National Free Flight Society

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  1. Reflection About Altimeters

Reflection about altimeters
From:Per Findahl

A few reflections after the discussions about the altimeters.

As most things, in the beginning we will face initial problems and also problems with competitors that dont read the rules. But if we give it some time I’m sure electronic timekeeping based on altimeters is the way forward, possibly together with reduction of model performances.

During the contest in France we had many friends at home that followed the online scoring. Just imagine in the future we will have this directly from the models via a link to the organizer who can provide all data online directly. We have already seen many other sports that took many leap forwards when establishing such systems. Take Orientering for example. Earlier it was probably the most boring sport ever to watch. People run away in the forest, they are gone for some time, then come out of the forest to the finish line. Today all runners have GPS so you can follow them live. Then instantly a big interest from spectators and I’m sure also the media. We are not there yet with freeflight, but if we keep up the development of systems I’m sure we will soon be there. If we can attract spectators and media to our sport it’s very good for the future. We are not very good at making ourselves visible for spectators and media, we must improve this. I haven’t even seen a news flash on the FAI web about the contests in France…..

We need of course to change our mindset a bit, changes are not easy. Compared with old rules, we will time models out of sight until the actual landing, it needs some change of mindset from our older pilots for sure to accept this. Positive is maybe that we have less mistakes from timekeepers with human errors, and that we actually time the real flight. All such things take time to change. There will be both + and -.

One more aspect I like to mention. I’m in the CIAM Bureau and I see how many model classes struggle to find organizers for their cat 1 events. We are lucky in Freeflight that we still have many willing organizers. The struggle for other classes are many times based on financial problems. It’s very expensive to get judges and helpers. To get the number of people needed for ex the Wch now in France is not an easy job, and I’m sure many of the persons coming there did it without much financial support. To be a bit proactive I think also the electronic timing can help us to get more organizers in the future if we can reduce the number of people needed as for example timekeepers.

Keep the discussion open, we must work on mindset, what we want with our sport in the future. Many of us are old, and it’s not easy to change our minds. But all, let’s try to take a step back and think about what we need in 10 years time to make our sport more attractive and fair, especially for our younger pilots. Maybe we can find rules and ways to make freeflight even bigger than it is now ? Electronic timing can maybe help us in this direction if we do it smart.

Per Findahl