SEN 1044 - 29 Oct 2006
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SEN issue 1044 -29 October 2006
Table of Contents
Wireless Flight Timer - Morris
Not a Local - Roberts
USA FAI Team Selection Program: October 27, 2006 - Edmonson
Team Selection Proposals - Markos
Lost Hills winds.... to Michael Achtemberg - Abad
Team selection. - Wilkenson
French team for Odessa - Boutillier
Wireless Flight Timer
I have found some possible non visual ways of timing FF models, thanks to
responses to my request and Goggle searches.
There are a number of sources for small, light weight (<10 gr.) recording
altimeters that when uploaded to a PC chart altitude vs. time with 1 ft.
resolution. Conceivably, you could measure flight time this way. If you're just
interested in peak altitude, most are self readable on the field. Found were
Lomcovak's Logger, How High?, Z log, RAM2 and one by Ken Bauer.
There are a number of spy surveillance bugs and pin hole TV cameras about the
size of a dime shown on Ebay. The trouble with these seems to be range. Max
Stream has a small transmitter with 20 mile range but weighs 24 gr. + battery
wt. Sailplane/Soaring Products has all sorts of interesting wireless
communication devices including GPS, but I deemed them too heavy for our use.
I had hoped for something like a stripped down cell phone that would "talk"
to the flight timer holding a cell phone on the flight line. The timer would
hear the engine stop and hear the model land (thud or whoosh). I've toyed with
the idea of stripping a cell phone to bare bones, but I'm afraid the FCC may
put me in jail for tampering.
It occurs to me that we already have the solution but don't use it for this
purpose -- the retrieval transmitter and receiver. This device transmits a
loud, clear signal for miles and miles when in the air, but transmission is
quickly attenuated when it gets close to the ground. The sound quickly fades mu
like a model fades from view as it lands at long distance.
The procedure would be that the timer has the flyer's receiver hung around
his neck as the flyer stands by and the flight is in progress. The flyer would
hold the directional antenna and the timer would listen to the beep using
earphones while also viewing the model with binoculars. He would count to ten w
the beep disappears and subtract ten seconds just as if he senses it visually.
Such measures would be used only in flyoffs and possibly extended max rounds.
I intend to try this system. I think it would be much more accurate and
reliable than visual alone.
[ Comment of the tracker technique of timing the model. There have been
sportsmen who have either officuall or unoofically advocated this in Europe.
The latter by suggesting to thge timer that the model is still
in the air. Howver it is also rumored that in some cases the tracker
being heard by the time keeper, was not the one in the model]
Not a Local
Just for fun, (remember, Seattle, Rain, heat on in the shop) I got out my
VFR aviation charts to get a sense of our Lost Hills site given my high
speed chase at the finals. Here is what I saw on the charts. The central
valley is aligned at Lost Hills about 320/140 degrees with Holloway Road
about 310/130 degrees (NW to SE). Lost Hills airport runway is 330/150,
Avenal (Paramount Farms) airport 340/160, with Blackwell (Pvt) about the
same. The low spot in the coast mountains appears to be on the road from
Kecks Corner to Cholame at about 1500' with Lost Hills at 260'. The
mountains just west of Taft rise to about 3600' and the runway is aligned
at 250/070 degrees as reference.
Yea, yea, "what's your point". Given that runways are aligned with the
prevailing wind, the Lost Hills site, if ma nature would just cooperate on
our contest dates, doesn't look too bad if you are a betting man. During
the F1 C fly off looks like it was coming from 235 degrees blowing to
055 degrees which is almost a south westerly, odd in my limited experiance.
Anyway, until the AMA and NFFS buys us a 500 acre sod farm, with commercial
air service, a Ritz Carleton and real food, it's Dennys and Motel 6 for me.
Back to painting flames on something.
All the Best
USA FAI Team Selection Program: October 27, 2006
"A few opinions and thoughts from the Lone Ranger from
Minnesota:" Dave Edmonson
1. Site: Should either be rotated, US West Coast,
Central US, and East Coast US, or go back to regional
champs with one winner per region. Who says the site
needs to be optimum, do we get optimum sites at the
World Championships? Having the finals ALL the time
at Lost Hills gives the SCAT team too much of an
advantage. They already have the advantage because of
the multiple FAI events each year at that site that
they can easily attend.
Having commented on the SCAT advantage, I must commend
them for putting on the major FAI events on an annual
basis and the professional manner in which they do
that. Thank you!
