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My Journey to GPS Triangle Racing


Baldyslapnut
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The weather has been really mixed since end of the summer. Plus we have been in and out of Lockdown and or different tiers. So I decided to write up how this year has gone trying something new.

This article may appear in the BMFA Mag at some point. However, you are getting an early viewing of it. So if you are on the verge of having a go at GPS Triangle Racing have a read and see how I got on.

My Journey to GPS Triangle Racing

In 1973 Dad walked into through the front door and put a copy of the Radio Modeller on the table. He hoped that it would catch my imagination and help me with my struggling ability at school.

I was captivated. Like my Father, dreams of being a pilot and flying swirled around my head. We bought our first power plane and joined the local flying club. Little did we know that we were going to meet people who would become lifelong friends and start us on a journey which would see us flying model aeroplanes in many different locations around the world.

Luckily for us, two of the pilots doing the teaching/instructing at the field were Sean Bannister and John Palmer. Sean was already a National Champion at F3B and John Palmer was a rising star in Power Aerobatics in the UK. Both Sean and John were very generous with their time and knowledge. Sean inspired me to get into gliding and encourage me to do competitions and John set me on a path where aerobatics would always be a big apart of my flying.

Dad’s hope that flying would help me with my studies paid off and my thirst for knowledge about all aspects of model flying made me want to read and learn more. My reading speed improved, my interest in maths and physics grew and I opted to do an extra A-Level in Technical Drawing. Gaining enough qualifications at the age of 17 to go to University left many of my secondary school teachers speechless in the turnaround of the dyslexic teenager who struggled to concentrate in class.

Having fallen in love with gliding a trip to the local slope was in order. Living close to Ivinghoe Beacon was also a stroke of luck and soon Dad and I had fallen for the beauty of flying off the hill. Again, we were lucky to meet Dave and Graham Woods. They had both being flying slightly longer than us and where starting to explore the concept of doing competitive gliding. Spurred on by Graham, David and Sean I started doing Thermal and Slope competitions.

Being academically thick generally means you have other gifts. Mine were my sporting ability. So quick reactions and good hand to eye skills. Plus being very competitive meant the challenge of competition was something I loved. However, I would say I remember winning my first Open Thermal Fly Off in a Barcs Southern League event and my knees were knocking so hard that my Dad put a folded-up jumper between my legs.

Why do I tell you all of this? Well some of the sad trends I see in model flying are. 1) We do not see enough young people taking up and enjoying the skills and powers of concentration it has helped so many modellers develop and apply in the rest of their lives. 2) It would seem few model flyers can be persuaded to fly in competitions. They get to a plateau of flying and then struggle to go any further. As I tell the story of my first year in the relatively new sport of GPS Triangle Racing I hope it spurs people to have a go at something that pushes them out of their comfort zone. Take part in a club or regional competition and discover new things about themselves. Plus make friends with people who will shape and influence their flying careers. If you start to get serious about competitions, you will start to travel and fly at new locations and meet new people and learn more again.

 

After a break from flying I decided to take it seriously again in 2009. As I mentioned earlier Dave Woods had always been very supportive of my flying. Dave as usual was happy to take a call and said I could pop around for a chat. We talked about F3F. A class where Dave and I had competed for years against each other after the death of slope pylon racing. Radio and planes had moved on quite considerably since my last stint in flying and the latest technology really did seem like a journey in a time machine.

One of the problems with F3F is you need wind and in the right direction to run events. Despite having very competitive kit I did not get many competition flights in the first 18 months of being back into flying. Dave and I had always shared and interest in F5B. We thought it could be an antidote to the lack of F3F flying we had suffered. It was a great suggestion by Dave and the speed and thermal performance of these planes is truly challenging.

F5B grabbed me and for the last 9 years I have thrown myself into trying to perfect the class to my best ability. It has been a long process but in the last two years I have started to get top 10 and even podium finishes in Euro Tour events.

In typical Dave Woods fashion, a thrown away line on the slope at the end of last year got me thinking about what next if F5B starts to reduce in popularity. Dave said. “I think with all the knowledge you have gained flying F5B you should try GPS Triangle Racing”. I then discovered Dave had purchased a GPS set up and intended to have a go.

