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Speed Record measurements

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Old 02-12-2012, 02:11 PM
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Default Speed Record measurements

Hey all,

Got a question to put and hopefully an answer will solve a problem I've got...
I'm putting on a event at my club here in U.K. to break some of the current U.K speed records for planes and helicopters (both in i.c. and electric power), in a straight line. The rules governing this are laid out in the 'Contest Rules' by our governing body over here, BMFA. These rules basically state that the time taken to fly over a 200 meter straight-line course is measured and thus the speed can then be calculated.. oh and there's a min and max height restriction also. Two methods are allowed for the timing... a manual system for speeds below 300 kph, which I have in place and is just a couple of fellas punching a button to stop and start a timer as the aircraft travel past the 200m markers... and then an automated system for speeds in excess of 300 kph. I know the manual system will be good enough for everything except the i.c. planes... the current U.K. record is just under the limitations of the manual system and was set a few years ago. The reason it hasn't been officially broken for awhiles is there isn't an automated timing system suitable for the task. Can you good people help with suggestions on what I need?
I've thought about using transponders (can't add any extra weight to the aircraft) and radar guns (only gives a peak speed, needs to be measured speed over 200m), and a pair of video cameras (too costly and would take too long to spool through the footage to make the timing measurements). So the only solution i can think of is a 'laser-curtain'.. sounds a bit science fiction, but i'm thinking of two devices each end of the course that project beams and the aircraft breaking these beams starts and stops a timer.... and maybe also give a reading of the models height.
If anyone can suggest other solutions i'd be very grateful, and where i could source the equipment would be a bonus.

Thanks
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:28 AM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

Your proposed automated system would work for everything. I would think there would be SOMETHING out there that would work for you. As a thought is there equipment that measures bullet speed that could work. It would give you feet per second, but that is easily converted to MPH OR KPH.

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Old 02-13-2012, 07:56 AM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

Hey Ken,
Thanks for the reply... if you can suggest anyone who could assist i'd be very grateful!
I think to measure bullets slow motion video cameras are used... once you know the frame-rate it's an easy process to calculate speed when the bullet is passing over a scale... not that appropriate to the task I need I think, although I have thought about and looked into the cost of using video cameras... a pair of them would be £10000 and the time taken to spool through the footage would be too long.


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Old 03-19-2012, 06:47 AM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

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Old 03-19-2012, 04:48 PM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

Have you worked out your measurement dilema?
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:28 AM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

Hey again Vicman,

Well, the short answer is " no"! I've fired off a heap of email requests for help to a heap of companies and universities and even government institutions both of here in out in the States also, but although there has been a couple of suggestions in the main there as been no offers to help.

That said, as you can see from the poster we are still going ahead with the event, but we'll not be able to ratify speeds officially above 300kph due to using a manual timing system only... but we'll keep searching for an automated system for next years event.

I did email a fella from Germany who knew of their system, but he's not responded. The CEO of this countries governing body (BMFA) as also tried getting hold of the contact details of a fella (also in Germany) who has built for himself an auto timing system.. for use in their record attempts, but again no response as yet.

I think, once we have the first event 'under our belts', and we can prove how popular it is and how much of a benefit it would be to this hobby, with any luck more people will step foreword with assistance.. i hope!
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:21 AM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

I am sad to hear that you have not been successful in getting "Official" measurement tool responses.
Your experience is not far from my own. I eventually decided to just do it as well and gage future events on the pilot response.
This will be year 5 and guys have been sending me emails all year discussing planned planes and looking foreward to coming again. When FAI decides to share the technology with the rest of the world I think there will be a large increase in participation. Till then I'll stand behind the gun.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default RE: Speed Record measurements

There are "beam detectors" that are placed in huge factories, power plants, etc. where conventional smoke detectors aren't practical. I'll bet a panel of 2 or 3 pairs of detectors at each end of the field would cover a plane that is making a "legal pass".
Ground laser target designators would be able to do the job. The operators of these devices are able to track full scale planes and smart bombs. The operator would need to be stationed quite far from the field and IR beacons stationed at the end points for the laser's counter to see.

Don't know if any of this stuff has hit the Army Surplus stores yet though.
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