2. Selection Format: The 2 day 14 round format with
flyoffs is just fine. Leave it as it is. A change to
a daily winner would only give the flyoff ACES a
3. America's Cup type of competition for
determining FAI team:
Here again it favors those who happen to be in the
area where most contests are held,
and can get away from their families for the most
4. Middle of the week contests: Well I got away
with 9 days of flying this time. But I sure heard
about it when I got home. "When is
my/our vacation" says my wife, and how come all of the
money is spent on your model stuff. A couple thousand
dollars for new models, $500 for airfare, $250 for car
rental, $300 for motel, $150 to ship models out, food,
etc. , and taking time off from work. And just how
many times a year can I make it out to Lost Hills??
It is no wonder that I am the only Lone Ranger from
the Upper Midwest area attending Lost Hills events!
Most of the guys in the MMAC club don't even purchase
models for FAI events.
4. Stirring up the air: This practice needs to be
abolished. The natural air currents should not be
upset by a myriad of motor cycles and funny guys
running in circles and flapping like angels to create
favorable air. A case in point was the descending of
an F1H model to within 50 feet altitude and the flyer
chasing around like a maniac for 5 minutes on his
motorcycle to gain a victory. The air should be
treated like an indoor contest and not upset. That
model would have been down in 4 1/2 minutes without his
help, and somebody else would have won.
Having said that maybe the next improvement in contest
performance is to bring out hot air balloon burners
and creating a thermal for every flight! Or how about
a downdraft machine for your favorite rival?
F1C: As viewed by a timer
5. It is impossible to get an accurate engine run. Make
each flyer verify for the timer prior to flying that
his timer is set for 4.1 seconds, start to audible
stop, on the ground. The rules state that it is the
engine sound that is to be timed, not bunts, or puffs
of smoke as the engine floods off.
6. In talking with several flyers about their timer
settings, most have said that they set at 4.5 or more.
Well that would give an accurate engine timing in the
air of over 5.1 seconds. A few tenths for engine to
slow down, a few tenths for the timer to realize that
the engine has stopped and to punch the stop watch,
and one tenth second for every 100 feet of altitude in
the climb. Guys get away with it currently by flying
in squads with 4 or more models going up at the same
time with no possibility of determining when the
engine on each model shut off? I repeatedly got 5.3
to 5.5 engine runs when I was checking as an
"Unofficial Timer". I hate to time F1C engine runs
because each guy puts so much into each flight, that
you don't want to call an over run, especially when
you know there is a .5 second delay between the sound
and reality, and your concerted attempt to hear and
7. I see some of the smarter flyers asking their timers
to check the run on the ground prior to flying. This
should be the norm, and the engines should be targeted
for shutoff at 4.1 to 4.2 seconds to be legal. Don't
bother timing it in the air.
8. Flyoffs in adverse conditions: The guy who gets the
highest in cloudy rainy weather will disappear first.
I helped Bucky Servaites a little on his winning
flight, and the reason he won was that his model spent
1 1/2 minutes circling slowly into the wind on the first
glide turn. I later went to help in retrieval winding
my way with the car through the oil field rows to find
Bucky on the opposite side along with Steve holding
Henry Spence's model and Matt Gewains model. All made
it across the oil fields into the orchards on the
opposite side. An unofficial timer timed Bucky's
model at over 9 minutes, and most of the models went
out of sight in less than 5 minutes. Bucky's model
was also yellow and orange and was more visible in the
So what is fair! Fair is when you are super lucky and make
the team. And one last item is the idea that the USA has
to send a winning team to the World Championships. I think
it would be better to give more guys a chance to develop
the sport, whether this means that guys can't be allowed on
back to back teams?? After all this hobby is supposed to
be really FUN for everyone!
USA dominance may end when the Ukraine flyers stop building
models for us!
Another parting thought: If the contest is formatted for
14 rounds, and wind comes up in round 13, why should the
contest be called then? World Championship contests are
not always stopped when it gets windy. I was ready to fly
Team Selection Proposals
A number of suggestions have been made for changes in the USA
team selection process in the letters to SEN. I would like to remind
those of you who want to be heard regarding this issue that there
is a formal process to bring your concerns to the attention of the
team selection committee in time for their in-person meeting scheduled
for early December. The team selection committee has a "Program
Proposal Subcommittee" responsible for review of changes to the program
submitted by the participants (see page 10 of the 2007
Team Selection Program).
I am the chairperson of that subcommittee.
If you want to make a proposal to that subcommittee, please submit it to me
in an MS-word document. I assure you that it will receive serious
consideration. However, before you decide to take the
time to make a request for a
change, you should be advised that we are restrained from taking certain
actions. For example, selection of the team must be at a single-site finals
contest; proposals to select a team from overall performance in a series of
contests will not be allowed.
Please try to get your suggestions in by Nov 17. After that, send them to
Paul Crowley. All the email addresses are in the 2007 program.
