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Mar 14, 2015, 09:42 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

2015 TD Contests

Let's use this thread to post 2015 TD contest pics, videos, scoring spreadsheets, etc.
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Mar 14, 2015, 09:46 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

March TD contest scores

I volunteered to take pictures of the score cards from today's contest and enter them so you guys and gals can see round by round details including duration and landing scores.

If you see any raw score data that looks wrong, or if you have suggestions for the spreadsheet itself please let me know and I'll try to turn your request around asap.

Last edited by SoaringDude; Mar 14, 2015 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Updated PDF (Mart Falarski name edited)
Mar 15, 2015, 09:21 AM
Registered User
March Contest Report

We had 34 pilots attend the SVSS season opener. Weather conditions were over cast, light winds from the north turning variable the rest of the day, temperature was upper 40's to 80 plus. This should have been a booming day.
The tasks were 5-8-10-10-12 any order standard tape landing. We had our early season new winch line / retriever issues that caused a slight delay in the contest start, but once fixed worked almost flawless the rest of the day. We allowed electric sailplanes to join on the fun and we had a few takers with that.
Once we got started, there were a handful of pilots that banged out their 12 minute flight right away. There was not big lift just pockets of buoyant air which was the case until some where in the third round air finally started to pop. It turned out patience and good decision making on which times to go for was the key due to the light conditions. I believe 5-6 pilot's made all their time with a lot being close on all but one.
Everybody pitched in on the set-up, contest, scoring and break down to make it a great start to the 2015 season. Food was great as always. See you in April.

Mar 15, 2015, 11:23 AM
Registered User
We had surprising trouble with the green leaders during setup and practice flights before the contest. Both leaders broke in early launches despite a long history of them being reliable. The leaders are the same heavier duty line we use on the air line but are dyed green at the factory. Some how their strength is compromised a bit when wet. And wet they were, as the weeds were pretty high and wet. Unfortunately we lost at least two black straps as a result of the breaks. After we renewed the leaders they held up well the rest of the contest as did the winch lines.

We also had trouble with the leaders wrapping around the retriever line. Again, a new event. I watched them carefully and noticed they bounced about quite a bit as they were pulled over a section of high and thick weeds about two thirds down the launch path. We had to shorten the leads to minimize the problem. Perhaps the mower crew can run a path down the winch line area on the North launch path. I don't think the whole area needs mowing, but a smooth lane about two or three mower widths would help a lot.

The other problem we encountered was with the Honda generator. It had trouble keeping up with the charger load. It stopped several times and had to be restarted frequently even when placed it on full power mode. The charger's starter battery also conked out so we had to restart with the pull cord. This means we desperately need to take the generator in for a tune-up and service so we can have it back by the next contest for sure. Can some one with a pickup or station wagon help transport it?

We also need to arrange to have more straps fabricated for replacement and spares. Anybody know how and where we had these fabricated?

Otherwise a good but difficult (at least for me) contest. Thanks to all who helped setup and take down. Great lunch too!

Mar 15, 2015, 07:16 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Great contest Scott, thanks for CDing. You always give us challenging contests even when they look easy (like your Circle of Death thing last year).

