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Nov 11, 2019, 09:57 PM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashbound
For all the talk about low launches, particularly F5J , are they not scored for launch height alone? After that they can climb as high as they want while not under power and I suspect most contests aren't won by staying under 100m.

Seems to me the simplest thing to do (If it comes to it.) would be require some type of telemetry that records highest altitude and then deduct points for each foot over 400'. Maybe shorten task time as well. OF course FAI rules don't allow telemetry, and I'm not addressing F5J specifically here.
But nothing says some type of "Americanized" version of F5J wouldn't work.
Precisely.

And if you reread the post at the beginning of this thread you will find that it describes parameters that will come close if not surpass what you are suggesting with equipment and systems that are currently in use (the current FAI altitude device and Gliderscore). While they not perfectly eliminate exceeding 400 feet, they will allow individuals to experience what we are talking about in advance of developing other electronic solutions whose functions might further enhance a new way of flying.

Based on my experience flying with a 5 minute task and a launch altitude penalty of 2 seconds per meter, it is unlikely that competitive flights will exceed 400 feet (or at least exceed 400 feet by very much). High launches relative to 400 feet eat up any possible flying points very fast. And should a competitor find low lift, the usual low rate of climb, combined with a normal expected rate of descent eats up the 5 minutes of the task before the 400 feet is reached.

I'm not suggesting that some kind of penalty directly imposed for exceeding the maximum altitude might not be appropriate, just that pilots can experience the gist of this kind of competition with existing equipment. Personally, I would hope that the RC Soaring community might use these changes to explore other changes in tasks and how we fly them -- including ways that the experience might be enhanced with telemetry. Specifically, I have also been experimenting with GPS Triangle gear in the planes we fly.

At any rate, we have the ability to try new things with existing equipment and systems -- and at this point some open minded experimentation might be useful.

Happy Landings,

Don
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Nov 12, 2019, 07:01 AM
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dsdemer's Avatar
Just a quick note from a young guy (almost 44). I still enjoy building balsa and seeing what they can do. Most flying fields that I visit, on both sides of the ocean, are staffed by older flyers that still love the sport/Hobby, but more importantly love teaching it to others. This is what will save our hobby.

400ft is a restriction, but I believe the real threat is what has been identified throughout this thread, that younger generations are not engaged in the sport, or most outdoor activities. This we can change through our children and grandchildren.

Who have you built with or taken flying recently?
Last edited by dsdemer; Nov 12, 2019 at 07:01 AM. Reason: Mistake
Nov 12, 2019, 08:53 AM
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Crashbound's Avatar
As far as contests, I think it (400' altitude limit) is doable with minimal rewriting of the rules.

As far as getting new people into the hobby. That's another discussion.

But I think if the AMA is going to be proactive in keeping soaring alive, it is going to have to introduce some new, or modify some existing contest formats.

There needs to be something that doesn't require, in fact prohibits, high dollar $3k composite ships for an "entry level", yet competitive event.
I believe they need to look into some mixed launch in things like TD, Unlimited, RES, etc. (or other events entirely) which allows more electric launch without eliminating existing models. Dinking around with winches is fine but it just simply isn't the necessity it once was. A number of people are losing interest in shagging lines and certainly a newcomer doesn't want the added hassle, expense, and learning curve of a winch, which like I said, isn't the necessity it once was nor necessary for a quality soaring experience.

But personally, I don't think the AMA has much inclination or drive to put forth the effort.
Nov 12, 2019, 09:54 AM
The Mr. Rogers of RC soaring
rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashbound
But personally, I don't think the AMA has much inclination or drive to put forth the effort.
The AMA is a member driven organization when it comes to things like organizing contests and contest rules. So it is us the people here that would put forward the effort below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashbound
But I think if the AMA is going to be proactive in keeping soaring alive, it is going to have to introduce some new, or modify some existing contest formats.
And this of course is exactly how it should be. Who knows better about RC Soaring than the people who fly RC Sailplanes?

Ryan
Latest blog entry: Supergee wing mount pylons
Nov 12, 2019, 01:21 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Although competitive soaring has been hit hard in recent years I'd suggest that it's the "competitive" instead of the "soaring" that has taken the hit.

I attended the US Nats back in 1989 when it was held in eastern Washington state. RC soaring was BY FAR the most heavily attended event. Yet now we're at a stage where it's one of the least attended?

Yet the forums here are full of folks that are enjoying their Radians and other casual soaring models. And few or none of them have any interest in competing other than against the elements.

I've seen the same thing in a number of my other hobbies over the past 20 years too. Fewer and fewer feel the urge to test themselves by going into competitions. So it's not just model flying. It seems to be a shift in general society. At least in terms of individual hobby sports. And in the face of this shift I'm not sure that competition soaring, in this case, can be saved by any means.

