Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My own task

I had a fun day yesterday at Fort Funston. I got around to a flying project I've intended to do for 6 months or so. "Race to Goal" format Hang Gliding competition is much like sail boat racing around bouys. You have a timed start line, a few turn points and a finish line. The main differences are : using Waypoints as virtual bouys and of course it is 3 dimentional. Pretty easy stuff.

In this case I chose :
Start to be a 2km Entry cylinder (big red circle) around the "northend" waypoint at 14hrs (2pm)
Turnpoint 1 was also the "northend" waypoint but with a 50m radius.
Turnpoint 2, the "PG" waypoint 50m radius (this is close to the paraglider launch at the dumps)
Turnpoint 3, the "whiteroof" waypoint 50m radius.
Finish is the "flagpole"800m radius (smaller red circle). I chose these points and locations so that :
1. multiple pilots can fly the same course at the same time (the lift band is wide at Westlake)
2. Start and Finish are away from congested areas.
3. Whiteroof can be difficult to get to and so requires some strategy and not just flatout highspeed racing.
4. Start is outside the lift band, and so leaving the good lift area before the start requires some judgement. Leave early and timing will be easy, but you loose valuable height energy. Leave late and you have to fly too fast to get a good start also losing height.

So with all this crafted lets have a go!

8 mins 59 sec until race start, 1.67km to the start line. Exciting! even by myself, and just look at the views ! 300 meters about sea level and climbing.
The first race (against the clock) I had messed up the radius of the turnpoints, 50km instead of 50m, I carried on anyway (using the garmin) but missed the first turnpoint by 20m.

The second race I was messing with my instruments setting up the next race and didn't give myself enough time to get to the edge of the start cylinder, I carried on anyway (this is just an experiment after all). I hit all the turnpoints, but "whiteroof" took an extra turn to get high enough to tag it (it is set back behind the cliff).

The third race, I had a great start hit all the turnpoints without extra turns and had a good finish. When I later checked the times I was surprized to see the last race was not significantly faster. I think this is because the conditions had significantly weakened.

What did I learn ? Well first I had to program my instruments. Should be easy, there are only 4 waypoints... I entered them into MapSource, then into the 76CSx. I then pulled them off the 76CSx with GPSDump , saved the waypoint set as Funston.wpt and loaded the set into theFLYTEC 6030.

First thing I noticed was While the Garmin searches Waypoints on ID, GPSDump had taken the comment field and used it as "Name". So all my waypoints were called Pacific ocean, and after loading them in, I only had one waypoint, Pacific Ocean...
Then my Laptop battery died and I started again by hand entering the waypoints...

Note the 76CSx cannot have 2 proximities for one waypoint, so I created another waypoint in the same location with a 50m radius (Since the Start uses a 2km radius)
I was quite tired after all that. I think I went to the dumps and back 12 times in 2.5 hours !

The next step is to figure out a good way of scoring this, and to figure out how some of the other instruments work. It will be challenging to use the 76 CSx for this course because of the waypoint transition methods. I will also attempt to figure out how the AirCotec XC Trainer handles this.

Here's an animation of the 3 attempt compared to one another.

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