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  #21  
Old January 28th 18, 02:44 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Steve Koerner
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Default Hard Deck

9B can always be counted on to do a good job of thinking out the ramifications. It's a very good thing to finally have Andy on the rules committee.

I'm also glad to find something to agree with Jon Fitch about here. Going to the lake side of the Tahoe ridge is a concept that I abhor and will absolutely never do intentionally. It sounds like there are a bunch of us that feel that way. You local guys need to please come up with a steering turn concept like you are suggesting or some other way to take that particular option off the table before the next Region 11. I really don't want to be around when we're fishing a glider and its contents out of the lake. As you say, there are ways to address those sorts of particular site specific hazardous temptations within the present framework of rules.

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  #22  
Old January 28th 18, 06:42 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
jfitch
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On Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 6:44:40 PM UTC-8, Steve Koerner wrote:
9B can always be counted on to do a good job of thinking out the ramifications. It's a very good thing to finally have Andy on the rules committee.

I'm also glad to find something to agree with Jon Fitch about here. Going to the lake side of the Tahoe ridge is a concept that I abhor and will absolutely never do intentionally. It sounds like there are a bunch of us that feel that way. You local guys need to please come up with a steering turn concept like you are suggesting or some other way to take that particular option off the table before the next Region 11. I really don't want to be around when we're fishing a glider and its contents out of the lake. As you say, there are ways to address those sorts of particular site specific hazardous temptations within the present framework of rules.


I will bring it up with the CM and the CD, but given who the Elevator is named for, I'm not hopeful....
  #23  
Old January 28th 18, 06:45 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
jfitch
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On Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 6:44:40 PM UTC-8, Steve Koerner wrote:
9B can always be counted on to do a good job of thinking out the ramifications. It's a very good thing to finally have Andy on the rules committee.

I'm also glad to find something to agree with Jon Fitch about here. Going to the lake side of the Tahoe ridge is a concept that I abhor and will absolutely never do intentionally. It sounds like there are a bunch of us that feel that way. You local guys need to please come up with a steering turn concept like you are suggesting or some other way to take that particular option off the table before the next Region 11. I really don't want to be around when we're fishing a glider and its contents out of the lake. As you say, there are ways to address those sorts of particular site specific hazardous temptations within the present framework of rules.


I will bring it up with the CM and the CD, but given who the Elevator is named for, I'm not hopeful....

But, the use of the elevator is exactly the sort of situation from which my alleged ignorance stems.
  #24  
Old January 28th 18, 02:45 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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(Not really a contest pilot here, so read with a grain of salt.)

I can see that the rules make the game and the current rules might encourage some folks to be unsafe. A hard deck data base with penalties seems a possible way to help this, but getting the details right for a hard deck database seems problematic if it is not to significantly limit strategy options.

Perhaps a simpler alternative would be a list of designated landing sites for a contest day.

Penalties would be accessed for not always keeping at least one under you according to some simple equation. (Perhaps looking at only L/D, minimum energy over terrain, and safety altitude.)

The goal is to not fix everything, but at least nudge strategic thinking in a safer direction.
  #25  
Old January 28th 18, 03:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
John Cochrane[_3_]
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There you go again overcomplicating things ... Just because it's hard to define a SUA that rules out all the problematic high terrain out of Logan or Nehphi does not argue against a simple altitude floor at Hobbs, Uvalde, or all the east coast flatland sites. It does not argue against valley floor SUAs even at those complex sites. Again, we are not here to stop bad behavior, to control what pilots do, and so forth. We are just, where we can with a simple transparent means, removing the strong incentive for SOME dangerous flying. Not all. Not at all sites. Not at all parts of all sites.

There is a lot of speculation around here. I used to do the numbers for the SSA safety report. We had a seriously damaged glider or worse in about one of every two contests. Almost all the damage was off field landings gone wrong, and almost all the traces showed low altitude thermaling attempts before crash. The reports are still on the SSA webpage. (Before the cylinder, we used to have regular crashes at and around the finish too.) Smacking into terrain or midair collisions are present, but quite rare.

On the elevator. I was skeptical too. Then I tried it. It's pretty benign. You float down the eastern shore of Tahoe with an easy bail out to minden or carson most of the way. The ridge lift is very predictable. If there are whitecaps on tahoe, there will be ridge lift. The wind has to go somewhere. If there are not whitecaps on tahoe, it's not going to work. Smooth ridge lift gives you enough for a very comfortable glide back in to Truckee.

I see how it can be overdone. I have seen some traces of pilots shooting through the gap from the west, coming around the corner very low and squeezing lift out of the elevator from low altitude. That's a little hardy for me, in part that the back through the gap escape is gone. So far I have only tried it from about ridge top height up.

