Helicopters B

erikb
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Re: Helicopters B

Post by erikb » May 21st, 2013, 12:13 pm

silverheart7 wrote:What is the best way to start preparing for this event now/over the summer?
I will give you the same advice i give my kids.

Write down everything you learned this year. Write down any random thought that pertains to helicopters. Then think hard about what you want for next year. Make reasonable goals. First in the nation is not reasonable. Top 15 is. or Top 3 in your state. Then think about what you need to do to get there.

Then put it away for 3 months. Don't work on the specific event. Take the time off. Join boy scouts/girl scouts whatever. The biggest risk you will have is if you work on it all summer you will carry any bad habits/design you had this with you to next year. Plus, come Feb you will feel burnt out.

If you have too. If it's in your blood and you can't put it down. Learn everything you can about general astronautics. Find out how props and thrust interact. Read about how the F1D people combine rubber, props and their pitch. How does that differ from penny planes?

Find out how balsa wood is selected. Find out how they cut the ribs for the ultra light wings.

If you want to win. It's not about building the best thingie. It's about understanding the problem better than anyone else and finding the best solution. Next year they will print the manuals and it will have a specific problem to overcome. You want to be that person who knows how to do that.

Because when it comes down to it. The best skilled builder will lose to the best solution.

So my advice to you is. Don't work on helicopters over the summer.
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Poudre High School, Fort Collins CO.

retired1
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Re: Helicopters B

Post by retired1 » May 22nd, 2013, 5:49 pm

I would like to propose rules for next year's event. Rotor max of 25 cm, no weight or rubber restrictions. Make it wide open for it's last year in the event rotation. If you want to make it really tough, go to 20cm.

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by chalker7 » May 22nd, 2013, 7:04 pm

We won't go no minimum weight. That will start making exotic materials a necessity and we'll see times in excess of 10 minutes coming from helicopters weighing less than half a gram. We want the event to be approachable by as many teams as possible.

Do expect a change in rotor diameter, plus minor language adjustments to clarify some confusion and an interesting opportunity for bonuses.
National event supervisor - Wright Stuff, Helicopters
Hawaii State Director

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by retired1 » May 23rd, 2013, 7:18 am

OK on the weight, but exotics could be banned.
Bonuses- plural- is a bit frightening after the Chinook monster bonus of a year ago.

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by jander14indoor » May 23rd, 2013, 8:07 am

Hey, that Chinook bonus drove some really creative solutions. Not entirely unexpectedly the students delivered on what the authors of that bonus weren't even sure could be done. We're working on a new one that should be equally interesting. While I like the support Freedom Flight provides SO and the students, one design gets a little boring as Event Supervisors and reduces the factors a student has to juggle. Bonus choices bring some of that back.

Jeff Anderson
Livonia, MI

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by chalker7 » May 23rd, 2013, 8:09 am

retired1 wrote:OK on the weight, but exotics could be banned.
Bonuses- plural- is a bit frightening after the Chinook monster bonus of a year ago.
By exotic I don't just mean boron, carbon, tungsten, nichrome, and super-thin films. I also mean stuff like ultra-low density, custom cut (and extra expensive) balsa which would be impossible to not allow. If you eliminate a minimum weight and a specific list of materials, it becomes a game of who can find the lightest legal materials.
Don't read too much into the plurality, just some stuff we're tossing around. As for the "monster" Chinook bonus, I honestly think that worked out really well. We strongly incentivized the risky design and a number of teams took us up on it, making the competition more interesting due to the variety of designs.
National event supervisor - Wright Stuff, Helicopters
Hawaii State Director

erikb
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Re: Helicopters B

Post by erikb » May 23rd, 2013, 9:26 am

Here is my problem with Helicopters and gliders. Not enough time is spent doing scientific data collection. And with kits you don't even have to do 10 flights. That can be faked. Build to compete, no middle step.

Compare that with GV you have to spend a lot of time collecting data to be competitive.

I am not sure that this is an appropriate suggestion for middle school kids since it would be so time consuming. But:

A random weight. Made of something very consistent such as a bearing or spring wire. In a range from say .5 grams to 1.5 grams. Has to be added to the helicopter at competition.

The kids have to guess how long the helicopter will be in the air with the random weight added.

This will force the kids to not only test and gather data but design to take the additional weight. (yes i know a kit will be available with the design but, some kids will do it)

As for the not no minimum weight i agree that should not be lifted. Especially at the middle school level. Not only will it become a contest of who can find the lightest balsa. It will became a contest of who's dad is the best builder. Less than #4.5 balsa is extremely hard to work with. With the rarity of wood and how hard it is to work with, i would question a perfectly rolled c-grain motor tube with exact cuts for the supports came from a 6th grader.

As for a bonus. I suggest with the same helicopter (as above) they get points for how long they can get a larger weight like a penny (again random but limited to a specific size) to stay in the air. They would have to change rubber bands and even pitch of the propellers to be really successful in the bonus especially if it is a random enough sample size. They would have to have some understanding of the torque and pitch of the props.

So three flights. Two to score and one to show off.

Finally, if you love all things science, do not let them put it in that helicopter eating gym again at UCF. There were two perfectly smooth ceilings in the basket ball courts to the side of that gym.
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Poudre High School, Fort Collins CO.

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by chalker » May 23rd, 2013, 9:41 am

erikb wrote: Finally, if you love all things science, do not let them put it in that helicopter eating gym again at UCF. There were two perfectly smooth ceilings in the basket ball courts to the side of that gym.
Just to chime in here a bit.. we actually don't have much pull over location choices. Of course we make strong recommendations each year based upon our scouting of the sites, but ultimately it's up to the local facilities manager and most of them don't know anything about Science Olympiad other than it's a bunch of kids coming in to do things that aren't normally done in their facilities. Other users, distance from other events, cost of 'space rentals', etc all factor in as well.

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erikb
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Re: Helicopters B

Post by erikb » May 23rd, 2013, 9:55 am

chalker wrote:
erikb wrote: Finally, if you love all things science, do not let them put it in that helicopter eating gym again at UCF. There were two perfectly smooth ceilings in the basket ball courts to the side of that gym.
Just to chime in here a bit.. we actually don't have much pull over location choices. Of course we make strong recommendations each year based upon our scouting of the sites, but ultimately it's up to the local facilities manager and most of them don't know anything about Science Olympiad other than it's a bunch of kids coming in to do things that aren't normally done in their facilities. Other users, distance from other events, cost of 'space rentals', etc all factor in as well.
I have no dog in this race. I no longer coach Middle school. I do remember that ceiling though. It was a monster.

I understand that. Again i know not everything is under the thumb of the event staff. But in this case, that ceiling is death to helicopters. I was just asking that it is remembered when negotiating with UCF.

That's why the wording was "do not let them," them is not event staff. That would have been you all better not put it under that ceiling again. Subtle difference but huge meaning.
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Poudre High School, Fort Collins CO.

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Re: Helicopters B

Post by PHXcoach » May 23rd, 2013, 10:09 am

I agree with ericb that anything that can be done to request an amenable environment for helicopters would be good - maybe a list of desirable / undesirable features (flat ceilings with few obstructions, at least 16' x 16' area per flight, ability to launch 2 non-interfering flights at the same time using multiple areas or a larger area) , and examples of locations that have worked well in the past. The use of the racquetball courts this year was a relief after seeing some of the states working in gyms with unforgiving ceilings.

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