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ALES - is there any interest in a discussion thread?

Old 01-12-2012, 08:41 AM
  #1  
Larry3215
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Default ALES - is there any interest in a discussion thread?

I know sailplanes are not that popular here on WattFlyer, but ALES contest flying seems to be catching on like wild fire all across the country.

I was bitten by the bug late last year, so Im a convert now.

Ive been to two contests at the TCMAA club here in Washington. It sounds like they plan to have one ALES event every month for 2012. Im trying to get my club - the EFLAPS - interested in holding several contests this year as well. Rumor has it that two of the other sailplane clubs in our area are considering holding contests as well.

Im curious to know if there are any other WattHeads who are also into ALES flying and if there is enough interest to keep a discussion going here.

The ALES League was recently formed to help promot this new format on a national basis. The site has the rules, contest schedules, etc.

http://www.ales-league.org/

Larry
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:51 PM
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Actually e-gliders are very popular. The Radian, Easy Glider, Cularis and a number of other foam glides have huge threads.


We did have an ALES related discusssion going for a while a few months back.
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/show...highlight=ALES

Let's start a new one. You can count me in.


My club, the Long Island Silent Flyers, is a thermal duration glider club. www.lisf.org


We are planning our first ALES contest for the Spring thought the date is not set. About 15 of us have ALES/CAM units. We have a lot of Radians, some e-Easy Gliders and a few of our members also fly higher end e-gliders.

We know the stock Radians and Radian Pros will not make the 200 meter/30 second target so, for the first contest we are letting anyone who is flying a stock radian or Pro to participate without a CAM unit in order to give more people a chance to participate. Stock means stock motor, stock prop and Parkzone's 1300/15C battery that comes with the RTF Radian. Any modifications or deviations from this will require an ALES unit.

Our club has standardized on the Soaring Circuits CAM units. We like these because they will allow you to restart the motor once you fall below the launch height. Should a pilot find himself in a bad situation and at risk of losing his plane, he has the option of turning on the motor, saving the plane and taking a zero for the round. We feel this is better than having a bunch of us in the woods looking for his plane. We don't have any concerns about people cheating so that is not an issue.

Let the discussion proceed.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:55 PM
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I very much agree with you on the Soaring Circuits CAM units. I am one of the flyers at TCMAA, our field is very long, probably about 1500' & 50-60'wide, but on both sides of the strip, there is scotch-broom bushes 4'-7' high, they tear up a covering job very quickly.
I was told our field was an old military storage area.

At my second contest, I was timing for another pilot, he got in trouble over the scotch-broom, and thanks to the restart ability of the CAM, he powered up and back safely.

The Radians of either type have been holding there own at our field, I don't know if they are stock, but I think they are. Due to the colder weather we have been using 6 minutes as a target time, if that is stretched to 10 minutes, the Radian type gliders may be in trouble.

We are using the, ALES Scoring Spreadsheet , from Tailwind gliders.com, it runs on MS Excel and is easy to learn. If you want to group your pilots by their ability, you can do so by unlocking the spreadsheet.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:20 AM
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Post a link to the score sheet please.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:46 AM
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Default ALeS Glider contest scoring spreadsheet

The ALeS spreadsheet program is on this page 4th one up, from bottom of page. 5th one up has mp3 audio files for ALeS.

http://www.tailwindgliders.com/Files.html#Files

When we fly, our spotter/timer stands beside us and give time remaining in any way the pilot wants. the mp3 files would be good for practice.
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Old 03-11-2012, 02:01 PM
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Anyone else?
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:48 AM
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Our EFLAPS club is going to hold our first ALES contest on 7 Apr. I thought Id let you all know what we are doing to get ready for it.

Ive only been to two ALES contests last year at the TCMAA club, so as CD I will be borrowing heavily from that experience as well as freely borrowing things from a variety of other clubs examples.

In some ways its a lot of work planning and putting on a contest. Ive CD'ed a few Fly-in type things before so that helps some. The other major help is to get lots of help from other club members. Doing it all by yourself makes it too much of a chore.

We have decided to use Glider Score for the scoring. I chose it because I like several of the features.

I like the way it seeds the pilots. It trys to get each pilot to fly against as many of the other pilots as possible during the competition. I like that better than having the best pilots only fly against each other or just random chance.

