National Free Flight Society

SEN 3230

  1. Our Leaders Understanding
  2. Post Flight AMA Motor Run Verifications


Our Leaders Understanding

From Richard Blackam

Hi Roger
In regards to the report on the CIAM meeting, one wonders whether our leaders have any real understanding of how the EDIC approved altimeters actually work in practice.

The new rule as reported says:
On 10 May 2024, at 9:01 am, SEN <> wrote:

The altimeter must be shown to the timekeeper before the
flight for the timekeeper to record the serial number
marked on the altimeter and to confirm that it shows the
empty memory indication

The Miini Neuron altimeter carries it’s serial number on the bottom of the device; it would be impractical to remove it from the aircraft prior to the flight to show this to the timekeeper. It could be possible to display the readout from the app on the competitors phone which will display the serial number, assuming the app and associated equipment is not downwind with the retrieval crew of course. However if the competitor has more than one Neuron (likely) the app displays all the attached altimeters and the timekeeper will have to trust the competitor as to which model/altimeter they are looking at. Timekeeper unfamiliarity with the app itself might cause issues. All this at a stage in the contest when people will be understandably more concerned with other things.

Once we get over the issue of the serial number there is the issue of the ’empty memory indication’. There is no such indicator on the Neuron itself or indeed in the app.

One of the main points of the EDIC approval as I understand it is to timestamp recorded flights. In the Neuron app one can easily display the last 10 flights and they are all time stamped so it is very simple to see which flight was recorded at a particular time. Along with the recorded model and competitor number I don’t see why this would be a problem for any jury to accept as evidence for the flight time.



Editor’s Reply

Richard, let me address some of your issues or depress you even more.

BTW perhaps our leaders think we don’t understand either …
Firstly, you talk about the issues with respect to the Neuron. There is another certified altimeter/flight recorder, the All-Tee. This was the first altimeter  to be certified and addresses the basic requirements of recording the required information with a low cost and small size device. One of members of the All-Tee team is Allard Van Wallene who is an active F1A sportsman and on the FFTSC. Allard has no doubt observed all kinds of shenanigans so addressed those issues and tried to keep the cost down. Most notably when compared with the Neuron, the All-Tee does not have an accurate time of day clock, the Neuron does because it has  a GPS. So the Neuron knows when and where the flight was made while the All-Tee has to use a simpler method to ensure the sportsman has not pre-recorded a flight in the device.

A positive step is to exclude non certified devices. While for some of our community writing computer code is a black art, for others is very easy so the production of overly creative software is too easy. Also even without deliberate malicious code some commercial devices have proved very hard to read or not very accurate. The recent “About Time” project at Fab Feb encouraged both Neuron and All-Tee to automatically calculate the flight time. While calculating the flight time by looking at the altimeter graph is fairly easy, it can be complicated if it is necessary to magnify the graph to get the required detail. There has been some discussion around the process to compute the flight time.  This has improved and even before that was more accurate and consistent than timing by hand.  I have seen people take several seconds to find  the button on their stop watch at the end of the flight. Experience with the latest versions of both Neuron and All-Tee and how they display information hopefully will lead to evolution of the Sporting Code.

So after that rant back to the CIAM meeting. These days information about the CIAM meetings is online on the FAI website.  So the first observation is there was no representation Richard, from the NACs that issue your or my FAI competition licenses at the technical meetings that reviewed the rules.  While in the past it was quite expensive for the appropriate NAC guru to travel half way around the World for a 2 hour meeting, in these post-Covid days those meetings are held by Zoom.  No excuse for not taking part. So the biggest issue is probably getting up and some uncivilized hour.  Another advantage of this is that those Zoom meetings are recorded and available on the FAI website.  So if you want to know what our leaders think you can go and listen to the meetings.  The F1 meeting was about an hour and 40 minutes.

My observation firstly was that most of the meeting attendees took the meetings seriously and worked hard to do the right thing.  There were 3 issues of concern for me. The first was few appeared to appreciate how bad the manual timing can be and how difficult it is to get enough really good timekeepers for a major event like a World Championship.  The hard core contestants knew as did people who did jury service at those top tier events but not everyone.  The second was how little some were aware of current technology and what is available now and what was needed to make it happen.  The third was that the favorite reason for not doing any form of automated timing was because it would time models beyond the unaided line of sight. This would put us at odds with the civil aviation authorities because we are not supposed to fly beyond the line of sight and the use of an on board flight recorder would be endorsing breaking that rule. I see it bringing the way we time things up to date and promoting model aviation as a STEM activity to youth.   Firstly we don’t fly beyond the visual line of sight intentionally.  The contest director set the flight MAX in line with current weather and field conditions.  Most of our NACs offer some form of insurance and there is no history of significant damage etc. that indicates what we are doing is dangerous.


FAI Web site links

Plenary Meeting
you can get to everything else from here. Here are some more links.

Video record of F1 Tech meeting!124318?cid=17905DFFAD7E5829&resId=17905DFFAD7E5829!124318&authkey=!AIc_AOhIczKdZEg&ithint=video&e=WgPIM8

Minutes of Tech F1 Meeting –
in color or colour no less*7jvgy6*_ga_3QZ5LW1C3P*MTcxNTMyOTY1OC4xLjEuMTcxNTMzMDA3My4wLjAuMA..

Post Flight AMA Motor Run Verifications

By Aram Schlosberg

Timing AMA motor runs of E36, A&B-electric, is problematic. Overruns of 1 second could probably be detected. Currently AMA motor runs are still 10 seconds for the first three flights, 5 seconds for subsequent flyoff flights.

In the last rule cycle, it was proposed to reduce the motor run to 7 seconds on the first three flights and to drop it later to 4 seconds after a few flyoff flights. Although the proposal was not accepted, the time differences between motor runs will eventually shrink from the current 5 seconds to 2 and 1 seconds. Accurate motor run timing will become more important.
Most electric eTimers in AMA peg motor runs at one second intervals, minus a fraction of a second to allow the prop to stop. So, the issue is whether the model’s eTimer was set up correctly.

Flyers could demonstrate their motor runs statically before the flight to their timer, particularly in the first 5 and first 4 second motor runs. (Should this be mandatory?)

Electric flights will still be timed casually, glancing at the stopwatch. But if a timer suspects a motor overrun, they will ask the flyer to return the model to statically time its motor run. The test effectively verifies whether the eTimer was set up correctly.

Summarizing – post flight static motor run verifications should be included in the AMA electric rules. ///