TOPIC: ESAP Proposal

ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #603

  • Ed Anderson
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dHarban wrote: Ed, let me lay it out for you from the standpoint of a Level IV LSF member who is exclusively flying powered gliders now and who has a clear and enthusiastic vision of the future of powered glider flying.

Failing to provide some reasonable way to distinguish between those who complete their achievements via the SAP and those who complete their achievements via an ESAP will substantially cheapen the achievement for those who have come up through the existing SAP program -- at least in the immediate future.

The declining number of participants in the SAP is the result of two factors. The one we all obsess about is the overall decline in participation in RC soaring competition. The other one, which is related to the first, is that over the years it has become much more difficult to complete the SAP achievements -- especially the Level IV and Level V tasks. While advances in technology have made the Flight Tasks more easy, reduced competition opportunities combined with substantial improvements in skill levels at the top have made the existing SAP (especially Level V) much more difficult than they were back in the day when I completed my Level IV. Back then there were ample "Club Level" comps with 20 or so participants to make the Level V wins achievable in combination with a couple of top 20 percent finishes in abundant regional or national competitions. Had I not gotten side tracked with sailboat racing, I had no doubt that my Level V could be easily completed within a couple of years.

Not any more. Competitions are farther and fewer and with less entrants. The meets big enough to qualify for Level V are more than amply loaded with competitors which regularly podium place in national and international comps.

So we start up an ESAP in an exciting field of competition where, frankly, the numbers are pretty good and the skill levels are not up to the general standards of SAP comps. I am sure that someone will take exception to this, but whether we like it or not, this is the truth. It will change, but not overnight.

So no matter how you slice it, in the early years of the new ESAP, it will be easier to achieve any particular level of achievement than it currently is with the SAP. Yet the guy who achieves any particular level of the ESAP gets to display the same "badges". The issue is not about scarcity or abundance. Its not about SAP guys selfishly wanting to "protect their turf". Its about respecting the accomplishments of the SAP guys by not cheapening their achievements.

In time the ESAP may become as difficult, or even more difficult than the SAP. But until that time, we should respect the difference.

Happy Landings,

Don


I have been contemplating your post. What I write here is not necessarily relevant to this discussion so feel free to skip this post. It is just that it stuck me how each of us has a very different situation and a different set of challenges in order to complete the SAP or a new eSAP. Thus we see various parts of the SAP to be the "hard part".

First, I would agree that even in a healthy glider club like ours, getting more than 10 pilots out for a club contest is a challenge. If one depends on club contests for their contest requirements than few will have any hope of ever getting past level 3. I would bet that 80% never make Level IV.

However, because our club is active in the Eastern Soaring League, I have an abundance of contests with 20 or more pilots within 4 hours of my field, so that has not been a concern.

And I have the good fortune to have an abundance of winches at my disposal, including my own.

Cross Country/Goal and Return has been more of a challenge in that I live in a fairly congested area of Long Island. But through my ESL contacts I know of several opportunities to do at least the 1 K and 2K G&R requirements. 10K is another matter but still, I think my ESL contacts would make that possible. Or I can pack up the car and go to the NATs and fly the cross country course.

Slope soaring is not something my area is well known for but even with that, there are sites where the winter wind (sometimes 10 degrees) will hold long enough for at least a 4 hour slope flight, if one does not fall asleep during the flight. ;)

From what I have read, the thermals in the Northeast are no where near as abundant or as rich as they are in other parts of the country. 30 minute flights are rare where I live but they do happen. And I do have one 90 minute thermal flight to my credit, though not related to the SAP.



So, while I am not actively working the SAP, the opportunities are there for me. But that is not the case for many.

In my opinion, e-launched soaring will take over as the dominant form of thermal soaring in this country within the next 5 years. It is just so much easier than hauling around winches and hi-starts. Contest are so much easier to set-up and run. No line breaks, no pop-offs and no set-up and break down of the winches. Bigger contests can be run from smaller fields and by smaller clubs. You don't need 12 winches to fly a 12 man flight group, for example.

