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Oct 26, 2020, 06:39 AM
Team Horizon Pilot :)
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Discussion

What it takes to be a great TIMER


Ok lets talk about what a great timer does and doesn't do.
Ill just ramble a bit and we can come to a decent idea of what people like and dislike in a timer.
I believe there are three kinds of timers,
1.. Pros ( guys that know your skill level, they know what and when you need information. They are very precise in giving it out . This timer will only let you know about air you can get to . not air that you cant . He or she will keep a close eye on the other planes around but also watch your ship when your struggling and offer advice. This timer will also keep you lose . encourage when flying well and shut up when it isn't going well. A great timer never tells you how to fly but offers slight suggestions that might help. A pro timer is the best with a new pilot as he or she accesses the pilots skill level and aircraft and adjusts accordingly, Never pushing or taking that pilot to much out of there comfort zone.
Remember it is ultimately the pilots decision on when and what to do during a flight.

2. The Midlevel timer Ö( This guy can be a pro timer for some people or the worst for others. he or she sometimes makes the mistake of trying to fly the plane through the pilot and constantly gives information ,weather its useful or not)
example .. Pilot A is flying for 2 minutes and is seriously struggling . he is on the downwind side of the field at 80 ft and most likely will not make it back to the tape . His timer says 8 min to go. ...This is just a poor move on the timers behalf as it crushes the pilots thoughts . instead a good comment would be to say "lets not get to low as to not make it back to the tape for some landing points .
We can go on about the Midlevel timer but you get what im saying . (He or she needs some work)

3 The new guy ..( this guy might own a stop watch ..he might borrow yours...he doesn't know anything about timing and most likely is intimidated in the thought of timing for you)
This guy needs to time for the pros as the pros will talk to him during the flight. They will tell him what they see and explain what they are looking for while they are flying. They will teach. The New guy is a fresh slate and needs good info from good sources.

Ok enough of the gibberish, Let me tell you what I like in a timer and dislike

Can count up or down with his stopwatch . I HATE someone who can only count up !
keeps me loose . mentions what the other pilots are up to
is right with me before the contest working out a game plan for my flight.
DOESNT TELL ME HOW TO FLY
has a pen to write down the times ,Has his own stopwatch that he knows very well

comment on what you are looking for in a timer list some examples
Thanks Gavin Trussell
everyone's favorite soaring pilot
Latest blog entry: cr
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Oct 26, 2020, 08:39 AM
turn, turn, turn.
I don't want my timer to tell me anything except my time when I ask for it, and I want them to give me a 2 minute countdown the way I ask for it before the flight.

But Hey, I don't even need a count down.
I want nothing from my timer except to keep accurate time, and the novice timer is the one I gravitate towards at large contests.

The questions I ask are... is anybody still up?... Got a light for my cigarette?
Oct 26, 2020, 09:45 AM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
I started actually preparing a "guide" for this a few months before the F3J Worlds in 2014. Different people want different things and to be a good timer / caller you have to be observant and flexible.

Some examples: as Kenny states many people only want information on time. Most of the people I know like that are East coast fliers. Some people just want smalltalk to keep calm and mute the silent helmet fire... while occasionally giving them the time. Others want all the information you can give, allowing them to "filter" the usefulness.

Honestly it's a personal and situational choice. In a laid back competition, I'll use as many different timers / callers as possible because I like to gain perspective and I'm pretty social. In a bigger comp, I want a known commodity who is compatible with my flying style. Sometimes I like to leave the pack and do my own thing and occasionally that doesn't look great for a minute or two... but having a timer who panics if you're not the highest guy in the sky isn't good either.

Back to your list of great timer qualities:

1. understand the task and your pilot's strategy / position in the contest etc
2. be flexible
3. be prepared (have up / down watch and pen / clipboard / scoresheets
4. (particularly in F3K) be able to keep up with me since I wander when I fly
5. Understand that we're still friends afterward regardless of what happens
6. Understand that people have very unfriendly tone occasionally when stressed (both pilot and timer)
Oct 26, 2020, 10:56 AM
roxaneandjohn's Avatar
Great watching you fly this weekend Gavin,
few thoughts on primary functions;
1. Keep your pilot out of ant beds.
2. Keep your pilot out of gopher holes
3. Help with down wind approaches or wayward traffic during landing

Basically the safety side that some take for granted.
Oct 26, 2020, 11:02 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
I started actually preparing a "guide" for this a few months before the F3J Worlds in 2014. Different people want different things and to be a good timer / caller you have to be observant and flexible.