I've read the threads on the Woody meets and if those meets are seeing a higher degree of attendance then the format might be worthy of study. But then we don't have the hard line of separation to determine levels. Basically the hard task of the landing points to separate the wheat from the chaff at the end of the day.

Ya know.... having a 400 ft ceiling limit combined with a perimeter limit via the new telemetry technology might just be one way to see a shift away from finding a single thermal and ride it out for time and then spear a landing line. With a height and distance limit it would require finding more than one thermal much of the time. And that alone could be the extra difficulty needed to set the rankings without the present almost automatic reliance on the landing points to separate the top spots.

And perhaps by putting the focus back on the flying in this way it might attract some that hate the spot landing requirement. I know for sure it was a major point for a lot of sport flyers that were interested or tried the contest scene and turned away purely due to the spot landing requirement.
Nov 12, 2019, 01:35 PM
The Mr. Rogers of RC soaring
rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Although competitive soaring has been hit hard in recent years I'd suggest that it's the "competitive" instead of the "soaring" that has taken the hit.
I tend to believe that as well. Seems there are lots of new kits and ARFs constantly coming on the market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
I attended the US Nats back in 1989 when it was held in eastern Washington state. RC soaring was BY FAR the most heavily attended event. Yet now we're at a stage where it's one of the least attended?
I think you are incorrect on the last point. RC Soaring is still one of the highest attended Nats events relative to the other events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Ya know.... having a 400 ft ceiling limit combined with a perimeter limit via the new telemetry technology might just be one way to see a shift away from finding a single thermal and ride it out for time and then spear a landing line.
I have had the thought that this 400 foot rule thing actually might be beneficial to clubs and or the AMA. Back in the day some people joined the AMA/clubs because of the amenities that the clubs provided. Sometimes it was because the clubs provided instruction. Power flyers wanted an established place where there was a runway and a frequency board to prevent shoot downs and they knew the neighbors were OK with the noise. Glider folks joined glider clubs because the clubs had winches and retrievers. But with the advent of 2.4 ghz radios, RTF planes that were fairly easy to teach yourself to fly with, small park flyers, electric sailplanes, etc. a lot of those amenities became less valuable. Going forward if there is some sort of process that is required to legally fly over 400 feet then folks might again look to clubs as a source of an amenity.

Ryan
Latest blog entry: Supergee wing mount pylons
Nov 13, 2019, 02:54 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Ryan, my mention of the soaring event dropping off was based on information in other threads around here. If that isn't the case then that's great.
Nov 13, 2019, 07:51 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Although competitive soaring has been hit hard in recent years I'd suggest that it's the "competitive" instead of the "soaring" that has taken the hit.

I attended the US Nats back in 1989 when it was held in eastern Washington state. RC soaring was BY FAR the most heavily attended event. Yet now we're at a stage where it's one of the least attended?

Yet the forums here are full of folks that are enjoying their Radians and other casual soaring models. And few or none of them have any interest in competing other than against the elements.
You raise some good points.

To the extent that there may be many folks enjoying casual soaring, one of the reasons we are here and on other forums bemoaning the imposition of a 400 foot ceiling is that ORGANIZED RC Soaring is in serious decline.

It is absolutely true that many people who are (or may be) interested in soaring are repulsed by the notion of competition for one reason or another. And, in my opinion, one of the reasons that organized RC Soaring is in decline is because organized soaring, in its attempt to discover the "perfect" format, has effectively disassociated itself from the interests of non-competitive and less competitive piilot. Organized soaring has come to mean Competition Soaring -- no more, no less.

In my lifetime, I have been associated with many model aviation clubs. Discovering my first club in 1957 was THE watershed in my lifetime of modeling. I was a founder of one club that is still active. And the more or less common denominator of every successful club was the offering members something besides or in addition to competition. Even more than access to a flying site. What has not been mentioned here is the role that simple friendly association with other modelers plays in ensuring the existence of the hobby. Lone casual flyers mostly fly for a while and then move on.

Clearly, launching, flying 10 minutes and landing precisely on a spot at a precise time is attractive to most of the people who's hair is on fire about the new FAA rules. I doubt that most casual flyers care that much or remotely intend to be restrained by it.

My biggest concern is not so much the FAA rule as it is that we have organized ourselves into such a small and unappealing box that their rule may accelerate the demise of RC Soaring as we know it, but it will not ultimately be the root cause.

Maybe the new rules can jolt us out of our box and stimulate new thinking (not just new tasks) as to what might bring competitive and less competitive people together. Maybe there are challenges more stimulating than launching, flying 10 minutes and landing.

Happy Landings,

Don
Nov 13, 2019, 08:54 AM
The Mr. Rogers of RC soaring
rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Ryan, my mention of the soaring event dropping off was based on information in other threads around here. If that isn't the case then that's great.
It has been dropping off but so has everything else. Soaring is still one of the highest (maybe the highest) attendee Nats events.

