Elastic Launched Glider C

wlsguy
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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by wlsguy » May 28th, 2013, 11:17 am

erikb wrote:
wlsguy wrote:The bonus you are describing, while possible, seems overly complex. I hate to make the event supervisors think too much.

The current method of adding flight times is easy to understand, rewards the teams who practice, and can be scored with a calculator.
My proposal to reduce the effects of luck and increase use of data is to score 3 of the 5 flights (assuming 2 of the flights may have issues due to room factors, air currents, etc). This requires the students to be more than 50% consistant and doesn't cause the people running the event to be concerned if the flight is "regular" or "bonus".
Keep in mind i am not demanding the bonus be added. Just working out in my own mind and in a public forum, how to make flight logs relevant and not something made up 5 minutes before the contest.

So i am just answering the question: what is a fair and accurate way to measure the data collected on the flight logs? Nothing more then trying to find the best solution for the problem at hand.

However, I do agree that more than 2 flights should be scored.
No problem. I like talking about everything because it ultimately will make everything much more clear when the rules are finalized.
After looking at flight logs from more than 200 participants this season, I can tell the teams who use it as intended and those who don't.
The teams who don't will never have a good repeatable glider and will succeed only because they can get lucky (40% of the time with the current rules).

retired1
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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by retired1 » May 28th, 2013, 11:24 am

Whatever the rules end up being, I think that they should be simple enough to be run at regional and state events without being a source of challenges. The Florida state contest has had at least one event thrown out due to challenges for the last 3 years.
If math is to be involved, then all of the formulas needed should be provided or readily available and apparent on the internet.

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by erikb » May 28th, 2013, 11:44 am

retired1 wrote:Whatever the rules end up being, I think that they should be simple enough to be run at regional and state events without being a source of challenges. The Florida state contest has had at least one event thrown out due to challenges for the last 3 years.
If math is to be involved, then all of the formulas needed should be provided or readily available and apparent on the internet.
This year every single build event had an excel spreadsheet. All anyone had to do was punch in the numbers.

Plus the formulas are in the book. It can all be double checked.
--
Poudre High School, Fort Collins CO.

retired1
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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by retired1 » May 28th, 2013, 1:12 pm

retired1 wrote:Whatever the rules end up being, I think that they should be simple enough to be run at regional and state events without being a source of challenges. The Florida state contest has had at least one event thrown out due to challenges for the last 3 years.
If math is to be involved, then all of the formulas needed should be provided or readily available and apparent on the internet.
The math I was referring to was if math calculations become a requirement for determining flight times for the bonus.

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by jander14indoor » May 28th, 2013, 1:22 pm

That's the job of the students to figure out for their glider(s). If they know flight time vs height vs launch parameters for their glider they can adjust launch parameters to hit (in a statistical sense) any target time within the capability allowed by the ceiling. No calculations needed on the event supervisors part. The check of the students formulas comes from how close they hit that unknown target, not any inspection of the formulas themselves.

This is no different than the trebuchet based events where the students have a target distance (unknown before hand) to hit. They have to know the parameters to adjust on there device to launch that distance. No formulas are distributed to support them, though they exist on the web outside SO.

Jeff Anderson
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2346273454
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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by 2346273454 » June 9th, 2013, 6:36 pm

erikb wrote:
calgoddard wrote:Such a prediction bonus would have the effect of penalizing teams with superior gliders and rewarding teams with average gliders, i.e. gliders not capable of flights with a 1 foot per second descent rate or better.
There is a lot i don't know about gliders, that's why i ask people who do, about a most things. However, I know this statement does not reflect reality in anyway.

The one thing i do know, is what kids with drop rates of 1.2+ can do with their gliders and in no way would a their gliders be at a disadvantage.
I think you may have misunderstood what he means by penalizing teams with superior gliders. Lets assume that there is no way to control the precise max height of a glider for anyone; Even with my best gliders, I could not get it within 6 inches of the ceiling reliably, without risking a hit. Lets say my glider does around 1.2 seconds/foot (enough for me to get first at VA states this year). For example, say my launch puts my max height at 15 feet +- 6 inches. That gives us a range of about 1 foot. Now, say we have a glider that only gets .2 seconds/foot. That would only be a time variation of .2 s, compared to a time variation of 1.2 seconds. While I understand that this probably isn't very significant, it is true that having an estimated time parameter is counter-intuitive for this event.

I would have a estimated time parameter, but score it as a percentage of the actual time. For example, if you have a flight time of 30 seconds, and your estimated time is off by 3 seconds, that would be 10%, which could be converted to however it would be factored into the overall score. This would avoid penalizing gliders for having lower decent rates.

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by 2346273454 » June 15th, 2013, 7:59 am

2346273454 wrote:
erikb wrote:
calgoddard wrote:Such a prediction bonus would have the effect of penalizing teams with superior gliders and rewarding teams with average gliders, i.e. gliders not capable of flights with a 1 foot per second descent rate or better.
There is a lot i don't know about gliders, that's why i ask people who do, about a most things. However, I know this statement does not reflect reality in anyway.

The one thing i do know, is what kids with drop rates of 1.2+ can do with their gliders and in no way would a their gliders be at a disadvantage.
I think you may have misunderstood what he means by penalizing teams with superior gliders. Lets assume that there is no way to control the precise max height of a glider for anyone; Even with my best gliders, I could not get it within 6 inches of the ceiling reliably, without risking a hit. Lets say my glider does around 1.2 seconds/foot (enough for me to get first at VA states this year). For example, say my launch puts my max height at 15 feet +- 6 inches. That gives us a range of about 1 foot. Now, say we have a glider that only gets .2 seconds/foot. That would only be a time variation of .2 s, compared to a time variation of 1.2 seconds. While I understand that this probably isn't very significant, it is true that having an estimated time parameter is counter-intuitive for this event.

