About Time (part 2) The Flight Test

Flight Recording Test

At the 2024 Fab Feb World Cup contests we will be conducting a Flight Recording Test.    This test is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of using a certified electronic device onboard the aircraft to time the flight in contest conditions. The test is based on the technique currently in the Sporting Code that lets a sportsman use a certified altimeter to contest the time recorded in a flyoff. 

We have some experience of doing this in flyoffs and there is a lot of interest in extending this to time regular flights. The objective of doing this is to time flights more accurately and consistently.  We know that the greatest issue in getting accurate and consistent times is the human factor.  Everybody’s eyesight is different as is the ability to manage binoculars and concentrate and avoid distractions.  It is a major problem for event organizers to get sufficient timekeepers of good quality and to allocate them fairly.  Most modern forms of competition in many sporting disciplines that involve timing use some form of automated electronic timing.  It is a big change to do this. It is important that what we do produces a sporting result and is acceptable to our sportsmen. It is also important that it is usable by the people that run the events to conduct  an event that produces a sporting result that is acceptable to all. There are many unknowns that will not show up until we run actual events. When these details are known, the CIAM will be able to make the changes to the Sporting Code. 

Detailed information from this test will be reported to the FFTSC and reported in specialist press.

There are two suppliers of certified altimeters and one of them, from Flying Neurons, has some extra features that make it attractive for this test. Flying Neurons have agreed to add some additional features to their current hardware and software to facilitate this test. These new features are partially based on experience so far in using an “altimeter” to contest fly off times and using the Neurons and similar devices in general use.  A current Neuron and Mini-Neuron can be update I the field to include these features

This test times the flight time. It does not time the engine run phase of a F1C. That would require a device hardware upgrade. For a future step.

Note that we are calling this a Flight Recording Test and not using the word altimeter as that can be misleading. 

In this test the models will be timed in the normal fashion as described in the Sporting Code. The person doing it is called the Timekeeper in this document.  The models will also be recorded using the onboard Flight Recording system and that will be operated by the Flight Observer who will watch the entire flight.    The Timekeeper and the Flight Observer may be the same person, but they must perform those functions as independently as possible. In particular information from the onboard Flight Recorder should not be used to influence the time recorded by the Timekeeper and vice versa.


It important to understand that this is not just checking  can the device time the flight but also understanding how it would fit into the whole process of running an event from the event sign up, model processing, during each round , during fly off, reporting results and writing the Sporting Code changes.


This is how the test will work.  [Participation in the test is voluntary and should be indicated during the on-line registration process.]

  • The model must be fitted with a special version of the Neuron system software. This will be used to time all flights in the contest, both regular round and fly offs.
  • The serial number of the Neuron on the model will be written on the timecard before each official flight.
  • The flyer will indicate to the Neuron, the Flight Observer and the Timekeeper that he is about to make an official flight. [The details of using this version of the Neuron will be shown in a later document. ]
  • The Timekeeper will clock off the watch when he loses sight of the model or when it lands. That will be the official flight time and follows the normal Sporting Code process.
  • The Neuron is capable of determining when the model has landed and will show that on the App. 
  • The Flight Observer will use the Neuron App (supplied by the sportsman) to confirm the model has landed and time should be recorded. .  Note that this version of the Neuron App can supply the time of the flight in 2 ways. One is to send it to a server on the internet by pushing a button on the App  where the Organizer can fetch it. The other way is to press another button on the App which displays the time on a panel on the Neuron App where the Flight Observer will write it on the timecard.  This latter display can be shown to an official later if required.
  • The official time for the event will be the time from the manual timing unless in a fly off flight the sportsman elects to contest the manual time and use the time from the Neuron in accordance with the Sporting C There will be a space on the timecard to record extra information that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the test.  The timecard must be handed in each  round as usual.


The Timekeeper handles anomalies and events such as over runs and attempts in accordance with the Sporting Code.