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Sep 17, 2019, 12:52 PM
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Randy Reynolds's Avatar
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Discussion

HiStart Woes


Our club, the Pikes Peack Soaring Society has experienced two consecutive contests with uncooperative weather. First we had very low winds with very changeable directions enough so that you couldnít really change the HiStarts. Result was 40-50 meter launches and frustrated flyers.

Second contest was the need to change the four HiStarts because of the field staff mowing, then a period of low wind, changeable direction followed by 180 degree wind direction. Also a lot of changeable crossing winds with the inevitable line crosses. It took nearly five hours to complete four rounds. Not fun and everyone is pretty disenchanted with HiStarts.

So one suggestion is somehow to add more line length or step back several paces in these low wind conditions. Any other ideas ? My solution is to fly Electric which we allow but thatís not an easy transition.
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Sep 17, 2019, 02:07 PM
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whacker's Avatar
Gone flyin
Last edited by whacker; Sep 18, 2019 at 05:13 PM.
Sep 17, 2019, 02:15 PM
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Randy:

I still remember vividly my first time flying here in Germany, several years ago. The field configuration did not permit changing hi-start direction at all. A thunderstorm passed through, and when flying started again, I was first up. There I stood, all poised like the giant of flight that I am (not!), and I realized my launch was going to be down wind. I mentioned that to my team member, and the response was: "Yes.". Yeah, the American figured it out, he's not so dumb after all. So, I released with all the others. Instead of 100 meters, we all got maybe sixty.

And, that's the key: everybody gets the same shake. In fact, the trend for smaller contests, I am told here in Germany, is to only use 50m lines, not 100m.

So, where does that put us Americans, who tend to be anywhere from twenty to fifty years older than our European counterparts?

First of all, if you are just flying among yourselves, go ahead and get some serious rubber tubing from HoseMonster. There is no F3RES law enforcement agency that will come down on you. You can use longer lines, but in a downwind situation, only more tension (either thicker rubber or more stretch) will pull your airplane.

Second of all, there is some launch discipline to be learned. Trimmed correctly, most of these gliders will go up straight, with only minimum steering required. Or, used sequenced launches. The Germans do that as routine, starting from the down wind end of the launch line.

I had to interrupt this post, sorry it sounds so direct.
Last edited by glidermang; Sep 18, 2019 at 02:41 AM.
Sep 17, 2019, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Reynolds
Our club, the Pikes Peack Soaring Society has experienced two consecutive contests with uncooperative weather. First we had very low winds with very changeable directions enough so that you couldn’t really change the HiStarts. Result was 40-50 meter launches and frustrated flyers.

Second contest was the need to change the four HiStarts because of the field staff mowing, then a period of low wind, changeable direction followed by 180 degree wind direction. Also a lot of changeable crossing winds with the inevitable line crosses. It took nearly five hours to complete four rounds. Not fun and everyone is pretty disenchanted with HiStarts.

So one suggestion is somehow to add more line length or step back several paces in these low wind conditions. Any other ideas ? My solution is to fly Electric which we allow but that’s not an easy transition.
It's kind of funny that "everyone is disenchanted with high starts" because of uncooperative weather. Or mowing interference.

Sorry, not laughing at anyone. I've only been using high starts for about a year now and quickly learned it can be frustrating at times. The small field where I fly, the wind can be very frustrating. I don't know what it is about that location but it can shift constantly and be maddening. The whole county can have prevailing wind from the WNW and get to this field and it will be from the SW! I use a short high start on that field anyway so the difference in launching into a light breeze vs some crosswind isn't much more than a few meters. I have had the wind switch 180į and if it is consistent, I'll reverse the high start. Easier with the short line of course. And of course, the higher the velocity, the more problems are exacerbated.
But glidermanGreg (above) is right, still even playing field with everyone dealing with the same issues and it just adds to the challenge.

Weather in general, can have a tendency to wreak havoc on glider flying, regardless if high starts are involved. Talk to the guys flying on the second day of Unlimited this year at Nats!
Last edited by Crashbound; Sep 17, 2019 at 02:52 PM.
Sep 17, 2019, 04:52 PM
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Randy Reynolds's Avatar
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Everyone gets the same break only if you fly man on man (we donít) and even then itís iffy. If you fly a nine minute window there can be a large difference In conditions within that time period. So no creative ideas? Electric it is then.

My club flys a ďWatts OíFunĒ contest for Electric two meters. 10-12 people all launching at once. No timers either just announce your name as you land and say ďdown!Ē. Someone keeps track of the landing order and the score is calculated as a percentage of the group. This contest was great fun and we flew many rounds in very little time. Ok, so we donít want something like that for our Two Meter Cup/F3-RES style contests but we need to solve the weak link in this event which is the HiStart frustration. I think it was Larry Jolly that predicted this would happen?

