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Neil Harrison

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Neil Harrison

What is F5K Thermal Soaring?


F5K is a soaring competition class that originated from a cross between 3 different thermal soaring classes: F3K, F5J and F3J. The common aspect, Thermal Soaring is strengthened as much as possible and the unique aspects of the classes are integrated.
One of the most important aspects of all classes is Thermal Soaring: the hunt for thermals on which sailplanes can rise to great heights. A beautiful game between nature, technology and piloting skills ranging from reading the air to taking strategic decisions while carefully maneuvering the plane according to plan. The result of the flight is different every moment of the day and even the most experienced pilot continues be challenged to find the right spot on the field to push his model higher and higher up in the sky.
One of the characteristics of the F3K competitions is the fact that different tasks have to be performed, mostly consisting of multiple targets to be flown, making it necessary to carefully plan and execute launching and landing multiple times.
The starts are very short. The model will be launched within a few seconds. The field (often 100 x 100 meter) can be used for landing. The models have a wingspan of approximately 1.5 meters
In F5J competitions, the intention is to start your model as low as possible and then to fly until the end of the working time of 10 minutes. The models often have a wingspan of approximately 4 meters and there is a penalty start system that rewards a low start. You must land as close as possible to a predetermined landing spot. The further you land from the landing spot, the more points it will cost you.
In F3J competitions, the model is launched by towing or by means of a winch. The starting height is approximately 175 meters and the working time is just like with F5J 10 minutes. Landing is precision work. Just like F5J, a spot landing is required. With F3J, the deduction in case you land less close to the landing spot is more than with F5J. This makes a landing with corresponding timing an important aspect of this class.
The main features of F5K are:
- Split second launch
- Penalty and bonus starting height system
- Multiple Task Contest
- Tasks consisting of multiple target times to fly - Start and landing area
The maximum motor time is 7, 8 or 9 seconds and a nominal launch height of 60, 70 or 80 meters is set, determined one day before the contest and depending on the wind strength. An altimeter is used to limit motor time and manage and measure the launch height. The Altis Nano is currently the only accredited device for measuring flight parameters for scoring. Both the height and the motor time are programmed in this device. The pilot can choose to turn the motor off earlier and collect the bonus points at a lower altitude. He can choose to take more height, but this can lead to penalty points. The nominal starting height will be announced before the race.

The model is started in a 6-sided starting area, which is also used as a landing zone.
All these facets ensure a beautiful, dynamic chase for thermals in a strategic game of land and launch.
This is F5K Thermal Soaring
 

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Neil Harrison

F5K is made up of different tasks, strategy and flying at its best!

Task A.  1, 2, 3 and 4 min flights in any order.

Task B.  Last Flight (Max 4 min)

Task C.  All Up Last Down (4 min max)

Task D.  3, 3, 3 and 4 min flights any order

Task E.  Poker 

 

Task A.   1, 2, 3, 4 minute flights in any order
• Four Launches maximum within a 10 minute window
• 1, 2, 3 and 4 minutes target times, flown in any order within a 10 minute window
• Time flown will be entered into the scoring, with a maximum of the target time per flight
• Before starting the next flight it is not necessary to achieve the current target time
• Minimum time between landing and start is considered 5 seconds
Maximum total flight time used for scoring: 9.45 min

Task B.  Last Flight
• Last flight counts
• Max flight is limited to 5 minutes
• All competitors of a group must launch their model gliders simultaneously, within 3 seconds of
the acoustic signal. Launching a model glider before or more than 3 seconds after the start of
the acoustic signal will result in a zero score for the flight
• Three Launches maximum within a 7 minute window
• There will be a start penalty in case a competitor needs more than 1 start

First start Second start Third start
Example Task B, NLH = 60 mtr
: zero points (no penalty)
: start penalty is 10 seconds
: start penalty is 20 seconds

