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Jun 17, 2012, 10:03 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

On fun flying during ALES contests

I have had enough near collisions and aborted landings when too many electrics are flying that I would never consider fun flying during an ALES contest.

How about using Sunday for ALES? Others clubs do Sundays. And yes I know Sunday would not work for some but there is no perfect day.

Chris B.
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Jun 18, 2012, 02:52 AM
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nodlehs's Avatar
And what about the guys that want to fly TD on Sundays? You're right, there is no perfect day, and shunting the problem off to a Sunday doesn't solve a thing. As for Clancy's (not picking on you Mike) post...OK, from now on I'm going to enter the monthly TD contest, something I have never done, with my Radian so I can fly on contest days if I want to. Making statements to the effect of refusing to fly when there are electrics in the sky is not a responsible way to respond. The responsible approach is to come together, communicate to identify the issues (potential or real), work out resolutions, implement them, evaluate, and repeat.

Sorry, but that's how I feel...

Sheldon Smith
Last edited by nodlehs; Jun 18, 2012 at 03:19 AM.
Jun 18, 2012, 09:22 AM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Originally Posted by nodlehs
Making statements to the effect of refusing to fly when there are electrics in the sky is not a responsible way to respond.
Not responsible? I'm giving an opinion on whether I would fun fly (an expensive plane) during an ALES contest. I wouldn't.

And if you're going to say it's okay to fun fly during an ALES contest, then I suppose you could argue the same during TD contests.

Go ahead and try it out. You can always stop doing it if problems develop as I'm guessing they would.

Chris B.
Jun 18, 2012, 12:17 PM
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NorCal Hobbies's Avatar
I am new to the Club and primarily fly ALES. I can't fly Sundays local to me and that's why I drive 1.45 hours on ALES Saturday mornings to fly in Davis. I also come out to fun fly on Mondays/Tuesdays with my friend Scott who drives from even further out then most in the club. We realize coming out on a TD day to fly powered/ALES planes for fun is not realistic nor is it courteous/safe IMO. I honestly think it's sketchy enough to fly with just contest planes in the air on contest days with such disparity in ability levels that I have seen. Allowing "free flight" to happen is a bit much.

The one thing I gather is from the email string is that TD takes priority in this club as far as contest flying goes for most which is understandable. When we don't have the same recommendations for both TD and ALES it kind of shows a bias which can be misconstrued by non TD/ALES guys. I am all for growth in a club and making concessions for newbies and non contest flying but there are more non contest days in a month on average then contest days meaning we only fly contest on average 2 days a month out of 30-31 days. To simplify it even more there are 4 Saturdays which 2 are non contest flying days. Why change what we have other then to help those non contest flyers try contest flying by making ways to participate in contest? Guys like Kipp as a club mentor has been invaluable. I can't express how I appreciate his help the 1st time we came out. Awesome. I think we all need to start helping others just like he did for Scott and I.

On another side note. ALES contest are set on a day just for this. Club members coming out to setup a winch/highstart on those days and flying amongst an ALES contest is a huge faux pas and should not be allowed. If I showed up to a TD saturday with my DLG/ALES and started throwing it at the opposite end of the field and flying in the landing pattern or up in a thermal with a 3.5 meter td plane, I would be asked to stop......oh yeah! that's exactly what I was told at the end of a TD day when there was literally 1 plane left in the air. Lets have some consistency in what is allowed. I am all for rules. Just parity in them. These are just my opinions.

John Hickey
Last edited by NorCal Hobbies; Jun 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM.
Jun 18, 2012, 12:18 PM
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TrekBiker's Avatar
honestly, I dont see a big problem with fun flying during the ALES contests. If the fun flyer is an electric they can stay out of the way by flying on the south side where the electric runway is. If a few winch flyers want to set up a winch they should set it up off the grass with a shorter line to the turnaround, say 600 ft instead of the usual spot which is 800 feet. This way they can be clear of the landing lanes for the ALES contestants.

I would say that any fun flyers should be well out of the way during the ALES mass launches and landings.

like it or not, ALES and electric soaring is the future of SVSS and it would be foolish for our club to discourage this. I would strongly object to moving the contests to Sundays just as the TD people would object to moving the TD contests to Sundays.