Having read John Greenfield excellent article in the BMFA news I had a rough idea what it was all about. So as the dark and cold of November set in I spent many an hour watching You Tube videos of GPS Sports Class and Scale Class events from mainland Europe.

It looked interesting and a good cross between the skills required for Thermal Soaring and the Speed/Distance flying in the various F Classes.

One of the major benefits of going into GPS Triangle Racing now is the equipment required to compete has been taken on as a commercial venture by RC Electronics under the ownership of Andrej Vrecer. Before Andrej stepped in the hardware and software had been produced on a more hobbist basis.

As with many high-tech products there are three elements required to make it work. Hardware, Software and Support. Andrej has produced a new Andriod based app called Albatross which forms the heart of the user interface and a number of hardware products to provide the GPS location of the plane and transmit the telemetry back to a ground-based receiver. Which in turn allows the pilot and helper to view data over the app on an android phone or tablet.

Having decided to buy a GPS system I took advice from Dave Woods and John Greenfield. Looking at my first installation in a DNA Racer I went too top end using a Raven and Snipe set up. If I had listened to John and Dave and read between the lines a Sparrow and Snipe set up is perfect for all Light and Sports Class planes.

Using the DNA Racer I had opted to try the Sports class not the newly introduced Light Class. Having read the rules for the Light Class I was not drawn to it. This was to be turned upside down later in the season as I became addicted to the challenge of GPS flying.

Spring was now approaching and with Dave’s help I got my first set up ready to fly. In the UK March can bring pleasant warm days or cold, wet and windy weather. In 2020 March turned out to be a warm and gentle month for weather. I ventured down the field and test flew the plane and GPS kit. Dave had already fabricated a GPS mount for the Jeti Tx and this gave me a great start for having the screen and ground station on the transmitter. Later modification to this set up came along with the help of Steve Burns who works for Renault F1. We built on Dave’s mounting and with some nifty CAD work and 3D printing took the mount to another level.

Taking advice from Dave who in turn was getting great coaching from John Greenfield I tried a few goes on the course. Dave and John are club mates. Dave has watched John on many occasions practising his GPS flying and was able to give me pointers on how to get started.

John’s advice was to fly up to may be half the allowed start height and have a go at starting. Then fly down to turn 1 and listen to the tones and voice outputs from the app. Hopefully being able to discern the stereo tone in the left and right ear. Understanding the voice output saying inside or outside the course and finally hearing the count down to the turn. Very quickly I realised how to turn towards the tone and having set the course up at field with some good visual way points I was not struggling to fly on a good course straight at turn 1. One important discovery made was I found it easy to look at the app on the screen and the moving map and then refocus on the plane.

Having done 4 starts and trips down to turn 1 my impatient nature made think time for a 400-metre climb and a proper go at the course. Before doing this, I decided the inside outside track voice output was too much information and turned this off on the app. So far in year 1 I have never gone back to having this information switched on.

After a few failed starts. Too high, too fast, or way inside the course I got a good start and headed off around the course. My first attempt netted me three laps. It was getting close to dusk at 4pm and the air was neutral with a 5 to 10 mph breeze. I drove home and knew how hooked I was going to be on this GPS game.

All model flyers know if you finish a new plane then you jinx yourself to get the right weather to test fly it for quite some time. If you build a thermal soarer then the weather is perfect for the slope for weeks. Roll out a slope aerobatic model and high pressure sets in and you finally get to fly the plane you finished three weeks ago. Two things looked like they would slow my progress down with the next trip out to fly. Covid and a possible lockdown and some bad weather. Luckily before the dreaded lock down I got two more flying sessions in. On both days there was some convection around and the vario was making promising noises.

In the F5B class we are allowed varios unlike F5J so I was used to the sound and tones coming out of the app. Plus using the information usefully to centre thermals and gain height. On what turned out to be the last day before lockdown in the UK. I had launched the DNA Racer and climbed out. Making a good start then going on to complete 4 laps.  A new PB. Climbing back up  I saw there were some birds of prey circling at turn 2 so I headed straight into the start and round turn 1, half way to turn 2 the vario chimed with a solid thermal giving 1.8mps lift. Thus, started my next big learning curve in Triangle flying. How much height do you gain in the thermal and when do you bugger off and fly fast?

