National Free Flight Society

SEN 3167

  1. Question 1
  2. Electronic Timing
  3. Sharpening Altimeter Timing Protests

Question 1
From:Michael Achterberg
Hello all.
Guess I’m missing something. Seems like most people are switching to Mini Neuron because it’s a certified altimeter and GPs. It is also a timing device even though no one calls it a Timer. Reads out start in tenths of seconds then seconds thru flight and when it stops by hitting tree, building or ground. Is this not a Timing device???..
Now, read it’s been suggested to make a stand alone devise to add to model that basically does same thing, because why?? Seems kind of silly and redundant and for what reason?? Just curious.
Thermals, Dino

The reason why it is called an Altimeter is because that is what the Sporting Code calls it. And  that is one reason why people buy it.

Why is it called an Altimeter in the Sporting Code

Because it was developed to enable an altimeter flyoff.  This is different from what we are talking about. The altimeter is certified to ensure it accuracy and so it can fit into the process of running the event,

Then a sportsmen who was unhappy that timekeepers were not accurately and/or completely timing their fly off flights and   figured that it could also be used to challenge the timekeeper’s time in a flyoff flight.  Note that the EDIC paper on Free Flight Devices also refers to the possibility of a flight recorder that could be used for timing BUT this device is not is the sporting code.

What devices are certified.
Currently 2 altimeters are certified. The All-Tee and the Neuron. They are both measuring devices. They are not certified as general purpose yet.

There are  trade offs between devices that offer us choices.  This is a very high level comparison.
All-Tee –  is t is smaller, cheaper and uses less power. Disadvantage is that you must show “the green light” to the timekeeper before the flight. The green light says the device is empty with no flight information already recorded.

Neuron.  The plus is The Neuron includes some extra functions – GPS tracking, RDT and flasher activator that you may want to have in your air plane.  The GPS has a time of day clock, that indicates the time of day that the flight was made so there is no need to show the “green light” to the timekeeper because the devices knows when the flight was made and not pre-recorded.

Both of these are standalone devices and can be moved from one model to another.  No electronic (or clockwork) timers are currently certified as altimeters.

Both of these devices display an altimeter graph with altitude and time on a smart phone. This requires some interpretation and are possibly  too clumsy in the  current form for use on every flight in a contest. A Better form of time display is possibly required. Also they do not show F1C motor run, a very difficult thing to time by hand.  At this time the EDIC team will not certify altimeters that are part of an electronic timer. Because there are  no official general purpose timing devices with the corresponding Sporting Code  rules at this time the EDIC certification requirements are not yet known.

Note that the sporting code does not permit the use of any form of timing devices except for a hand operated stopwatch  with binoculars for use in the general case.
The object is to have some form of automated timing devices that does a better job than a person with binoculars and a stopwatch. This must be practical to use for both the sportsman and the organizer.  This may be a off the shelf devices or custom for our purposes. If custom electronic it will almost certainly need to be certified by EDIC.  The process for using the device must be described in the Sporting Code or associated FAI documents.  It may well be possible to eveolve The Neuron or All-Tee to be such a Flight Recorder to perform a Timing function.

Significant work is probably required to prepared the changes to the sporting code and development of an appropriate flight recording device.

The organizers of the Fab Feb World Cup events are planning some activites to aid in the advancement of automated timing using a flight recoding device. It is essential to test ideas, devices and processes in real competition conditions to advance this and enable us all to make the right decisions. More details will be available soon.

Apologies for the confused answer for the confused question.

Electronic Timing

From:gilbert morris

Roger, I have read in your editorials, some very recently, that automatic timing is well along and we should expect some tangible offerings soon. Is it something you can talk about? There was some discussion about elaborate systems that covered engine run, total flight time,GPS location and radio return of results directly back to headquarters. That sounds very ambitious and maybe too much. I’m wondering about possible interference  between flights and RF and distance covered. Is further discussion in order ?  Thanks,  Gil Morris


Perhaps some of your questions are answered in the reply to Dino above. There is no intention to make any solution unnecessarily complicated .  The rules are set by the FAI/CIAM in conjunction with our NACs. It seemed to some of the Fab Feb organizers that something is needed and there are many issues and many people have questions such as you do and by offering this test we may help people address those issues.    The intention is to make them easier to run for all  concerned.  Maybe the hardest task is to get people to read and understand the Sporting Code. If the tests show that these ideas are not practical, then perhaps others will come up with better ideas ? or if they feel that everything is OK as is  maybe they can show how events should be run so there no complaining.
Maybe someone has a better idea how to improve the accuracy of the timing and get things moving ?


Sharpening Altimeter Timing Protests
by Aram Schlosberg

An Altimeter Timing Protest (ATP) is currently limited to flyoffs. Will expanding them to regular rounds create an avalanche of ATPs, gumming up contests as claimed.
Let’s consider this numerically. Suppose 50% of the field reaches the flyoffs in a 7-round contest, the unknown success rate each round, denoted as X, should satisfy
X^7 = .5, Solving, X = .5^(1/7) = 0.90575
So, if 0.09427 or approximately 10% of the clean flyers drop each round, then half the flyers reach the flyoffs. Similarly, for a 5-round contest, the average drop rate per round of clean flyers is about 13%.
An ATP essentially claims that the flier was robbed of a max, not to raise a 2:05 flight to 2:15 which is just silly. These are cases where the timekeeper(s) lost the model, might have timed another model or that the model has disappeared from sight.
Furthermore, an ATP should be restricted to CLEAN FLYERS in a regular round plus the 6-minute flyoff in a large contest. If one has already dropped, a second drop won’t change that fact that the flyer won’t reach the flyoffs. My guess is that a third of the clean flyers who drop a round might claim an ATP, corresponding to 3-4% of the flyers under the premise that 50% reach the flyoffs. With this restriction, we probably won’t face an avalanche of ATPs.
In the last flyoff (when at most one flyer is maxed out) all drops are, by definition, made by clean flyers.
Summing up, ATP claims should be restricted to FIRST TIME drops.