I just posted an updated version of the scores in the SVSS Archives in this folder. This PDF (03-2015 TD contest-All results.pdf) includes 2 additional detail sheets: one on landing precision and one on duration precision. If you're working hard to improve in contests these details can be pretty helpful. The top pilots JT, Ron Vann, Neil Nolte, and Scott Meader in the Master class are no surprise* but Jonathan Heritage placed 6th overall by ranking #7 in duration precision and #8 in landing precision. Well done Jonathan!
* that is, except that it's crystal clear JT has been practicing landings during the off season. His landings averaged 96 this contest! So now I gotta get better at sniffing out thermals in weak conditions this year...
Mar 15, 2015, 07:44 PM
Registered User
jtlsf5's Avatar
Oh so wrong Weedchopper. I spent most of the winter flying the electric Maxa and Supra, and the little foamy things. As those who fly electrics know, precision spot landing an electric is a different animal than landing a TD plane. What I have learned is that if you become proficient at energy management with an electric it helps your non-electric landings quite a bit. The Maxa I flew was pretty new, with about 6 flights in before the contest yesterday. The plane set up easily, is a pleasure to fly, and lands predictably. All I did was let it fly/land and not try to interfere too much.
Mar 15, 2015, 08:27 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
So you didn't practice landings huh? Dang. Well, then I guess we'll just call it luck until next contest, or until our first "Master v. Hello Kitty" grudge match of the year.
Mar 15, 2015, 09:16 PM
E sailplane thermal hack
Originally Posted by jtlsf5
Oh so wrong Weedchopper. I spent most of the winter flying the electric Maxa and Supra, and the little foamy things. As those who fly electrics know, precision spot landing an electric is a different animal than landing a TD plane. What I have learned is that if you become proficient at energy management with an electric it helps your non-electric landings quite a bit. The Maxa I flew was pretty new, with about 6 flights in before the contest yesterday. The plane set up easily, is a pleasure to fly, and lands predictably. All I did was let it fly/land and not try to interfere too much.
Yes, landing electrics are REAL landings, not playing lawn darts. ;-)
Way to go JT!!!
Mar 16, 2015, 03:30 PM
Registered User response to the food was good as always.....
A big big thanks and appreciation to Sheri for her excellent cookies.
Although I didn't fly in the contest my taste buds were flying high with her treats.
Mar 16, 2015, 06:21 PM
Registered User
jtlsf5's Avatar
Originally Posted by SoaringDude
So you didn't practice landings huh? Dang. Well, then I guess we'll just call it luck until next contest, or until our first "Master v. Hello Kitty" grudge match of the year.
Fly for pink slips? I always wanted a 'Sploder...
Mar 16, 2015, 09:17 PM
E sailplane thermal hack
I WANA watch that one
Mar 16, 2015, 10:26 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Woohoo! Fish on!

Challenge To A Duel (0 min 18 sec)

I don't know about pink slips but we'll make it worthwhile. I'll closely watch the SVSS betting line leading up to the event. Maybe immediately following the next TD contest? Can't do it on the next ALES date 'cuz I'll be winning hardware @ the Fresno Classic .

For those of you who don't know, for 2.5 years JT taught me everything he knows about soaring as his timing buddy. Right JT?
Mar 17, 2015, 09:29 PM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
For those interested, here is a post-accident analysis from last Saturday.

One of my annual safety steps nearly cost me a plane. Just like swapping the battery out of your smoke detector, I believed that swapping the battery on your TD plane was cheap insurance. I have done this regularly for the past four years, but this time the process backfired.

I ordered two packs this year, one for Kevin’s plane and one for mine. I have used the same supplier I had seen recommended in the Xplorer thread since they build a 5-cell 2/3 AA pack that fits nicely in the plane’s nose. I covered the new pack in foam, wrapped it in tape, and I always add a loop of tape that sticks out so I have a way to easily pull the pack out. For extra insurance, I shrink wrapped the connector from the battery to the switch.

My mistake was that I didn’t check to see that the pins inside the Hitec connector were gripping securely. What I had was enough of a connection to power the radio, but after a few landings, the connections started to loosen. It turns out that, as with most accidents, there were multiple warning signs.

First, since it was a new pack, I was checking my battery voltage between each flight. After 5 flights, I was already showing a significant drop in pack voltage. I hadn’t cycled the new batteries, so I had assumed that this was the issue.

Second, as I approached the winch for my third flight, I noticed that my right flap servo was chattering when in launch mode. I got out of line and restarted the RX. There was still some chatter. I restarted both the TX and the RX and the chatter was greatly diminished. I attributed this to an older servo and the possibility that the pot was going bad. The chatter only occurred in one spot, so I judged that this would be OK and my third flight went fine.

I had chatter again as I approached the winch for my fourth flight. I was getting pretty annoyed at this point, my first three flights had gone well, my times were great, my landings all in the 90’s, I just wanted to get these last flights in and relax over lunch. Kevin talked me into getting out of line again, but I still couldn’t determine the problem, so I decided that since the chatter was only in one spot with the flaps deflected, I could live with that. I was going through what NASA calls ‘Launch Fever’.

To explain Launch Fever, here’s a link to a blog by Wayne Hale, a former Flight Director for the Space Shuttle.

Those of you at the contest saw the results of that launch. I dove down for the zoom and pulled out at heavy G. That must have been when the connector had had enough and failed. Instead of zooming upwards, my elevator stayed deflected up and my plane began to loop. My first reaction was that I had over-controlled the zoom, but by the second loop I knew I was really in trouble. I checked the other controls and I had nothing. I then went to plan B and started power cycling the TX. Each time I would check the controls afterwards and nothing. I cycled the TX 4-5 times with no effect. Now I could do nothing but watch my plane loop and hope that it came down flat with wings level.