On the day in question the thermal was drifting straight down the line from turn 2 to turn 1. I tracked it back to turn 1 and then head off. It was the only thermal on the course that flight and I used the height to give me 6 laps. To say I was like a dog with two tails would be understatement.

A couple of more flights netted 4 and 3 laps. Lockdown in the UK was the 23rd March so the days were getting longer. This gave just enough time for one more flight. Time was short as there was only 30 minutes light left so I thought we could practice the art of indexing. I.E flying the shortest possible course around the triangle without cutting the turns. After 1 lap I had lost circa 100 metres. Same for lap 2. Using one of John’s tips I had flown straight from Base 3 over the top of my head and then done a 180 turn with my body. Joy of Joy turn at turn 1 there were 9 Red Kites wheeling around in a thermal. Lift was not strong but with a gentle breeze it stayed in place at the turn point long enough for me to climb from 200 metres to 500 metres and then fly a few laps through the lift regaining some height on each leg. 9 laps was the final tally and I drove home floating on Cloud 9.

History will record we went into full lockdown. Which was something that became a worldwide shared experience. However, it proved to me how valid one of my earlier points about model flying is, model flying and the prospect of competing in a shared interest brings the best out in people. It started with John Copeland a GPS Pilot from Australia suggesting we have Zoom seminars to discuss GPS. Topics including, the new GPS equipment, flying techniques, trimming, tactics etc. More seminars followed with Phillip Kolb and Daniel from Chocofly fame.

Who had heard of Zoom before Lockdown. All I can say to anyone wanting to progress in GPS Triangle flying, the knowledge transfer in these sessions was superb. If you look on the various GPS forums you can find links to You Tube where you can watch videos of each session. John Copeland and John Greenfield plus Phillip and Dani gave generously with their hard-won knowledge.

On a personal level the best seminar for me was John Greenfields session on plane trimming and the use of different flight modes in Distance and Thermal settings. On the same theme as the two John’s seminar on tactics, Dani and Phillip talked about the need to flying the task duration out. If there is lift in the sky, why are you on the ground. Keep the plane airborne then fly laps.

As the summer progressed and normally flying resumed another one of John’s comments played back in my mind. He had done thousands of flights. The more he practiced the better his course management became and the better his tactics were.

Due to CV19 all of my Eurotour and the planned World Championships for F5B were cancelled. This meant there was less pressure on me to fly just F5B. One of the great virtues of GPS Triangle Racing is the ability to compete with other fliers across the world via the GPS-Triangle-League.Net. Andrej’s Albatross app allows scores to be downloaded at the end of a flight to the league using an IGC file. IGC standing for an internationally recognised file format of GPS files for glider flying.

The excellent league page accepts the files and displays flights in the correct class. Which are Scale, Sports and Light. Flyers from all over the world post their flights on the league and it gives you a real sense of competition and benchmark against the more experienced flyers. It would be true to say that conditions are not the same all over the world and it is clear from the data that countries at higher longitudes such as the UK and other Northern European countries do not enjoy the benefit of a continental climate.

Having said that if you can produce a high lap score when the lift is only 1m/s up to 3m/s up and your fellow competitors are enjoying lift in the 4 to 8m/s up range you can be confident you are probably flying with good tactics and low indexing.

Each category of the league is broken down into day, month and year scoring. It becomes addictive looking at the league at the end of each day to see who has been lucky enough to get out and fly. Month winners are posted on the home page of the league and there is a sense of pride if you can win the month.

In 2020 with CV19 the internet league has been a life saver for me. It has given real purpose to my flying. Pushing to get higher scores. Improve my accuracy of flying and tactics. John Greenfield used a phrase when we finally met at his field later in the summer. Passive or Dynamic tactics. If you encounter lift on the course you can either spend time thermalling and build a reserve of height,  then fly laps or you can take a risk and fly out of the thermal and fly a leg and hope to re-enter the thermal again on your next lap. Using big reserves of height is passive flying. Taking a small height gain and then heading off is dynamic flying.