I also like that it keeps a database of all pilots and results so you can easily track over a whole season plus it remembers pilots for the next contest.

It also allows you to e-mail a wide range of reports on the contest results to all the pilots who give e-mail addresses.

http://www.gliderscore.com/Default.aspx

The other scoring programs are also good but I like this feature set the best. Its also fairly easy to use and very flexible - it can handle virtually any sailplane contest type easily.

More on planning in the next post.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:10 AM
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For this type of contest you need landing zones that also serve as takeoff zones for each pilot. Our field is aprox 500' wide by about 800' long. The prevailing winds dictate that we will need to have the flight line extend across the 500' width.

Ive decided to use 5 meter landing tapes and make up 10 sets. That is about the max that we can fit comfortably in that 400' width allowing for some very tall trees along one side and Black berry bushes on the other.

Here is how we will lay it out.

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Old 03-12-2012, 01:18 AM
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Im following others examples and ordering polypropylene strap material to make up the tapes. I went with the 1 1/2" wide yellow tape. At $0.17/foot its pretty cheep. For 10ea 5 meter tapes Im ordering 180' of strap. That comes to about $35 including shipping.

http://www.strapworks.com/Lightweigh...e_p/lwp112.htm

We will mark these at 1/2 meter intervals with a max score of 50 points for the inner 1/2 meter.

Im going to buy some cheep red plastic party plates to use as center targets. The straps will have holes melted in one end and a grommet. Then they will be held in place with 8" galvanized nails and a large washer driven through the center of the red plates.

So for under $50 we can have up to 10 flight stations.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:29 AM
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Food is an important part of a contest thats likely to last 4 to 6 hours. I hate having to ask someone to do a BBQ for lunch.

Its a lot of work for that person and technically, per state law, if we do a BBQ, we have to have someone licensed as a food handler to do the cooking and food prep, have a hand washing station set up, have a way to check food temps etc etc. Its a major head ache for someone to do that.

I much prefer the KISS approach so we will just order pizza for the group and supply soft drinks and water to drink, paper towels and paper plates to eat off.

If we do pizza this way we dont need the food handlers licensed person to handle it and we dont need the washing station. We will have waterless hand cleaner available for the dirty old men in the crowd

We can order pizza and supply all the other lunch accessories for about $8-$9 per person.

Im going to charge $10/person landing fee to cover those costs.

The small profit we make will go towards improving contests in the future - awards, extra stop watches and CAM units to have on hand for new flyers, etc.

Our club is very small and we have a very limited budget so we need to pay as we go.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:43 AM
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Stop watches are a necessary item to have. Good stop watches are very $$. Most of the recommended ones range from $35 ea to $100+.

We dont have the budget to order a bunch of good stop watches so Ive left it to each person in the club to come up with their own.

That could be as simple as downloading a free stop watch APP for your smart phone up to what ever you can afford.

Ive been doing a lot of asking around and everyone agrees that the super cheapies on E-Bay or Amazon are no good. They are sure tempting for a low as $3.50 each, but they are not reliable. The buttons stop working early on or they dont always start or stop when you want.

One of the guys in our club bought one at Walmart for $10. He doesnt like it for exactly that reason - buttons are unreliable.

I decided to spend a little bit more and bought one that had decent reviews on Amazon. It came to about $15 including shipping.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002D3X4KU/..._cs_sce_dp_1_A

I chose this one in particular because I like my timer to tell me how much time is left - not how much time has passed. So I needed a count DOWN timer rather than a stop watch. I dont need the distraction of trying to do math in my head when the timer says Ive been flying for 4 min's 30 sec's out of a 6 or 7 or 10 minute window.

Its much easier for me to have the timer tell me I have 1 minute 45 seconds to go and he can count the time down to zero. That way all I have to do is fly. I cant do math or chew gum and hope to keep my plane in the air

So far Im liking the buttons on this one ok. Its plastic but has a decent feel to the buttons and they work perfectly - so far.

If you decide to go this route, be sure your stop watch/count down timer keeps going after it reaches zero. Some of them just stop or re-set when they reach zero and that wont do if you happen to land late. This one starts counting UP as soon as it reaches zero. It also does the normal stop watch thing if thats what you want.

