2011-2012 Rules

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chia
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by chia » April 17th, 2011, 7:30 pm

Would a bonus for smaller rotor width ever be considered, like the wing width bonus in Wright Stuff two years ago? It would probably be taken advantage of pretty often, though, because it's probably pretty easy to make up for lift lost by using different pitches/larger motor size.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by smoogrish » April 27th, 2011, 4:15 pm

Adding extra time for no touch flights is ridiculous. Just because teams decide to use a tether doesn't mean that they are too lazy to learn about torque. That whole notion is based off of being pretentious. Laziness is not defined as putting your efforts in one part of a competition instead of another. What if a team spends days and hours testing different designs, but not hours trying different rubber? Does that make them lazy? Certainly not. It just means that you are focusing your efforts in a different area, and if that area is what you believe could cause you to win, there is nothing wrong with that. I believe tethers should be allowed nationally, because it doesn't constitute laziness, it just preserves your work and allows it to work the same as if you were in a flat-ceiling building. It could possibly be preserved by managing the torque and not allowing the helicopter too ascend too quickly, but how would you stop the other teams from going full-force. A score deduction would be unfair if it weren't against the rules, and asking a helicopter not to touch a ceiling in a building that you have never visited it just plain ridiculous.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by illusionist » April 27th, 2011, 6:44 pm

That's why it is a bonus. Just like saying that by using a 5 cm wing chord, you will get a bonus (wright stuff). It isn't mandatory, but offers a challenge for those teams who are advanced and have worked very hard. There aren't that many designs worth testing in helicopters... Just pitches, which once you decide on a rubber size, the pitch should stay constant. To control height, you adjust torque. It's very easy to measure how high the helicopter flies, by using a balloon and some string. Plus most states, and even some regions, announce the height of the location prior to the day of the competition. I personally think it isn't that bad of an idea.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by eta150 » May 1st, 2011, 6:09 pm

I don't know if this was already discussed, but there was 1 section of the rules that was very poorly written this year. It stated that a helicopter's flight is considered finished when it is no longer supporting its own weight.

At states, this became an issue. The supervisor said that a helicopter flight will count if it goes into a gap in the ceiling tiles (some of which were wider than the probes) and comes down with the rotors still turning. Otherwise, the flight is disqualified. We flew ours right into a gap, and it stayed there, with the rotors still turning (but obviously getting assistance from the gap) for almost 12 minutes. For the duration of this time, the rotors were generating enough thrust to keep the helicopter wedged in the crack. At about 12 minutes, the thrust was finally low enough (but with the rotors still turning) for the helicopter's mass to pull it from the gap. Now, I know that we didn't deserve this flight of 12+ minutes (which I assume was a national record while it counted), but was the appeal that took it away correct, or should we have just been incredibly lucky benefactors of a poorly written rule?
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by chalker7 » May 1st, 2011, 6:20 pm

eta150 wrote:I don't know if this was already discussed, but there was 1 section of the rules that was very poorly written this year. It stated that a helicopter's flight is considered finished when it is no longer supporting its own weight.

At states, this became an issue. The supervisor said that a helicopter flight will count if it goes into a gap in the ceiling tiles (some of which were wider than the probes) and comes down with the rotors still turning. Otherwise, the flight is disqualified. We flew ours right into a gap, and it stayed there, with the rotors still turning (but obviously getting assistance from the gap) for almost 12 minutes. For the duration of this time, the rotors were generating enough thrust to keep the helicopter wedged in the crack. At about 12 minutes, the thrust was finally low enough (but with the rotors still turning) for the helicopter's mass to pull it from the gap. Now, I know that we didn't deserve this flight of 12+ minutes (which I assume was a national record while it counted), but was the appeal that took it away correct, or should we have just been incredibly lucky benefactors of a poorly written rule?

Not being there and not seeing the flights, I can't comment directly on what happened. However, saying a flight is disqualified sounds highly suspicious. As one of the writers of that exact rule, I would say the flight time would stop whenever the judges determine the rotors are no longer supporting the weight of the helicopter.....not disqualify the entire flight.

Now, onto your 12 minute flight. The rule states that "Time Aloft for each flight starts when the helicopter leaves the competitor’s hand and stops when any part of the helicopter touches the floor or the rotors no longer support the weight of the helicopter (such as the helicopter landing on a girder or basketball hoop)." If you are stuck in a wedge, the ceiling is exerting some amount of upwards force on the helicopter. That is, your rotors are no longer supporting the full weight of your helicopter and timing should stop.

