2011-2012 Rules

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smartkid222
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby smartkid222 » March 30th, 2011, 7:48 pm

I read somewhere that at one specific competition many helicopters, including the helicopters belonging to the first place team, got stuck in the ceiling. These students, who may have worked extremely hard on the helicopters and were successful in test flight where the ceiling was more favorable (such as a hallway, classroom), were doomed to fail simply because of the conditions at the competition. Yes every team was at a disadvantage but I think that the goal of science olympiad is to have hard work pay off and the teams that deserve to win, win. Due to the "luck/chance aspect of the event" one team may have a poor helicopter that gets lucky and does fairly well, and another team that had a very good helicopter that gets stuck or runs into other such problems and does worse. North Carolina's decision to allow tethering is one approach to solving this problem.

To those who are opposed to tethering:
Where do you fly your helicopter? Have you flown in a gym with a poor ceiling? Have you experienced getting your helicopter stuck in the ceiling and then having to take time-consuming measures to get it down, only to receive broken pieces of your helicopter, which was the accumulation of hours of testing and building? (I'm not saying any of these have happened to me, but these are plausible situations)

If you fly in a nice gym, try to realize that there are gyms that are much worse. I have seen gyms that have girders with only about 2 feet separation between them (making it nearly impossible to fly without hitting them, even with a perfect launch and helicopter) and other gyms with 3+ inch nails coming out of the ceiling (not joking).
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smartkid222
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby smartkid222 » March 30th, 2011, 7:57 pm

Sorry for the double post but I wanted to add:
IMO, The most favorable solution would be to just hold the competition in a room with a flat surface (no girders) to begin with, even if this room has a lower height than a gym! However, I realize that a clause in the rules mandating this may not be plausable: some teams would argue that it is not fair because they need height and event coordinators would argue that such a venue is not available. Thus, NC chose to allow tethering which works in any venue and is provided by the competitors.
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illusionist
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby illusionist » March 31st, 2011, 3:53 am

I think everyone has missed the obvious best option for changes next year: Sumo Helicopters! 2 copters enter the ring - only 1 leaves intact;)
I think that is the best idea I have seen here! I'm totally up for it!

Also, the flat ceiling would in my opinion be the best area, such as a classroom or lecture hall. Not all teams will design a probe into their design, which I would say is their fault. They need to prepare for all possible conditions.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby new horizon » March 31st, 2011, 12:27 pm

I think everyone has missed the obvious best option for changes next year: Sumo Helicopters! 2 copters enter the ring - only 1 leaves intact;)
haha my coach said an event somewhat like trajectory where the goal was to shoot down helicopters that belong to other teams should be an event. xD That was a pretty clever idea.

@ smartkid, the area we used at regionals this year was horrible. So many ceiling obstructions, it wasn't even a gym but more like a foyer area with girders so if the door was opened air would come in and the helicopters would get nasty times. And my first helicopter got stuck on the gym girder and that was really frustrating so then we decided to test in a different place. But the thing is, we knew it would be unwise to send a helicopter full torque into that type of environment. So we dewinded a few times and it achieved the same result as tethering. Sure we could have risked it and tried our luck to see our helicopter break into pieces. So our placement at regionals did not depend on our luck but more of calculated risk and a lot of testing to get the result we wanted. So the main argument I have against tethering is if you can achieve the same result using other means, why tether? I wasn't a large part of wright stuff but I do know you had to do the same torque testing and testing of angle of attack to get it to as high as possible without it hitting the girders (and that's how the national winners won by getting it very high on the 90ft UIUC gym) . This assessment of risk you do when doing this event is a large part of it and tethering would completely get rid of it, unless there was a score reduction on using a tether (let's say 15%) so you would have to assess the risk of a score reduction by using a tethering device.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby aubrey048 » March 31st, 2011, 1:03 pm

I think everyone has missed the obvious best option for changes next year: Sumo Helicopters! 2 copters enter the ring - only 1 leaves intact;)
Haha that would be amazing. I'd sign up. My helicopter survives surprisingly well when it crashes into stuff. It would do well at that event. ^^
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Projected 2011-2012 Events: Anatomy, Microbe Mission, Disease Detectives, Tower, Optics, Helicopter.
Past Events: Anatomy (7th), Helicopter (6th), Mission Possible (1st), Write It Do It (4th, 8th), Ornithology (5th).

