Sunday, October 9, 2011

26th WAC Italy - Lessons Learned

Here are some notes on what we saw and discerned from our trip to Italy.   Hopefully it will aid those who wish to travel this route in the future:

1.                  Ideally need an authoritative coach for training at home and guidance at the comp.  How to fund it?
2.                  Aircraft differences will always exist from what you train on at home, and rarely will you be able to change settings on a hired aircraft to suit you.
3.                  Budget on at least a weeks training in-location prior to comp overseas.  Adjust to the time-zone, weather, food and aircraft.   Possibly send Team Manager in advance to scout arrangements.
4.                  Take copies, soft or hard, of all your docs and Free sequences.   Invariably the organisers ask for them repeatably.
5.                  As newcomers, we need to really nail the Q flight to maximise our chances of getting into the 1st or 2nd group.    Similarly for the Free.  Aim should be an 80% flight in both, and then take what you get.
6.                  Stay cool and fresh.  Natural desire is to hang around airport, socialise and watch the flying.   Schedule time away, stay hydrated and rested.   Roster team members/manager/coach to check in-tray, attend briefings, check score sheets etc. so others can stay away from airport when not required.
7.                  Establish comms and transport plan to reduce stress when timeline is critical.
8.                  Established teams use all tools at their disposal to favour their pilots.   Eg. Have a warm-up pilot to report back conditions and gauge aircraft performance for start heights.   Influence schedule to favour your pilots. Video flights, protest if necessary.
9.                  Set-up of aircraft ailerons/spades and elevator, locking the trim prior to flight.
10.              Putt all ¾ snap figures so the snap finishes edge-on to the judges.   Wing low or side drift after the snap will not be seen.   Offset positive or negative in plan on entry vertical line to finish vertical when side-on.
11.              On looping figures with snaps, offset nose during looping segment so that you finish on-axis (if that’s what you need) after the snap without a lot of pedalling.
12.              Use ‘N’s and half loops or Cubans as linking figures in Unknowns.   Adjust altitude and position during these low k figures.   Also saw positive depth-charges used by USA.   These linking figures get horribly abused in order to position high K figures correctly.
13.              Top pilots fly to the bottom of the box (or maybe below).   Positioning right in front of the judges is very important for a top score.
14.              Extra 330SC and Su-26/31 perform well and present well if flown well, but appear at a performance deficit to hot Experimentals like the MXS and Edge.   Estimate is that Rob Holland’s MXS has significant margin over the 330SC.   Ivanoff’s Edge 540 and Illes’ 540T exceeded 330SC by a fair margin also.   Sbach goes well, but did not appear as energetic for some reason, and some opinion that it does not present as well as the MXS/Edge due to short fuselage length.
15.              Sat next to a judge at dinner.   Opinion that in general judges favour slower flying Sukhoi’s?
16.              Need to nominate judges through CIVA rep to CIVA.   Is it likely we will actually send a judge and assistant??   First 7 judging teams paid for from entry fees (if selected), last 3 by organisers if able.   Need JPD to support.
17.              Raw scores and scoresheets are released immediately after data has been entered into scoring system.  It is the Team responsibility to check their sheets and sign them off as correct – or protest.   I detected two score entry errors, both were corrected without drama by office.
18.              Each Team has an in-tray and all official correspondence will be deposited there.   Time sensitive operational matters are communicated verbally (in our case by Christian on his pushbike!) or via SMS.  Each team was issued a backpack with a mobile phone pre-loaded with all Officials and Team numbers, good for calls to those numbers only.
19.              Rolls were precise and stops hard.   Rate of roll varied depending on objective, but was consistent throughout.   We need to develop this technique more.
20.              Varying power was used by the high-performance aircraft to shorten up lines and slow down lines.   All good for minimising drift and keeping the sequence ‘smaller’, in the box,  and in front of the judges.
21.              Without line judges, many pilots exceeded the box by a large margin, and it appeared this was done consciously during Unknowns if it favoured presentation of key figures and the sequence overall.  The lesser of two evils approach.
22.              We didn’t have much wind, so didn’t see many wind correction techniques on the main axis.  Most correction was being done cross-box, to and away from the judges, to position figures.
23.              Many top-level sequences don’t have any cross-box figures.   Pilots rely on other techniques to move sequence toward and away from judges.   Crabbing, flying off-axis, spiralling during looping segments and non-vertical lines.
24.              Many Free sequences have more than the minimum number of flicks.   Possible advantage with simpler figures to judge and less busy for both pilot and judge cf. lots of point rolls.   More research needed here.
25.              Looping figures with roll elements at top/bottom are always positioned on the main axis for scrutiny by judges in unknowns, never cross-box.
      26.       Diamond loops down should start downwind conversely those going up should start into wind.

1 comment:

Russell Bell said...

Much food for thought, some comments
#3 - at least a week in location training - heartily agree

#5 nail the Q - applies here in NZ too for the nats where it's IAC rules thus the Q counts in the score

#6 and 7 logistics - need a team secretary, leaving more time for pilots to attend to their natural desire to hydrate with beer

#8 all tools - need an experienced team manager

#10 and 11 snaps - sounds good I need to learn this stuff properly. Is side-drift after the snap a real judging criteria or just looks untidy ?