Thursday, November 1, 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


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