Once you are in the air, then you face the same challenges that anyone else faces. But ALES contests are bursting out all over. We have been running an ALES contest monthly at or club for over 2 years. It is quite popular but still we rarely get more than 10 pilots.

This year we will hold our first ESL ALES contest. Based on what I am seeing around the country I went through the effort to figure the practical upper limit of pilots we can support for this contest. We will set a limit of 48 pilots for the event an there is a reasonable chance we will hit that number.


So, I don't know if it is harder or easier to complete the tasks than it was 30 years ago. But I do agree that creating an eSAP program will make it more achievable as there will be more large contest opportunities. Ya still gotta find that working slope site and that cross country G&R location but using e-launch will make that easier too.
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #604

  • Gordon Stahl
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1 tasks are easier with the ability to restart. I'm certainly more apt to go further out down low looking for lift with an electric motor in the nose than I am without. I'd say it gives the pilot a safety crutch and enables him to learn and more importantly gain confidence in his abilities. He still has to hone his skills and complete the task without using the motor after launching.


You have hit it on the head! The ability to restart the motor not only turns an electric launched sailplane into an electric powered airplane with long wings but the moment a pilot does restart he kills any chance for soaring improvement. When a sailplane gets low, the pilot has to learn to pick up lift and use it, or walk, grab the chute then launch again. Curtis is correct about how an electric powered airplane gives him bigger balls to chance getting too low...because if he has guided his model into trouble he can just power on again. Sailplane pilots can't, we have to use good judgement and make better decisions while up high to avoid getting our models in trouble situations. Any sailplane pilot who restarts his launch motor will never achieve E Tasks, because again, instead of learning to work air, he'll always take the easy way out. The "safety crutch" disables him to learn or have confidence. You subconciously used the word "crutch" because you in fact realize thats what it is.


2 On the other hand, someone could keep launching under the original SAP and eventually blunder thru the requirements if he lived in an area which always had hat-sucking thermals on a day in which even a barn door would soar.
YES! You can relaunch time after time until you blunder thru the requirements... You see you guys don't get it. The Tasks done in the order required, prepare a pilot to have the skills to do the next set of tasks. There's no blundering.

3 What can be done about that person?
And by the way.... what's wrong with launching until you had a hat sucking thermal? There is nothing wrong with a pilot who persists till conditions finally work.

And now is a great time to dispel the idea that launching with a electric nose motor for LSF Tasks is even close or similar to doing the tasks with a sailplane.
Most of the tasks done over the years were done with a high start, or 12 winch. A big launch would be 400' with a wood model, but mostly under that altitude. A big launch with a current day composite ship would be 700' (yes I know because I ran a Picolario for two years testing my launch heights at fields/winches around the world), but an average launch is 500'. Both averaged about half that if the launch was down wind.
Guess how high an electric launch sailplane launches to, every time, regardless of wind direction...the same full altitude every launch. Not 200' downwind, wood or composite, always 700' (if the Ales is set to 200m).
Guess how tired the pilot is after chasing the chute while spending a day trying to blunder into a hat sucker. Instead of putting a bag of 3 cell lipos into the car, he loaded a big car battery, he loaded a heavy winch, he loaded the turnaround and when he got to the field, he set it all up. Its not easy, its all work, and that's why when we are proud, because we earned each level.

I started my 10K Goal and Return off a 50' landing practice bungee, the highest I could launch was about 100', it was late in the day, and after about 5 attempts, I has the model on track for me to catch it, as it approached I noticed a small bump...20' off the deck. I circled, then circled about fifty more times till I was high enough to pass over the power lines to follow the lift downwind and high enough to start the course. There was no motoring up to 4 to 700' the first time or the last time. One of my witnesses told me, "You have one launch!" for my 2 hourthermal task because he needed to leave in two hours.

Are you starting to understand the difference between electric launch and what we have all done to complete tasks?

Those of you who are so passionate about having a ESAP, great, have fun. We have.
Gordy
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #605

  • Ed Anderson
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And so Gordy you have justified why we need an ESAP. While the tasks are the same, the tools are different. So let's have a program that designates that you performed the same task but with different tools.

