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17. september 2006

Viking Race 2006, Scotland

This years Viking Race was the all time biggest with almost 90 competitors. The debate is already on if this is too much or not. I will get back with more on this and other F3F topics later.
We only managed to get 5 rounds in and with typical inland conditions this was not enough to have an even race. So many "good" pilots ended up way down the list and even the winners were very familiar there were lots of surprises in the top 20 list.
The event was organized by a few Scottish enthusiast and a handful of English/international helpers. The step-in CD made a couple of wrong decisions in my point of view but the weather was the main problem with no wind and cross wind. We also flew all the days at East Lomond hill which certainly was quite demanding for the pilots.
If we had managed 7-8 rounds I think the competition would have been pretty good.
More to follow.....
Well a few days after the event I am still a little disappointed but we must not forget that this is an outdoor event and many things can go wrong. It does not mean we have to keep F3F to the same format and the same rules in the future. We have to decide if we want a big social event or a real F3F competition. In Scotland most of the pilots seemed to go for a three man team option if they could choose. The Viking Race has always been a limited open event. It means that the organizer can invite as many or as few pilots they wanted. I think the people who invented F3F never thought that there would be as many as 90 pilots in one event. As this class is so dependent on the weather it is not practical to have contest with large numbers if you want to give relatively equal conditions to all pilots.
This is not new of course, we have always had problems with rising and falling wind and thermals, crosswind and other factors. The best way to deal with uneven conditions has always been to run as many rounds as possible. Until last year 10 rounds was the maximum number of rounds, now there is no limit.
In F3B there is a possibility of flying the speed in groups, but most pilots do not like this and most want to fly the speed in one group. This is also my meaning in F3F. We should try to fly the rounds in F3F in one group. But we could make some rules that would allow the organizer to use this option but the rules for this must be very clear and should only be used if absolutely necessary.
Our biggest problem today is the poor measurement of the weather conditions. We must be able to make a weather station which by itself can measure the wind conditions and determine re flights by itself. This would help the CD a lot. I also think we should reconsider the rules concerning the lowest wind speed and the most crosswind (45 degrees). It would be better that the CD could decide which wind speed and direction would be the lowest for a certain hill/slope.
The weather station should have the option for 2,3,4,5,6ms and some different crosswind possibilities that could be preset for the day. Lets face it, not all slopes gives enough lift at 3ms and 45 degrees of crosswind. So if this could be changed we would in my point of view have a much better system and a contest would be easier to handle.
I also think we should make more precise method of measuring the wind and direction. Instead of the current rule we should have an average of the flight and a green or red light if the conditions was OK or not. The pilot should also be given the right to keep the score if he wanted to.
In Scotland they shifted the start order by 10 pilots each day, not each round. Since we did not fly more than 3 days this rotation only made 3 shifts. Well this is also a way of doing it. I think we must look into another way. I can see 2 ways right now and I think both of them could be used. Organizers has to tell in advance which method.
1) Draw all the rounds. It means nobody can tamper with the start list. All rounds are drawn and handed out to each team or all the competitors in advance. This is the easiest way of doing it and probably the most justified method.
2) Draw the first round. Then fly all the following rounds after the ranking principle. Fly the last pilots first (or last in the round). With this system there will always be changes in the start order. This method requires a PC/printer at the slope (or near by) to keep the flow of the contest running. The Germans tried this in the German Open last year and it works!

et 22.9.2006

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