Ryan
Latest blog entry: Supergee wing mount pylons
Nov 13, 2019, 09:31 AM
Registered User
Crashbound's Avatar
I must have misunderstood the intent of the OP. I thought it WAS about competitive soaring.

Us guys that fly for fun out in the boonies will not be nearly so devastated. I only fly competitions for fun and meeting other guys. I'm not a very competitive person by nature and will never be serious about competing in soaring competitions.

But again, I thought that was the point of the OP and thus my comments were specific to that, sorry.
Nov 13, 2019, 10:42 AM
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tkallev's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
It has been dropping off but so has everything else. Soaring is still one of the highest (maybe the highest) attendee Nats events.

Ryan
Free Flight is the biggest in numbers, events, dollars ... Soaring is probably down 50% from the early to mid 2000's ...

tk
Nov 13, 2019, 10:55 AM
The Mr. Rogers of RC soaring
rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkallev
Free Flight is the biggest in numbers, events, dollars ... Soaring is probably down 50% from the early to mid 2000's ...
So we are not the biggest but we are still pretty big (relative) to most of the other events. I was mostly just trying to inform Bruce that Soaring isn't one of the least attended Nats events. It is still one of the largest attended Nats events it is just that it is about half the attendance from what it was in the mid/late 90s (I remember when there were about 100-120 people flying unlimited and now there are about 50-60)

Ryan
Latest blog entry: Supergee wing mount pylons
Nov 13, 2019, 05:52 PM
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Randy Reynolds's Avatar
R/C Soaring may survive with existing formats depending on what FAA and the AMA come up with in the near future. But probably not. Also the 400ft. rule may not be enforceable like so many existing "Blue Laws", however there will be effects on insurance, sailplane producers, etc. We'll see.......

However there is one event existing today that with some evolution could continue to exist and possible grow our sport and that is F3-RES currently formulated as two meter woody (mostly) launched off histarts. Launch heights typically are under 100 meters and here in Colorado we have measured it on average to about 80 meters which is a little over 260 feet. that said with poor wind conditions the launch can be as low as 30-40 meters. Also with strong wing right down the line it can be over 100 meters (328 feet). Yes, it true that HiStarts can be a discouraging launch method but they have their proponents.

So our club allows electric now with 80 meter CAMS and I believe this is a logical evolution and I would be surprised if F3-RES doesn't transition to an electric event as we go forward. The equipment including electric gear is economical and reintroduces something our hobby/sport has been missing for a long time and that is the hobby which is building the sailplane. Remember the building season?

Don brings up a good point that we don't need long duration maxes which encourage very large sailplanes which in turn requires the expensive composite full house sailplanes. We can fly 5-6 minute maxes with our 2M sailplanes and if we are starting at 260 foot launches that gives us the likelihood of getting there with something around the 400 foot ceiling. Beyond that will there be an electronic requirement to limit our flight ceiling? We'll have to see.

What I have observed is that these contemporary F3-RES sailplanes are very good performers and rewarding to fly just like my Xplorer is. When you fly an F3-RES contest you discover that it is just as challenging and just as satisfying as other sailplane events.

Randy Reynolds
Nov 13, 2019, 08:27 PM
Registered User
320pilot's Avatar
dharban wrote,
Quote:
Maybe there are challenges more stimulating than launching, flying 10 minutes and landing.
I always enjoyed the "The (insert month) Big Sky, Anyone can enter, Informal Soaring Contest" thread over on Electric Sailplanes. I would enter under Electric Glider Soaring, in Open E Glider Class, my model flown, flying time, date and (sometimes) maximum altitude attained; all on a single, short motor run. I think my longest Thermal flight was one hour 25 minutes on a single climb. Now this thread has ended, for various reasons..

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...t#post42419407

Living in rural New England, far from any Sailplane, or LMR competitions, it allowed me a way to connect with other e-sailplane pilots. Since I was always flying (sailplanes) on my own , I didn't want to deal with a winch, so have always had e-powered sailplanes.
I did get to an AMA field, a few times but it is a 1hour20 drive from my home, and I seemed to be the only sailplane pilot.. whereas my local field is 3 minutes from my home.

So for me, I have found, setting up a lawn chair, then launching my Pulsar 3.2 or Xplorer38 for maybe an hour of private thermal hopping to be very enjoyable, and stimulating. You never know what air you will find, until you launch..
Last edited by 320pilot; Nov 13, 2019 at 08:56 PM.
Nov 14, 2019, 06:09 AM
32.4316 N, 80.6698 W
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Reynolds
would be surprised if F3-RES doesn't transition to an electric event as we go forward. The equipment including electric gear is economical and reintroduces something our hobby/sport has been missing for a long time and that is the hobby which is building the sailplane. Remember the building seasons
Noted on some of the European forums they have already started trying this. At one contest it was stated that this class had the most participants, especially younger folks. I am all for a Electric F3-RES. I have a feeling it would draw a lot of flyers from a couple of other classes.


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