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Jun 10, 2011, 02:27 PM
Curtis Suter's Avatar

Montana ALES

I held an ALES clinic last Sunday at the Helena Flying Tiger's R/C Flying Club field. It was a huge success!

My thought was, if you build it they will come. My hopes were to get a few folks interested in competing with their models. This will certainly teach the modeler not only how to fly more precisely but inevitably will help you learn more about mother nature, lift/sink, precision landings, aerodynamics and how to build a better airplane.

I gave a short dissertation about what a contest consists of. Then we walked out to the flight line and I gave sample flight with a timer and explained what I was looking for and how to time my approach to landings.

Then we held a contest with the nine pilots that had an ALES capable plane. Since we didn't have altitude limiters we just launched, got the planes to what appeared to be a similar altitude then started our watches. We flew a 3,5 and 4 minute task. We didn't have landing tapes so we threw out a baseball hat and stepped off 30 steps for a max of 30 points. None of this is very scientific but it gave folks an idea if contest flying was something they were interested in. The final result was a resounding YES!

So much so that 16 CAM's were purchased! Yahoo! Contests are coming to Montana!

The third place winner was won with someone with limited glider experience flying an electrified Oly II. On the four minute round a Multiplex Easy Star flew 5 seconds short of the target time and scored a 24 on landing! Now this is with a glider that's not really a glider. Amazing. Smiles all around.

So all in all I'm very happy with the results of our first outing. I have landing tapes on order and the CAM's will be here in a few days. I think the last Sunday of June I'll plan on another ALES contest with proper limiters, landing tapes and computerized scoring.

Curtis Suter
Last edited by Curtis Suter; Dec 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM.
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Jun 10, 2011, 05:02 PM
Registered User
That is one beautiful backdrop for flying !!!!!!!
I'm jealous Grats on your success sounds like a lot of fun.
Jun 11, 2011, 10:24 AM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
Dan explained ALES very nicely, the post was on the Slope forum here:

Please allow me to explain just a tad bit more.
It seems that ALES is mirroring F3J contest format.
You have Flight Rounds (Tasks), Flight Groups and then a fly off round.

The rounds in F3J are 10 minute tasks followed by the top 10% making the flyoff round where they then compete as a new contest with 15 minute tasks. Landings are a tape that's 10 meters long graduated in 1 meter lengths with 5 points per meter. So maximum landing score is 50 points.

So let's say you have 12 pilots and you wish to fly 6 people at a time thus you'd have two flight groups, A and B. So flight group A will launch all at the same time and when they either get to 200meters or 30 seconds their motor will stop. They will have a timer standing next to them and when the model leaves the launchers hand the task time will start. The clock stops when the plane hits anything attached to the ground; i.e. tree, grass, building, person etc...

After all six pilot's have landed their scores are added up. One point per second till the max flight time then the score is reduced by one point per second. Then these scores are normalized across the six pilots thus the top pilot receives 1000 points. Then the landing points are added and you have a winner in that group.

This is then repeated in flight group B.

So after both flight groups A and B are done you'll have two folks with 1,000 point scores, one for group A and one for Group B. Then the groups are randomly sorted and you then fly subsequent rounds.

At the end of the contest you may have flown 5 rounds (tasks) and everyone has flown against as many different pilots as possible and winner will be awarded!

I think I'm making it sound more complicated than what it is, but that's why I held the clinic. Anyway, don't be afraid of flying in a contest, it's easier than what you think and it's a lot of fun.

The altitude limiter is available at Soaring Circuits.

I have placed an order for 16 and they will be here early next week.

Next contest is tentatively scheduled for the 25th or 26th of June. I have some details to work out prior to that. Such as finding a suitable field! :-)

Jun 11, 2011, 10:28 AM
Soaring Circuits
rcbrust's Avatar
I'm heading down to the post office now with a box of 16 CAMs.

Should see them early next week.

Jun 13, 2011, 10:03 AM
Registered User


Curtis, Congratulations on your first ALES event. The Penticton club here in British Columbia, Canada, is putting on their first ALES contest on the 1st August, in Okanagan Falls, just half an hour north of Oroville Washington State. If you could give me a contact somewhere down there in the Spokane or Wenatchee area who might be interested, we would be glad to have them attend.We are holding monthly practices, It is a great way to compete with gliders, isn't it?This event is listed in the Ales thread.My e-mailis <>Ken Gregory.
Jun 13, 2011, 02:46 PM
Curtis Suter's Avatar

I won't be able to make it as my Mom, brother and sister are coming that week. Only my Mom has been to our home so this will be a big treat.