Jun 18, 2012, 02:38 PM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
I believe that when a contest is going on, regardless of the type, only registered competitors should be in the air and the CD should have complete authority over the airspace. The CD should not have the additional burden of having to monitor and manage fun-flyers that often arrive and begin flying without even the courtesy of checking in. This leads me to question their good judgment and makes me even more reluctant to be in the air while they are flying.

Fun flying during the lunch break should be up to the discretion of the CD and since contests typically end at 2pm, the rest of the afternoon is free for all pilots when lift is really popping.

A key element for ALES is the mass launch. During the 3-minute window before the launch, there are no planes in the air so pilots and their timers will discuss strategies and those strategies evolve quickly as new lift indicators appear. Having other planes in the air during contests would change that entire element of the competition.
Jun 18, 2012, 03:58 PM
Registered User
To join in the discussion--It seems to me that the field is plenty large enough to accommodate ALES contests, and fun flyers as well. We should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Moreover, we should be as reasonably expansive in our approach as possible. Reading Becky's recent entry really got to me. Right now, newer pilots who want to come out and fly do not, because we are wrapped up in a contest and the rules do not permit them to get their planes in the air. We are limiting our club by excluding people,and possibly turning them off to our sport/hobby.

I think many are too cautious. I once got onto the Torrey Pines Gulls site, and found that they accommodate model gliders and manned hang gliders. If I recall right, their rules simply require that newbies get signed off before they are allowed to mingle in the same air as manned gliders. If they can do that along limited slope airspace, we should be able to accommodate fun flyers during our contests. Our field is large, the sky is larger. We don't have so many fun flyers that this should be a big deal. An approach would be to ask fun flyers to be sure to fly their planes away from contestants, and to keep their planes away from the launch/landing areas. I can even imagine the recording Sheldon uses to not only announce when the planes are about to take off, but when they are coming in for a mass landing. I don't think this is rocket scientist stuff, and fun flyers would obviously get the hint if we told them what to do. Moreover, nothing needs to be cast in stone. If we vote to allow fun flyers to use a portion of the field during our ALES contests and it doesn't work, we can simply go back to the way we are doing it now.

Finally, to address John's issue above about TD vs. ALES, I think we should treat ALES a little differently for a couple of reasons, in particular the often huge cost outlay for the super gliders vs. ALES (not withstanding the fact that some ALES gliders can get quite expensive), and the elaborate set up to use the winch. Moreover, you can always fire up the engine of an ALES plane to salvage it, whereas the super gliders sometimes require the utmost concentration to bring back home safely. In that respect, I have to agree with Clancy that I don't need any distractions during a TD contest, if it can be avoided. Mike
Jun 18, 2012, 04:49 PM
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TrekBiker's Avatar
one thing any fun flyers need to consider is if they are in a good thermal fairly close to the launch they might be in for a rude awakening when 12 electric sailplanes suddenly converge on them. We've seen it happen with our raptor friends.
Jun 18, 2012, 06:01 PM
Registered User
This is something we should be discussing at a general membership meeting. Personally I don't care what we allow at an ALES contest. If there are any 100 mph ships present and fun flying I won't be flying in the contest. I absolutely do not want aircraft not entered flying during a TD contest. I don't want to risk a very expensive TD ship that is flying at the limit of my less than perfect eyesight to the distraction, noise and potential danger of an electric airplane and sometimes its pilot.

Mike Clancy

p.s. I posted this on SVSS1 and got chastised and insulted by a member who should know better.
Jun 18, 2012, 06:22 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Mike, I wouldn't worry about negative responses: in any group of people you will always see a bell curve spread of attitudes.

As a club we're still learning how to use these discussion tools. Out of a membership of over 100 so far we've seen 10% respond here and on our email thread. That's actually a decent start.

While I agree with you that in-person discussions are good, for many (including myself) using the forum allows for kicking back and actually thinking before we "speak."

Chris B.
Jun 18, 2012, 08:14 PM
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TrekBiker's Avatar
Man on Man ALES with up to 12 aircraft launching together and often ending up in some crouded thermal gaggles means that flying this format involves some risk. But that is what makes ALES so fun. The fact that we are flying in a crowded launching, thermalling and landing environment tells me that we could easily accomodate a few fun flyers during the contest. ALES is different in this respect than the winch launched TD contests where there is little ability to adjust launch or landing situations.

