SEN 2207

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SEN 2207 –  Table of Contents

  1. GB’s View
  2. Walt’s View
  3. Contest Format

GB’s view from across the pond
From: George Batiuk

Hi all! Just a couple of comments from far away Germany.

World and Continental Championships are rarely won with a ‘dead air’
flight. I think it has happened, and most people prepare for it, but it’s
just not that  common. More likely is a scenario where the winner hits a
‘sweet spot’ and is  able to do better than the rest. Do you call that a
thermal? We could probably argue that a while too.

A Continental Championships, by definition, is for the countries of that
continent. So, as much as I hate to, I have to agree with Mr. Woodhouse.
I’ve often wonder why the US and Canada don’t get together and orginise an
‘Americas Championships’. It’s very possible!

Thermals, George Batiuk

Editor’s comment…

There is no question that greater number of active countries is a big advantage for Europe based flyers with the large number of possible World Cup events and at least one category 1 event  every two years that people can probably drive to.

A North American Continental Championship with just the USA and Canada is certainly not at the same level as a Euro Champs with 30 + countries.  We had discussed a couple of options in the past such as American to include South America, that could add 3 more countries – Argentina, Brazil and Chile, still not a serious event. Another was to have a Pacific Rim event with the America plus Oceania and Asia. This woul up the numbers but the South Americans were not interested because of the high travel costs from South America to Asia and Oceania compared with Europe and the USA.  There was an opinion that a Championship without the Russians and Ukrainians was not a ‘real’ championship

I think the original idea  from Peter Allnutt for the Pan Am , now North American was to have an event that would evolve into a Continental Championship with different people/countries running it each year but for whatever reason Peter was not able to get others on board with this idea.

Maybe as time has moved on this matter could be revisited.  Perhaps with non-European championship?  Is there any truth in the rumour or rumor that with Brexit the UK will be moved to the Atlantic Continent along with Bermuda, Iceland and Greenland?

Walt’s View of Roger’s Comments
Walt Ghio,

I find Roger Morrell’s comments very interesting.

In my history of flying free flight models you can say you picked good air in a very dead period with no thermals if your model had a good flight.  In reality, it is pure luck where your model ended up in the climb and what direction it is heading in the not so good thermal conditions that you flew in for the time you achieved.  Do it ten times in a row and you will get ten different times for all the models flown during one of these periods.  Yes, you can have these conditions at a World Champs or any other free flight contest.  That is the interesting item about our free flight models.  Any flight can look good and then Mother Nature comes into play and you end up with a flight that is below the max limit.  Yes, a well-trimmed model will get a little more than models that are not trimmed for the conditions.

I can remember the 2012 Sierra Cup seventh round when Alex Andriukov had a very high climb and ended up with his model pointed up wind.  All the models down wind maxed and Alex did 172 seconds.  (How do I know Alex did 172 seconds?  I looked it up in the SCAT web page archives.)  Alex just ended up with his model pointed in the wrong direction for that very short amount of time in the very light thermal conditions.  I call this luck not performance.

The bigger question is why do we have a program that selects a team member with only seven flights and no fly off or team members with only eight flights with one being a fly off flight.  We have three members who accomplished sixteen and seventeen flights to make the team.  They are called the third team member.  In my mind they should be the number one team member and have first pick for the flying order at the World Champs.

For selection of a team to fly at a World Champs the selection process should be more challenging than just a one-day contest like the World Champs.  Just look at what our Olympic athletes or a World Cup soccer team go thru to make the final day of competition.

The “Parker Plan” allows the third team member by way of no fly off flights between two contestants who max out as we had this year in the second day of the F1A event.  For sure, not what the plan advertises.  Or you have the third team member by way of a single fly off between two contestants as we had in the F1C event on the second day.  The F1B event had four who were contending for a team spot.  Just stating the facts.  Not a very competitive way to make a team position.

We had thirty-eight contestants at the finals.  Of the thirty-eight, five contestants who have not been a World Champs or Junior World Champs team member.  To me all the work required by the contest management for the nit-picking distractions is not needed.  It does not come close to what you go thru at a World Champs model processing time period.  The only item that comes out of this process for the new flyers is making out the model form, which is no big deal.  Yes, the winning models need to be processed, but this is the contestant’s responsibility to make sure his models meet the rules.  If you want to play the game, you need to understand the rules for the models.

The finals contestant group is small and I believe we need a change back to three days of flying.  Timers should not be a problem.  Fifteen or eighteen flights for the three days would make a more competitive team final to select a USA World Champs team.  We did this in the past and believe me it is more competitive that what we have at this time.  Or if you want to go with Mike Achterberg’s suggestion of using more World Cup/ American cup contest to select the team and keep interest up during the off period.

I believe that the age of most of us will give the big drop off in attendance in a few years.  Then the remaining contestants can us an “app” on their phone to select the team.  For sure those who flew in the finals and the flyers that want to fly in the next program you need let the program committee know what you like for a finals format.  If you believe we need a change let them know.  If you believe the present format is good to go then I wish for you one of those “lucky” flights.

As Tom Vaccaro had stated in his write up I believe we have a good team and they will do just fine at the World Champs.  Just make sure that you have good living quarters.  I do remember 1995 and all the issues regarding the housing of the USA and Australian team members.

Contest Forma

From: Ken Bauer

Free flight by its nature has always been a mixture of skill and luck.
Even the very best flyers cannot always control everything.  We’ve probably
all experienced a flight launched into great air with all indications
positive looking like a sure max after a minute, only to have the hand of
the thermal god push it down suddenly for a sub max.  Or a potential
winning flyoff flight landing in the top of the only tree on the field.
And then there are the technical glitches and model failures that still
happen every few hundred flights even for the most meticulous and well
prepared sportsman.  That’s free flight.

But luck does play a greater role in thermal and rough air rounds than in
calm air rounds so contest format can impact the luck/skill ratio.  So what
would be the ideal format?  All thermal rounds?  50/50 thermal vs calm or
performance rounds?  Everyone will have their own opinion here.  Personally
I think that after 7 rounds of mostly thermal conditions, whether that be 7
regular rounds or 5 regular rounds plus 2 flyoff rounds that enough flying
in thermals has turbulence has been done and that the next round should be
scheduled for calmer non or minimal thermal conditions wherever possible.
Of course the organizers typically want to finish the competition as soon
as possible regardless of the conditions, but seems like some kind of
guidance or encouragement to promote waiting until say just before sunset
might be appreciated by many competitors.  Too often our contests turn into
all day marathons with hardly any breaks.

Roger Morrell