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GPS Triangle at the BMFA Nationals, Monday 30th August


simon_t
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Just a reminder that we will be flying both Light and Sport class GPS triangle events on the Monday of the BMFA Nationals.  I think it will be pretty similar to the events already held, that is, quite low key and with plenty of advice and help.  I’m sure Greg Lewis won’t mind me copying his FB post regarding registration and entry:

Entry for the BMFA GPS Triangle Racing National Championship is now open. Location: BMFA National Flying Centre at Buckminster. Date: 30th August 2021. Entries close on the: 24/08/21. Classes to be flown: Light and Sports.

Payment and entry for the event is done via the BARCS National Champs portal:https://www.barcs.co.uk/store/category/7-bmfa-sf-nationals/

Registration for the event on the GPS Triangle League is required on the following link:https://www.en.gps-triangle-league.net/?page_id=22...

Both must be completed for entry to be excepted. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

If you enter on the GPS League but do not entry via the payment portal your entry will not be accepted.

Simon

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Just a reminder that entries close tonight for this event - registration details in the post above

 

Simon

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Dick Whitehead

What a great day out yesterday was, and I learnt so much from such a friendly helpful crowd. The weather could have been better, but the enthusiasm was not blown away in the wind.

Congratulations to Greg and Simon for their wins in the Sport and Light classes, and many thanks to all involved in organising the event.

My only regret is that my best flights were practice flights before and after the comp., and not during the comp. 🙄

Dick

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Baldyslapnut

Hi Dick,

You made great progress through the day. Well done.

Fantastic flying from Simon in both classes.

Results can be seen in the attached spreadsheet.

Thank you to all pilots who turned out despite it look like a miserable day for thermal soaring. It turned out be a great day.

 

Greg

 

 

 

Results 2021 GPS Nats.xlsx

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Dick, Light Class was very hard work yesterday in the strong breeze and poor lift.  It wasn’t helped by the long base leg have a large into-wind component.  Many thanks for competing and helping grow Light Class in the UK.  We have a way to go, and we are bound to get a competition with more favourable conditions eventually!  I think we will see interest and excitement build once we get conditions to allow some proper racing (just that so far in the UK nobody has ever experienced such conditions in a competition!).  My experience so far is that, under typical UK weather conditions, Light Class is somewhat harder than Sport class to accumulate laps.  The combination of (relatively) low maximum wing loading, lowish launch height, and the 350m altitude cap all conspire to limit the laps potential.  Weak thermals and strong breezes typically mean if you circle you lose as much height getting back up wind, as you have just gained, unless you are very lucky with the position of the thermal.  But keep at it, and one day we will have a really good day’s Light Class racing!

Greg:  Once again, many thanks for organising, and thanks to @Flightech for generously providing some prizes.  Hopefully we can get more entries in time.  

Simon

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Baldyslapnut

BMFA GPS Triangle Racing National Championship

Location: National Flying Centre, Buckminster

Date: 30/08/21

 

Finalising the 2021 Silent Flight Nationals had been a last-minute affair. Sadly, Mike Proctor had suffered a serious health issue and as the person who has been organiser and CD of the Silent Flight Nationals for some many years Mike left some big shoes to fill.

After a Silent Flight committee meeting it was agreed it would be good to follow the same format as RadioGlide earlier in the year. Monday was the day set aside for new classes and non-FAI events. This allowed for GPS Triangle Racing and 2 Metre Electric gliders or F5RES to take part in the Nationals.

Interest in GPS Triangle Racing has been growing over the last few years and with the success of the Ghost Squadron training day earlier in the year plus  GPS Racing being part of RadioGlide it was agreed it would be included in the schedule for Monday.

It proved to be a good decision with 8 people entering the Sports Class and 5 pilots entering the Light Class.

On the week leading up to the Nationals it certainly felt like ground hog day with grey cloudy weather and a cool North Easterly breeze being a constant feature of the weather. Saturday and Sunday looked okay for the F5J/F3K events. However, Monday looked in doubt with winds of up to 25 mph forecast. Luckily on Saturday the forecast changed, and the wind speed was showing a more flyable 13 to 17 mph.