If I look back at some of my earlier flights when the weather was good enough to fly the full task time out easily. I was way to passive often flying very high for too long. As my confidence grew this changed and better scores resulted. Despite considering myself an experienced competition pilot I realise I have only just scratched the surface of my journey into being a capable GPS Triangle pilot. In the blink of an eye this strange Summer has passed, and I am running out of good days to get good flights in.

In a bid to get more flying on the course I decided to move to the dark side. It is with great shame I purchased a second hand F5J. This is a personal thing, but I am not a fan of modern F5J planes. I see them as models developed for calm days. In the UK they are of limited use by the high windspeed we enjoy. Having come from F3F and F5B where the speeds of the planes can be up to 330kph, but also with the ability to fly at 35 kph and thermal soar really well.  If I need proof of this then several of my flights at Radioglide in 2019 in the F5B Nationals reinforced my opinion. We were sharing our National Flying Centre that day with Day 1 of the F5J Radioglide weekend. There was a stiff breeze blowing and I had finished the speed element of the F5B flight. After about 2 mins into the duration task t of the flight I was down to 60 metres. It was not looking good. I then encountered a small bubble of lift and started circling, the F5J pilots who had just launched their slot heading straight over. Over the next five minutes I maxed out at 380 metres and about 500 metres downwind of the flight line. The F5J planes had not climbed out as quickly as my 75g SqDM model and now faced the battle to return to the spot. A good number of the F5J planes did not make back to landing area.

I know the above sounds very negative and dismissive. However, F5J flying at the top level is very skilful and requires great judgement about lift seeking and smooth flying to get away from low altitudes so please take my comments are in context to the weather we get in the UK.

F5J are also fit for a purpose and the conditions the rules allow them to be flown in. When GPS Light was first introduced the concept of multi purposing a competition plane was a real benefit. Having made an investment in a high-tech moulded plane you can now do two comps not just F5J. Also, mainland Europe and the pilots who have the benefit of flying there have a different mindset due the continental climate they enjoy. Long periods of very warm weather with light winds. Lightly loaded F5J planes are perfect.

During a causal conversation with Pete Mitchell on Zoom as we were waiting for the BARCS AGM (British Association of Radio Control Soarers) to start it was mentioned by Pete that he could be persuaded to sell his Pike Perfection 1. Pete was going to try the PP1 in GPS but just had too much on this year.

Having discussed the PP1 with Pete it seemed like a good plane to have a dabble at the Light Class with. It was easily ballasted up to the 30gram maximum wing loading of the class and the front section of the fuz was Kevlar so the GPS RF aerial should work fine.

As mentioned earlier taking the plunge into GPS flying  was a great decision which has given me huge amounts of fun and a new challenge. I can also say that on a warm summers day with light winds flying the GPS Light Class has also been a great discovery. Unlike the Sport and Scale Class there is a maximum height limit of 350 metres. This height ceiling soon comes up with F5J plane. If you get good lift on the course the height limit certainly stops you from flying passively. You must turn the lift into speed or get a zero flight score if you breach the height ceiling.

Using the Light Class as compact version of the Sports Class certainly improved my tactics for the Sports Class. As mentioned earlier I became much more aggressive in my height and lift management.

One of the big benefits of the Light Class is the 20-minute slot time. It makes the class easier to do when time is short. You can turn up at the field get the plane together and in the space over just over an hour bang out three scores if the lift is good.  Flying the Sports Class is more intense. On a good lift day, I have had several flights where I have flown a 10 leg flight then done two 14 leg flights back to back. This equates to almost 2 hours airtime without landing. Despite being fit for my age I was very tired by the end of the session. Taking the plane apart and heading home was hard work.

My Top Tips Year 1

·       If you want to try GPS Triangle flying. Watch the Seminars over the winter you will take in years of knowledge gained by others in a short space of time.

·       Take small steps in learning to fly the course. Take John Greenfields advice and just fly one part of the course and master the sounds and information coming to you

·       RC Electronics have produced some great software and kit. Andrej could not be more helpful. Depending on your budget if you are going to fly Light or the Sports Class a Snipe and Sparrow are all you need. A Raven is probably needed of you are going to fly Scale or are serious about the Speed task in the Sports Class.

