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Finish lines



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 2nd 05, 09:25 PM
Thomas Knauff
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Default Finish lines

Accidents have ocurred when a pilot performs a high speed, low level finish
along the centerline of the runway, or over the airport, then fails to
control the aircraft properly and crashes. In some cases, these displays
have influenced other pilots who do not have the experience or skills to
perform a similar maneuver safely.

To discourage unsafe finishes, would moving the finish line to the side of
the runway so the finish occurs essentially on the downwind leg, so a pilot
would then only need to make essentially a 180 degree turn onto final
approach help?

A contest site could have finish lines to accommodate tasks finishing from
any direction - only one would be specified according to the wind direction
of the day.

In some cases, there may be reasons not to do this of course.

Comments?

--
Thomas Knauff
Knauff & Grove Soaring Supplies
www.eglider.org


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  #2  
Old May 2nd 05, 10:56 PM
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Default

A rotating finish line would address the problem: it would be centered
on a point on or near the airport, and would rotate normal to the final
leg of the declared task (assumes the use of a steering TP for MATs).
If it were 1 sm in diameter, it would give ample space for separation
as well as giving the CD and CM latitude in defining no fly zones on
the airport such as the active runway and grandstands, tie downs,
picnic areas, etc.

Perhaps your experiences have been different, but the finish line
accidents (as opposed to incidents) I've seen typically did not involve
traffic. They were something closer to system shut down after crossing
the line, as if stopping the task clock was a reason to stop piloting
the aircraft. By and large, most pilots do not finish into oncoming
traffic on final. We prefer one side or the other. But I suppose
there's always the odd arrival...

Another excercise, just as valuable, would be to better define the
parameters of the rolling finish. We should reduce or eliminate
penalties for good judgement. Any safe landing on the airport should
always be considered a good finish. And most of all, we need to answer
any pilot's request for information... the practice of admonishing
pilots for asking what the finish direction is keeps those in ignorance
from curing themselves before they cross the finish line... in the
wrong direction!

OC

  #3  
Old May 2nd 05, 11:14 PM
John Doe
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Default

Careful.... you'll start another finish line/cylinder
debate ;-)

my 2c worth...

This may work at sites where there is a large flat
area round the runway(s), where it 'may' help (although
surely if a pilot has the energy to do a 180 to land
they have the energy to choose which side of the runway
to land), you are asking for trouble if the land either
side of the runway is unlandable. Finish lines have
a certain minimum size (varying by country I think...
1k in the UK but I'm not sure about elsewhere), so
it's probably worth having as much of the line avaliable
to land ahead as possible (the thought of 5 gliders
in a gaggle in a marginal final glide being forced
to funnel themselves through a smaller portion of the
avaliable landing area to avoid finish gate penalties
doesn't appeal).
I think the best way to use a finish line is to
make as much of it avaliable to land straight ahead
from as possible as the people that need most easy
options are those on marginal final glides. Those
that have the energy can choose their own landing area
more freely. This can be improved by briefing pilots
on a landing plan (e.g. slow finishers south of the
runway, fast finishers north and landing to the north
of the runway after a 180 degree turn at the end).

In the situation that the entire finish gate can
be accomodated without forcing people over unlandable
terrain with low energy, then yes, it could theoretically
help reduce conflicts as long as competitors are properly
briefed. However I am not aware of any site where
this would be possible without either shrinking the
finish gate or placing the bulk of it over unlandable
terrain. I think you'd lose a lot of safety for the
slow finishers, whilst gaining very little for the
fast finishers (I am aware of far more marginal final
glide accidents than spin ins after a botched beatup).

At 21:00 02 May 2005, Thomas Knauff wrote:
Accidents have ocurred when a pilot performs a high
speed, low level finish
along the centerline of the runway, or over the airport,
then fails to
control the aircraft properly and crashes. In some
cases, these displays
have influenced other pilots who do not have the experience
or skills to
perform a similar maneuver safely.

To discourage unsafe finishes, would moving the finish
line to the side of
the runway so the finish occurs essentially on the
downwind leg, so a pilot
would then only need to make essentially a 180 degree
turn onto final
approach help?

A contest site could have finish lines to accommodate
tasks finishing from
any direction - only one would be specified according
to the wind direction
of the day.

In some cases, there may be reasons not to do this
of course.

Comments?

--
Thomas Knauff
Knauff & Grove Soaring Supplies
www.eglider.org






  #4  
Old May 2nd 05, 11:39 PM
Don Johnstone
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Default

The below is one solution however the concept of a
finish line was around long before loggers could accurately
report height, time and position. We use the logger
to check that the max start height is observed so why
not a minimum finish height. People could still dash
for the line at vne if that is what turns them on but
by setting a minimum finish height at least the organisers
could set a safety margin. The minimum height could
be set to the ability of the least experienced pilot
which would help to avoid the peer pressure aspect
of very low finishes.

You can only ever equal the low flying record.

I do know that the above will be a very unpopular view
with certain people and that I will be accused of taking
the fun out of the sport, however if that saves just
one life it will be worth it.

At 21:00 02 May 2005, Thomas Knauff wrote:
Accidents have ocurred when a pilot performs a high
speed, low level finish
along the centerline of the runway, or over the airport,
then fails to
control the aircraft properly and crashes. In some
cases, these displays
have influenced other pilots who do not have the experience
or skills to
perform a similar maneuver safely.

