Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sailplane Grand Prix v SSA contest views

Ok, now having flown both, I am going to add some views. First, both are contests and should be thought of in that way. Both deal with points and do differ. In the SGP, if you finish saying 8th for the day and say come in 2 mph slower, you only get 2 points, a lost of 8 points which can be difficult to overcome when flying against a group of top folks. In an SSA contest, you can come in 8th for the day, 2 mph slower and still be in the hunt for the top spot(winners speed say 75 mph v 8th of 73 ='s his 1,000 v  your 973-speed points). So, you can take a hard hit for not staying with the gaggle of the SGP v more of a test of skill with the SSA contest which allows you to start when you choose, etc.

Now, about the start. SSA contest uses a start cylinder which allows for climbs out the top. The SPG uses a start line with a max start height and a strictly enforced crossing speed limit. If you cross early you can not turn back towards the start line but must go around outside the width of the line then cross again. This stops traffic from dangerous head-on traffic congestion. SSA contest starts to allow us to come back into the cylinder towards traffic which is heading out on course. Also, the speed limit isn't as strictly enforced as in the SPG. The SPG uses ground speed, so if you're starting with a tailwind condition, you need to really watch your speed. I now favor the start line with a max height/ground speed limit and the clear way after you cross and head towards the first turn. I could point out numerous points on the SSA start cylinder being dysfunctional but will leave that to a later date.

On turn points. Many years ago, after GPS now being used to define turn points the SSA contest increased the radius to promote a safer area for us to turn in. This resulted in a small turn area task. Distance is measured to where you turn in this turn area. Now, we have folks who turn early, go to the back, left or right in this small turn area. Simply put, we have an intersection without traffic controls with some spinning (malingering) right in the middle. The SPG uses a small turn point diameter(.3 mile). All entrant distances are measured to the TP, so as soon as you get one fix in the TP area, you simply turn and clear the TP area and headed towards the next TP. Traffic clears the intersection, no malingering. Also, seeing the flow in and out is easier to spot, at least it was for me.

I am not a gaggle groupie. This whatever idea of racing with the flock when flying with the lead Canadian just isn't my idea of any test of skill. But we also see this when at an SSA contest, so my bag of feathers shall increase in size with that statement. But my goose down comforter needs refilling. That's sarcastic humor to lighten up this read. Suck it up.... cupcake.

On the finish. The SPG uses a finish line with a steering turn about 5 miles out from the line. Also, a call about 30 K from the steering TP is asked for. Good heads up for safety The min. finish height is also a hard deck from the steering TP inbound. If you go below it, a server penalty with be applied.
No hard pull-ups to get across the line. SSA contest finish cylinder allows hard pull-ups to get into the cylinder, traffic comes from different directions and most SSA contest's don't use steering turns. I favor steering turns with the smaller dia. TP. Gets everyone lined up, no hard pull-ups, and the steering turn is cleared quickly as all entrant distances are to the center turn point. Intersection gets cleared quick.

On the SPG task, you really need to focus because of the gaggle flying. Sometimes gliders get extremely close to each other with the possibility of whatever might happen. SSA contests are the same canopy, so that's a push.

I was asked which one I liked more while in Perry. Well, each is challenging and enjoyable. Both are a good test of skill/judgment and all should be remembered as a no money won event. Meaning safety should never be compromised.

Will I do the SPG again?  The  CM, CD and Seminole_Lakes glider folks put on a great show. Sure, if it fits in my retirement plan.
Will I do an SSA contest again........sure......if it fits in my retirement plan.

But I can say many years ago while in Hobbs, a good friend said he may not be able to win anymore, but he can still enjoy the atmosphere and friendships. Methinks some of the folks at Perry forgot this and got into the CD;s nest. See after 5 years of being CD, Richard, who never took one cent, paid for everything himself and much much more, retired from the CD spot. Yep, some got into his nest and IMHO was not called for. Period on that.   Folks, some of you forgot this is fun..........worse is some of you forgot what ya said at other contests about this being for fun. Suck it up cupcake!

Best. #711.