Like building a house, you can build it with hammers and hand saws or you can use power tools. The house comes up the same for all practical purposes but it was built using different methods. And oddly, the buyer doesn't care which was used as long as the house is built to code and does the job.


So, let's stop debating whether one is equal to the other. Let's declare that they are not equal because we used different tools to get the job done. And let's move on.


There is no equivalence in the tools, only the tasks and the goals are the same.

So, since we see they are different, let's have a separate ESAP program so that everyone will know that the tasks were accomplished with a different tool.
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #606

  • Gordon Stahl
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Yes to seperate programs, no doubt. That will give electric launch guys a pilot training and improvement program too.

My point is that the banter about e-launch and 'string' launch has guys assuming what's the big deal, that us "elitests, purists" don't want change. And yet while us string guys own and have built and flown both e-launch and standard launch saillplanes, for some reason we don't get it.

If you can get your ego's out of the way, you'd understand that the difference between a sailplane pilot and a motor glider pilot who both show up to the flying field with Radians is this: One of them has a bag full of batteries. ....the sailplane pilot only brought one battery pack for the day. That's because he knows he will get ten 20 second launches...and that will be more than enough for a full day of soaring.

It doesn't make the sailplane pilot a better person, but it does make him a better soaring pilot. You see he doesn't have a choice, its find lift or run motor, same as the motor glider guy. But if he runs the motor to find lift he's likely going to have a short day.

And that is the distinction....non-motorized sailplanes use the launch to get up, motorized gilder guys use the motor to find lift. When the motor is used to get up, then its an e-launch sailplane.

The intitial big worry of ALES enthusiats was that was that guys would install big motors to zoom through the alititude limit. The standard competitive sailplane guys kept that focus going in chats on the topic...because they knew the motor glider guys didn't understand that its lift that gets task time, not altitude. The same mis-directon strategy is in practice with standard comp sailplane launching. Keep the focus on the altitude and away from the real strategy of speeding off toward lift.

The current competitive ALES guys have decided that if they put a high performance super fast motor package in their ALES ship, they can use it to run to find lift. They couldn't give a rip about getting to the cut off altitude. Without the motor they hand launch their 4m sailplanes in to lift, they have figured out how to use the motor.
And to give a secret away....those same guys are pushing for lower launch heights BECAUSE they know the motor glider guys who have been restarting their motors instead of landing and launching won't be able to get their times ...as so many Radian pilots have from 200m starts. They say,"Its too easy!".....:-) And they are right, that altitude does make it a lot easier for a Radian type ship to make times, so to cull the pack they are pushing for lower launch heights...you know so it takes more soaring skills :-)

Every limiting rule created for ALES ...benefits the top guys, and hinders the bottom guys. Lower the altitude and the skilled soaring pilots have an easier chance for glory and the less skilled pilots have less opportunity to do well. Divide the $ cost of the entire day per pilot and you'll find that the skilled guys paid less per minute of actual soaring.

There should absolutely be an ESAP program, LJ agrees, so do I as does likely every LSF participant. I do feel that E-launch competitions should be cross over to the standard SAP Contest points and wins. It is the one place where they type of launch has no bearing on the tasks.

And by the way, if YOU aren't planning on working the LSF Tasks, shut the heck up in this discussion. Its got nothing to do with you, but it does have something to do with guys interested in actually grabbing a witness, his blue form and heading to the field to do tasks, motor or no motor. If you are currently an LSF 1,2,3,4 and have no plans on continuing, get away from the keyboard, head to the field with some forms and get some new pilots working on the program.
Gordy
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #607

  • Curtis Suter
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gordysoar wrote: Yes to seperate programs, no doubt. That will give electric launch guys a pilot training and improvement program too.

Yep!

If you can get your ego's out of the way, you'd understand that the difference between a sailplane pilot and a motor glider pilot who both show up to the flying field with Radians is this: One of them has a bag full of batteries. ....the sailplane pilot only brought one battery pack for the day.

