molded planes is that the flying style is completely different from the covered rib planes. The moldies tend to be bigger, heavier and fly further and faster. They permit a strategic use of the field. I can easily fly my Electra (3.5m) over 600 meters away, and can move from place to place quickly to catch thermals. The lighter planes just can't move that fast or far. For the pilot, this requires a whole new strategy and way of thinking.

On the other hand, in light conditions with small thermals, the circling ability of the lightest planes is an advantage. They also tend to do better than molded planes when landing. Over here, the Pulsar 3600 and the 3200 have stood out. They perform extremely well and are very popular even with relatively inexperienced pilots for their performance and ease of handling.
Nov 02, 2010, 08:34 AM
LSF303-AMA Fellow
tkallev's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Franz
Is the program going to allow for seeded MoM?

Ed
Ed, at the local level, the program doesn't need to support seeded MoM ... just sort the score cards into the proper order and cut by the number of pilot stations.
Nov 02, 2010, 09:23 AM
You looking at me?
Ed Franz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkallev
Ed, at the local level, the program doesn't need to support seeded MoM ... just sort the score cards into the proper order and cut by the number of pilot stations.
On the scoring program we used at Dayton, Dave could not do that for some reason. Maybe he can explain what the issue was that stopped him from doing a resort of the scores. It may have been the pre assignment of all the rounds, I am not certain of that.

Ed
Nov 02, 2010, 09:25 AM
Registered User
I have the f3k scoring program on the computer and its simple to use. Is there one i can Download for the US ALES?
Nov 02, 2010, 09:36 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazykayak75
I have the f3k scoring program on the computer and its simple to use. Is there one i can Download for the US ALES?
I will be posting three programs on the RCALES Yahoo website within a day or two.

Got to go vote -- and I may have to stand in line for a couple of days with our crazy long ballot.

Happy Landings,

Don
Nov 02, 2010, 01:49 PM
LSF303-AMA Fellow
tkallev's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Franz
On the scoring program we used at Dayton, Dave could not do that for some reason. <snip>
Just sort the physical score cards ... you know, MANUALLY?

tk


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