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Reducing collision hazard at contests



 
 
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  #21  
Old May 15th 18, 07:56 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

I applaud the work of John Wharington, but there are many troubles with the approach and software as it is now. It is very much version 0.01b .

The goal of such a software should be to discover not only dangerous situations, but also the "guilty" party. Just measuring the distance between 2 FLARMs is by far not good enough.

An excellent example is on page 35, fig 28. This is a day 2 gliders collided in a WGC. Just from the graph, can you find which 2 gliders where involved? The answer is you can't, they have some of the lowest "scores" of the day. Of course you should really look at previous days data of the gliders, but that information is unavailable. I don't think you will learn much.

On top of that, I've experienced the system in action during EGC Lasham. On one day I had the highest score of the day (but during the whole contest one of the lower ones). While I was in the cockpit that day, I already knew I would score very high that day. In a small group, I was close below and behind another glider in very good view of him. During other times I was close to my brother/team partner. Not a single moment or event was dangerous. I had a long discussion with the stewards about this, and I think we all agreed the system needs severe refinement.




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  #22  
Old May 15th 18, 08:29 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

Three different (albeit related) situations leading to potential collisions:
1. Competent pilots get close to each other in the ordinary course of contest flying. No problem.
2. Competent pilots get alarmingly close when one or both make a mistake or just bad timing.
3. "Repeat offenders", that short list we all have of pilots with whom we don't want to even share a gaggle, much less allow them to get close.

Pilots who scare/worry us may do so without ever getting close. In one case, I was climbing strongly and saw two gliders aiming right at my thermal on a blue day and realized/guessed (correctly) they didn't see me and rolled out just in time to be safe. The next day, one of the two forced me to roll out again when he came right through my pre-start thermal, but once again without getting close enough to get my heart beating faster. In yet another case, a "repeat offender" was approaching a gaggle out on course where I was one of several on the same circle. He was obviously/obliviously watching the glider ahead of me as he came busting in so I pulled up and turned out to go over him, frustrating but not within "near miss" distance by my standards.

Proximity to another glider is only one factor.

I agree software can play a role here in identifying problems and perhaps even attributing fault, but I'm not sure automatic penalties, of any magnitude, is the way to do it, at least yet. Plus, as Andy notes, there are myriad potential unintended consequences.

Chip Bearden

  #23  
Old May 16th 18, 03:04 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

Gaggle flying is inherently dynamic. It changesas newcomers alter the position and flight path of those already established in the thermal lift. At the same time, everybody wants to out-climb everybody else, and blindly following or adapting to the guy directly opposite you might pitch you into the sink on the edge of the lift just because you and he are focused on making perfectly symmetrical circles and not paying attention to the core of the lift. Add in a few other gliders just above or below, and the situation can quickly become chaotic. Now, add in a penalty for coming "too close," and the dynamic changes again by introducing a factor that is not readily apparent, but can conceivably alter proper and courteous thermaling behavior.

"Oh S#!+, where did that (fond euphemism) come from?" you pull tighter or roll level and now you are in someone else's "Safe Space" and at the end of the day you get docked 10 points (after several encounters over the course of the task.)

You aren't doing anything but flying conservatively and as courteously as possible in a crowded thermal, but you might be penalized by taking evasive action that brings you into closer (but non-threatening) proximity of another glider. You saw him, and judged that your course deviation would minimize the risk of interfering with the first target, but you inadvertently got too close to someone else, as determined by the all seeing and all knowing Oz, the man behind the curtain. And the perfect flight analysis software, and the impeccable GPS data and the fact that discussions concerning intentions and results can add hours and hours to the joyous experience of the CD and scorekeeper.

I say, "Bring it on!" Just another BS impractical rule to keep me from ever deciding to enter a contest. I was wavering, and starting to consider it, but a rule like this will definitely kill that misguided notion.

Sleep late. Fly for fun.
  #24  
Old May 16th 18, 05:53 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
2G
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

On Monday, May 14, 2018 at 10:25:28 PM UTC-7, Steve Koerner wrote:
On Monday, May 14, 2018 at 9:56:41 PM UTC-7, 2G wrote:
On Monday, May 14, 2018 at 1:08:49 PM UTC-7, Steve Koerner wrote:
Here's a conceptually simple idea for contest pilots to rattle around.... I believe it would be highly effective at reducing dangerous big gaggles that happen during contests. The desirables are that it doesn't damage the sport, it's effective at improving safety, it's easy to understand and it's easy to implement.