It would be easy to set some limits, like the CD has the say over what type of fun flyer aircraft is allowed during the contest, ie., no 100 mph jets, racers or foam fighters, etc. I say lets try it and see what happens.

Jun 18, 2012, 08:19 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Originally Posted by TrekBiker
I say lets try it and see what happens. Steve
Hmmm. Okay, how about this Steve? 12 ALES planes all take off together on the north end of the field, and 12 fun fliers launch at the same time from the south part of the field. I might just put a new (expendable) plane together for that one.
Jun 18, 2012, 09:18 PM
Registered User

Thoughts from RonK

I have read with much interest the communication going on about other flying during the ALES contests and flying days. So here are some of my thoughts -

I am not in favor of other flying during the ALES contests as there are as many as 12 aircraft already flying in the contest per round. That is by far way more aircraft in the air than usual. Definitely setting up a winch is just asking for something to bad happen. If push came to shove, some electrics could possibly fly at the south end of the field if they kept south of the runway already in place. But then we get into the discussion of do we let 100 mph hotliners fly while 8-12 pilots are trying to thermal - should it be 125 mph or 75 mph. How about strafing runs by warbirds just south of the ALES landing pattern? I feel that this would just open up a giant can of worms and a very large prospect of major carnage. I also saw a comment about flying ALES during a TD contest, so why not the other way around. The main thing to clarify here is that ALES "launches" will be allowed during a TD - the winch in the nose concept. ALES launches do not interfere with TD launches or landings - you walk up to the winch launch area; wait your turn; launch when cleared by a winch operator; then walk out to the landing just like everybody else. You fly the some flight tasks as the winch launched aircraft.

As for the day of flying, Saturdays were chosen because of our Saturday TD contests. It was thought it was the most logical day so as to follow the pattern already established by the TD contests. Does it have to be Saturday? Probably not, but there is only one day per month when the field has been limited to ALES contest flying and one day for the traditional TD contest. I will be very interested in seeing how many fun flying members this impacts. If it is a significant number a different flying day will have to put in place. But I personally don't believe this is too much to request of the the SVSS membership to allow for a money making proposition for the club as a whole. Yes, we have spent some money for things like landing tapes, a banner advertising ALES and SVSS, score cards (yes Mike, I did go a little overboard on the color printing but it was on special), great looking contest awards (the medals used this year are no more expensive than the black plaques used in the TD contests), and special decals for our first ALES contest late last year. The last really big expenditure were the six Radians that were purchased by SVSS. Three of the kits were purchased as trainers for SVSS and any visitors/new fliers that wanted to have a hand at flying an electric & thermal model. These are being paid for by the money made at the ALES contests. The other three were purchased with the idea of using the kits to help motivate non-active/flying SVSS members to come out to the field and rekindle their passion for flying. This was an idea that mainly came from board members and not exclusively those of us trying to get ALES working in Davis.

As with all discussions there are many opinions, and like I said in my response to Becky - That's okay. We need to have these open discussions so that every voice is heard. Will each of us always get our way - no, but I think we can come to some type of consensus as to what is best for SVSS as we discuss these issues.

Jun 18, 2012, 09:25 PM
Registered User
Wherever this discussion goes and whatever we decide to do, we should make clear distinctions between various forms of powered flight. Winch-in-the-nose (WIN) sailplanes are just that. Sailplanes with a different launch mode. I don't see why, with care, winch launch and fun fly WIN sailplanes can't coexist, even in a contest as long as safe launch and land protocols are established and
agreed upon and courtesy prevails. Why? Because we launch the same, thermal the same and land the same. Sure, the contest plane needs absolute right-of-way, and must have it, but it is very possible for fun fliers to observe that right-of-way by flying away from the contest concentration.

Hot liners, warplanes and other planes that rely on continuous electric power are another matter. They are fun and I fly some of them too, but they must be kept out of a soaring contest environment. Simply because they are not sailplanes and they fly in patterns very different from the patterns a sailplane flies.

Jun 22, 2012, 05:04 PM
Registered User
I don't fly my electrics when a contest is going on. It just doesn't seem quite right to me....
BUT we ought to keep in mind that this is a public park. Last I knew, anyone with a valid AMA was allowed to fly there. Does the club even have the right to say no one else can fly on certain days?

Dean Church

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