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Jan 03, 2017, 02:37 PM
Registered User
dbeach's Avatar

ALES League News - 2017

ALES League News – 2017

We haven’t closed the books on the 2016 season yet, but I did want to take this opportunity to highlight changes to the ALES League rules that will be effective for the 2017 season.

The league was formed in 2012 to promote the newly established AMA rules for altitude limited electric launch radio controlled soaring (Event 631). The rules adopted by the Electric Contest Board were very narrow in scope. One of the principles of the ALES League was to ensure that the rules were widely understood and strictly enforced. As of January 1st, 2016 AMA’s Electric Contest Board disbanded and the ALES rules were adopted (without change) and incorporated in the 2015-2016 Soaring rulebook as event 463.

The Soaring Rulebook for the 2017-2018 cycle represents a significant effort by the contest board to modernize the soaring rules. As a member of the contest board I can attest to the fact that a lot effort was put into the rules rewrite, and not all decisions involving rule changes were unanimous. Regardless, the voting has closed on the urgent rules proposal and the new rulebook has been approved. The direct link to the new rulebook is

Here is an incomplete list of ways in which AMA rules for Event 463 change for 2017-2018:
  • Variometers are allowed
  • Skegs are allowed
  • Field boundary is defined as a 75 meter radius around the center of the landing tape with the exception of CD defined ‘safety boxes’
  • Normalized scoring can include landings in the normalization (or treat them as a bonus)
  • CD may use any landing option in Section (6.6)
    • No landing requirement
    • In / Out
    • Spot Landing (circular zone with CD defined length and value)
    • Graduated runway (CD defined length, 100 inch width)
    • CD Defined Task (anything goes provided advanced notice is given with contest advertisement and sanction request)
  • Flight points will be allowed if the aircraft touches either the competitor or helper/timer
  • CD responsibility to provide exceptions to the rules published as part of contest notice

The goal of the ALES League has not changed. It continues to be to promote ALES competitions as defined by the AMA rulebook. That means respecting the new rules for contests in 2017. That said, I’m sure that some contest organizers will not immediately embrace all the changes. For example, some CDs may wish to allow skegs but not varios. Others may wish to define field boundaries differently. Given the manner in which the new rules came to light, I can understand that position.

Therefore, the notion of ‘strict adherence’ to the AMA rulebook for ALES League contests will be relaxed in 2017. That said, I encourage all CDs and pilots to review the 2017-2018 rulebook and adopt the proposed changes. I hope that any exceptions to the AMA rulebook will be noted in the contest announcements. Rest assured that I am not personally in favor of all the changes, but I respect the need for rules and their enforcement.

The only other change to ALES League Rules for 2017 is the acceptance of contest results for events that were rescheduled due to circumstances beyond the control of the event organizers. The league has had an informal policy of accepting results for rescheduled contests, this is just an acknowledgment of that policy.

Happy New Year,
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Jan 03, 2017, 04:01 PM
Registered User
MikeC's Avatar
A great boost for F5J in the USA!

Jan 03, 2017, 08:10 PM
Overkill is underrated
elac2az's Avatar
+++1, Mike.
Jan 05, 2017, 01:04 PM
Registered User
dbeach's Avatar

New ALES League Calendar

The ALES League home page - has a new look. The old RCFlightDeck calendar widget has been replaced by entries from the new ALES League Google calendar.

I'm hoping everyone will want their events listed. Just let me know contest names and dates.

The easiest way to get your events listed is to just 'invite' to events on whatever calendar you may be using.

Or, you can send a calendar file (typically .ics) to

Or, just email me with date, name, and optionally a web link providing additional information regarding the event.
Jan 10, 2017, 10:45 AM
'Variometers are allowed' - Sorry but this is funny.
Jan 10, 2017, 05:55 PM
the icbm of pilots
skylerraver's Avatar
Variometers are cheating
Jan 10, 2017, 07:35 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
Originally Posted by skylerraver
Variometers are cheating

They've been allowed in AMA TD contests for decades. ALES was the only AMA thermal event which didn't permit them, prior to the rules rewrite that just occurred.
Jan 25, 2017, 06:33 PM
Registered User
Gordysoar's Avatar

We are free to make choices.

Thanks for the excellent post Dave!

The comment about Varios are cheating is not valid if the rules allow it.

Varios are distracting and a mistake for a pilot to use if that pilot want's to improve his scores - same as the guy who restarts his " launch" motor before making a landing during practices. He's the same guy who will be complaining that "it was a landing contest, not a soaring contest!" because he missed most of his landings, or the guy in the F5J videos seen jumping out of the way of his model during the landing.

Varios more often than not keep the pilot from learning to find and work lift, because they are so focus'd on the beeps, they can't see the gaggle of ships in a thermal just behind them.

But its his choice, part of his fun. Consider this, you won against pilots who were using a Vario, you lost against guys using a vario. In the first scenario, you are the MAN! In the second, what could you expect, they had help! ;-).