Last edited by Larry3215; 03-12-2012 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:30 AM
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We will be doing our club ALES contest the End of April. We will probabably have 16 pilots. Should be great
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:56 AM
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TCMAA club has also changed to GliderScore, and since I am the score keeper for PSSF we will start out using it.

It does give you more info and keeps records better, each contest and the entire season

Missed you at the contest yesterday Larry.

I finished second ( if you turn the score sheet upside down )

I'll keep trying
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:10 AM
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You guys had flyable weather? It was raining hard here and hi winds. The weather reports I saw showed you guys had rain too, so I bailed.

Darn!
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
We will be doing our club ALES contest the End of April. We will probabably have 16 pilots. Should be great
I wish I knew how many we are going to have.

I know there are 7 in our club planning to fly. Im expecting maybe 4 to 6 more from the TCMAA guys plus Wildflyer. So we should have 10-12 at a minimum.

However, I also sent invites to every other club within 100 miles of us that I could find a contact person for, so we could potentially have a mob scene on our hands

In retrospect, that may have been a mistake to advertise so widely on our first contest!! On the other hand, I think it would be pretty cool if we were mobbed
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:53 PM
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How large of a landing tape do you plan ot use. The AMA NATs standard is 10 meters with 10 points per meter and 50 points max. That makes a circle about 65 feet. If you launch 10 pilots and you don't overlap the tapes that gives you a flight line of 2 football fields in length.

I will be overlapping the landing tapes by 5 meters but that still makes for a pretty long flight line.

Just something to think about.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:27 PM
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Ed, we are going to use the 5 meter tapes.

I will decide how far to space them apart when I lay them out at the field. Im concerned about the walking distance too. Our field is pretty rough ground to tramp across so I want to keep it to a minimum while still having a comfortable landing zone width for newer flyers.
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:24 PM
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Default First ALES contest results

Our EFLAPS club held our first ALES contest today under some very challenging wind conditions but I think it was a success. On the plus side, it was a gloriously sunny and mild day

We had 12 pilots starting out flying everything from bone stock Radians to an Ava and 2 BOT's, my Mirage and several other built up models.

Congrats to James H. on the first place win flying a Radian!!

Yes, the Radian beat out an Ava, 2 BoT's my Mirage and several other built up models. Way to go James!!

Dont let anyone tell you Radians are at a severe disadvantage in windy conditions either. It was blowing 12 to 15 mph most of the day with gusts to 21 and the Radian still placed first.

Actually, I guess we have to give pilot James H. a little bit of the credit

As I said, the winds were a real challenge today and unfortunately we had some casualties along the way. The wind caught my Mirage and flipped it damaging one wing tip badly and we had two or three other planes with significant damage.

But - no one landed in any of the cow patties!

Thanks to everyone who attended and to my fellow club mates for their invaluable help. We will do this again!
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:28 PM
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By the way, James is also the current top pilot on the National ALES League website.

http://www.ales-league.org/
(click on League Standings for the current pilot list.)

A Radian is in first place!

Thats one of the things I love about this contest format. It comes down to pilot skill level in the end - not how much you spend on your plane
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:41 AM
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I had a great time at the meet Larry.

I knew I was going to a ALES meet, but I didn't know there was a air to air combat session in it.
I've heard if you fly RC long enough, you will get into a mid-air, well OK, I'm glad I got that out of the way. I could have flown the plane today, but we went out to an Easter brunch.
Hope you get yours fixed.
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:03 AM
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I posted a report on our first ALES contest but will summarize here.

16 pilots with planes ranging from easy gliders to a 3.8 meter Explorer.. The Explorer took first, a 2M rudder/elevator Gnome woody took second and a Radian Pro took third. We launched flight groups of 4 pilots and we completed 4 rounds.

Landing tapes were 10 meters with a 4 meter overlap.

We used the soaring circuits CAM ALES units. They work great.

We had good weather and everyone agreed we should make this a monthly event. So the 4th Saturday each month we will have an ALES contest. I am co-CD.

We are using the Eastern Soaring League scoring program.. It can be downloaded from http://www.flyesl.org/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=22.
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