·       Once you start trying to fly the course remember you need to fly the task out. You cannot complete laps once you are on the ground. Start with a passive approach and build your way into a dynamic style.

·       If you are using a tablet or phone to plot the path of the model, then you need to keep the screen clean. Grease on the screen renders it useless in bright sunlight. I have built up a GPS survival kit in the car. One of the most important things in the box is glass cleaner and roll of lint free paper towels.

·       Try to set your course up at your field with good visual clues at the turn points.

·       At first do not stress about crossing the start line at the right height and speed. It is more important to fly around and judge the conditions. If you find lift mark it and get going. If are a bit low on entry over the start line then flying into boomer at turn 1 you are off and in the game for a good flight.  A great start and no lift will mean you are on the ground before you know it.

·       Optimise the position of the phone or tablet so you are comfortable flying for long periods of time. Do not be a slave to convention. If you look at videos of events you will see many different layouts. Experiment and find one that works for you with your eyesight and confidence level. Before committing to a design make a prototype and try it.

 

A Plane! A Plane! My Kingdom for a plane!

The quote was actually made by King Richard the Third, in a William Shakespeare play; the king cries out, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” after his horse is killed in battle, leaving him at the mercy of his enemies.

Being at the mercy of your competitors what plane should you consider for GPS Triangle Flying.

Question 1 What class do you intend to fly?

Question 2 How serious are you?

If it is the Light Class then any model that fits the rules will do. If you want to compete then most people are multi purposing their F5J planes. Eventually a Designer/Manufacturer will make a F5J plane with a F3F/F3B aerofoil section and it will become the plane to have for GPS Light.

Sports Class is slightly different due to the more open rules allowing a greater scope for a wider selection of planes. If the plane is big enough to be visible at the increased height and size of course allowed for this class. Plus being capable of thermal soaring and has a good glide angle then it is a contender.

If you want to win which plane would you buy?  A clue can be found by looking at the ranking list on the Net League. This will show the following planes have been optimised for Sports Class. Currently the top place plane in the Net League is a Baudis Calvados. 2nd, 3rd and 4th places are held by the team from Berlin flying the Baudis DNA Racer. 5th Place is the Valenta Chilli GPS Special. 6th Valenta Thermic XXXL. 7th Valenta Chilli GPS Special Spreadtow.  8th to 10th are two Calvados’s and Valenta Skywalker XL.

Chocofly are releasing a new plane for 2021 called an Appollo 46. It bears a striking resemblance to the Calvados and the Chilli. Incorporating some modern design features such the option to use water ballast and being modular with no one component being longer for than 1.5metres. This will allow for easy transport on aeroplanes and shipping to other regions for delivery. Using a longer tail boom than most of the current planes early reports suggests it flies very smoothly and tracks well considering it has polyhedral.

In reality any 4 to 5 metre plan that weighs less than 7kg will get you going. Flying a plane, you are comfortable with is much more important than the latest must have hot shoe. If you have an old F3J plane with an electric conversion or a sports model at 4 metres and above, then both would give you a good start in the Light or Sports class respectively. It is much more about the pilot than the plane when you start.

In the UK the lift is lighter than many of the continental European countries. Bearing this in mind I would suggest a plane that has good thermalling abilities. In the Sports class the Valenta models seem to do well in UK conditions.

Concerning the Scale Class I am not qualified to really comment. However, if I get a big lottery win then maybe this time next year I will be able to give you more information.

Scores on the doors

Firstly, I must thank Dave Woods for persuading me to try the totally addictive form of model gliding called GPS Triangle Racing. In the UK we are lucky enough to have one of the worlds best GPS Triangle pilots in John Greenfield. John was an early adopter of this new class and as power flyer he has turned his hand to gliding with truly great skill and effect. John’s open-minded approach to sharing his hard won skills and knowledge shows what a true gentleman and sportsman he is.