We certainly need to feed electrics into the event which we are working on, but also to solve the very inconsistent HiStart launches at least to some degree. The winch has these same issues but possesses enough power to overcome even downwind launches. Also we use a retriever so that contests move right along. Hi Starts have people out getting the lines uncrossed too much of the time. So I really like my Slite and would like to keep flying it in contests. We certainly donít follow the German rules closely but it feels like we need to travel even further away to make F3-RES a satisfying event.
Sep 17, 2019, 05:07 PM
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whacker's Avatar
still flyin
Last edited by whacker; Sep 18, 2019 at 05:14 PM.
Sep 17, 2019, 05:33 PM
Sonoran Laser Art
With long lines you can run out of rubber energy pretty quick launching down wind. Our everyday field isn't big enough for full length so use 10m rubber and half the line 50m. While never launching as high the launch height is more consistent because it pulls good more of the distance. When setup right even down wind in the accational shift isn't bad. Into a little wind there is a good ping. Also it takes less time to setup and take down. I know some use 15m rubber with shorter lines. Its more like using a winch that can keep the tension longer. Even though I like chutes, when the direction keeps changing a streamer will drop more straight down reducing the crossed lines. While I have fun with electrics there's something special about watching a nicely setup F3RES ship rocket up the bungee and ping off the end followed by a sweet thermal climb when find that bubble.
Sep 17, 2019, 07:02 PM
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I certainly agree with you Corky and I feel the same way about the winch. I miss zooming off a good launch. However when youíre CDíing a contest with 14-16 flyers and many people are getting really crappy launches it isnít good for the event. Sport flying thatís different with nothing at stake. In our case we were having an inter-club contest and getting a series of very poor launches and that becomes serious.

I understand thatís the nature of competition with HiStarts and you have to be patient but it just says in large letters....ĒNot Ready For Prime TimeĒ. Thereís a reason we all went to winches back in the day. I think F3-RES has so much to offer our sport as it brings back building and economical sport. Iím not just complaining here, I want it work very sincerely. Time to switch to Electric which will make this a very satisfying sport indeed. Fast moving contests and independent of weather conditions as well.

Randy
Sep 17, 2019, 07:14 PM
Sonoran Laser Art
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Reynolds
I certainly agree with you Corky and I feel the same way about the winch. I miss zooming off a good launch. However when youíre CDíing a contest with 14-16 flyers and many people are getting really crappy launches it isnít good for the event. Sport flying thatís different with nothing at stake. In our case we were having an inter-club contest and getting a series of very poor launches and that becomes serious.

I understand thatís the nature of competition with HiStarts and you have to be patient but it just says in large letters....ĒNot Ready For Prime TimeĒ. Thereís a reason we all went to winches back in the day. I think F3-RES has so much to offer our sport as it brings back building and economical sport. Iím not just complaining here, I want it work very sincerely. Time to switch to Electric which will make this a very satisfying sport indeed. Fast moving contests and independent of weather conditions as well.

Randy
It is about having fun and if the troops feel electric would be more enjoyable-They deserve to be happy-Why Not!!!
Sep 17, 2019, 07:29 PM
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What Corky said is what I was alluding to. He explained it much better. I use 15m of rubber and 45m of line, and yes, with a streamer.
So if you guys were getting only 45-50m launches because of the weather, it's fairly easy to get that height with the short line, even with cross winds or a "light" down wind. (I've been experimenting with zooming and measuring my launch height with vario rx, which is the only way I know this to be so.)

I just assumed you were doing F3-RES or similar but with a 9 minute window I guess not. If you're not flying F3RES rules, then in challenging conditions, why not shorten the window? (And the line length)

The electric contest you describe sounds fun too.

Randy has your club been using high starts for some time or is this something relatively new?

Edit to add: Just read your last post so I suppose shorter high starts may not be and answer. I agree, do whatever keeps the interest up. Greg
Sep 17, 2019, 09:25 PM
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Randy Reynolds's Avatar
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No, Histarts were the latest thing when some of our guys were teenagers. We know how to do HiStarts it's Mother Nature who's to blame.
Sep 17, 2019, 09:55 PM
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In dead air or downwind, one might consider a smaller, even lighter model.

Or the organizers could provide slightly zippier hi starts on calm days. That, of course, leads down a slippery slope back to the winch wars.

Making the launches simultaneous could make them more consistent, as long as everyone was good enough to launch straight.

Gearheads could make a set of wimpy little matched winches. Maybe with regulated tension.
Sep 17, 2019, 10:49 PM
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Randy Reynolds's Avatar
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Hi Lincoln, Thanks for the suggestions. When you get a chance check out the F3-RES rule set.
Sep 18, 2019, 02:52 AM
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So, I get to finish what I started.

I looked around one day, and realized I was having a good time with the Hi start and generally enjoying the day. About half the guys flying that day were obviously struggling a bit. I realized that while I was in relatively decent shape, others were not so well off. The truly scary moment was when I realized I was better off than some of the guys actually younger than me.

I have had an amazing decade. The loss of family and friends to accident, disease and old age has driven me to both take better care of myself and to drive myself further. But I can see where my desires and goals will no longer be attainable. When I can no longer chase a Hi start, you bet I will go to the bench and start grafting motors onto my airplanes.

Randy: go charge your batteries, and use your powered airplanes with free and happy hearts.

Greg
Sep 18, 2019, 04:36 AM
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Greg, thatís a touching post. I have always been in reasonable shape myself and at age 70 I was competing in free flight DLG and doing Ok. Then after two open heart surgeries I lost my conditioning and started experiencing various old guy maladies. Iím headed for mild hip surgery in a couple of weeks. I see around me club mates who are limping about and this weekend in a contest with 16 contestants, five of us were struggling with mobility. I long ago started flying an electric Xplorer because I couldnít balance at all on the winch. I thought I could handle the HiStart but itís a struggle also. But with a little help from my friends I can compete with my Slite. Anyway I hope to be able to walk without pain pretty soon.

Still the HiStart Iím sorry to say isnít a good way to launch these excellent two meters and if everyone flew Electric it would be a revelation for them. Eventually weíll get there and discover a new and much better sport. So in the meantime I hope your good health continues and you donít suffer as your recent experiences with friends and family have shown. You are a prolific builder and flyer and you have certainly energized the sport of F3-RES. Keep it going!

Randy


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