We are aware the rule is unclear HOWEVER we have put incredible amounts of thought into this and have been unable to come up with a better wording. So, while you may judge it to be poorly written, I personally believe it is the least terrible of all the alternatives we've come up with thus far and is a wording that accurately describes what "flying" means for these helicopters (albeit one that is difficult to judge). Does anyone have any suggestions for a more clear and robust definition of the end of a flight (with particular emphasis on when timing should stop if a helicopter gets stuck on the ceiling)?
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by eta150 » May 1st, 2011, 6:32 pm

chalker7 wrote:
eta150 wrote:I don't know if this was already discussed, but there was 1 section of the rules that was very poorly written this year. It stated that a helicopter's flight is considered finished when it is no longer supporting its own weight.

At states, this became an issue. The supervisor said that a helicopter flight will count if it goes into a gap in the ceiling tiles (some of which were wider than the probes) and comes down with the rotors still turning. Otherwise, the flight is disqualified. We flew ours right into a gap, and it stayed there, with the rotors still turning (but obviously getting assistance from the gap) for almost 12 minutes. For the duration of this time, the rotors were generating enough thrust to keep the helicopter wedged in the crack. At about 12 minutes, the thrust was finally low enough (but with the rotors still turning) for the helicopter's mass to pull it from the gap. Now, I know that we didn't deserve this flight of 12+ minutes (which I assume was a national record while it counted), but was the appeal that took it away correct, or should we have just been incredibly lucky benefactors of a poorly written rule?

Not being there and not seeing the flights, I can't comment directly on what happened. However, saying a flight is disqualified sounds highly suspicious. As one of the writers of that exact rule, I would say the flight time would stop whenever the judges determine the rotors are no longer supporting the weight of the helicopter.....not disqualify the entire flight.

Now, onto your 12 minute flight. The rule states that "Time Aloft for each flight starts when the helicopter leaves the competitor’s hand and stops when any part of the helicopter touches the floor or the rotors no longer support the weight of the helicopter (such as the helicopter landing on a girder or basketball hoop)." If you are stuck in a wedge, the ceiling is exerting some amount of upwards force on the helicopter. That is, your rotors are no longer supporting the full weight of your helicopter and timing should stop.

We are aware the rule is unclear HOWEVER we have put incredible amounts of thought into this and have been unable to come up with a better wording. So, while you may judge it to be poorly written, I personally believe it is the least terrible of all the alternatives we've come up with thus far and is a wording that accurately describes what "flying" means for these helicopters (albeit one that is difficult to judge). Does anyone have any suggestions for a more clear and robust definition of the end of a flight (with particular emphasis on when timing should stop if a helicopter gets stuck on the ceiling)?
Unfortunately, as the wedges in the ceiling are different sizes, it was often unclear whether some helicopters were stuck of if the probe had simply disappeared inside of a gap. The question, though, lies in whether the helicopter, with its probe inside a gap in the ceiling, was keeping itself in by the rotors turning and creating thrust, or the gap holding it up. Ours did come out with the rotors still turning, which, according to the rules that the supervisor laid out, meant it counted.

This also happened to the winning team, but because their time in the gap didn't last as long, their typically 3 minute helicopter went for 3:48. They acknowledged that the ~45 second boost was because of the gap, but didn't have to repeat their flight, most likely because it wasn't as obviously long.

After all of it was done, we were given another flight, but because of damage that the helicopter had sustained earlier in the day during practice flights, due to a rubber band snapping and shredding the top rotor, we weren't particularly competitive.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by eta150 » May 1st, 2011, 6:34 pm

chalker7 wrote:
eta150 wrote:I don't know if this was already discussed, but there was 1 section of the rules that was very poorly written this year. It stated that a helicopter's flight is considered finished when it is no longer supporting its own weight.

At states, this became an issue. The supervisor said that a helicopter flight will count if it goes into a gap in the ceiling tiles (some of which were wider than the probes) and comes down with the rotors still turning. Otherwise, the flight is disqualified. We flew ours right into a gap, and it stayed there, with the rotors still turning (but obviously getting assistance from the gap) for almost 12 minutes. For the duration of this time, the rotors were generating enough thrust to keep the helicopter wedged in the crack. At about 12 minutes, the thrust was finally low enough (but with the rotors still turning) for the helicopter's mass to pull it from the gap. Now, I know that we didn't deserve this flight of 12+ minutes (which I assume was a national record while it counted), but was the appeal that took it away correct, or should we have just been incredibly lucky benefactors of a poorly written rule?

Not being there and not seeing the flights, I can't comment directly on what happened. However, saying a flight is disqualified sounds highly suspicious. As one of the writers of that exact rule, I would say the flight time would stop whenever the judges determine the rotors are no longer supporting the weight of the helicopter.....not disqualify the entire flight.

Now, onto your 12 minute flight. The rule states that "Time Aloft for each flight starts when the helicopter leaves the competitor’s hand and stops when any part of the helicopter touches the floor or the rotors no longer support the weight of the helicopter (such as the helicopter landing on a girder or basketball hoop)." If you are stuck in a wedge, the ceiling is exerting some amount of upwards force on the helicopter. That is, your rotors are no longer supporting the full weight of your helicopter and timing should stop.

