SEN 2370 - 24 Nov 2017- Extended something....

Table of Contents – SEN 2370


  1. Extended Rules
  2. Extended Flight Times at euro-fly



Extended Rules


There has been quite some discussion about the pseudo fly off added to the last round. We just got a piece from Bernhard Schwendemann who presents one point of view. 


I had previously been involved in a discussion with some others but had not written up my notes. What is interesting is that different people place different emphasis aspects. Some of the reasoning is not immediately obvious.

Where this all started on SEN was a “protest” from Frederic.  Frederic’s protest did not talk  about possible effect of the departure from the rules but the fact that the rules had been changed and it was not the first time.  On top of that there was not  adequate prior notification. 

One interesting thought is what ‘local’ rules are OK ? For example the rules say the last the last round can be up to 5 minutes. Would 5 and half or 6 minutes be OK ? . Would the following be OK – a 40 metre towline, 25 gram F1B motor or 3.75 second F1C motor run? Or adding 100 grams of ballast?  Some of you may have noticed that in the USA there was some dissatisfaction about the F1Q must now have an energy limiter and F1C 4 second engine run and some people had suggested ‘local’ rules for the America’s Cup, which SCAT that runs the America’s Cup rejected as not being appropriate for FAI Free Flight contests and hence not being permitted as local rules qualifying for the America’s Cup


Here are the issues:


  • When at level of local rule is OK ?
  • What has to be notified ahead of time?
  • How does it have to be notified at the contest ?
  • What is OK when an unexpected event such as the weather interrupt the normal contest schedule?
  • Can a fly off be included in a normal round for selected people?
  • Making a normal round longer than 5 minute max increases the importance of that round above all other rounds and upsets the balance between performance and ‘lucky’ thermal flight is this OK ?
  • Having a fly off in a normal round gives a very long working time compared with a normal fly off so it is not mano a mano as a regular flyoff. Is that OK?
  • Having a flyoff in a normal round encourages those in the flyoff to extend their tow/wait time at the expense of other flyers on the same pole is the fair ?
  • Rules made for very calm conditions with little major thermal activity do not work well in contests with variable conditions, is this fair? {e.g split fly off is good at the “ice” contests but not so good in the summer at most sites}




So here is my discussion with other sportsmen


Sportsman : I was just wondering about the whole Bern discussion. For me the discussion is if the final results would have been different if the contest was flown 100% by the rules. Maybe I'm missing something, but I would say "hardly". Rules say the max for the last round = 240, and that is what everybody (specially those in the lower ranks) got. So even if the max for the last round was set for 10 minutes, those without a clean score would have had a 240 max, just like if the max for the last round would have been a regular 240.



Sportsman: When  a fly off is woven into a regular round. There is not a limited working time for those with a clean score and no equal playing grounds either.  So in the case of Bern those who flew in the last minutes with the better air  or those  who towed for 45 minutes all maxed.  So there was no one to one comparison between the ’fly off‘ scores.  On top it incentivized potential ‘anti-social’ behavior buy people in the flyoff group to tow for very long time.


Sportsman : Because of  this there has been  a proposal to restrict working time 15 minutes for regular rounds. This draft  rule proposal which appears to be nearly unanimously accepted by the FFTSC.   The rule will read 'may' so the organiser is free to impose a working time. It will only be  for World Cup with organizer supplied  time keepers  So not if would not apply for World  Cup events such as  the  FabFeb, Swedish trio where there are no official time keepers, nor for World and Continental  champs. If the 15 minutes  expires  (towing / waiting) the sportsman  just has to join the time keeper queue again (no attempt lost)



Editor’s question

Sounds good. What happens if 5 people are on a pole?


Sportsman : And other competitors on a pole will 'help' the timekeepers with keeping the working time, mostly for the 'usual suspects' of course.


Sportsman : From personal experience, not all flyers on a pole take 15 minutes.

In a first round towing is usually short (neutral air, reasonable and good model will make the 4)

In later rounds thermal activity also gives a short average working time for most

So in practice nothing will change much, except avoiding those who block a starting poles from others making their flight as was the case in Bern.


Editor;  there are some times with long periods of dead air;


Sportsman:  Not so often but the 15 minutes will kick in then




Editor :Was the biggest issue that it was increased? Or that not increased for everyone


Sportsman :To be honest, no idea. Although it was not according to rules, it sounded a sensible decision at the time. Of course if someone would have protested officially, the max would have been 240 for everybody.



Sportsman : But  a 7 minutes for everyone would have resulted in a storm of protests

Because this would mix up the ranking totally. Example: someone with a flight of 22 seconds could easily pass someone with a flight of 179


Editor: I understand that. But you can argue that either way. You could say the guy who ‘caught up’ because he did well in the last flight handled the pressure better that the guy who dropped. Or you could say he was just lucky


Sportsman: Well this 'lucky' bit doesn't make sense. Example:

One sportsman has his gear not in order, and misses 3 times about 20 seconds in the first 4 rounds. Sportsman 2 trained a lot, has his models in perfect trim and maxes the first 4 rounds. Then comes the 'magic max', organiser decides a max of 7 minutes. Sportsman 2 tows in the first half of the round for 20 minutes and manages to find neural air for a flight of 5 min 20, which is considering the conditions a score to beat. The in the last 5 minutes, the skies clear and a huge thermal develops. An up and go is enough to do the 7, even with a stalling model. Sportsman 1 manages the 7. Can you imagine how unfair this must have felt for sportsman 1 (been there done that)?


Editor: I get your point. Increasing one round max by a large amount places too much emphasis on that round.


Sportsman Exactly my point yes.

In fully neutral conditions not that much of an issue, but in Bern......



Editor:  Unfortunately I’ve not been to the Bern contest because sounds like a very good event. I was always under the impression that was beautiful calm autumn conditions in the Swiss mountains


Sportsman: Not this year on both days there were periods of turbulence when top level sportsmen unexpectedly did not make the max. And quite a variation in conditions during  the “long” F1A round that people are talking  about.



Extended Flight Times at euro-fly


Meanwhile there were several comments on the extended flight times at the

world-cup event euro-fly.


One of them had concerns about the results in the middle and rear range of

the ranking. But all participants, who have no "full house", are not

affected by the extended flight times at all. In the last round the max for

these participants was 240 sec and the final result for them was based on

the standard format of 240 + 180 + 180 + 180 + 240.


For the participants with "full house" the sum of the competition was also

the standard 240 + 180 + 180 + 180 +240 = 1020. The excess time in the 5.

round was given as the "first fly-off". Thus the situation is very similar

as for a normal fly-off procedure.


I agree, the thermal conditions can change during the round (which is longer

then the working time in fly-off), thus creating some "unfairness". But on

the other hand, if you have many participants in a fly-off, there are

differences in the thermal conditions from one end of the starting line to

the other end.


There was the idea mentioned, the extended time of 6 min should be valid for

all the participants (but code sportive says: " not exceeding five

minutes"!).  Imaging, you make a flight in poor air, let's say 210 sec. In a

normal round with max 180 you are on the good side. In a round with 240 sec

you will lose 30 sec. But in a round with 6 min you would lose 150 sec !!!

Not really fair.


In Germany we have used this format of extended flight times several times,

even in our national championship - in cases where we have foreseen troubles

with the standard procedure of the fly-off (lack of time, too many

participants, etc.). We had good experience with this procedure.


At least it is significant better and more fair then to decide a competition

by the timing the DT-time.


Bernhard Schwendemann