The idea is inspired by the blog comments from one of the collision pilots at the recent Hahnweide contest where dense gaggles did lead to a mid-air (fortunately in that incident all 3 pilots successfully parachuted).

Let's require flarm log files from all contestants. Let's designate a 1 point penalty whenever a glider comes within 400 feet horizontal and 150 feet vertical of any other glider. For any pair of gliders that come within penalty range, both are docked 1 point without regard to who approached who. After 5 minutes, the same two gliders will be docked again if they come within penalty range again.

A 400 foot horizontal rule would allow two gliders to safely fly across from one another in a thermal without penalty. Perhaps three gliders could fly together in a thermal if they space out and open the circle. Most likely, though, penalty points would result if more than three gliders attempt to thermal at the same level.

The effect would be to de-motivate gaggle flying. Everyone would want to avoid crowds before the start and on task in order to keep his penalty count low. Pilots would be caused to fly their own machine and think for themselves and that would make for a better test of soaring skill afterall.


That's called a gaggle. You might as well penalize all the pilots before they launch.

Tom


2G: I don't understand what you are trying to say. Yes, my expectation is that most everybody would probably end up getting at least a few penalty points each day despite trying to avoid flying too close to others. This would not usually
affect results in a significant way -- just a little dither of a few points that would be a function of how attentive you are to the issue.
Steve


If you fly contests you expect to fly in gaggles from time to time. To penalize pilots for doing what comes natural is wrong headed. Penalize them for flying in a clear, unsafe manner, like busting into the middle of a gaggle.. Flight logs now are clear evidence of that.

Tom
  #25  
Old May 16th 18, 09:03 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Jim White[_3_]
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

I have flown in many competitions both regionals and nationals. Most of us
know which pilots are the less safe and avoid them if possible (maybe
that's why I end up alone a lot!). I have also served on the safety
committee. My experience is that no one ever 'shops' a dodgy pilot to the
organisation. Something like at school! The attraction of logger evidence
is that it is impersonal. The problem is us.

Could we have anonymous reporting verified by trace evidence and a quiet
word instead? Would that be effective?

Jim

  #26  
Old May 16th 18, 01:26 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

I am not sure of the actual stats, but collisions during contests doesn't strike me as one of the top risks in soaring, although by far it is the most dramatic and one would think also the most open to suggestions how to fix.

My main problem with a points fix or software based fix is that the assumption is that poor/dangerous flying (skill or bad attitude) can be seen a long time before the actual event and therefore by some behavior modification brought about by negative rewards, the problem is significantly reduced.

I am not believing it - I think the collision event happens with very little tell beforehand and for the most part dangerous pilots are already talk to - avoided in thermals - asked to leave the sport and generally persuaded not to fly in our contests where almost everyone knows everybody as friends..

There could be benefit in neg points making World class comps safer, but local/regional/ national races. Good luck changing the EU mind set.

I think the most effective way to help avoid collisions at SSA contests is to discuss close encounters as an agenda item of every pilots meeting, just like weather, safety talk and winners speeches.

That can do that with current files or just ask any one who had the rings screen come up on their Flarm or anyone who felt in danger, to tell the story about what happened in the air. My crew often says" we talk a good safety game on the ground and then become boys in the cockpit" - she is often right.

I have only felt unsafe a hand full of times in contests - there is no format to share to feeling or the experience. I think we need one.

WH
  #27  
Old May 16th 18, 04:36 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Dan Marotta
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

I have an idea - how about rally starts?

The expected winners will be assigned the latest start times, those with
little or no expectation of winning will start the earliest. Then there
would be no incentive for gaggling.* If you join a gaggle, you've
already lost and might as well withdraw or simply just fly for fun as
Mark says.

Or fly your own flight, not someone else's.* If you see someone
circling, you can't fly with him unless he's your team member. There's
way too much hanging on to everyone else's coattails.* I thought glider
pilots were individuals.