However, I'll pass the word along.
Have fun!
Jun 30, 2011, 10:04 PM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
Some great news folks. If you think you need the highest tech glider to have fun and compete in ALES events, you're wrong.

Check out the recent contest results in Carlisle, PA.

Here is the Radian

Here is prop and battery recommendations

I have to get with the field owner and do a drive by to ensure it's suitable but hold the date for the 23rd of July.

Jul 22, 2011, 02:07 PM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
The Helena, MT ALES contest is on!

The weather looks great.

Pilot's meeting at 9am and flying starts immediately thereafter so please come in time to assembly your plane and have your batteries charged!

I also need to know of any 72Mhz frequencies so I can sort out conflicts.

I thought after the FunTest we could have lunch at Yacht Basin that's only four miles East of the flying site.

There are no facilities at this location but some shade will be setup for the scoring booth. Please bring your own choice of hydration and don't forget sunscreen!

More details are at

Jul 24, 2011, 07:39 AM
Surf's up!!
sixty9mustang's Avatar

What a Great Day!

Hey Curtis,

I just wanted to say thanks for hosting a very fun day! I had a blast visiting and flying with everyone yesterday. I had one of my personal best thermal flying and look forward to many more. The location is perfect in my mind, I felt very unrestricted as to ranging out and looking for thermals.

I would also like to thank Don Hurd for the thermal instruction, very good coach and all around nice guy. He gave me some very helpful tips that will not be forgotten. As a result my last flight was by far my most fun, I really felt like I improved my skills in just the 3 flights I had yesterday. THANK YOU!

I did get a few pictures and was hoping to get more, but was busy either flying or timing, so the few I got were after the contest and while Arlen and Dan were just having some fun.


thank you,
Jul 24, 2011, 11:32 AM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
Yes it was a great day!

I saw a whole lot of smiling faces. It seems that we all may need to purchase a Radian!

For contest results and the scoring spreadsheet please visit

Tentatively the next contest will be the 20th of August.

Thanks for the great time!
Jul 25, 2011, 03:41 PM
Surf's up!!
sixty9mustang's Avatar
I may need to get a Radian for my kids to learn on
Aug 10, 2011, 10:26 AM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
During the contest last month in the first round, flight Group B, I was timing for Arlen and he had a wonderful flight!

There were five pilots flying in this group and at 5:38 four of the pilots were on the ground. I told Arlen that he could land at any time as no matter what he'd earn 1,000 points. However, I suggested that he keep flying as he would bury the other contestants in the scoring! It's a friendly competition you know.

I did stress not to worry so much about getting to 10 minutes exactly but to concentrate on a landing score. He flew a 9:46 and earned a 35 point landing. Way to go Arlen!

Best of all, this was his first ever precision thermal duration flight in his life!

Here are the scores in Flight Group B:
Arlen T. 1035
Chip B. 577
Jim L. 507
Dan L. 387
Gary F. 285

Now let's say that Arlin decided to land right after Chip B. at say six minutes even. Either way he would have gotten 1,000 points plus his landing bonus.

Now this is what the scores would have looked like:
Arlen T. 1035
Chip B. 939
Jim L. 825
Dan L. 627
Gary F. 464

Notice the scores for his competitors in this round? So don't give up even if your competitors are on the ground. This can have a major effect on the final scores of the contest for the other competitors.

This is what makes Man-on-Man flying great!

Aug 10, 2011, 11:26 AM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
The first snapshot is the final scores with Gary's original flight and the second snapshot is what the scores would be if he'd stopped flying at 6 minutes.

Aug 10, 2011, 01:27 PM
Registered User

Please could you re-run your spreadsheet with a drop flight applied? Will it have influence on the final scores?

Aug 10, 2011, 01:46 PM
Curtis Suter's Avatar
Originally Posted by DingoII

Please could you re-run your spreadsheet with a drop flight applied? Will it have influence on the final scores?

Yes it does change the ranking.

Last edited by Curtis Suter; Aug 10, 2011 at 04:30 PM.

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