One of the interesting things for me about this class was the use of technology and how to maximise it to your advantage. Dave Woods again has been superb in fast tracking my knowledge (which is not easy) to get the most out the software and optimise my use of the information available. 

If you look at the pictures attached pictures of my Tx set up with the GPS Kit in place Dave and Steve Burns helped me get a really elegant yet practical set up.

Having had so much help I was motivated to fly as much as could and do as well as possible with my limited knowledge. As we head towards the winter in the Northern Hemisphere, I am 5th in the Sports Class League and 10th in the Light Class League. In both cases this gives me the best placed UK pilot.

My best leg score in the Sports is 17 laps 2 laps short of John Greenfields UK record of 19 laps set recently. A truly superb flight by John in UK conditions. As the Light Class was only introduced this year there was no UK Record or World Record. Meaning someone was going to set a score to beat. Currently this now stands at 13 laps for the UK record. Flown by myself. Dave Woods sits in second in the UK with a PB of 6 laps.

I will qualify this and say the UK does not have great conditions for this class and take up in the UK of flyers posting scores is low.

Reflecting on this year I have to say that taking part in the GPS League has been so all encompassing that CV19 seems like something in the distance for me. Yes, it is with us all day everyday just over our shoulder. However, the rich seam of information and friendship I have received from the GPS Triangle community has made this summer fly by.

Despite completely rubbishing F5J planes and only flying my first Light Class flight in early July. Hand on heart I can say this is a fun class and low stress to get into. A great starting point for GPS flying. Highly recommended.

Finally, a big thank you to Dave Woods for all his support through the year. Bernie from esoaringgadgets for the technical help and supply of the GPS equipment plus the excellent Valenta Chilli. John Greenfield for so openly sharing the years of knowledge he has developed. John Copeland for getting the seminars done in the dark days of lockdown.

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A very detailed, interesting and enjoyable read, thanks Greg. I now have a better understanding of what the class is, and in context with other classes. 

 

 

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John Minchell

Thanks for that Greg - second best thing I have read all Xmas (just finished Eric 'Winkle' Brown's 'Wings on my Sleeve') I got caught up with the infectious GPS bug last year, although I have not had the time or a flying site to practice like you . 

Roll on 2021 and hopefully more people will be interested in having a go with GPS - it really good fun and with a bunch of knowledgeable people who are generous with their help & expertise.

John M

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Hi Greg

Very interesting and informative

Just a thought for 2021, now you are Chairman of the ISA do you think that, once we re-start clubnights, whenever that might be, could you see your way to giving a talk to fellow ISA members on GPS Triangle Racing?

I'm sure that would encourage a big turnout on the day/evening and give you a platform for your evangelical side at the same time!:)

We're going to need some fun in '21!!:yes::thumbsup:

Regards

Pete

BARCS1702

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Hi Pete,

Great suggestion.

I have done a number of days at the flying fields of the people I compete with in F5B where we have set the GPS gear up and they have flown my planes via a buddy box and used the screen and head phones.

A club night would be good but a Saturday or Sunday session where people can actually have a go may be more informative.

Regards

 

Greg

 

 

 

 

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Hi John,

I am sure as we get to the Summer months we will be able to fly together and do some GPS coaching.

Regards

 

Greg

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Hi Greg 

The one thing I know for certain when I read a good article, or post, is that I just have to respond to it, as constructively as possible, in the hope that what I want to say is helpful to you. So, in response to your post, I hope you wouldn’t mind me pointing out a few items that might be included in your next post, to help you with making your argument/ point. 

Firstly, you don’t mention F3B – Multi-task soaring in your post. You do mention John Greenfields’s “passive or dynamic tactics” but don’t refer to the class where they were first employed, in F3B. I'm sure, as Sean Bannister would be happy to tell you, in F3B, where the models are heavier and more agile you have to drive them all the time, constantly looking for lift, and working it, wherever you find it on the competition flying field, you have to be positive all the time in F3B, “loafing-around” just won’t work 

Secondly, you didn’t mention the great advances in carbon construction technology that have been applied to competition models, making them lighter but also stronger for a given weight. The F5J models in use at the moment are much, much stronger than the old balsa and ply ones, and can be flown much more aggressively without the fear of their breaking up in such (mis)use 

Add to that now that, most “Ultra-lite” F5J competition models have the facility to be ballasted (almost as highly as F3F ones), to fly in “British Standard” flying conditions without breaking up in the turbulence they could be flying through. These days they don’t just hang around waiting for lift to come through, they go further afield searching it out 

More importantly though, you don’t mention the amazing advances in “Smart phone” technology in recent years, without which Triangle GPS racing simply couldn’t flourish. Add to this the recent surge in interest in FPV and you have the perfect recipe for this new class that just HAD to be exploited. 