I would have a estimated time parameter, but score it as a percentage of the actual time. For example, if you have a flight time of 30 seconds, and your estimated time is off by 3 seconds, that would be 10%, which could be converted to however it would be factored into the overall score. This would avoid penalizing gliders for having lower descent rates.

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by Cedavis6 » June 15th, 2013, 9:04 am

retired1 wrote:Height may work for nationals, but regional and many state events do not have the capability of accurately measuring attained height. I can hear the protests now. I am not in love with limiting the rubber either. Our teams have a terrible time getting into a bldg with a 20' ceiling, let alone a 30 or 35 one, so how do you practice for that?
A school gymnasium is a good place. Many ELG competitions are held in these.

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by retired1 » June 16th, 2013, 2:25 pm

The gym sounds fine, but it is not 35 feet. The real truth is that Science Olympiad's priority is after men's varsity basketball, girls basketball, JV men and girl's basketball, 4 volleyball teams, badmitton teams, cheerleading practice, dance competition team and sometimes track teams. Also, they have a cow about turning the air conditioner off for even a few minutes as it "affects the wood floor"
Also, the National event has a 48' clear space and possibly even higher. There is zero space available for practice at that height, so how can you predict times?
The AMA current national record holder's 2 counter flights vary by more than 10%. I observed him practice for a sanctioned event this Sat and his times varied by closer to 20% in a 36' hall, and that does not include several bad flights. So a one flight bonus round has significant problems.
Why not count 3 or 4 or all 5 flights?

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Re: Elastic Launched Glider C

Post by bjt4888 » June 16th, 2013, 6:47 pm

With all due respect to the other contributors to this discussion, I am offering my opinion on the topic of possible Elastic Launch Glider event changes for next year. I believe that all contributors to this forum are doing so with the best interests of the student in mind and I fully support this value. I also am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a perfectly designed event like this, but I think that the Science Olympiad program as a whole, as a provider of much needed hands-on science to students, is a huge positive influence. I also believe that the simplest set of rules for a particular event will often result in the greatest potential for creative solutions.

If the current event practice of disclosing the competition site and site specifications shortly before the regional and state competitions is continued into the future, I don’t believe that scoring three flights out of five instead of two out of five improves the event. In the case of the Michigan State Championship event, the 30’ ceiling height of the event site was known only shortly before the date of competition, thereby presenting the students with a large variable to address in a short period of time. Most, if not all, students did their test flying leading up to the State competition in school gyms with no more than about 24’ of ceiling height and did not have a higher ceiling site available. This is not a commentary on whether I agree or disagree with the practice of supply key specifications shortly before the competitions. All teams were presented with the ceiling height variable at the same time and it is what it is. The challenge was to get creative and use knowledge developed during testing to address the new variable.

As flight testing for the Michigan State Championships was limited to ½ hour early on the morning of the competition and as this amount of time proved too short to develop a new flying strategy or aircraft design strategy for the 30’ ceiling height, the student that I was coaching determined that the best competition procedure would be to complete two flights based upon testing data that gave known results under a 24’ ceiling. After completing these two flights, the real interesting stuff began. My student used her knowledge, based upon earlier testing, of the variables launch angle, bank angle and launch power to attempt to come-up with a creative solution to the additional ceiling height. Although she did an excellent job of varying launch procedures in order to attempt additional flight time, none of these creative attempts were successful; probably because the fuselage wasn’t quite stiff enough to withstand additional launch velocity. In my opinion, the problem solving involved in these last three flights was high quality science in action. As it turned-out, my student’s two safe flights were sufficient to get her the State Championships silver medal, so she got some nice positive reinforcement for her glider construction, testing and flight planning efforts.

If three flights out of five are to be scored next year, and if site specifications like ceiling height are to be revealed shortly before competition dates, then the students will have reduced opportunity to creatively apply knowledge gained by testing. Students that I coach will probably decide to fly three relatively safe flights before trying something new for the last two flights.

My vote is to leave this event specification as-is. There is already a very large challenge in the event as it is and very large opportunity for increasingly creative solutions for future years (ex. Non-AMA glider based designs, Stan Stoy based designs, pigeon Peterson based designs, etc.).

In addition to leaving the official flight count at two, I would suggest one new rule to require the launch device to be a hand-held piece of wood (or other non-metallic material) of 6” maximum length with a 7” maximum length rubber loop attached to one end. The purpose of this suggestion is not to make the event more similar to the AMA event, but to limit the possibility of large launch devices damaging co-competitior’s gliders during practice sessions. Although I applaud the creativity and engineering employed by teams that developed large, free-standing launch devices, I see potential problems during the competition testing sessions. At this year’s Michigan State Championships there were 20 or more teams flying at the same time during the ½ hour testing session on the morning of the competition. The students showed care and courtesy and everything went fine and no gliders were damaged by co-competitors. This number of teams working together in a 120’x120’ flying area was a marginal but workable procedure. I see a high potential for problems though if all 20 teams testing have large, free-standing launch devices. Also, my intent in proposing a rubberband loop of 7” is to end the practice of two-person launching. There is a Youtube video of a very successful flight at a high-ceiling site using this launch method. I believe that the holder of the end of the rubber band using this method is at risk of being struck by an errant glider or a detached glider part.

Again, thanks to the event organizers, volunteers and Science Olympiad staff for providing a high-quality, hands-on science experience for young people. Great job!

Brian Turnbull
AMA member (off and on) since 1972
NFFS member (again, off and on) for many years

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