In any contest, it doesn't matter what the other pilots are doing, using or flying. Why? Because YOU have to do the task, regardless. If you do the task perfectly, all the hot chicks on the field will be trying to date you.

I win or place pretty often, even though I don't fly the latest RED ship, my planes are beat up, heavy, homemade. Even though I use the cheapest piece of plastic TX. Why? Because on those days the other guys flew pretty poorly ;-).

BUT if I lose? I still will have flown with my friends.

In this country we have more choices, this Contest Board has a lot of current and active rc sailplane contest pilots, many build and fly multiple classes. They get around, which means they have a wider field of "view" than most guys who pretty much stay on their own fields, and create their opinions via reading posts on RC Groups.

If a vario puts a smile on a pilot's face, great, if a belly skeg protects one molded leading edge, awesome.

If you want to insure that no matter what the other guys are using, do what DP does.....practice the tasks. You can't improve your scores by trying to limit others, and other's fun.

For those of you just dead set against belly skegs and varios....guess what? Its your choice to say, "Not at my contest!"

Choice is a beautiful thing ;-)

Latest blog entry: Check out my YouTube Channel
Jan 25, 2017, 07:02 PM
Registered User
Gordysoar's Avatar

Penalizing accidents doesn't affect safe piloting

Flight points will be allowed if the aircraft touches either the competitor or helper/timer

So this is one of those rules that never made any sense because it didn't fix or prevent anything.

Here's a real and often for instance:

Your model is coming into the spot, perfectly. You have been hitting 50's all weekend long. Your model is set up perfectly as are you thumbs.

The model is gliding gently toward the spot but when it reaches the end of the tape, a ground thermal pops, lifting the model up 3'. You quickly push full down elevator, but since there is zero airspeed, your model is no longer under any control it is just stuff floating in the thermal and your model touches your timer.

You got a zero flight score, so next time you'll do what?

Of course when the argument is weak and unsupportable, the simple go-to is to play the "safety" card. "Well if it's a safety issue THEN nothing else be said, I mean that's what everyone else has been doing!"

But wait a second, nothing unsafe was done by the pilot. Nothing the pilot did could have made the situation "safer".

In all my travels the one thing I have learned to be wary of is when the word "Safety" is used to justify a decision on the field.

Want an alternative if as a CD you are concerned about keeping timers from being struck by their pilots and other pilots models in the landing area? Announce that any timer touched by a model in the landing area who is standing behind or with in 6 feet of his pilot will cause his pilot to earn a zero flight.

The landing area is a caution zone. Every pilot and timer knows that they may be touched/struck by an approaching sailplane, same as anyone stepping on a farm may be hurt by an animal or equipment etc. There is an assumption/potential/likelihood for chaos. There isn't a pilot at a contest who doesn't realize there a possibility of injury to him when he steps on the field.

Anyone who has timed for me this past couple of ALES years will tell you that I am extremely explicit of where they are to be standing at 30 seconds. NOT behind me ever. Always to the side, a wing span's distance from me, and so that I know exactly where they are.

As a pilot that allows me to be in control of my area, so that my approach can take their physical position into account.

Its cause I care ... about my leading edges. I am proactive about safety, not passive. If you want to walk away from the contest a "winner" because Gordy took a zero flight due to a timer touch instead of a better score, stand by the zero for timer or other touch rule. If you care about safety, take some time at the pilots meeting to offer up safety suggestions.

Or you could announce that any timer who gets touched by a model in the landing area will be fined $100, I think you'll find a really safe landing area :-).
PS, SkyerRaver, nice flying at the Buzz Averill! Tough crowd.
Latest blog entry: Check out my YouTube Channel
Jan 25, 2017, 07:12 PM
The Detritus of Rcgroups
rdwoebke's Avatar
Choice is great. Some will chose to instead fly F5J.

Jan 26, 2017, 12:56 PM
Skye Malcolm, LSF Secretary
skye8070's Avatar

Thanks again for your efforts and great job in 2016 ALES League and your continued support in the new year!

Skye Malcolm
Jan 26, 2017, 01:30 PM
Registered User
dbeach's Avatar

State of the League

Please read the attached.

Jan 26, 2017, 01:42 PM
Registered User
dbeach's Avatar

The first scores of 2017 are posted

Congrats to TCMAA for a successful start to the new year.

TCMAA January -
Jan 29, 2017, 03:38 PM
Registered User
dbeach's Avatar

Web site updates

I spent some time today updating the league web site at

Check out the 'How-To' menu items and let me know if anything is missing or misleading.

With the new AMA rules in place, we should be in a good position to really expand the number of contests on the league calendar and post a lot more scores this year.

Right now we are only showing two contests in February - but I'm guessing there are more to be shown. You guys in the south - "What contests are we missing?".

Feb 02, 2017, 08:34 PM
Team Futaba
Silent-AV8R's Avatar
I may have missed this, but for a taped spot landing what measurements are used? 50 point max? 100 max? Increments? I looked in the all new rule book but did not see actual specifications. Or is it entirely up to the CD??

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