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24. juli 2009

Hole of Horcum F3F

Finally I got to go to the famous Hole of Horcum. I have read about this place for decades and I always wanted to go there. The good reason was to enter the North of England Open which is part of the F3F Eurotour. I needed to try and improve my standings and even I did not fly well or had the needed luck I still managed to get better points for the Tour :-)

It seems like this year there is a very good fight among pilots all over Europe to do well in the Eurotour. This is very good as F3F now is growing and almost wherever you attend one of these contests there are top pilots. It means there is no longer a walk over in some contests like it has been a little bit in the past.
With 11 out of 13 races there is probably around 10 or more pilots which still have a chance to win the overall Eurotour. This is a little bit unique compared to the other classes in the Contest system. Also there is now 227 registered pilots. Very good! http://www.contest-modellsport.de/2009/fr_f3f_ergebnis.html

Well back to Horcum. I teamed up with Greg Dakin and he picked me up at Birmingham Airport. Mark Passingham joined us early in the morning and we drove up to the Yorkshire Moors. Greg and Mark invited me to the new team of the "Tea Swillers" and I was proud to be part of this legendary team.
The local club, North York Moors Ridge Soaring Club with Jon Edison as CD had a tough week with very bad weather reports. But we where lucky, the weather both days was quite good but a bit unstable with lots of variations. But most important very little rain compared to the ugly weather forecasts earlier in the week.
They managed 4 rounds each day and I think with a little bit more luck a few more rounds could have been flown. The wind direction did not cooperate all the time and it was difficult to make the right decisions.
Greg flew well both days and did his part so the Tea Swillers could defeat the SAF team. But both me and Mark did not fly as we hoped for so the SAF team with Perlick, Kowalski and Liebeck beat us.
But more important was Greg Dakin's first Eurotour victory. Well deserved! Did I mention he flew his RaceM made by ET-Air :-)

Thanks to the NYMRSC for a good event and we will meet again next year I hope.

Espen

5. juli 2009

Trip to Mosteroy


Got up early this Saturday to make sure I did not waste any time in traffic to get to Mosteroy when the water was still flat. I like it when I can look into the clear water with no waves.
On my way out I called my friend Atle and asked him if I could park on his harbour site and of course it was no problem. In return I brought out my helicam and got some nice pictures of his farm.
My plan was to go to the area around Utstein Kloster and back. It did not happen, after 3,5 hours of kayaking and scuba diving I was a bit tired so I called up Kleng and asked him if he could pick me up :-) Kleng came and he wanted to test my Kayak and reached 6 knots by pedaling. Not bad. Later I was invited for a barbeque with Kleng and his family. So I brought out my helicam and managed some nice photos of their farm.
I am glad I did the trip, the weather was very nice, the water was warm and meeting my friends was even better. Thank you for a super day.
Here is a link with some pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/aerotorp/Mosteroy472009#
Espen

24. juni 2009

Local F3F, Hodne

We just hosted a local F3F competition on Sunday the 21st. of June with few pilots but super nice conditions on our local F3F hill, Hodne. The wind came straight in from the North Sea with 8-9 m/s strenght.
Rolf B flew very well with his Aris and won before Arild (Freestyler) and Espen (RaceM/Ceres)
12 rounds was flown.
Thanks to all 7 pilots that showed up and helped organizing the event.
I will try to post some pictures here later.

Results:
1) Rolf Rettedal, 10847
2) Arild Moellerhaug, 10759
3) Espen Torp, 10704
4) Rolf Inge Waaga, 10386
5) Erik Morgan, 9621
6) Richard Pleym, 9024
7) Marius Leirdal, 8458

Espen

2. juni 2009

Asturia F3F 2009

I decided on a short notice to attend the 2nd. Asturias Open F3F Eurotour in Gijon in the north of Spain. I team up with Tomas Eklund from Malaga and he picked me up in Madrid.


We drove up to Gijon and headed directly to the slope. Several other guys was there already and the wind was pretty strong but a bit cross from the north. Tomas was keen to fly, I was not but it was good for me to observe Pierre Rondel who demonstrated how to deal with the tricky conditions. Tomas flew his Skorpion and I also tested it a little bit.
Pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/aerotorp/AsturiasF3FOpen2009Gijon#

Next day we were sort of promised similar weather conditions but that did not happen. The wind was much weaker between 4-8 m/s. I had a bad first round with 77 seconds. Tomas was a little bit happy as he made a 74 second run. But the winner of this round was Sergio with 55 seconds.
For the first time ever I saw an organizer who had a wind and direction meter that actually worked according to the current rules. It can always be debated where to place the unit but in general when placed it is the same for all. As one can see in my last blog post we have made a device that does not use current rules because we believe that measuring an average is more fair way of doing it. More about this later in this post.
There was many Freestylers around and I was interested to test my RaceM against them. I think the conditions was too difficult to actually get a good test but I learned a couple of things. One was that clearly the Freeestylers does not work well in bad conditions either. This was proven in the second and third round were I managed to beat all of them thanks to good conditions and I think some good flying. Both these rounds I flew 59 seconds.

