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paul garnett

FIA ruling on reflights

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oipigface
56 minutes ago, tonym said:

Maybe some some clarifying words about thermic conditions need to be added, and rain, should some get suggested to the CIAM.

I don’t agree. The rules mention ‘rain’ as a trigger for a reflight, but no more is said. Whether any more should be said is up for discussion. Nothing is said about ‘thermic conditions’ and we can discuss that as well, if we want. My own view at the moment is that the temporary effects of a passing thermal on wind speed and direction are fairly well handled by the current rules, which specify a time limit before a variation in wind strength is deemed to be a deviation serious enough to disrupt the normal progress of the competition; and also allow the pilot to decide whether he or she thinks she has been disadvantaged. (I would say ‘well handled’ without the ‘fairly’, if the rule about direction were made as clear.)

I think adding ‘clarifying words’ often adds further opportunities for misinterpretation. Parsimony is a virtue in rule-writing.

 

 

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Phil.Taylor

Interesting thread - interesting interpretations of and attitudes to the rules.

Do we all agree there should be a minimum windspeed?

If yes, then why would you allow a flight below the minimum?

The "new" rule doesnt mandate a reflight - it actually enforces the minimum windspeed - the CD has to interrupt the contest if below minimum for 20 secs i.e any flight happening at that time is invalid because the contest is interrupted - invalid flight - pilot entitled to a reflight

On reflection - I actually prefer this to what we had before - where a pilot could choose to accept a fast thermal time which was actually below the minimum windspeed rule - but why? - it was flown outside of the legal windspeed - should have been a non-legal flight.

Phil.

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Brett82

Hi Phil

The problem is the 3m/s rule is to help pilots to have a re flight when there is not enough lift and not for any other reason. It was never intended to stop a pilot from achieving a personal best time.

At the last Eurotour there were a number of pilots who got really good thermals and were on for a PB but the thermal drew the wind in a certain direction that the monitoring device registered below 3m/s, so they were forced to have a re flight.  You might think this is good as it levels the field but a few flights later someone would get a thermal and the wind would happen to still stay above 3m/s and they would get a really good flight. So it did nothing to level the playing field. The thermal can effect the wind at the centre differently depending on its location but it can still give a pilot a good time either way.

For me, if the air is buoyant and you are on for a good time, then you should be allowed to keep that time if you wish.

Brett

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Phil.Taylor

Brett - do you agree there should be a minimum windspeed for F3F?

Phil.

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oipigface

I’m not Brett, but I’ll answer this question for myself. If lift could be measured, then measuring windspeed would be unnecessary. In the absence of practical ways of measuring lift directly, we use two wind measurements - wind and direction - as proxies.

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Bob Dickenson

I think that Brett has it right. As a pilot of limited & apparently declining skill, I feel that thermals & their use are a nescesary part of the competition. Hoping & ballasting for good air is a tactic or skill. Surely, if the windspeed drops below the limit yet the pilot still wishes to fly, then he/she should be allowed to do so. In other words, being entitled to a reflight should not mean that the current flight is auomatically negated, unless the pilot accepts  the choice of a reflight

 Nic Wright at one time considered that thermals ruined competition, I consider he was wrong :- variations in lift produce a luck element which encourages participation by lesser talented individuals.

Bob

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Brett82
8 hours ago, Phil.Taylor said:

Brett - do you agree there should be a minimum windspeed for F3F?

Phil.

Hi Phil

I dont think we should class the min and max wind speeds in the same way. The max speed is a set point and there for safety. The min point is there, as John says, to aid the CD in judging the level of lift. So should be re flight offered if the wind drops below a certain level, not forced. As John says, we cant measure lift so we currently use wind speed, but that's not entirely accurate. 

So until we can, we have 3m/s as a way to allow the CD to know  the lift could be low and as such he should offer the pilot a re flight. 

Brett

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Phil.Taylor

IMHO - minimum windspeed can also be a safety issue - think "Back of the Wrecker"  - very steep rocky slope - no safe land out area - road at the bottom - safety issues:

- trashed plane

- road safety - road sign warns about falling rocks - not falling F3F planes

- personal safety of anyone retrieving plane from slope face - steep fall - and dislodging rocks - road safety.