Here’s hoping that these “items for your consideration” are helpful to you and could, again hopefully, be of use to you 

Thanks and regards

Pete

BARCS1702

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Hi Pete,

Thank you for the comments. On the article it was written for the BMFA initially. Feedback came back that it was far too long. So adding extra detail about things was an issue.

It may still make it into the BMFA rag. However, I doubt it. 

Having flown F3B for a number of years I would say the short time slot for the distance task makes it more like a speed task that the GPS format. Also the course is short compared with GPS flying. Which means you are better to push on and use the lift on the course before it passes by. As each leg is 350 or 500 metres in the Sports and Scale Class the decision to circle or crack on is different. Passive or dynamic flying has it's history in full size gliding before any form of model flying. 

On the advances of technology in Smart Phones I am sorry not have mentioned that. It shows that we just see them as a utility now and are not wowed by them. I thought the point raised about the improvement in the App and the GPS Flight and Ground equipment was a bigger issue. Going from a garage/hobbyist product to a full on commercial offering was more note worthy. Again the article was criticised for being too long so I wanted to reduce content not add it.

I totally see F5J planes in a different way to you Pete. Having flown at the same time as F5J planes at Radioglide and seen my 75gram per F5B model outfly them in three successive flights. Out climbing them in lift and having a far superior glide angle. On all three flights I caught lift and followed the lift  down wind in 12 to 25mph wind. Ending up at 300 altitude metres plus. Punching back to the field with enough height for a rolling circle and several square loops. Several of the F5J planes failed to make it back to the field and most landed downwind of the spot. 

F5J planes are built for European conditions and the sections are still poor at flying with a good glide angle. Even the heavy construction planes are too light when fully ballasted for UK conditions. Using Pete Mitchells Pike Perfection for GPS Light I always carried full ballast taking it to the max wing loading allowed for the  GPS Light class. F5J planes are designed for balmy Continental weather and flying slowly. GPS Light has been created so people can dual purpose planes. However, most UK GPS triangle pilots believe the rules for GPS Light need changing. I did write more about this but was advised to take it out as I came across as a F5J hater. 

Again on your comments about moulded planes.  They are just a way of life today. We forget how amazing they are. How freely available they are. Despite a small market the choice and development of them it is spectacular.

 

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surely Greg F5J is F5J and not a distance task event ,trying to fly a 4 mtr model with such a low wing loading thats designed to hang in the air is never going to be all that great .It comes across as if you are just introducing various classes to support a lack of numbers for the bigger more expensive class .

Just like the F3B B league 

Andy

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Hi Andy,

I am not trying to introduce anything.

The Germans and surrounding countries make the rules have introduced a third class this year called GPS Light. The objective of it is to offer people the opportunity of trying out GPS Triangle Racing with a model they may currently have. If they like it they may well step up into the Sports or Scale Class. I did state this in my article about dual purposing a model. Did you read the article?

It is obvious I need to improve my written skills for which I apologise as I failed to communicate the following point.. They should have allowed F3BE and F3F electric planes into the class as they would have been more suitable for the conditions many countries experience. Plus they would be more exciting to fly. Most UK pilots who have discussed the Light Class with me as a possible entry point feel to GPS feel the plane design would limit the number of possible flying days they could enjoy.

On your point of of lack of numbers in the Sports Class and Scale Class. If you look at the leagues on the GPS Triangle League web page. All classes are well supported in Europe and Worldwide. The rule makers would also look at the numbers and say the Light Class has worked well. Plus there have been a number of people who started in that class and have now purchased a scale or sports class model.