Last time I lifted a winch battery it was pretty darn tootin' heavy.

The intitial big worry of ALES enthusiats was that was that guys would install big motors to zoom through the alititude limit. The standard competitive sailplane guys kept that focus going in chats on the topic...because they knew the motor glider guys didn't understand that its lift that gets task time, not altitude. The same mis-directon strategy is in practice with standard comp sailplane launching. Keep the focus on the altitude and away from the real strategy of speeding off toward lift.

I tend to agree somewhat however I win contests by detecting sink and getting the heck out of there fast enough. If you have trained enough folks and have flown with them for years you'll find that stumbling along lift happens fairly easily enough but determining when you are in down air and making a decision soon enough to have altitude to get to another part of the sky takes the most skill. In my opinion of course.

And to give a secret away....those same guys are pushing for lower launch heights BECAUSE they know the motor glider guys who have been restarting their motors instead of landing and launching won't be able to get their times ...as so many Radian pilots have from 200m starts. They say,"Its too easy!".....:-) And they are right, that altitude does make it a lot easier for a Radian type ship to make times, so to cull the pack they are pushing for lower launch heights...you know so it takes more soaring skills :-)

I'm thinking I can launch my TD ship very close to the 656 feet of ALES comps.

And by the way, if YOU aren't planning on working the LSF Tasks, shut the heck up in this discussion. Its got nothing to do with you, but it does have something to do with guys interested in actually grabbing a witness, his blue form and heading to the field to do tasks, motor or no motor. If you are currently an LSF 1,2,3,4 and have no plans on continuing, get away from the keyboard, head to the field with some forms and get some new pilots working on the program.
Gordy

I'm working on it Gordy but there is probably not a winch in the 4th largest state in the Union and no suitable field for a hi-start man-on-man style contest. But ALES is growing very quickly. Two new members already this winter! We just need an eSAP program.

Curtis

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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #608

  • Don Harban
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"The current competitive ALES guys have decided that if they put a high performance super fast motor package in their ALES ship, they can use it to run to find lift. They couldn't give a rip about getting to the cut off altitude. Without the motor they hand launch their 4m sailplanes in to lift, they have figured out how to use the motor.
And to give a secret away....those same guys are pushing for lower launch heights BECAUSE they know the motor glider guys who have been restarting their motors instead of landing and launching won't be able to get their times..."

While it is off-topic, competitive ALES guys are discovering that a super fast motor is NOT necessary to run to find lift. 600-700 reasonably efficient watts in a 4 meter ballasted plane can take you to 200 meters and near the limits of visibility into an 18 or so mph breeze. Once less experienced pilots understand how much a correctly propped plane will accelerate when it is flown at something less than vertical they will discover how to "range" with the best of them. Good performance is well within the capability of most competition gliders.

More importantly, they are not "pushing for lower launch heights BECAUSE they know the motor glider guys ..... won't be able to get their times". The object behind setting task times and launch heights in our IS NOT to find something that most guys can achieve most of the time but to find something which will result in reasonable differentials in measurable flight performance that can be related back to skill. There are surely contests where the combination of conditions and skills results in a wide distribution of flight times -- arguably a good thing. There are also contests where the combination of conditions and skills results in a very disproportionate percentage of max flights which result in scores which do not differentiate between contestants on the basis of flying (soaring) skill. I have seen results from significant contests where nearly 70 percent of flights put up have resulted in maxes and where virtually all of the individual flight groups have contained at least one max, rendering the man-on-man effort superfluous.

One of the differences that ALES type flying offers relative to traditional TD flying is the ability to easily adjust for conditions where so many maxes are being put up that flight scores do not effectively reflect differences in flying (soaring) skills.

There is no conspiracy of "competitive ALES" guys to diminish the results of power glider guys. There IS a desire to conduct contests where the scores reasonably differentiate entrants based on a number of factors INCLUDING flying (soaring) skills.

Happy Landings,

Don
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #609

  • Ed Anderson
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gordysoar wrote: Yes to seperate programs, no doubt. That will give electric launch guys a pilot training and improvement program too.