Well the wings were level, but the hard gravel pack around the solar farm was too much for the nose of the plane, which snapped at the front of the canopy. As I approached the plane, I checked my controls, and now everything was fine. The impact was enough to jar the battery connector.

When Kevin and I brought the plane back, I cut open the shrink-wrap over the battery connector and found that the entire connector would easily slide apart. That evening I removed the pins and found that they would slide easily apart with the slightest pull. I checked Kevin’s new battery and both connectors were fine.

I have had no problems with packs from this company in the past. That both pins failed makes me suspicious that they got in a supply of bad connectors. I have emailed the manufacturer and asked them to check their connector pins. They haven’t had any problems but agreed to update their procedure and test the pins.

The problem is that with the Hitec connectors, you can get a tight fit from the outer sleeve, but the pins inside can still be loose. My future process will be to check each pin separately to verify that they are gripping properly before sliding the full connector together.

At the field, Jonathan showed me a very neet system he uses. One connector with four pins, two positive and two negative. Four separate wires to the battery, and two Hitec connectors wired to the other side. This allows Jonathan to have redundant power to two separate connectors on the Radio, all controlled by a single plug. I’m awfully fond of my system using switches, and am considering this approach that gives me redundancy while using two switches.

I’d like to thank Marty for coming over while I was still assessing the damage and offering to do the repair. I was so focused on trying to determine the cause and it was great having Marty already moving on to how to get the plane back in the air.

BTW... this photo came across my desk today. I don't know if it is real but one person claims they know the pilot. I understand that there is video of my slow looping descent. Don't hesitate to post it if you have it. Nothing like reliving your worst nightmare.
Last edited by awilmunder; Mar 17, 2015 at 09:32 PM. Reason: typo
Mar 17, 2015, 09:37 PM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
Minor damage to the nose of the plane...
Last edited by awilmunder; Mar 21, 2015 at 08:16 PM.
Mar 18, 2015, 10:06 AM
Registered User
To follow up a bit on Aric's comment. I use a Dean's 4-pin micro plug. I have also used two Deans 2-pin micro plugs but that was before I discovered the 4-pin variant. What I like about these plugs compared to the Hitec/JR universal servo plug is it relies and a solid pin-to-socket electrical/mechanical connection that you can easily feel is solid every time you connect or disconnect. No exterior mechanical connection that can fool you as with the servo connector shroud. Also, the Deans are presumably lower resistance as they are used for higher current motor power connections on park flyers.

I have one plane (my original old style Supra) that uses a 5 cell NiMH. I had the battery assembler put double wires on when I bought the pack. So they go straight to either end of the pack and are factory soldered in place. These four wires solder directly to the Dean's (female) connector. The male side is soldered to two servo connectors which are plugged into unused slots on my 9 channel receivers.

All my newer planes use Hyperion LiFe batteries. Since one wants to get rid of that bulky red connector that comes with them anyway, I trim the leads to the battery close to the battery and solder two wires to each of the positive and negative leads and heat shrink them after being sure of a good solder joint. One could open the pack and solder new lead pairs on your self but I judge the wire gauge that comes with the Hyperion LiFe to be substantial I am satisfied that the simple solder job is adequate.

I choose not to use a switch. Why add two more possible points of failure? (Although a DPST does provides redundancy at the switch point) I am greatly comforted by the solid feel of inserting and removing the 4-pin Deans connector. This tells me the electrical connection is sound. All of this fairly minimal effort assures that the most important part of the control system - the radio - is solidly and reliably connected with a low resistance redundant path to the battery.

From the point of view of (my oversimplified) probability theory the circuit consisting of two parallel lines is much less likely to fail than the single serial circuit. In the series circuit the probability of the circuit failure is equal to the sum of the probability that any element will fail. This means fewer failure points are helpful. The parallel circuit failure is equal to the product of the sum of failure probabilites of each serial circuit elements. One side of the parallel circuit, without switch, has fewer failure points and thus a bit lower overall failure probability. but most significantly, the product of two small numbers is a really really small number! And that is good!
Last edited by jpherit; Mar 18, 2015 at 02:43 PM. Reason: added the word "redundant"

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