Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Great Day

We were extremely lucky with the weather last Saturday for the PFE - the day was looking very stormy during the morning; so bad that we had to pause during the crew's briefing due to the noise of the rain on the hangar's tin roof!
But then the clouds cleared, the sun came out, the wind lightened and blew straight down the runway and we were on for an excellent day.  All the hard work and planning paid off and the event went without a hitch - thanks to the many helpers and attendees without whom, none of this would have been possible.
Special thanks to the marshals: Big Ian and Jimmy for getting the aircraft started and sent-off on time and, to Jim Matonti for providing excellent air-traffic on the day.  Also BIG thanks to Jimmy/Matthieu, Peg-Leg Jim and (again) Jim Matonti and "Pizza" John for providing the oysters, kebabs, pizzas, BBQ pigs, soft drinks, etc. during the day's event and the evening party.  And, big thanks to Daniel and his girls for keeping the beer flowing all evening.

But the biggest thanks of all to those who showed support on the day - your attendance was much appreciated and we look forward to an even better event in 2014.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The new dates have been set as 9th and 10th March 2013

As with all BLOGS, please read from the bottom upwards!
This BLOG is WORK-IN-PROGRESS and will be updated over the next few months - we are aware that some information is still missing.

SPONSORSHIP - If anyone is interested in sponsoring or partially sponsoring the PFE, please let us know.  Last year's sponsors PCS will not be sponsoring us at E.F.C. 2013.

EFC - showing new 500m runway (Dec 2012)

Rules and details of the Precision Navigation Event

This event carries 90% of the marks and so, largely determines who will win E.F.C. 2013.
Celestial GPS (batteries not included)
The main difference in the Navigation Events between E.F.C. 2013 and E.F.C. 2012 is that last year we used Ground Observers to lay ground-signals for the crews to identify and record (in order to prove they'd found the waypoint) and, the ground Observers made a note of the times that each aircraft flew overhead the waypoints.  These measurements were naturally susceptible to human measurement error and, it was a huge task to recruit, brief and coordinate enough volunteers to act as Ground Observers.

For E.F.C. 2013 we've invested, at huge expense, in 30 GPS data-loggers.  These are about the size/weight of a small box-of-matches and they record your GPS fix every second of your flight. Therefore we will know exactly how close you get to each waypoint and, we'll know the precise time you reached it.  You will be handed your data-logger by a marshal immediately prior to starting your engine (already switched-on for you) and, you'll hand it back to a marshal after shut-down (still switched-on!).  Your file will then be downloaded by another marshal and your score will be calculated in a matter of seconds.

Therefore, at E.F.C. 2013 there will be no ground signals to identify although, like last year, you will be given photos of the ground features that are the waypoints.

As at E.F.C. 2012, each crew will be handed the Navigation sheet with all the waypoints marked by a red square and of course, you'll have the lat/long of each waypoint, down to 2 decimal points of seconds (Lat/Longs will be presented as DDD MM SS.SS).

One of EFC 2012's waypoints

Trikes/Quicksilvers and other very light aircraft 
This year we will offer crews of these aircraft the option of an early-morning take-off on the Saturday in order to avoid mid-afternoon thermal activity.  The first launch will be at dawn (06:30) and crews will need to apply in advance if they would like an early slot.

Scoring - crew's strategy
There will be two ways for you to score points during the Navigation Event:
1.  By flying as close as possible to each waypoint - crews will score maximum points if they fly within 25 meters of each waypoint's overhead.  Penalty points will be accrued as your (closest) distance away from each waypoint increases.
2.  By adhering to your nominated groundspeed - remember, you have to nominate a GS for the Navigation Event and stick to it - whether you're flying upwind, downwind or crosswind.  We will of course know your actual GS (from your data-logger) and will deduct points for every second you are early or late at each waypoint.  We'll then take your cumulative time errors and calculate your scores accordingly.

Scoring - the numbers
Each crew will begin the Navigation Event with 90 points; penalty points will then be deducted to crews who miss waypoints by more than 25 meters and, for every second that you are early or late for each waypoint.

1.  Waypoint Accuracy - within 25 meters of a waypoint's overhead = no penalties.  Thereafter, 0.5 points for every 25 meters, up to a maximum of 5 points per waypoint.
2.  Groundspeed Accuracy - 1/5th of a point for each second you are early or late for each waypoint, up to a maximum of 9 points per waypoint.  We will take your arrival time at each waypoint when you are nearest to the waypoint's overhead - even if you missed it by a mile!