Phil.

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Brett82

Hi Phil

I agree, from that point it is a safety issue. But no one is going to launch in under 3m/s anyway, as they wouldn't know if there was a thermal out there. Also, if as you say, on the back of the Wrecker, you were struggling with lift then it could be a safety issue due to the road and no landing out option but in that scenario you would take the re flight no questions asked if the conditions dropped during the flight. 

If you were on the back of the Wrecker, in booming lift, screaming around the course in a good thermal, but the centre base happens to read below 3m/s due to the effect from the thermal, then is it still a safety issue. I dont believe it is as none of those scenarios above would be relevant (other than trashed plane if you cant handle the speed).

We all agree no one would launch below an average of 3m/s which could potentially put you in the situation with the points you mentioned above. What we are trying to say here is if you launch above 3m/s and then during the flight, the reading at the centre drops below 3m/s but you are in booming  lift, should you be forced a re flight or offered one.

Brett

 

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Witch_1

 

If F3F competition is to continue standing the test of time, the rules should keep F3F fun.

Cancelling low wind flights that the pilot does not want to cancel,  making rounds last twice as long just for the sake of some kind of re-invention of the thermal lottery, is not fun. 

As for improving fairness - the thermals are still there - just that even fewer people will get them.  And conditions can change more over a longer round.  And group scoring kicks in if 30 mins  break is exceeded.  And the consecutive flying order is disrupted.  So fairness is worse, not improved.

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paul garnett

Some great discussion and interpretation of 'the 3m/s' rule

We all agree that the reflight should be offered and not compulsory if it's under the  legal minimum.

If a plane is howling around the course in a thermal, it's obvious to a blind man that lift isn't an issue, but the wind is off 45deg or under 3m/s, the CD could offer a reflight, but do so before the time is given.

The flip side is a plane struggling to stay aloft whilst the wind does it's merry dance, which could bring into play the 5sec rule on being above the horizon within 5s of course exit, does that give a reflight or a zero ?, ( it's the zero by the rules) or do we apply a bit of common sense?

Until we can measure the vertical element of the lift available, then we do the best we can.

 

 

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oipigface
1 hour ago, paul garnett said:

could bring into play the 5sec rule on being above the horizon within 5s of course exit, does that give a reflight or a zero ?, ( it's the zero by the rules)

I wondered how long it would take for this to raise its ugly head! This rule illustrates neatly the problem of unintended consequences, and an issue that hasn’t been raised so far in these discussions: What power does a CD have to vary the rules in the FAI Sporting Code to allow for local conditions? 

               “A flight is official but gets a zero score if:
                     ...
h) any part of the model fails to pass above a horizontal plane, level with the starting area, within five seconds of exiting the course. 

                     ... “

The original purpose of this rule was to stop competitors getting good times by ‘diving’, which is a technique only feasible on really big hills, such as Besançon or Col de Tende. I have seen it used at both these sites. The plane zig-zags down the mountain, until the 10th lap is finished. To do this, no lift from slope or thermal is needed. Gravity is enough. Rule h) is an attempt to prevent pilots relying on gravity alone, by insisting that they have sufficient energy to get back up the hill at the end of the run. At both the sites I mentioned the rule was varied locally by changing the definition of ‘horizon’. Instead of an imaginary horizontal line at the same height, some readily identifiable feature of the landscape was used, such as the top of a line of trees, or a mountain ridge. At Col de Tende a couple of years ago several pilots were given zeroes for failing to get back above a horizon that was above the horizontal plane described in the rules. There were no appeals, but it seems to me that it would be difficult to deny points to a pilot who made it back above the horizontal, but failed to get to a higher locally defined horizon. 

I can’t recall the rule ever being used in Britain, possibly because we don’t have sites where diving is feasible, but Paul is quite right: a pilot struggling to land in poor air having completed a flight in legal air, should, under a strict interpretation of the rules, get zero. He is also right that such a penalty would be improper, and CD’s in Britain have rightly ignored the rule.

