National Free Flight Society

SEN 2340


  1. Automated DTs and the logical consequences
  2. An un published article


Automated DTs and the logical consequences

From: Chris Edge

Lord Darmon of that Ilk mentions ‘altimeter auto-abort’ in his recent
excellent text. Of course their use in a contest is illegal as they use
closed-loop control (altimeter) to DT without flyer intervention. I
asked via another public forum which timer systems had this
functionality to which there was no answer, presumably because no one
wanted to admit they were using something against the rules of FF. But
we know who you are ……….

As clearly it is impossible for a timekeeper to decide if AAA (altimeter
auto-abort) operated a DT rather than via RCDT then all instances of DT
under 20s must be open to question. As the flyer can’t show post-event
how the model was DT’d then the whole 20s attempt rule is an even bigger
fiasco than we thought and the best way forward, as superbly erudited by
Lord Darmon, is to kill it, kill it now.


Editor’s question: While my Magical Devices do not (yet) sport an AAA and I am but a simple sportsman, not an erudite engineer, I fail to comprehend how an AAA, Altimeter auto abort, can be considered a closed loop system as a decision is made based on input from the altimeter once the decision is made. No further information is accepted from the altimeter and that decision is not modified. It would seem to me that if further feedback from the altimeter indicated that the model was going up, not down and model was un-D/T’d then that would be a closed loop? Or if the altimeter somehow indicated that the model was not D/T’d enough and executed a further more drastic D/T action, that could also possibly be consider to be closed loop. (Apologies on the somewhat obscure wording of this comment. )
One way around it might be to transmit a small electric charge to the hand of the sportsman so that it convulses and pushes the big red button on the RDT, even if he is rolling on the ground and cannot see the model’s downward trajectory.
It would seem that the AAA is clearly a safety device to compensate for the ever increasing reaction time of the aging F1 sportsman.

An un published article

We have been producing SEN for over 20 years. I believe that during that time we have only deliberately not published 2 articles, one that was clearly quite offensive and another from a person who was having a psychotic break. We have just received a third very long piece from a person who is well known in some Free Flight circles. We are not publishing this piece, This is an editorial decision that we do not make lightly. We give very few guidelines about “rules” but I’m going to talk about why we are not publishing the article so that might help others.

Firstly it is important to say that SEN depends on the participation of the FAI Free Flight community and encourage you all to contribute. Over half of the SEN readership is outside the USA and we know that English is not everyone’s native language so the potential contributor should never worry about not writing good English.

This rejected article is very critical about many aspects of current FAI Free Flight and is written by a former flyer. It makes a number a statements that are perhaps questionable. It includes a letter to Ian Kaynes telling him what was wrong with the recent World Champs and what should be done about it. Ian was there and clearly had a firsthand view of the action while the writer was not there. We have addressed that subject enough. Ian and others involved feel pretty strongly about some of the issues at the event so I have confidence that they will address them. The writer goes on to talk about many of the issues that are being discussed in SEN such as F1C timing that some people are concerned about. The overall tone is of the article is extremely negative.

We most prefer getting input from people who are current active participants because they have the most current knowledge and have skin in the game. We do appreciate that there are many others – former flyers, event organizers, suppliers, friends, etc. – who have excellent ideas and appreciate getting them as well. In one respect we feel a little guilty because the article is quite long at about 5500 words and the author obviously spent a lot of time and effort in writing it. For example Chris Edge’s piece above together with my somewhat verbose comments is about 1500 words. An article that is so long and covers so many different subjects is hard to read and hard to relate back to the original article in SEN. As a guide to authors in general, if you want to make a comment about several articles write a separate reply to each one so that people interested in that particular chain can easily follow the story line.

Remember that what we are doing is basically sharing information about the pastime we love so all can benefit. But different people often view Free Flight in different ways with different aspects being important. What we do is an international event. It has evolved over the years. No one country or continent owns it. Sometimes there are problems or bad happenings that need to be reported and in most cases this is done best by the people directly involved. Different people at the same event often view the incident in a different light,

We know that we face a number of issues and some rules changes may be required. We are not stupid but in making these decisions it is very difficult to get the balance between retaining existing members and getting new ones. If it was easy we would have done it.

I just realized that I was doing something I advised against, writing something with too convoluted language so here is in simple words.

Don’t write an article that says …

I haven’t flown your stuff for over 10 years because I did not like the direction it was going in particular with those foreigners. I see that your latest big event was a disaster. Your rules are all messed up. You are clearly off track in a number of ways. Some key decisions you have made over the years are really wrong, but no problem. Here’s how fix it … just do as I say ….

… and expect people to like it.