John Cochrane
  #26  
Old January 28th 18, 03:40 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
John Cochrane[_3_]
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Default Hard Deck


Thanks for clarifying. It sounded like a bail over the back to land because the ridge quit situation. Now I get it -- you guys had plenty of energy and took a somewhat straighter line to finish saving a few seconds. As pointed out before, a hard deck would not cause any trouble there.

John Cochrane
  #27  
Old January 28th 18, 03:41 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Steve Koerner
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Posts: 355
Default Hard Deck

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:45:05 AM UTC-7, wrote:
(Not really a contest pilot here, so read with a grain of salt.)

I can see that the rules make the game and the current rules might encourage some folks to be unsafe. A hard deck data base with penalties seems a possible way to help this, but getting the details right for a hard deck database seems problematic if it is not to significantly limit strategy options.

Perhaps a simpler alternative would be a list of designated landing sites for a contest day.

Penalties would be accessed for not always keeping at least one under you according to some simple equation. (Perhaps looking at only L/D, minimum energy over terrain, and safety altitude.)

The goal is to not fix everything, but at least nudge strategic thinking in a safer direction.


The problem with that sort of approach is that there is no formula that can work. Not only do gliders differ in glide performance but the atmosphere differs a lot from time to time. Late in the day at a flat land site with no wind you might be able to count on 40:1 but in other circumstances 15:1 is all that is reasonably safe. Wind plays a big role in glide angles as well. What's more, the idea of creating a comprehensive database is impractical. For any given contest site that is about a one-man-year task. There is nobody to do that for us. If it has rained recently, it changes. If crops come up, it changes. Picking your very own out-landing place is pretty fundamental to the game.
  #28  
Old January 28th 18, 05:50 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
jfitch
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On Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:38:49 AM UTC-8, John Cochrane wrote:
There you go again overcomplicating things ... Just because it's hard to define a SUA that rules out all the problematic high terrain out of Logan or Nehphi does not argue against a simple altitude floor at Hobbs, Uvalde, or all the east coast flatland sites. It does not argue against valley floor SUAs even at those complex sites. Again, we are not here to stop bad behavior, to control what pilots do, and so forth. We are just, where we can with a simple transparent means, removing the strong incentive for SOME dangerous flying. Not all. Not at all sites. Not at all parts of all sites.

There is a lot of speculation around here. I used to do the numbers for the SSA safety report. We had a seriously damaged glider or worse in about one of every two contests. Almost all the damage was off field landings gone wrong, and almost all the traces showed low altitude thermaling attempts before crash. The reports are still on the SSA webpage. (Before the cylinder, we used to have regular crashes at and around the finish too.) Smacking into terrain or midair collisions are present, but quite rare.

On the elevator. I was skeptical too. Then I tried it. It's pretty benign.. You float down the eastern shore of Tahoe with an easy bail out to minden or carson most of the way. The ridge lift is very predictable. If there are whitecaps on tahoe, there will be ridge lift. The wind has to go somewhere. If there are not whitecaps on tahoe, it's not going to work. Smooth ridge lift gives you enough for a very comfortable glide back in to Truckee.

I see how it can be overdone. I have seen some traces of pilots shooting through the gap from the west, coming around the corner very low and squeezing lift out of the elevator from low altitude. That's a little hardy for me, in part that the back through the gap escape is gone. So far I have only tried it from about ridge top height up.

John Cochrane


John, above the ridge at Tahoe is one thing. Well below it is another entirely. The ridge starts at 9200 MSL Snow Peak and slopes down a little as you go north. From 9200' - even with the top - by the numbers you can glide through 7200' Brockway pass (10 nm away) at 40:1 and still be 400' above the power lines though it's going to take balls to do it. Or go 3 miles back through 7200' Spooner. At 9200' you are getting some ridge lift but you are not down on the Elevator, it is down at 8000'. I have watched people fly through Spooner at 8000', 1200' below the top, hook a right and ridge soar up.. So far we've only had one pilot killed trying it. Again by the numbers, from 8000' you can take one pass and still just clear the cars on Spooner on your way out. That is an "everything needs to go exactly right" plan. If you maintain the 9200' on the ridge going north, the ridge is getting slightly lower and you are getting closer to home, there is the option to bail out east to Carson if you can make it through the sink.

My personal limit is 10,300 or so leaving the Elevator area at Marlette Lake. At 50:1 that gives me about 300 ft over Martis peak with no help, if that isn't working I can continue towards Brockway which is 1000' lower (but a little further, too). Not an ultra conservative strategy but reasonably safe. That's where I got the 10,300' steering turn from. When I used to fly 40:1, that was a bit of a nail biter sometimes and I wanted to be higher. If we want to make it 9200 ft, then OK. It's the people entering Tahoe at 8000 that I don't want to compete with. The problem with 9200 is that, if the elevator is working, you can ridge soar it up to 9200, take the TP, and you're risk is made good. On that kind of day you aren't going to ridge soar it to 10,300. Or we could make the TP cylinder large enough, and ding any entry into it preventing a low entry.