All of which raises the question of the status of the FAI Code. What discretions are permitted to CD’s to vary rules locally? Some are specifically defined in the rules, such as the way in which the landing circle in F3B is marked out, but I can’t find any general indications in the Code about the issue. I have been at several competitions at which the the minimum wind speed for a legal flight has been raised, most recently at The Wall in Norway. I’ve never been at one where it has been dropped to, say, 2m/s. It seems as if CD’s interpret the wind speed rule as defining a minimum minimum wind speed. Do they have this power?

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Phil.Taylor
2 hours ago, paul garnett said:

...the CD could offer a reflight, but do so before the time is given.

 

Can someone enlighten me where this custom/folklore comes from? - its not in any rules.

Been faced with this - once - back of the wrecker - and whilst arguing about it - still flying - plane off-course - the lift died & plane went down, and down - took about 10 mins to finally get it back up & plonk it on the slope edge.

Phil.

 

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isoaritfirst

In Vosges this year, I was number 7 to fly, and pretty much the first person to score in the round.

Several were given reflights due to below 3m/s rule, and several were given zeros for failing to get above the horizon.

Initially I di think this was harsh, but on reflection it was the correct action.

I flew the course in 3m/s with no reflight option and managed to do so without diving. Others before me finished their flights slightly down the hill and failed to get back up.

 

They gambled, possibly achieved a faster time than me by doing so, then failed to make itbackup, possibly because they gambled too much, so zero is the correct response. 

The other issue that CD's cannot judge is the weight or suitability of the model for the conditions. It is quite possible that another gamble was also going on, adding ballast or flying a heavy model, if the CD judges thathe model cannot stay up and therefore gives a refly, then why not gamble with more weight. 

It would make it unfair on the pilot who flies with the intention of being able to stay the course and rigs accordingly.

 

I know we have all taken some of these gambles in the past, and perhaps received reflights as the model looked very sick and gained some sympathy from the CD.

 

The above horizon rule works well with the 3m/s rule.

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isoaritfirst
1 minute ago, Phil.Taylor said:

Can someone enlighten me where this custom/folklore comes from? - its not in any rules.

Been faced with this - once - back of the wrecker - and whilst arguing about it - still flying - plane off-course - the lift died & plane went down, and down - took about 10 mins to finally get it back up & plonk it on the slope edge.

Phil.

 

See my earlier post, the CD should interrupt the flight as soon as it is not legal. By definition this is before the flight has finished.

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Phil.Taylor

Mike - I meant the "old rules" bit about cant tell you your flight time until you accept the reflight - after the run is finished. 

New rules - as you say - interrupt flight - there is no flight time...

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oipigface
1 hour ago, Phil.Taylor said:

New rules 

According to Pierre there are no new rules!

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Phil.Taylor
12 minutes ago, oipigface said:

According to Pierre there are no new rules!

HaHa !

2017 onwards

2019 interpretation...

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Andy_B
2 hours ago, isoaritfirst said:

See my earlier post, the CD should interrupt the flight as soon as it is not legal. By definition this is before the flight has finished.

So can I put this scenario .......pilot launches into 3m/s +   in a load of sink because weve all waited for the thermal to go   and now were in the infill.The windspeed is above 3m/s all flight   but pilot struggles to get any speed or height and does 10 legs and cant get above the horizon, plane has no ballast to speak of . Do you then score a zero ? 

And dont say this cant happen because weve all seen it , all that happens is you get a reflight in perfectly legal conditions 

 

You cannnot deal in absolutes 

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isoaritfirst

Yes he gets a zero. 

Who knows how good a pilot he is, or how much ballast he is carrying. Or even if he has some brake set across the wing. Or even if he is deliberately trying to make it look like terrible air. 

The Cd cannot judge these things. What he can do is understand the slope and perhaps change the comp to a local condition. 

But even that should be considered , if you are a pilot that excels in light air, how would you feel if every comp that you fancied your chances at gets changed to excluding the conditions that you favour  

3m/s not more than 45 degrees off , and along a edge would be flyable, with an appropriate model and good positioning. 

Bad decidions whether wrong model or flight style or ballast or diving with no consideration for recovery should not be judged against those that make suitable compromises in their flight

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