2011-2012 Rules

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chalker7
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2011-2012 Rules

Post by chalker7 » March 24th, 2011, 8:51 am

My brother, the Physical Sciences Committee chair, began soliciting suggestions to the rules for events on his committee in their individual forums, I thought it was a good idea and thought we should do the same here. As a Technology Committee member, event supervisor for Helicopter and former competitor I'd love to hear any suggestions for next year's rules. Specifically, are there any dimensional changes you'd be interested in seeing? Are there any challenges that you'd find interesting (along the lines of the rise off ground, ribbon drop, or pusher challenges in Wright Stuff years past)? Does a payload challenge sound interesting? We already know about some confusing wordings and glaring omissions (such as ballast not being listed as a permissible material), but I'd also love to hear about anything you find lacking in the rules. My brother's original text from the optics forum is listed below to help explain the general thought behind this a bit further.
As you may or may not know, we on the national rules committees at Science Olympiad begin work about this time every year on updating the rules for next year. We have a general policy of trying to make at least one significant change to each returning event (not all events return every year - they rotate in and out every so often), as well as trying to correct issues that required clarifications or FAQs.

The day after Nationals we (the national event supervisors, state directors, etc. etc.) always have a big meeting where we hash out issues face to face and try to come up with a near final version of the new rules. While many of us (myself included) are former competitors, in general we don't get direct input from current competitors during this process, although we do get some input from some coaches who happen to be involved at the national level.

Thus, as the Physical Sciences Committee chair, I've decided to try an experiment this year. Optics is tentatively scheduled to return next year (2011-2012 season). What specific changes would you make to the rules? I'm open to all suggestions (small and large), but can't promise we'll actually implement any of them. Feel free to post ideas here or send me a PM if you'd like.
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illusionist
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by illusionist » March 24th, 2011, 2:39 pm

Is this for Wright Stuff or for Helicopters?

If it is for Wright Stuff:
I think the payload idea seems pretty interesting. It would require more experimentation with wing angles, rubber, prop pitch. There should probably be points given for the team that can fly with the most weight. For example, if you can carry 2.0 grams, you would receive 20 points (or 20% of your time, or 20 more seconds). If you could fly with 1.6 grams, you would receive 16 points. Since there is a payload, may be new parameters on the rubber weight limit, and a lower minimum weight limit for the airplane (like 6 grams?) should be added. Just an idea

For Helicopters, it's still a new event, so I don't think changes like a payload should be made yet. I don't know, maybe someone else has some cool ideas for Helicopters
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chalker7
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by chalker7 » March 25th, 2011, 8:56 pm

This is for helicopters, they are currently scheduled to stay on for one more year.
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lllazar
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by lllazar » March 25th, 2011, 8:59 pm

A friend of mine asked me once when i was testing the copter if the objective was speed. And i thought, that'd be pretty cool. I know most free flight events are duration related, but perhaps acceleration could be a portion of the score. Perhaps consider the time it takes to reach a target height.

However, how would you measure this. How can you tell when the copter has hit a specific height....
2011 Season Events~

Fossils (Regionals ~1st) (State ~6th)
Towers (Regionals ~1st) (State ~3rd)
Helicopter (Regionals -3rd gahhh) (State ~5th)
Wind Power (Regionals ~1st) (State ~3rd TIERED!)

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by calgoddard » March 26th, 2011, 7:05 am

This is the first year that Helicopters has been an official SciOly event. It is too soon to significantly alter the construction parameters and objective of the event. Even for persons skilled in Wright Stuff, there are many challenges when trying to achieve maximum flight duration for a rubber powered balsa wood helicopter.

I suggest only minor changes in the 2011 - 2012 rules for the Helicopters event, such as reducing the maximum rotor diameter to 35 cm. This would prevent students from using hand-me-down Helicopters. It would also allow those students that participated this year to build on their knowledge of design and trimming if they have not graduated and can participate in this event next year.

One major regional in the West this year had a winning Helicopters time below one-half minute, indicating that many students would benefit with more experience with this event.

Time in the air has always been the most accurate and fair way to judge an indoor duration free flight event. Parent volunteers can accurately time the length of flights. Trying to judge the accuracy of hitting a target height would be challenging and could lead to numerous protests and reviews of photographic evidence.

Adding a payload challenge would lead to many helicopters that would not fly, or not fly very well, distracting students from the benefits of learning the keys to stable flight, more efficient rotor design, etc.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by smartkid222 » March 26th, 2011, 11:42 am

I strongly agree with the above post.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by wlsguy » March 26th, 2011, 1:53 pm

I would favor leaving the rules unchanged.
Unlike Wright Stuff, this event doesn't have the long history or the experinced mentors. By leaving everything the same, the students can work to refining rather than redeveloping.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by chalker » March 26th, 2011, 4:38 pm

wlsguy wrote:I would favor leaving the rules unchanged.
Unlike Wright Stuff, this event doesn't have the long history or the experinced mentors. By leaving everything the same, the students can work to refining rather than redeveloping.
And what about all the students that didn't compete this year in the event but will compete in it next year? They wouldn't have the advantage of 'refining rather than redeveloping'.

As was noted in the original posting, we have a general policy of trying to make at least one significant change to each returning event. The reason is we want to try to level the playing field somewhat for both new and returning competitors. We also want to help prevent the 'passing down' from one year to the next of devices and designs, particularly since for many of the events those are open to semi-public viewing at the tournaments. It wouldn't be very fair if the teams that go to Nationals were the only ones to see the very best devices and designs, and then go back to their states the next year with that information (which most of the other teams wouldn't be privy to).

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by SLM » March 26th, 2011, 5:32 pm

chalker wrote:
wlsguy wrote:I would favor leaving the rules unchanged.
Unlike Wright Stuff, this event doesn't have the long history or the experinced mentors. By leaving everything the same, the students can work to refining rather than redeveloping.
And what about all the students that didn't compete this year in the event but will compete in it next year? They wouldn't have the advantage of 'refining rather than redeveloping'.

As was noted in the original posting, we have a general policy of trying to make at least one significant change to each returning event. The reason is we want to try to level the playing field somewhat for both new and returning competitors. We also want to help prevent the 'passing down' from one year to the next of devices and designs, particularly since for many of the events those are open to semi-public viewing at the tournaments. It wouldn't be very fair if the teams that go to Nationals were the only ones to see the very best devices and designs, and then go back to their states the next year with that information (which most of the other teams wouldn't be privy to).
I understand the reasoning here, and I agree with it up to a certain point. But, I also think that it is a valid real-life scientific and engineering approach to share ideas and improve upon (not copy) others' designs. I understand the reluctance to share during the season, but it should be okay afterwards. This type of information sharing serves as a catalyst for improving the quality of devices and competitions for the following year(s). It is up to the coaches to make sure that kids are approaching these events in the right way and are not just focused on winning by any means, including copying.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by illusionist » March 26th, 2011, 7:37 pm

Here is a conversation that went on in another thread:

thewinner:
"I doubt it. However, I read the rules from some other state (NC, I think) and they allowed you to tether your helicopter a set distance from the ground. But, I still don't think that would be a good idea, since the tether would just be more dead weight for your helicopter to lift."

illusionist:
"I agree, but then I think it should also be allowed to count the tether as part of the total mass of the helicopter. If you used something like sewing thread, it wouldn't add an excessive amount of weight. It would be nice to be able to do that."

Could that be considered? I know it makes the event much, much easier since you don't have to worry about matching rubber to rotors, and controlling many factors such as the amount of lift or thrust.
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