The 3rd round was not finished due to severe wind change after 20 pilots had flown and unfortunately the third round was cancelled after a protest against the weather station, ironic since this was not due to failure over the weather station but more a failure of the current rules (3m/s min and max 45 degree cross wind).

We still had 2 more days to go so it should be possible to manage enough rounds to make the competition. Much was at stake here as the first prize was a Freestyler 3 given by TUD-Modelltechnik.

Two days later we still did not one single round and the competition was cancelled. It also happened last year for the organizer and I feel really sorry for them as they did a lot to make this happen. I really hope they will pull back and try again next year. This is definitive a place I would like to get back to.
I had 3 very nice days mostly because of meeting old friends and meeting new friends but also because the weather was very nice and the place has a lot to offer than just sitting there waiting for wind.
They are expanding the harbor and this alone was worth watching, lots of activity. I also liked the bird mountain close to the lighthouse. I could stand there watching the whole day.

Once again I would like to thank the Asturian club for trying their very best all weekend.

Espen

9. februar 2009

Timing gear with weather station

Kaare and I finally managed to assemble the timing gear on Sunday 8th February.

Kaare has made a great job of developing the electronics and program. I have bought some materials from which to make a protective casing, the results of which are shown in the pictures below.

We will certainly make these units available for sale to the F3F community. Producing these in small numbers from our base in Norway is certainly not the cheapest method of production, but we hope that even clubs of modest size should be able to afford this unit.

What is so special with this timing gear unit? Well, we have incorporated the weather station in a very simple and effective way.

Todays F3F rules are rather simple except for one major aspect, the wind and direction measurement.

We have considered this rule in detail, and designed a system to simplify the Contest Director's job, by providing accurate and meaningful information.

By capturing wind and direction measurements from leg one to leg ten, average values can be calculated for both parameters, and the results displayed along with the time of the flight.

As such, the CD or timing gear operator will be empowered to confirm the validity of the flight conditions.

The functionality will also enable the CD to define the windspeed range for the chosen slope, if required. It must be recognised that not all slopes produce sufficient lift at 3ms/+-45 degrees direction. If the CD sets a value for the given day we now have a machine to monitor weather activity throughout the competition lifecycle.

We also recommend that the pilot finishes the flight irrespective of conditions, and receives confirmation of the validity of the flight. The pilot can then decide whether to retain the flight or request a reflight if the conditions fall beneath the predefined limit. The pilot may wish to retain the flight if a thermal was experienced on course, in which case the pilot's wishes should be honoured. (Or maybe not, I would leave that to the CD or a definitive rule change)

Aside from specific rules, the weather station also possesses functionality which is also interesting. During training sessions it can be very valuable as testing becomes more accurate as variations in the weather can be seen very easily.

Very often it is difficult to judge whether a flight was successful because it was flown well or if conditions were particularly good. Now you have a tool to take care of at least the wind and direction and tell you from flight to flight what happened. We have not yet figured out how to find the thermals but we are working on it. It is possible to add sensors to the unit.

We can sell it with or without the weather station. Send me an E-mail if you are interested. We have estimeated the price to be around 400 Euro including the weather station.

The TGW (Timing Gear Weatherstation) will be delivered without the wires needed to A and B base. Apart from that it will come with the wind/direction meter as shown in these pictures.

We have made it with coax bayonet connectors to make sure of a solid and relatively weather proof connection. We deliver small coax cables (with the connector) so users can solder these to their own cables. The weather station has the same coax connector. The signal horn will be made (not ready when pictures was taken) with a separate connector to prevent mistakes.

The unit has a serial port which can be used to dump results to a Laptop or similar or dump the last result to a screen for the spectators to see.

It also comes with a rechargeble battery which will last all day long....

We might need to change the box itself as this one was rather expensive here in Norway.

We are already working on some "add ons" to the unit.
First on the list will be a MP3 player counting the 30 second to enter the course.
Secondly we would like to utilise the serial port by sending the data to a laptop using a wireless connection. The laptop could be placed in the area of the crowd and could display results as it happens. Furthermore take care of the data and store them. In the end I hope someone can make a scoring program.

Espen