On 5/15/2018 8:04 PM, wrote:
Gaggle flying is inherently dynamic. It changesas newcomers alter the position and flight path of those already established in the thermal lift. At the same time, everybody wants to out-climb everybody else, and blindly following or adapting to the guy directly opposite you might pitch you into the sink on the edge of the lift just because you and he are focused on making perfectly symmetrical circles and not paying attention to the core of the lift. Add in a few other gliders just above or below, and the situation can quickly become chaotic. Now, add in a penalty for coming "too close," and the dynamic changes again by introducing a factor that is not readily apparent, but can conceivably alter proper and courteous thermaling behavior.

"Oh S#!+, where did that (fond euphemism) come from?" you pull tighter or roll level and now you are in someone else's "Safe Space" and at the end of the day you get docked 10 points (after several encounters over the course of the task.)

You aren't doing anything but flying conservatively and as courteously as possible in a crowded thermal, but you might be penalized by taking evasive action that brings you into closer (but non-threatening) proximity of another glider. You saw him, and judged that your course deviation would minimize the risk of interfering with the first target, but you inadvertently got too close to someone else, as determined by the all seeing and all knowing Oz, the man behind the curtain. And the perfect flight analysis software, and the impeccable GPS data and the fact that discussions concerning intentions and results can add hours and hours to the joyous experience of the CD and scorekeeper.

I say, "Bring it on!" Just another BS impractical rule to keep me from ever deciding to enter a contest. I was wavering, and starting to consider it, but a rule like this will definitely kill that misguided notion.

Sleep late. Fly for fun.


--
Dan, 5J
  #28  
Old May 16th 18, 05:45 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Alex[_6_]
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

Let's face it, in current IGC rules sticking to the gaggle is a very efficient strategy. Consistent (and well executed) leaching is usually not enough to get you onto the podium, but it's a cheap ticket to a nice and comfy place in the top quartile. Even the really good pilots need to "work" with the gaggle to fence their risks, especially on difficult days.

In my opinion there are three good ways of addressing the issue:

1. A few years back there was an experiment with a software which would retrospectively score competitions on leaching/gaggle flying. Any pilot entering a thermal after the first four entrants would score leaching points. At the end of the day the points would be aggregated leading to a leaching ranking. The ranking worked very very well and nicely showed which pilots made gaggle flying their strategy.

Setting this kind of algorithm up to generate penalty points would be pretty easy. There could be thresholds to tolerate some level of gaggle flying. The penalties should be kept as small as possible - just to make a consistent gaggle strategy to expensive to be economical.

2. The start game is one of the most annoying parts of competition soaring. I really can't imagine who actually enjoys waiting around the airfield forever before starting the race. Unfortunately, on many days, you need to play the game to not lose out.

There are lot's of ideas on how to improve this situation. I like predeclared start times where each participant gets to declare three starting time relative
to the gate opening. For example, you predeclare (in secret) that you will start either 10 minutes or 25 minutes or 38 minutes after gate opening. That leaves enough room for making your own choices but makes it a lot more difficult to leach off the good guys.

3. Change the scoring formula so that fencing risks becomes a less of a winning strategy. Today you get no reward for being the lone finisher and are heavily
penalized for being the lone outlander. The scoring formula heavily incentivizes sticking to the gaggle. There are plenty of ways to change this.
  #29  
Old May 16th 18, 06:29 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tijl Schmelzer
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests


Yes, that summarizes exactly the problems, and the changes that should work to improve things.

Unfortunately it is not as easy to implement these general ideas into 1 coherent fair (and still fun) system, because there are many small unforeseen consequences.

If you could send me a link on to some information on the guys from the first bullet, I d like to have it to compare notes.
  #30  
Old May 16th 18, 07:46 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
waremark
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Default Reducing collision hazard at contests

Whether or not you have a strategy to leach, conditions very often dictate that many pilots will use the same thermal. I don't think it would be appropriate to penalise the pilots who are later to arrive at the thermal. Anyway, I wonder whether we are addressing a real safety problem. I have had a midair and a few close encounters without either following or being followed.. I like the suggestion of asking for discussion of any close encounters at briefings/pilots meetings. I think it might encourage good airmanship.
 




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