I tried the Light Class this year just to see what it was like. Especially as we had some very good weather with light winds this summer. It is hard to comment on something without actually trying it. As my dad would say to me when I turned my nose up at something. "I do not like Guinness but I have never tried it".

In the UK all three classes are seen a low take up. However, I know of at least 10 new pilots with planes on order and GPS kit purchased in preparation for the 2021 season. Plus three new pilots who have started flying this autumn. 

Regards

 

Greg

 

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TBH Greg I looked at GPS 4 or 5 years ago and unless you had an 8 mtr model it didnt work.I should have put 'rule makers' instead of 'you' 

good luck with building it all up .

 

Andy

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Hi Andy,

I felt the same. It was in the stratosphere for me. 

If we can get the wing loading increased in the Light Class so people can get an extra fuz for their F3F or old F3B plane and convert them. Thus having having a slope racer and a GPS model. 

Bernie has sent me the lowest cost ground receiver (the Snipe RF) to try. The app has just been updated and works really well now. I hope to test it as soon as I get a flyable day.

It will make the cost much more realistic.

Looking forward to a day at the Mynd for a good F3F joust with you guys. Hopefully this madness will stop soon.

 

Greg 

 

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Hi Greg,

thank you for the insight to another fascinating branch, of this intriguing hobby of ours. Please keep us informed of your progress, in this new discipline. 
 

Mike. 

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Some good news for people thinking about trying GPS Triangle Racing.

Today I tested the basic GPS set now available from RC Electronics via esoaringgadgets in the UK. This was made up of the Finch RF (Ground Station) and a Sparrow RX/TX in the plane. It is aimed at the GPS Light class but I thought I would test it in a Sports Class model as the range is more extreme due to the bigger course and higher entry height at the start. In conjunction with the recently upgraded app it works very well. It lacks the stereo sound steering and turn point warnings of the Snipe. However, I am not big user of the stereo sound and I soon adapted to the turn regime without the countdown bleeps.

It makes it possible to buy a Sparrow, Finch RF and the licence for less than £300. If you are an android user then your current phone will be perfect. If not another £100 will get you a more than suitable device.

Regards

 

Greg

 

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Marc RC pilot
On 30/12/2020 at 08:00, Mikeb52 said:

Hi Greg,

thank you for the insight to another fascinating branch, of this intriguing hobby of ours. Please keep us informed of your progress, in this new discipline. 
 

Mike. 

I second what Mike says.

Thanks for sharing Greg.

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Sy Nelson
11 hours ago, Baldyslapnut said:

Hi Sy,

I am not sure about your question.

Can you elaborate please.

Regards

 

Greg

 

 few setups that they have a smart switch.....Smart Switch is an advanced switch to connect between Android device, USB power bank and external device like Snipe, T3000 or FlyMate, this one from Soaring Gadgets.

Is it just a multi plug for power?

 

Thanks

Sy

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Baldyslapnut

Hi Sy,

Some pilots have this because if you fly in a competition there can be 6 to 9 flights per day depending on the lift. So the Snipe or Flymate is taking power from phone as you know. Most people us a multi power lead with an extra power supply.

I have flown on a number of days using the phone and Snipe from 10.30am to about 6pm. Taking breaks for a food etc. Normally the phone is at about 20% power at the end of the day. I sometimes top it up from a field power pack.

One of the issues of the extra power pack weight on the Tx. If you are using the phone and Snipe on a pole attached to the Tx the leverage can make it feel a little bit out of balance. 

Dave Woods has fabricated his own lead. I will ask Dave to post a picture of his lead.

Regards

 

Greg

 

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John Minchell

My understanding is that you can charge the phone (or tablet) from a powerbank whilst flying and using the T3000 or Snipe ground station etc., but you can't charge both at the same time.

I asked on GPS FB page if there was a way of just hooking up to a spare 3 cell LiPo pack but got no replies.  I would be interested to find out if it can be done as a decent powerbank is £100 and the smartswitch from Bernie is £50 or so.  Knocking up a lead with a couple of connectors and some soldering that I can do if I am shown how/what components and a wiring diagram.

HNY John M

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