Lost Hills winds.... to Michael Achtemberg
Lost Hills winds.... to Michael Achtemberg
Hi Mike, thanks for your suggestion.
I plan to keep returning each year to Lost Hills, nice contest and best
place for trimming new models.Maybe not to Motel 6 any more.
Could you tell us, using Google Earth which area are do you mean?
See you there in February,
Use the Americas Cup foremat for the Team selection.
x amount of contests and add the points up and the top
three with the most points in each event go to the wc.
French team for Odessa
From: AB Boutillier
Last week-end our team trials were organized as usual on farmlands not
so far from Poitou field. Saturday flying was delayed by a heavy rain
in the morning, the contest started at noon. Weather was rather
difficult with strong wind (6 - 10 knots), during the contest the
jury added wisely a 10min. break between the rounds. We managed to
have 7 flights in the afternoon.
Sunday morning dawned bright and windy. During the second flight
the wind reached 12 m/s, flying was interrupted and later the contest
was declared ended after only 9 flights.
Last year the contest was interrupted after 8 flights, as in
2002. History repeats herself and these bad conditions seems to
be able to last forever....
The team is:
F1A : Bernard TRACHEZ, Bernard BOCHET, Edgard BERNARD. Reserve Francois MOREAU.
F1B : Benjamin MARQUOIS, Jean-Claude CHENEAU, Serge TEDESCHI. Reserve Guy BUISS
F1C : Alain ROUX, Michel REVERAUT, Laurent POUYADOU. Reserve Bernard BOUTILLIER
Team manager and assistant will be appointed next sunday by National Committee
As Roger Morrell has grown in the F1B community, he has worked hard and
developed into one of our finiest F1B flyers. So I find it strange, his
comments about the program proposal. I never said anything about the
program favoring the best flyers. It favors the flyers who work the
hardest in any given cycle.
When I proposed this a decade ago, people accused me of trying to fix the p
rogram so I would make the team everytime. That notion was cited so many times
that I said i would not even take a team spot. Most people have a inflated opin
ion of my ability and desire and what they do not understand is that I really d
o not care about the World Champs. Been there, done that! I like the people, an
d the social events and seeing all our friends from all over the world, but the
events are generally disappointing.. Austrailia was a interesting down to the
flyoffs. Enough said! Hungary got off to a great start when my model box did no
t show up till the day before the contest started. Blessed wih good weather til
l final morning flyoff and Randy won by about 3 minutes but ended up 5th I thin
k. When people make the team I wish them well and say congratulations you won t
he Boobie prize!! Guess what I am trying to convey is that this setup is about
a social gathering a few times a year
that has a team selection attached.
Sorry, did not mean to offend anyone by the offering an alturnative progra
m. I did not realize that people go to contests a week earlier to test fly test
ed and flown models.
That being the case a multi contest venue would be terribly hard. As for the
cost, I thought most people went to these contests anyway and you do not have t
o go to all.
And for the flyers that the travel costs may be a burden, skip a trip to Euro
pe for a World Cup contest. I sure that will cover the travel cost to one of ou
As for keeping the best flyers interested and not losing them, I want
to keep all the flyers interested. The last time I flew in the Finals was
in '96! Long time ago! And as I recall there were about 35 to 40 glider
flyers, 45 to 50 F1B flyers and maybe 35 F1C flyers. Now, we are down to
a total of 75+ - total flyers in the finals. Is this program attracking
The idea of nicely run contests, with banquets or on field barbeques withou
t all the stress of a one shot team selection, is to promote the idea that this
group seems to have it together and that looks like a fun group to fly with. D
o you really think a newcomer who sees a Finals like this last one or say the o
ne in Florida last is going to say "Wow, that looks like a fun time! I think I
want to try!" Not hardly!! With all the bitchen and complaining that happens af
ter one of these, it not only costs us seasoned competiors, it eleminates the c
hance to interest other flyers into the group!
With the aveage age of the flyers left and not bringing in new blood, it won'
t be but a few more cycles and you won't need a finals. Last men standing make
As for Jerry Fitch, the Florida Finals kind of did it for him! He has
one of my new F1b models and would probably start flying again if he could
drag me to the contests.
He, like me, have fun flying when the weather is nice, but that does not
happen in Lost Hills a lot anymore. This has also taken it toll on us and
many others. The last time Jerry flew was at the Scat Annual in March and
it was windy. He put up no test flights on my F1B model, which he had not
flown in maybe 8 months and it flew just like the last time he flew it. He
maxxed out and we went home. We have not flown since. I think we will this
year , as I will fly power again. Been playing with folders on the longest
R&D project in the history of modeling. So you will probably see us back
flying again soon. I am sure the power flyers are all going great, there
goes another team spot!! Just kidding please!
Have a little fun!!