Not everyone will agree with me (including the CD I think) but I'd have a 3 mile cylinder on Snow Peak with a 10,300 (or maybe 10,000) bottom. Points penalty down to 9200, below that scored as a landout at Carson City. I'm pretty confident that would get voted up at the pilot's meeting if they had the chance, though it would not be unanimous.
  #29  
Old January 28th 18, 05:55 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Hard Deck


The problem with that sort of approach is that there is no formula that can work. Not only do gliders differ in glide performance but the atmosphere differs a lot from time to time.


Thanks for the feedback and help in my understanding. To clarify what I was thinking...

I left WX out of the list of things to consider for the penalty on purpose. It did not seem fair to have penalties accessed based on wind values that would not be known until the scoring program looked at all the IGC's and figured them out. A fallback position might be to publish an assumed wind and use if for scoring.

Regardless of each glider's actual performance, I was thinking of a single conservative polar for the contest. My thought was that this would be a sort of handicap to nudge scoring more to the pilot's skill instead of the ship performance.

For the landing points, it seems to me that the first unintended consequence would be the risk of a bunch of gliders crowding a single field. Perhaps landing areas would make more sense.

It seems to me that a simplified assumption of expected WX, unified polar, and landing areas are implicit in the drawing of the SUA's?


  #30  
Old January 28th 18, 06:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Steve Koerner
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Posts: 355
Default Hard Deck

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 8:38:49 AM UTC-7, John Cochrane wrote:
There you go again overcomplicating things ... Just because it's hard to define a SUA that rules out all the problematic high terrain out of Logan or Nehphi does not argue against a simple altitude floor at Hobbs, Uvalde, or all the east coast flatland sites. It does not argue against valley floor SUAs even at those complex sites. Again, we are not here to stop bad behavior, to control what pilots do, and so forth. We are just, where we can with a simple transparent means, removing the strong incentive for SOME dangerous flying. Not all. Not at all sites. Not at all parts of all sites.

There is a lot of speculation around here. I used to do the numbers for the SSA safety report. We had a seriously damaged glider or worse in about one of every two contests. Almost all the damage was off field landings gone wrong, and almost all the traces showed low altitude thermaling attempts before crash. The reports are still on the SSA webpage. (Before the cylinder, we used to have regular crashes at and around the finish too.) Smacking into terrain or midair collisions are present, but quite rare.

On the elevator. I was skeptical too. Then I tried it. It's pretty benign.. You float down the eastern shore of Tahoe with an easy bail out to minden or carson most of the way. The ridge lift is very predictable. If there are whitecaps on tahoe, there will be ridge lift. The wind has to go somewhere. If there are not whitecaps on tahoe, it's not going to work. Smooth ridge lift gives you enough for a very comfortable glide back in to Truckee.

I see how it can be overdone. I have seen some traces of pilots shooting through the gap from the west, coming around the corner very low and squeezing lift out of the elevator from low altitude. That's a little hardy for me, in part that the back through the gap escape is gone. So far I have only tried it from about ridge top height up.

John Cochrane


John - Thanks for the discussion on the "Elevator". I suspect that Sergio, at one point or another, did a good job of explaining that conservative approach and it didn't sink in with me. I'm certainly willing to try it the way you describe.

Regarding the hard deck idea, there have been two rationales expressed. One relates to safety -- protecting us from temptation of dangerously low saves. The other rationale relates to fairness -- not wanting a fellow competitor to get advantage by doing something that I would never do. Let's dissect that second rationale a bit.

I think the difference in AGL altitude at which BB or GW would safely quit turning and start landing and the lower altitude at which dangerous Joe Blow might risk his life and limb is not really very great. Wouldn't you say it's only around 150 feet? In most cases Joe Blow won't get any sort of advantage from doing so because he'll end up landing at that location regardless of his treachery. In the scheme of things, 150 feet isn't much. Certainly it is less than the typical variation in starting height between gliders on any given day.

The hard deck idea introduces an uncertain stopping point which is actually a lot greater than 150 ft. It's uncertain because, when low, we are normally gliding to or around landing alternates based on visual clue. Hard deck cannot be so easily judged or anticipated along the way. The height at which you are hit by hard deck would depend on where exactly the glide-to terrain elevation is in your step structure and it would depend on the present error of your pressure altimeter. There would be considerable variation in those factors between competitors who might be snagged by the hard deck and that is itself unfair.

In considering the fairness rationale, it would seem that this is a case that the cure is worse than the disease. If the fairness argument doesn't really work, the discussion needs to focus exclusively on whether or not there would be a realistic improvement in safety and whether or not added rules and complications are worth that improvement and whether or not the reduction in each pilot's liberty to find his own way to the finish line is worth it, as well.



 




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