Monday dawned with what can only be called very uninspiring weather for a flat field competition that requires thermals to make it interesting. Not deterred by the weather we had pretty much a full turn out with three pilots not being able to attend due plane or health issues.

Standing in Buckminster’s camping area at 8.30am low cloud and drizzle did not seem to dampen people’s enthusiasm. Comments such as “it will soon clear up” and “it is not as windy as forecast” could be heard. They both proved to be true and the drizzle passed by and flying was able to start at just after 10am.

We started with two rounds of Light Class. Which had turned into a Samba competition with two Prestige PK GPS Specials and one Pike Perfection.

Round 1 was flown in a brisk breeze and dead air. It turned into a great battle between Steve Haley, Simon Thornton and Dick Whitehead. If you look at the flying CV of these three pilots you would realise, they are all serious competition pilots with skills in F3B, F5J and F5B. Plus all have represented GBR in their chosen disciplines. The breeze and sink made this a tough round and Simon, Dick and Steve all flew the same number of laps. Simon had achieved the fastest average speed and bagged the 1,000 points. Dick was second and Steve with a few GPS issues was third. We were not sure of some of the data on Steve’s flight. He may well have scored higher, but it was hard to work this out at the time.

We decided to fly another round of Light Class straight away to give one or two of the Sports Class pilots time to makes sure their GPS files and equipment were functioning properly. The beauty of GPS competitions is they are run using the www.gps-triangle-league.net software. An event is set up on the league web page and the CD can control the event via the web page from a web enable device on the field. This allows slots to be scheduled as the event is in progress and timings become clear.

Round 2 of Light was another close affair. Simon just managing to get some lift and squeezing an extra lap out over Steve and Dick. Dick was flying exceptionally well as he had only done a hand full of flights before the event with his GPS set up.

Again, with the benefit of the flexibility of the event software it was agreed we would get the Light Class finished as quickly as possible so Steve and Team Haley could get away and head back home.

Round 3 proved to be another close battle with Steve Haley edging the extra lap out of Simon and Dick.

Final results were already showing on the web as all three pilots finished downloading their files to the Net League page. Out a possible 3,000 points 425 covered the top three. Dick finished an excellent 3rd with Steve Haley 2nd. Making history Simon Thornton became the first ever BMFA Light Class GPS Triangle Racing Championship.

Stopping the Light Class was the right thing to do at this point as the windspeed was starting to increase and it was getting close to a level where it was not enjoyable for the pilots.

Round 1 of the Sports Class was an eventful affair. In the pilots briefing we decided it would be good to fly all 8 pilots in one slot. This meant some pilots had to launch for the pilots who need launching then launch themselves. 7 pilots managed to get away, but Greg Lewis had a motor failure and could not make the start gate with the allocated time. As with the Light Class lift was scarce and sink was strong.

Alex Maryon-Davis, Iain Rose, Dave Woods and Paul Eisner all tied with 3 laps and then were ranked using average speed. As with the Light Class Simon Thornton had managed to fly a bit tighter and smoothly to slip in an extra lap. It was looking like Simon was in a good position to become double National Champion. Alex was second in the round, followed by Ian, Dave and Paul. An impressive start for Alex who has only just taken up GPS flying in 2021.

Round 2 turned out to be a completely different. Greg had isolated his motor issue to be a problem with a foreign object in the micro switch used for the throttle function. Having launched several planes Greg was able to get away and join the fun. It was evident straight away that this round was enjoying the most buoyant air of the day so far. Models could be seen spread across the course circling in multiple patches of lift which were tracking downwind quickly in the stiff breeze. Ian Rose opted for a dynamic style of flying. Moving from thermal to thermal without gaining large amounts of height in each thermal. Simon, Alex and Greg Lewis, opted to climb out higher in one area of lift that Ian had used but then moved on from. As the round continued Ian and Alex were ahead of the pack on laps and average speed but slowly Simon and Greg Lewis used their extra height to fly faster laps. As the lift passed and it became a final glide competition. Simon, Iain and Greg Lewis were all on 8 laps, but Greg Lewis took the round win and 1,000 points due to having the best average speed. Alex was 1 lap down. Greg Fitzpatrick also fared well in this round after a slow start in Round 1. Dave Woods and Paul Eisner also had a close duel for the remaining places.

