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Oct 26, 2020, 09:02 PM
Duane, LSF IV
Wazmo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
As a caller / timer I am always working on a contrasting plan "b" while the pilot is doing their thing. If they say "I need help" then there's no hesitation and I can recommend the plan b because I already have thought of it.

Sometimes plan "B" isn't what TO do but what NOT to do. If you see people struggling on the other side of the field, it's not a sin to say so. It can reinforce the pilot's decision to be where they are, and it can serve as guidance to not follow the herd instinct and run to others just because they're a little higher. I always try to give a return route as well.

Being a timer to me is even more demanding than flying. I feel responsible to my pilot to have an option if they need it and always pay attention to the "rivers of air" so I know what's coming to my pilot (assuming they're downwind) and how to get them home most easily.
I understand the concept, but I still have trouble putting it into practice. I have on occasion done it quite successfully. Other times, much less so. Conversely, it's particularly frustrating when you offer where to find lift in reach and the pilot chooses to continue circling in sink.
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Oct 26, 2020, 09:07 PM
Registered User
Good info.
Oct 26, 2020, 09:25 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazmo
Conversely, it's particularly frustrating when you offer where to find lift in reach and the pilot chooses to continue circling in sink.
Ive been there soooo many times. Iíve finally come to the place where Iíll make a suggestion once or twice and then just let them go.

The other one is when you tell them to put the nose down coming home in the wind and they continue to fly nose high and land a mile short of the field. Sometimes you just have to let the pilot learn their own lesson.
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Oct 26, 2020, 09:32 PM
Duane, LSF IV
Wazmo's Avatar
BTW, I still find timing F3K to be playing on speed mode compared to F3J or TD. I have trouble shifting into high gear at first.
Oct 26, 2020, 10:31 PM
Overkill is underrated
elac2az's Avatar
F3K truly is, IMO, more demanding than most of our more typical events (F5J, ALES, F3RES, etc) because each task has its own subset of requirements. So learning the rules that apply to each task is the first thing someone who wants to time in F3K should do.
The timer who knows the rules can really save the pilot’s bacon when under stress the pilot is on the verge of making a mistake, like making a throw in an last two/three throw task event that would find them dropping a flight they need to keep, as an example. A good F3K timer not only has a watch with multiple time event memory, but should also have a window watch when needed and know when to use it. Throw in keeping track of the other planes for reads, the air for reads, having an exit plan should the pilot hit OMG sink... A LOT for the timer to process.
At the same time, anyone participating in this terrific event should have their chance to time as thats the only way for a person to get better.
Hey Gavin, if you come out to the Blue Skies this November (it’s posted) give me a try.
-Ed
Oct 26, 2020, 11:41 PM
Team Futaba
Silent-AV8R's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Trussell
DOESNT TELL ME HOW TO FLY
This drives me crazy. Timers that think they are flying and you are simply moving the sticks for them.
Oct 27, 2020, 12:22 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
or even better... you and the pilot both understand that you're just reading the watch to the best of your ability and the PILOT gets to factor the delta.

In F3J we used to count down to 30 seconds left and then say "Shoot a good one... you're with Jim now"

...meaning Monaco... or the official countdown. In FAI (F3K, F3J) tasks you're not always giving the final countdown.
Wow - I didn't know I was that famous...

In F3J the audible countdowns at the worlds was minimal: start horn, 2 minute warning horn and 10 seconds to end of working time. Only in the recent years was there a clock. We always had 2 watches, one we started at the horn for the prep time and used to count down the flight. The other started when the plane was off the hook - from 1-6 seconds after the horn.

Now in F5J we normally just use one watch. Generally the launch is within the first second so we adjust our countdown by one, Occasionally the pilot messes up or intentionally delays and that make the math harder... We also are using more detailed audio countdowns now - my events now have audio that mimics a good timer countdown - announce every minute down to 1, then by 5's to 30 and then by ones... There is no confusion any more.

A really good timers main job (other than pushing the buttons at the right time) is to consistently look for alternate plan B. When I say I am becoming unhappy, I'm hoping the timer has scoped out the field and can point me to planes in air or a part of the sky that should be better than where I am at (or tell me I have to make it where I am at....). I can fly my plane, and I don't need the best air on the field - I hate running around the sky chasing "better" air - but when I recognize deteriorating air - I would like the timer's advice on the other air around me. I also like some info on the traffic during the last minute. Lots of planes are maneuvering and if there is a best path for the approach to avoid traffic I'd like to know.

Other than that I want a timer that is engaged and positive and keeping me calm. Frantic calls to "GO THERE NOW!!" upset my juju and I get all frantic on the sticks and that is never good for me.

However I am grateful for any timer that gives his best to help me out...
Jim
Oct 27, 2020, 12:39 AM
NorCal Electric Soaring (NES)
SoaringDude's Avatar
Jim, FYI after your Denver event several weeks ago I decided to also change all our GliderScore F5J audio timers to also announce every 5 seconds from 1:00 to 30 seconds, then every sec as usual. At the North/South event last weekend I got positive comments that this enables the timer to lock his attention on landing traffic instead of staring at the watch. Nice change.

--Chris
Oct 27, 2020, 01:02 AM
Overkill is underrated
elac2az's Avatar
Hey Bill, youíre circling in sink. Iíd get out of there.

Ed
Oct 27, 2020, 01:19 AM
launch low, fly high
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimsoars
Wow - I didn't know I was that famous...