My point is that the banter about e-launch and 'string' launch has guys assuming what's the big deal, that us "elitests, purists" don't want change. And yet while us string guys own and have built and flown both e-launch and standard launch saillplanes, for some reason we don't get it.

If you can get your ego's out of the way, you'd understand that the difference between a sailplane pilot and a motor glider pilot who both show up to the flying field with Radians is this: One of them has a bag full of batteries. ....the sailplane pilot only brought one battery pack for the day. That's because he knows he will get ten 20 second launches...and that will be more than enough for a full day of soaring.

It doesn't make the sailplane pilot a better person, but it does make him a better soaring pilot. You see he doesn't have a choice, its find lift or run motor, same as the motor glider guy. But if he runs the motor to find lift he's likely going to have a short day.

And that is the distinction....non-motorized sailplanes use the launch to get up, motorized gilder guys use the motor to find lift. When the motor is used to get up, then its an e-launch sailplane.

snip...

Gordy


You just keep telling yourself this story Gordy, and vote for the ESAP program and all will be right with the world.
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #610

  • Curtis Suter
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I'm telling you, folks that think of our models as motor gliders and such have never competed in an ALES contest. That or they are pushing an agenda. Oh, and since I grew up without motors I have landed in a an ALES contest so far out I could barely see my model because I forgot I had a motor!

Yes, during practice I power up, loop, do high speed passes etc; why, because it's fun. I also have a few sessions of making timed tasks, looking for lift, leaving lift to refind it so I can see how the model reacts and then a bunch of timed landings.

As far as aerobatics go I've saw Joe Wurts in Visailia do a loop on very, very short final, pop the flaps and nail the pin. The loop was necessary as he was a second or two early. Of course he had no motor in the nose way back in the 90's.

Curtis
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #611

  • Ed Anderson
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gordysoar wrote: snip...


And by the way, if YOU aren't planning on working the LSF Tasks, shut the heck up in this discussion. Its got nothing to do with you, but it does have something to do with guys interested in actually grabbing a witness, his blue form and heading to the field to do tasks, motor or no motor. If you are currently an LSF 1,2,3,4 and have no plans on continuing, get away from the keyboard, head to the field with some forms and get some new pilots working on the program.
Gordy


Feeling a bit threatened are we? That's OK. You see, as a level II I am a fully qualified member of LSF with all rights and privileges granted thereto. And your opinion on the matter counts for ZERO.

There is no requirement that having once reached level II that I have to actively work the program now or ever. In fact when I first started working the program I had a plan to complete it within 5 seasons. I even started an effort to identify resources for others to help them with the tasks that they would otherwise have trouble completing.

But the current Level IV and Vs did such a good job of beating it into my head that that was bad, wrong and not in the spirit of the program that I decided that I would take their advice and DROP the effort and the plan to work the program. And if you doubt that I can provide all the written documentation you like. But that is not relevant to this discussion.

My interests in LSF, as stated so many times before, is that the LSF is the SIG for soaring. THAT is the reason I joined and the reason I completed level II, so I could be part of the SIG. I am also qualified to witness for others who are working the program, so I can help and support them.

I want to support LSF in its support of soaring, the NATs and whatever else LSF does to support the hobby and the sport. And maybe some day I will return to the SAP or eSAP but right now it is of little interest to me personally.

And there are others who want to be part of LSF. But today they are excluded from the SIG for soaring and that is WRONG. And so I advocate for their interests and for the interests of soaring in general. If you don't like that, well, that is just too bad. I don't really care.

You see Gordy, its not about ME. I am quite surprised and disappointed that I have to tell you this.
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ESAP Proposal 3 years 11 months ago #612

  • Ryan Woebkenberg
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eAnderson wrote: There is no requirement that having once reached level II that I have to actively work the program now or ever.


A little off topic, but technically the bylaws do state:

VI.1.b.

Aspirants to membership who have made written declaration of their intent to associate with the LSF and to actively pursue the Soaring Accomplishment Program.


;) :) Just thought we could use a bit of levity in this thread. :)


Ryan
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