 

Spurred on by his improved performance in Round 2 Greg Fitzpatrick flew well in Round 3 despite the cold breezy air to secure 3rd place in the round. Only Simon and Greg Lewis could gain an extra lap over Greg Fitzpatrick to take 2nd and 1st  in the round, respectively. In fact, 3rd to 7th place for this round was ranked by average speed because the closeness of scoring on laps. Simon’s challenge for a being double National Championship was starting to get more competitive as the prospect of getting to 4 rounds flown and a discard coming into play looked likely in the time available. Discard rounds are notorious for changing the outcome of competitions at the final twist when the pilots’ worst round is dropped.

Round 4 again showed the quality of Greg Fitzpatrick’s flying. Greg Fitzpatrick scoring a 3rd place and have the fastest average speed for the round. This shows how important tactics are in GPS flying. Greg Fitzpatrick made a good height gain on lap 1 of his flight and the moved on at pace to build a healthy number of laps. This was also a tactic employed by Simon. Simon achieved one of the biggest altitude gains of the day in the early part of his flight which also meant his opening lap had a high index or a long distance travelled compared to the perfect lap. Greg Lewis starting later in the gate window used the available lift to fly lower and slightly faster, giving Greg Lewis the round win on average speed. Again Iain, Alex and Dave were tightly clustered on points. Paul had an Albatross app issue and sadly failed to record his task.

We were now into the middle of the afternoon and the wind had increased further and the temperature was dropping off slightly. After the CD conferred with the pilots and it was agreed Round 5 would be the last round. Like the second round it turned out to be an intense dual between all the pilots. Lift was available straight from launch and some pilots managed to get straight away into good height gain on their first lap. Greg Lewis launch some 90 seconds after the first pilots missed out on this initial batch of buoyant air. After several starts Greg Lewis opted to wait close to the end of the start window to make his final run.

Before Greg Lewis had even started both Simon and Greg Fitzpatrick had been racking up a good lap score. Greg Fitzpatrick impressing again with tight flying and good use of the lift available to gain another third place in the round. As with the other rounds things were close amongst all the pilots and average speed was the determining factor for normalising the scores to calculate the final round order. Despite pilots’ models often being in similar parts of the sky in the same lift at the same time it was hard to work out who was going to win the round. Simon and Greg Lewis tied for first place for the round on laps flown, but Greg Lewis had just pipped Simon with a faster average speed. It is interesting to look at the different tactics that came in to play for similar numbers of laps here: https://www.en.gps-triangle-league.net/?page_id=22&fld_id=214&site=30

We retired to calculate the scores with a discard and give out the excellent prizes donated by Neil Jones from Flightech.

After some help from Iain Rose the CD finally got the scores right with the first Sports Class GPS Triangle Racing podium for the BFMA Nationals being occupied by three ex F3F pilots. In 3rd place was Ian Rose, followed by Simon Thornton in Second and Greg Lewis in 1st place.

All pilots agreed the conditions had contributed to an incredibly tight and fiercely fought event. Most impressive of all was the level of performance of the new pilots to GPS Racing. Iain and Alex in their first season flying at a high level and improving with each event. Greg Fitzpatrick who is not a hard-core glider pilot but a very good power flyer who was persuaded to have a go at GPS flying by his club mate John Greenfield. Greg Fitzpatrick shows great thermal and speed flying skills.

Tactics and model set up make a huge difference and Paul Eisner who has posted some big scores this season on the GPS Net League suffered with carrying too much ballast in his Calvados. Paul was always on the back foot with the plane’s reaction to the light lift that was around.