We are aware the rule is unclear HOWEVER we have put incredible amounts of thought into this and have been unable to come up with a better wording. So, while you may judge it to be poorly written, I personally believe it is the least terrible of all the alternatives we've come up with thus far and is a wording that accurately describes what "flying" means for these helicopters (albeit one that is difficult to judge). Does anyone have any suggestions for a more clear and robust definition of the end of a flight (with particular emphasis on when timing should stop if a helicopter gets stuck on the ceiling)?
[/quote]
Unfortunately, as the wedges in the ceiling are different sizes, it was often unclear whether some helicopters were stuck of if the probe had simply disappeared inside of a gap. The question, though, lies in whether the helicopter, with its probe inside a gap in the ceiling, was keeping itself in by the rotors turning and creating thrust, or the gap holding it up. The rotors were keeping it in (supporting the weight), but the gap was assisting (so not quite all of the weight) As you said, this makes it especially difficult to know when to stop the flight. Ours did come out with the rotors still turning, which, according to the rules that the supervisor laid out, meant it counted. This was later appealed and annulled.

This also happened to the winning team, but because their time in the gap didn't last as long, their typically 3 minute helicopter went for 3:48. They acknowledged that the ~45 second boost was because of the gap, but didn't have to repeat their flight, most likely because it wasn't as obviously long.

After all of it was done, we were given another flight, but because of damage that the helicopter had sustained earlier in the day during practice flights, due to a rubber band snapping and shredding the top rotor, we weren't particularly competitive.

Although I know I didn't deserve this flight time, I do think that with rules this vague, the rules the judge lays out should be used to judge all of the helicopters, instead of exceptions being made for the teams that benefit most from them.

EDIT: Sorry for the double post, I don't really know what happened.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by wlsguy » May 2nd, 2011, 12:07 pm

My thoughts on timing:

Start when the helicopter leaves the hand and stop it when it comes to rest on the ground (or table, spectator, bleachers or object in contact with the ground. i.e. not the building, basketball hoop, etc) or when the students want to give up waiting and stop the flight.

If the helicopter doesn't come down, the time is zero. If you are lucky enough to bounce around the rafters, hand up for a short bit, and then come down, it's your lucky day. Remember, you only have 8 minutes. If you have a 12 minute flight, you better hope it comes down or you will end up with no time for a 2nd flight and no score. Timing should also stop when both rotors stop spinning.

It's already too hard to determine when the helicopters are self supporting and then they are not without adding the judgement call by the timers.

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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by chalker7 » May 2nd, 2011, 12:28 pm

wlsguy wrote:My thoughts on timing:

Start when the helicopter leaves the hand and stop it when it comes to rest on the ground (or table, spectator, bleachers or object in contact with the ground. i.e. not the building, basketball hoop, etc) or when the students want to give up waiting and stop the flight.

If the helicopter doesn't come down, the time is zero. If you are lucky enough to bounce around the rafters, hand up for a short bit, and then come down, it's your lucky day. Remember, you only have 8 minutes. If you have a 12 minute flight, you better hope it comes down or you will end up with no time for a 2nd flight and no score. Timing should also stop when both rotors stop spinning.

It's already too hard to determine when the helicopters are self supporting and then they are not without adding the judgement call by the timers.
That's definitely interesting, but I see a few different problems with it. First, the event would become much more dependent on luck. I prefer teams having control over their results (which I realize the current wording makes somewhat problematic). Second, wouldn't this just encourage teams to find little nooks and crannies in the ceiling to get wedged into? If that's the case, it's less a flying event and more a sighting/prospecting event. Finally, what about the (extremely rare) case of a stuck helicopter falling down on its own later in the day, an hour or two after the flight. Would we allow that to be legal? If not, would we put a maximum limit on flight times? And what would the max time be based on?

We've thought of quite a few wordings similar to this, but all of them raise different questions and problems....which is leading me to believe there might not be an ideal solution. If that is indeed the case, we should aim for a solution that causes the least secondary problems and works for the most scenarios.
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Re: 2011-2012 Rules

Post by wlsguy » May 2nd, 2011, 12:50 pm

Since timing would stop when both rotors stopped rotating, a helicopter wrapped in a basketball net would fail immediately. Others would stop after no more than 10 minutes.

Teams would have 2 options:
1) try to fly where they can avoid obstructions
2) try to get lucky

Each option has it's own risks. Currently the teams are "sighting/prospecting" to find the safest area. Some teams may try to "get lucky" but this is no different than over winding a WS plane and hoping for a few lucky ceiling touches. Most wouldn't try it.

Helicopters (like most building events) has it's element of luck. The difference is teams could choose which path to take rather than hope the event supervisors make a judgement call (if the rotor is stopped or not) in their favor.

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