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Any technogical benefits?

Old 11-24-2019, 10:51 AM
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Default Any technogical benefits?

Flew AMA 424 (with a K&B) and 428 back in the '90's, saw the advent of Nelsons come into vogue when Q-500 wings started failing, then the Edmunds and Jetts showed up, also flew 1/2A and a .25 club pylon event using T-6s, P-51s and P-39s. Spent even more time providing support as a pylon judge or lap-counter for most of the bigger races.

Haven't flown pylon since the mid-90's.

I remember when we made do with the minimal crew available at a race; that meant pilots doubled as course workers. We'd stand line-abreast on the course where we were holding a flag up as your airplane approached and then quickly dropped that flag to communicate to the caller that the airplane had made it to the #1 pylon. No radios, no 5/8" plywood safety barriers, no chain link fences, no hard hats. Callers counted laps.

Fast forward to today - I haven't been to a race in a while - last time I remember, course workers are off the course in cages wearing hard hats, lights are being used to indicate pylon #1 arrival, 2-way radios used to communicate amongst the course workers and race official, there are lap-counters/timers with stop-watches, and each pilot has a caller. If you have a typical three-plane heat, that's a whopping - at least - 9 persons just to run the course plus all the associated equipment that goes out on the field to support the race. Add another two for a four-plane heat (another #1 pylon judge and another lap-counter/timer*…

The recent advance in technology is cramping my lifestyle - from smartphones to self-driving cars to the present state of the model airplane hobby along with the disappearance of glow engines and associated resources but wonder if there is anything on the horizon that would make running a race easier than it's ever been - that is to say something good to come out of advancing technology besides 2.4 Gig radios eliminating the frequency conflicts. Human response and error is something that varies from one individual to another and seems prevalent at any race. Anticipating the turn is a difficult thing to "unteach" a newbie judge in the #1 pylon. Discerning pilots and callers pick up on this trait and use it to their advantage by finding a way to use that lane. Another problem I remember is the fumbling of stopwatch operation or forgetting whether or not the present lap was counted. And what about late cuts being called in? Is there any way a device devoid of human error could be located in each pylon that would correspond with another device in each contestant's airplane to report lap counting, cuts, and time - hence order of finish?

It would be great to reduce the number of persons and equipment necessary to run a race.


Last edited by H5606; 11-24-2019 at 03:14 PM. Reason: additions and the obvious 2.4 GHz

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