The Rules
1.   Each aircraft must have a crew of two persons - no more, no less.

Not permitted

2.   The event is open only to fixed wing and flex-wing aircraft - no rotor craft (wouldn't be fair in the Spot-landing Event). 
3.   Aircraft will be launched in the order of fastest first, slowest last.  "Fastest" will be determined by each crew's "nominated" ground-speeds for this phase.  This is intended to reduce the risk of air-traffic congestion over the navigation course.  Aircraft will be launched at intervals of between 2 and 5 minutes.
4.   Upon departing E.F.C., all aircraft will proceed to "Waypoint 1".  Your time starts at your allotted take-off time so, don't be late or early.  The marshals will help here.

5.   No aircraft may initiate a "search" for a Waypoint that involves orbiting or backtracking - remember: the aircraft ahead/behind you will be a few minutes away.  If you miss a waypoint you must proceed directly to the next waypoint - missing a waypoint will only mean a loss of 3 points (see "Scoring - the numbers" above).  Any crew seen (on the data-logger) to be "searching" will be disqualified since it would be potentially hazardous.
6.   Any crew that misses a waypoint will have their timing stopped (for the previous leg) and started (for the next leg) when they are closest to the missed waypoint.
7.   Crews may use GPS, VOR/DME, TACAN, Sextants, ADF, air/ground maps and any other navigation aids they may find useful.  Crews may not use "autopilots" if they have them fitted.
8.  The final waypoint will not be E.F.C.  The final waypoint will be a few miles from the airfield - this is designed to reduce congestion of traffic that is landing and departing.
9.  The navigation course will be approximately 80 statute miles - please ensure you and your aircraft have sufficient range!
10.  The winning crew of the 2013 Precision Flying Event will be the team with the most points from both the Spot-landing and the Navigation Events. 

The ultra-prestigious PFE Trophy

Rules for Spot-landing Event

The Precision Flying Event is divided into two components and the Spot-landing Event comprises 10% of the total points.  Each crew will be allocated 10 points for this event and will have these points eroded by executing a long (or short) landing.

After completing the Navigation Event course, pilots will call to re-join the E.F.C. circuit when overhead the final waypoint - they will then be given joining instructions by ATC to complete the Spot-landing Event.

A chalk line will be marked out on the runway which will be clearly visible from your cockpit as you fly your final approach.

Each competitor will call "Callsign -  finals 01/19 for spot-landing"
ATC will reply "Callsign - cleared to land runway 01/19 for spot-landing"

You are now committed to your spot-landing - any baulked landing or go-around will result in disqualification from this part of the PFE.  If you are told to go-around by ATC, you will be permitted another approach when told to do so by ATC.

Here are the rules:

1.  Only one spot-landing entry per crew.
2.  Each crew's spot-landing must be completed after passing the final waypoint of the Navigation Event.
3.  Crews will not be permitted to land (for any reason except an emergency) between the Navigation Event and the Spot-landing Event.
4.  Unless acting under ATC instructions, any baulked landing, go-around or overshoot after the pilot has called "finals", will result in a deduction of all 10 points.
5.  The "spot" will be counted as where your main wheels touch the runway.
6.  If the aircraft bounces on landing, the "spot" will be where the main wheels touch on the final touchdown.
7.  Ground Marshals will mark the "spot" - there will also be a video back-up of each landing.
8.  Any landing short of the line will result in all 10 points being deducted.
9.  Scoring - No points will be deducted (from your allocated 10 points) for a landing on-the-line.  Thereafter, 1/4 point will be deducted for every meter you are long.  Therefore if you land more than 40 meters after the line, all 10 of your allocated points will have been deducted.
10. After landing, aircraft must clear the active runway without delay, under ATC instruction.  This is to avoid mishaps on the runway:

Timetable of Events

Friday 8th March 2013
Aircraft may arrive early for an evening meal and refreshments.  Camping space will be available for those who wish to rough-it or if you've rented a car, you can collect it at Eastern.

18:26              Sunset
19:00              Briefing for trikes/Quicksilvers who wish to fly the Navigation Event at dawn
                       on Saturday.