 Task C.  All up, Last down, 4 minutes maximum (3x)
• 3 flights will be flown in total in this task.
• No working time is necessary.
• All competitors of a group must launch their model gliders simultaneously, within 3
seconds of the acoustic signal. The maximum measured flight time is 240 seconds.
• Launching a model glider before or more than 3 seconds after the start of the acoustic
signal will result in a zero score for the flight.
• After 4 minutes the competitor will have 15 seconds to land. Landing after these 15
seconds will render the flight invalid.
• The flight time starts at launch, meaning the moment the model glider is released from
the helper or competitors hands, not at the start of the acoustic signal.
• The flight time stops at landing or at the acoustic signal, even if the competitor is still
flying.
• The preparation time for the next task after the 15 second landing window is 15
seconds.
• The score is the accumulation of the flight times of the three flights, adjusted for
penalties and bonuses for launch height and landing in the Pilot Area.
• A helper may launch the model glider for the competitor

Task D.  3, 3, 4 minute flights in any order
• Three Launches maximum within a 10 minute window
• 3, 3 and 4 minutes maximum flights in any order within four launches within a 10
minute window
• Time flown will be entered into the scoring, with a maximum of the target time per
flight
• Before starting the next flight it is not necessary to achieve the current target time
• Minimum time between landing and start is considered 5 seconds
Maximum total flight time used for scoring: 9.45 min

Task E.  Poker
• Each competitor has a maximum of three of flights to achieve or exceed up to three target times.
• Working time is 10 minutes.

Example Task E, NLH = 60 mtr First Flight :
Start height 41 meter Start Penalty
Time
General penalty Subtotal first flight
: : : : :
38 seconds launch bonus
0 seconds
1 minutes and 5 seconds = 65 seconds
no penalty
65 + 0 + 38 = 103 seconds [assume: target time reached]
5 seconds launch penalty
10 seconds
3 minutes and 30 seconds = 210 seconds
Landing out of Pilot Area = 10 seconds penalty
210 – 5 – 10 – 10 = 185 seconds [assume: target time reached]
Start height 58 meter: 0 seconds launch penalty
20 seconds
3 minutes and 45 seconds = 225 seconds
Landing out of Pilot Area = 10 points penalty
225 – 20 – 10 = 195 seconds [assume: target time reached]
Second flight :
Start height 65 meter Start Penalty
Time
General penalty Subtotal second flight
Third flight
Start Penalty
Time
General penalty Subtotal third flight
: : : : :
: : : : :
• All competitors of a group must launch their model gliders simultaneously, within 3 seconds of the acoustic signal. Launching a model glider before or more than 3 seconds after the start of the acoustic signal will result in a zero score for the flight
• Before the first launch of a new target, each competitor announces a target time to the official timekeeper.
• He can then launch to try and reach or exceed this target time, if his total number of flights up till then is lower than three.
• If the target is reached or exceeded, then the target time is credited and the competitor can announce the next target time, which may be lower, equal or higher, before he releases the model glider during the launch.
• If the target time is not reached, the announced target flight time cannot be changed.
• The competitor may try to reach the announced target flight time until the end of the working time, or he has reached his total of three flights within the task.
• For the competitors last flight he may announce “end of working time”. For this specific call, the competitor has ONLY one attempt.
• The target time must be announced clearly in the official contest language or alternatively shown to the timekeeper in written numbers (e g 2:38) by the competitor’s helper immediately after the launch.
• If the competitor calls “end of working time” the competitor’s helper writes the letter “W”.
• The competitor can call “all in” for his first flight, target and maximum result is 9.59 minute.
• The target(s) (1 - 3) with achieved target times are scored, adjusted for penalties and bonuses for launch height and landing in the pilot area.
• The maximum flight time is 9.50 minutes, in case the competitor launches 3 times There will be a start penalty in case a competitor needs more than 1 start
First start Second start Third start
: zero seconds (no penalty) : start penalty is 10 seconds : start penalty is 20 seconds

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