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby wlsguy » April 1st, 2011, 6:44 pm

Since the key to a successful helicopter is weight management, how about adding a bonus for extra removeable weight carried.
The weight would need to be both removable, not contribute to the lift of the helicopter (like an extra rotor), and weighed after the flights
Maybe something like + 10% to the flight time for each full gram carried above the minimum weight up to maximum of +30%.
If your helicopter is just overweight, it wouldn't count as a bonus because it is not removable.

Just a thought to mix it up next year.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby calgoddard » April 2nd, 2011, 9:11 am

The previous post stated: "[s]ince the key to a successful helicopter is weight management."

I disagree.

The Helicopters event is different than Wright Stuff. For a well-built helicopter, the descent portion of the flight is a relatively low portion of the flight, and it is only during
this time that the overall weight of the helicopter has a significant impact on the total flight duration. So long as the helicopter climbs all the way to the ceiling, the weight is not much of a factor in overall flight duration, although extra weight will cause the helicopter to climb more slowly. When the helicipter is pinned to the ceiling, the weight of the helicopter doesn't matter much. The weight of the helicopter does determine when the helicopter will first "detach" from the ceiling, however, total rubber winds, launch torque and rubber quality can make much more of a difference in regard to when the helicopter detaches from the ceiling than whether the helicopter weighs 4.0 grams or 4.5 grams, for example.

In my opinion, there are other factors that are also "key" to long flight duration of a SciOly helicopter, such as the pitch and configuration of the rotors. This event can be won with a 5.0 gram helicopter. It is still, however, better to have a helicopter that is close to the 4.0 gram minimum weight.

Now, turning to the proposed removable weight bonus, you need to look at any proposed rule change from the standpoint of the added burdens it places on the event supervisor at the competition. If I were performing that task, I would much prefer to inspect a helicopter for compliance with the building specs, review flight logs and then time and record two flights. The complications of recording added payload weights and then factoring these into the score sheets that have to be turned in at the end of the competition would make the event supervisor's job more difficult without any added learning benefit on the student side.

Many competitors cannot even get a helicopter to fly more than 30 seconds. Adding a payload bonus may distract students from concentrating on improving the flight time of their "unburdened" helicopters and/or further extend the advantage of students who can already get flight times over one minute.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby illusionist » April 5th, 2011, 2:55 pm

Here is a national clarification regarding tethers:


The current rules do no allow tethering. Anything physically attached to the
helicopter would be considered a constituent part of the helicopter and if
the tether touches the ground, it would never be considered to be aloft (with
the current wording).

The original question is included for your records; there is no need to
respond unless you feel there is an error.
=========================================================
ORIGINAL MESSAGE:

Are competitors allowed to tether their helicopters, as to control the height
of the flight? Competitors will not be touching the tether at anytime.

Helicopters

(section: 3 / paragraph: / sub-paragraph: / line: N/A)
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby thewinner » April 5th, 2011, 3:02 pm

The previous post stated: "[s]ince the key to a successful helicopter is weight management."

I disagree.

The Helicopters event is different than Wright Stuff. For a well-built helicopter, the descent portion of the flight is a relatively low portion of the flight, and it is only during this time that the overall weight of the helicopter has a significant impact on the total flight duration.
And I disagree with that. Weight has a HUGE effect on ALL the stages of your helicopter's flight. More weight means it will require more lift, which means it will require more torque, so the rubber band will run out of power faster. As little as 0.1 gram extra can have around a 5 second effect on your flight time.
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aubrey048
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Postby aubrey048 » April 5th, 2011, 3:19 pm

The previous post stated: "[s]ince the key to a successful helicopter is weight management."

I disagree.

The Helicopters event is different than Wright Stuff. For a well-built helicopter, the descent portion of the flight is a relatively low portion of the flight, and it is only during this time that the overall weight of the helicopter has a significant impact on the total flight duration.
And I disagree with that. Weight has a HUGE effect on ALL the stages of your helicopter's flight. More weight means it will require more lift, which means it will require more torque, so the rubber band will run out of power faster. As little as 0.1 gram extra can have around a 5 second effect on your flight time.
But sometimes helicopters defy the odds, either due to a good design or exceptional materials. My 8-ish gram helicopter flew quite aggressively, reached times of about 45-50 seconds. As usual, it all depends.
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Projected 2011-2012 Events: Anatomy, Microbe Mission, Disease Detectives, Tower, Optics, Helicopter.
Past Events: Anatomy (7th), Helicopter (6th), Mission Possible (1st), Write It Do It (4th, 8th), Ornithology (5th).


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