Some examples: as Kenny states many people only want information on time. Most of the people I know like that are East coast fliers. Some people just want smalltalk to keep calm and mute the silent helmet fire... while occasionally giving them the time. Others want all the information you can give, allowing them to "filter" the usefulness.

Honestly it's a personal and situational choice. In a laid back competition, I'll use as many different timers / callers as possible because I like to gain perspective and I'm pretty social. In a bigger comp, I want a known commodity who is compatible with my flying style. Sometimes I like to leave the pack and do my own thing and occasionally that doesn't look great for a minute or two... but having a timer who panics if you're not the highest guy in the sky isn't good either.

Back to your list of great timer qualities:

1. understand the task and your pilot's strategy / position in the contest etc
2. be flexible
3. be prepared (have up / down watch and pen / clipboard / scoresheets
4. (particularly in F3K) be able to keep up with me since I wander when I fly
5. Understand that we're still friends afterward regardless of what happens
6. Understand that people have very unfriendly tone occasionally when stressed (both pilot and timer)
Oh my, yes!

When I first started contesting, I was shocked more than once.

I'm in construction and it's no big deal, but these guys are in professional jobs doing high brow things...OMG

I get it though, who can you yell at, if you can't yell at your friends?
Oct 26, 2020, 11:03 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxaneandjohn
Great watching you fly this weekend Gavin,
few thoughts on primary functions;
1. Keep your pilot out of ant beds.
2. Keep your pilot out of gopher holes
3. Help with down wind approaches or wayward traffic during landing

Basically the safety side that some take for granted.
Gotta be willing to take a hit for your pilot... Yes, I've been T-boned before.

Don't let anyone's plane hit your pilot.
Oct 26, 2020, 11:05 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Sometimes you have to stop your pilot from launching into someone else's plane... especially in F3K.
Situational awareness is key for a timer.
Oct 26, 2020, 11:10 AM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
I’m super happy whenever I get to time for or be timed by either Gavin or Tom. I probably make some of the mistakes they mention above from time to time but I always learn from those guys.
Latest blog entry: The latest and greatest
Oct 26, 2020, 11:35 AM
Dark Side of the Red Merle
Curtis Suter's Avatar
I wrote an article for RCSD a few years ago called "The Timer" that may interest some.
Linked download is found here: http://tailwindgliders.com/Articles.html

Curtis
Oct 26, 2020, 11:50 AM
turn, turn, turn.
As a timer you should be able to recognize subtle hints from your pilot, if he wants you to keep quiet or not.

Keeping in mind that I am talking about intermediate and new beginner pilots, because that is who I will take as a timer in a large contests, unless some friends want to partner up...so...

I can't tell you how many times as a pilot, that my timer has kept jabbering on and on about this plane and that plane and this and that, and I just didn’t want to be rude and tell him to please keep quiet.

So instead, I give subtle hints and try to go, aha, aha, and OK and stuff like that, and not really engage in conversation... Some just don't get the hint.

A good timer should be aware of his pilot's attitude.

Hope that wasn't too harsh... Maybe I drank too much coffee this morning. Lol... And remember, what we complain about, is what we are often most guilty of ourselves, so I am probably pretty guilty of it as well.
Oct 26, 2020, 01:24 PM
Team Horizon Pilot :)
Thread OP
I also love discussing a backup plan when I crap the bed and lose the thermal I'm in.. having your timer say" ok if it all goes to hell I want you to come down the left side ...im working out your next ride " That's a awesome feeling
Gavin
Latest blog entry: cr
Oct 26, 2020, 01:25 PM
ThomasLee's Avatar
Like: Caller keeping me aware of changing conditions and other pilots' planes outside of my tunnel vision.

Dislike: Caller walking out of bounds with me in the fly-offs when landing.

Oct 26, 2020, 01:59 PM
Registered User
Two words: Jason George - no explanation needed
Oct 26, 2020, 02:01 PM
Registered User
Flying thermal is kind of an artistic process where a lot of decisions are made using mostly fuzzy items. Sometimes the timer gets in the way, sometimes they help, most times it's pretty neutral. As a timer I concentrate on my duties and the task at hand. I also try and grant the requests of the pilot to the best of my ability.

If you know the pilot it's much easier and it ends up being a teammate relationship. Again even flying on the same team means the dynamics change from person to person.
Oct 26, 2020, 03:13 PM
Team Horizon Pilot :)
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasLee
Like: Caller keeping me aware of changing conditions and other pilots' planes outside of my tunnel vision.

Dislike: Caller walking out of bounds with me in the fly-offs when landing.

OK OK for the last time ...IM SORRY
I didn't realize we were out of bounds .
LOL but ill never forget laughing all night because of it
Latest blog entry: cr


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