Saturday 9th March 2013

06.28              Sunrise
06:30 - 07:00  Launch trikes/Quicksilvers for Navigation Event.
06:30 - 11:00  Air Traffic will be present for visiting aircraft and trikes/Quicksilvers
07:30 - 08:30 Trikes/Quicksilvers return for Spot Landing Event

08:30 - 11:00  Breakfast and refreshments will be available in the clubhouse restaurant
11:00 - 12:00  Crew briefing and completion of entry forms

EFC 2012 Crew briefing

12:00 - 14:00  Lunch in the clubhouse restaurant
13:30              First aircraft take-off for Main Navigation Event and thereafter at intervals of                        3 to 5 minutes
14:30              First aircraft returns for Spot-landing
16:30              Last aircraft take-off
18:15              Last aircraft returns for Spot-landing
18:20              Marshals calculate points for competitors
18:26              Sunset
19:00               Commence "Precision BBQ"
19:45              Results have been calculated
20:00              Announce results and prize giving

 Last year's breakfast fly-out at Dok Krai

Sunday 10th March 2013

06:27              Sunrise 
07:00              Tea/coffee in hotels or in the clubhouse restaurant
07:45              Depart for breakfast fly-out to somewhere close - to be decided
10:30              Depart for home airfields   

E.F.C. - airfield and pilot information.

E.F.C. is a beautiful grass airstrip situated some 4 Nautical Miles East of the beach at Jomtiem/Pattaya, 20 NM South of Bang Phra (VTBT) and the nearest commercial airport is U-Tapao (VTBU), about 13 NM South of E.F.C. The runway has been very recently extended to 500 meters; here's a quick video showing both runways:

Here's a shot taken from the East (runway highlighted), showing EFC in the context of its surrounding landscape:

Eastern from the East - Nov 2012
Here's a view of finals for runway 01, clearly showing the Bungy-jumping Tower obstruction (the runway has been highighted):

Finals for 01 at EFC - Nov 2012

And, here's one looking down runway 19 showing the new runway extension and the poles/wires before the threshold:

Dec 2012 - Poles/wires on the threshold of 19 - CAUTION

E.F.C. Frequency:  122.3
Lat/Long: 12* 54' 09" N / 100* 55' 59" E
Runway:  01 and 19
Runway length:  500m
Slope: 1 degree upslope on runway 01
Surface: grass
Circuit Patterns:  01 RH circuit - 19 fly LH circuit
Altitude:  120 ft AMSL
  • Bungy-Jumping tower very close (west) on finals to 01 - for this reason alone, do not attempt to fly a left-hand circuit for runway 01. 
  • CAUTION **** poles and wires very close (20m) to the threshold of runway 19.
  • Tall mast when turning right-base for 01.
  • Tower-mast near left-base turn for runway 19.
  • Mast East of 19's threshold.
  • Radio model strip East (left) of finals for 19.
Sunrise/Sunset times on 9/10 March 2013:  06:28/18:26

Life-jackets:  You will not need life-jackets to participate at E.F.C. 2013 

NOTAMS:  It is the responsibility of all pilots to check NOTAMS prior to this event but active NOTAMS will be covered in the briefing session.  We will also issue a NOTAM for this event so other non-participating aircraft know to avoid the area.

Aircraft parking: on the day of the event will be...............  Each aircraft will be given a take-off time and there will be a separation of a few minutes between each aircraft's departure.  After landing, each aircraft will return to the ........ for parking.

Fuel: will be available (at no mark-up) to anyone who has ordered in advance.  We will have 100LL, 95 benzine and, if it's still available, 91 benzine.

Tie-down points: will be available to those who order in advance - so you don't need to bring your own pegs, just your tie-down straps. 
Air Traffic: will be operating at the field during the actual event.  We will file a flight plan for all participating aircraft for the duration of the event and will arrange permits for visiting "U" registered aircraft.

Children's Day:  As with last year, there will be no Children's Day.

2012's P.F.E. at E.F.C.

If you'd like to get a feel of how our Precision Flying Event ("PFE") worked last year, please take a look at our BLOG from 2012:

And/or, watch the video:

The PFE is all about the spirit of flying in Thailand - everyone who competes will become a more precise pilot .....regardless of your flying experience or your age - everyone's a winner!

A significantly younger Jim Matonti (pre-Op') boarding his J3 Cub