In F3J the audible countdowns at the worlds was minimal: start horn, 2 minute warning horn and 10 seconds to end of working time. Only in the recent years was there a clock. We always had 2 watches, one we started at the horn for the prep time and used to count down the flight. The other started when the plane was off the hook - from 1-6 seconds after the horn.

...

Jim
In the earliest F3J WC days, there was no countdown for either the start of the working time, or for the end of the working time. At the first WC, there wasn't even a reliable prep to working window time. There would be a call to see whether everyone was ready, and if nobody said nay, then the working time would start sometime in the next couple minutes, signaled by a horn without any warning... I would pre-tension when they enquired as to readiness, and threw upon the hearing the horn. The towers used the airplane launch as the signal to run... This gave me several seconds margin over the other teams, as they would send off the towers when the horn went off, and waited for tension prior to launching.

It is far more genteel and civilized nowadays...

And yes, always use two watches. I've seen instances at some competitions where the countdown clock fails and/or the audio fails. Maybe the rules are now different, but it used to be that the contest organization was only required to give start and finish of window signal, as well as a 2 minute to end of window signal. A few teams have been caught out when the signalling system fails to provide a countdown... as long as the start, finish and 2 minute signal are given, the rest is optional.
Oct 27, 2020, 01:47 AM
Team Futaba
Silent-AV8R's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elac2az
Hey Bill, youíre circling in sink. Iíd get out of there.

Ed
Ummm.... That is called strateegeery. I circle in sink and draw other pilots to me because circling planes mean lift, right? Then I bug out for the free ride in beautiful thermal all by myself!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it
Oct 27, 2020, 01:50 AM
launch low, fly high
As to the OP, there are many opinions and viewpoints.

I too have noted that there is a regional divide in the US as to the appropriate role of the timer.

There are the required elements, precise timing with appropriate intervals as the pilot requests, timely information about what other pilots are doing, etc. As has been noted previously, most of the time the timer should provide information to the pilot about elements that are within the pilots reach. I've gotten in trouble with some pilots, where I provide information about what other pilots are doing, and the pilot I am timing for takes that as a directive to go join the other pilot... this can be rather silly, as sometimes I am letting my pilot know about another thermal in the area so that if my pilots humongous thermal dissipates, he/she has a good backup plan. It is most definitely not a directive to go to the other thermal!

Sometimes it is important to understand how other pilots are doing that are not within range of the pilot that you are timing for. This is for strategic evaluation. If everyone else is getting absolutely pounded, and you are in uncertain air but have more height, then you should know that they are getting dumped by the HOG and adjust your strategy accordingly. Sometimes the timer takes on the role of tactician. This is more important when there is a team award.

For a contest with only individual performance, the pilot and timer interactions may be different than when there is a team award. With the team award, the timer may provide more information to get the most optimal result as a function of the best result from both the pilot and timer. For a pure individual event, then the timer may have a lower level of input so that the individual flight result is more representative of the pilots performance.

What I am looking for in a timer:
1) Clear, concise, and accurate time announcements. Accuracy is especially important in the last twenty seconds so that I can appropriately judge the arrival. I tell my timers just look at the watch and not to even look at my plane until the last three seconds. If I am more than two seconds off of the time, call an ambulance as I've had a heart attack or stroke... I want a metronome timer with perfect cadence. I usually know my flight time within a tenth of a second if the timer has good precision in the countdown. I really appreciate the Seiko (Lorus for you senior fliers!) stopwatches in that there are beeps for the last three seconds of a countdown, which I use to fine tune the last little bit of the landing if there is no audible window countdown.

2) Provide opinions about the pilots flying in my quadrant, whether their air appears to be better or worse than my air. This is important so that I can make an evaluation as to whether I should continue working my air or cover another pilots air that appears to be obviously better. Give me opinions about your reads of the air nearby, sometimes I'm too busy flying my plane and working my bit of air to do justice to reading the air nearby.

3) (this may be more important than 2) Tell me about the planes that I cannot see. Is there great air right behind my back? Yes, there is an evaluation about whether I can reasonably reach said airplane. If the thermal that I cannot see is remotely reachable, I want to know about it. If I have something possibly workable, it is a lower priority, but if I have wandered into the HOG sink zone, I most certainly want to know an alternative!

4) Pay attention to the other pilots, and do not fixate on my plane. The pilot can watch his plane reasonably well. I want to know what is going on elsewhere.

5) Safety aspects. Sometimes this elevates to first priority, and in a big way. The timer can see when another plane is approaching from behind. Be proactive in protecting the pilot as the pilot cannot easily look about.
Oct 27, 2020, 05:40 AM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004

Being a timer to me is even more demanding than flying.
Truth
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Oct 27, 2020, 09:11 AM
Dark Side of the Red Merle
Curtis Suter's Avatar
I have limited F5J experience but when I am doing the final countdown, say less than 2 minutes I'm using the Master Clock on the field and not my watch. Is that incorrect? If I'm using two watches I could be off the Master clock enough to cause the pilot to be overtime by a very thin margin causing them to lose their landing points.

Curtis
Oct 27, 2020, 09:11 AM
Dark Side of the Red Merle
Curtis Suter's Avatar
I have limited F5J experience but when I am doing the final countdown, say less than 2 minutes I'm using the Master Clock on the field and not my watch. Is that incorrect? If I'm using two watches I could be off the Master clock enough to cause the pilot to be overtime by a very thin margin causing them to lose their landing points.

Curtis


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