To discourage unsafe finishes, would moving the finish
line to the side of
the runway so the finish occurs essentially on the
downwind leg, so a pilot
would then only need to make essentially a 180 degree
turn onto final
approach help?

A contest site could have finish lines to accommodate
tasks finishing from
any direction - only one would be specified according
to the wind direction
of the day.

In some cases, there may be reasons not to do this
of course.

Comments?

--
Thomas Knauff
Knauff & Grove Soaring Supplies
www.eglider.org






  #5  
Old May 3rd 05, 04:48 AM
nimbusgb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


Thomas Knauff wrote:
Accidents have ocurred when a pilot performs a high speed, low level

finish
along the centerline of the runway, or over the airport, then fails

to
control the aircraft properly and crashes. In some cases, these

displays
have influenced other pilots who do not have the experience or skills

to
perform a similar maneuver safely.

To discourage unsafe finishes, would moving the finish line to the

side of
the runway so the finish occurs essentially on the downwind leg, so a

pilot
would then only need to make essentially a 180 degree turn onto final
approach help?

A contest site could have finish lines to accommodate tasks finishing

from
any direction - only one would be specified according to the wind

direction
of the day.

In some cases, there may be reasons not to do this of course.

Comments?

--
Thomas Knauff
Knauff & Grove Soaring Supplies
www.eglider.org


With all due respect to Tom's vast knowledge.

'Accidents have occurred when a pilot performs a high speed, low level
finish' just does not hack it for me. Of all the landing/circuit
accidents that we see, what real figures are there that substantiate
the amount of effort that seems to be going in to solving a 'perceived
problem'?

How many accident reports here in the UK for example have the phrase
'following a competition finish' or 'after a practice competition
finish' within them.

I agree that a competition finish is a semi aerobatic maneuver and
should be taught and approached correctly but is it really such a
problem?

Ian

  #6  
Old May 3rd 05, 06:19 AM
Kilo Charlie
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Default


"nimbusgb" wrote in message
ups.com...

I agree that a competition finish is a semi aerobatic maneuver and
should be taught and approached correctly but is it really such a
problem?

Ian


NO! Once again......one cannot legislate good judgement......if we could
there would have been a lot more than finish gates accidents solved.

Casey Lenox
KC
Phoenix


  #7  
Old May 3rd 05, 06:18 PM
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Default

The finish line has served us well for many years, but technology (GPS)
has rendered it an obsolete system that carries with it significant
risks. I know of 5 accidents associated with the finish gate and just
came across a 6th.

01/01/86 Alamogordo Muni, NM

Pilot attempted to make a low pass / practice finish. He remembers 120
knots at 50 feet. Has vague recollection of being pushed against the
straps and objects floating in the cockpit. Then a spinning sensation
followed by dirt in the cockpit. A borrowed Ventus destroyed, his ankle
shattered and broken bone in other foot.

Why was this pilot practicing this maneuver? Because we sanction it,
its part of what we do. It's in the rules. There's a lot of monkey-see,
monkey-do, going on here. This is what the big guys do, think I'll give
it a try. A friend of mine was at 5 feet, landing at Estrella when
suddenly he was looking in the cockpit of a 2-32 coming right down the
runway. The local ride pilot was showing his "ride". what the gig guys
do.

The scoring program uses GPS data to score the finish gate, so what
we're doing is nothing more than a "show & tell" exercise. I believe
the continued use of the finish gate puts pilots and people on the
ground at an unnecessary risk. One more personal liability law suite
and we will be hard pressed to find an insurer that is willing to cover
what we are doing. That means the end of racing. Time to clean up our
act and eliminate a known hasard. The 500 foot / 1 mile cylinder has
been 100% safe, so far. Time to make it mandatory and stop living in
the past.
JJ Sinclair

  #8  
Old May 3rd 05, 07:19 PM
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Default

Funny, I thought this discussion was about RACING finishes. JJ, if you
(or anyone else) feels uncomfortable finishing at 50 ft over the
runway, then don't do it - nobody is forcing you and the rules don't
have a max finish height.

But this is racing, not Sunday afternoon boating around. As such, a
certain level of competency is presumed, in order to enjoy the thrills
of the race (yes thrills, admit it...). Why should soaring be any
differerent than other high speed (and presumably dangerous?) sports?
A rookie at Indy has to demonstrate his skill, in return he is allowed
to drive in a very dangerous event - but no-one is forcing him to!

OTOH, I totally agree that if "dangerous" flying is required in order
to race successfully (gaggles, low saves, long low final glides,
marginal weather, low finishes, etc.) then there should be training and
some sort of documentation of it - just as auto racing does. Say a
"practice regional" held to ractice and demonstrate necessary skills
(or do it the week before the race. Or copy how airshow pilots get
their low altitude waivers - get an experienced racing pilot to observe
you and sign you off.

No demonstrated ability, no race, or race with restrictions (no more
than x gliders in a gaggle, no finishes below 500 ft, etc; although
this would be a nighmare to enforce.

So, JJ, please go ahead and finish up there at nosebleed altitudes, and
I'll continue to practice and fly nice low altitude, high energy line
finishes. Because I enjoy them.

Just don't stall and spin down onto me as you are trying to ooch over
that invisible 500' line in the sky!

Kirk
66

It wouldnt hurt day to day flying, either; probably a lot more helpful
than the pretty much useless Biannual.

 




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