If we look at planes and what was best suited to the day the Valenta Chilli is without question a very competitive plane for UK conditions. Simon has made great strides with his Aer-o-tec Ikura since the beginning of the season. This has to be qualified by saying  the most important nut on any aeroplane is the nut who holds the transmitter and Simon has uplifted his performance quite considerably from his first competitive outing of the year at the Ghost Squadron training weekend in the Spring. Anyone who has competed against Simon in other disciplines will know he is a formidable pilot and competitor.

Despite holding the UK record and some of the highest ever league score the Baudis Calvados was not able to show its true performance as Paul said probably due to over ballasting. Dave Woods flew exceptionally well with his GP Racer which is a hybrid of the Baudis GP15 wings and a sports fuselage. Dave is finding his confidence again for flying at higher altitude and distance after having his cataracts done in early summer. Dave is becoming more familiar with the plane with each flying session. Without question it thermal wells and has a very good glide angle. Like Simon’s plane it is a little small to be seen at higher altitudes and the 28-1 aspect ratio does not help with this.

In the Light Class it was a Samba day with all planes being flown from this company. Darren Maple was not able to fly which meant we did not get to bench mark the excellent Infinity against the Pike’s.

It would also be fair to say that the event was incomplete due to John Greenfield sadly not being able to attend. John was already committed to another event and the Nationals dates was a last-minute event due to the circumstances mentioned at the beginning of this report. John is the UK most experienced and competitive GPS pilot and is a benchmark for aspiring pilots to fly against.

In conclusion. At 9am on the morning of the event we would not have believed how good a day of racing we were going to enjoy. Competition was fierce and intense through the field. Having seen the pilots fly on a regular basis this summer, the improvement since John Greenfield’s event in the Spring is marked.

Flying GPS Triangle Racing at your own field and improving your lap PB or making a low save and going onto fly out the task is very addictive. Flying man on man with gate windows and all the tactics that go with flying with 8 plus planes in the air is truly exciting. I know most pilots said the same thing to each other when the were saying their goodbyes. “When is the next one”

 

 

Sports class.jpg

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John Wighton

Thanks very much for the comprehensive report on the NATS event, Greg.  Apart from not being able to recognise my own model (re: April GPS training event) and being the world's slowest builder (12 hr epoxy doesn't help), I hope to have a couple of models available for the 2022 season - most likely the Chilli I managed to source from the USA and an Alpenbrise recently ordered.  

I had wondered what the cause of Greg's Round 1 zero score was.  Also noted Simon's accurate flying (he had demonstrated a 1.05 at Buckminster in April).

I will try to get over to Phoenix when you and Dave are flying to pick up some more tips (if invited!!).

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4 hours ago, John Wighton said:

I will try to get over to Phoenix when you and Dave are flying to pick up some more tips (if invited!!).

There is another training day at Phoenix later in September (see UK GPS FB group).  It is focused on equipment setup, especially optimising Albatross, getting the servo inputs right for ‘page’ changes etc.

Simon

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  • 2 weeks later...
Dick Whitehead
On 07/09/2021 at 18:12, simon_t said:

There is another training day at Phoenix later in September (see UK GPS FB group).  It is focused on equipment setup, especially optimising Albatross, getting the servo inputs right for ‘page’ changes etc.

Simon

Is this open to anyone or by invitation only?

Life is pretty chaotic for me at the moment, so no certainties, but I might be able to make it, and could do with improving my setup.

Not an FB user so can’t get any details from that.

Dick

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6 hours ago, Dick Whitehead said:

Is this open to anyone or by invitation only?

Life is pretty chaotic for me at the moment, so no certainties, but I might be able to make it, and could do with improving my setup.

Not an FB user so can’t get any details from that.

Dick

No it is open to all - it is on Tuesday 28th at the Phoenix Field, London Colney.  I have expressed your interest to John Greenfield, who is organising it.  John’s email is probably available on the Ghost Squadron website if you want to email him.

Simon

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