Go to a contest already!

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by ChiefPilot, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-Flight

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    I flew in a contest in Newton KS a little over a week ago and it was pretty fun. Although I've done lots of acro (formation and dogfighting) in my RV and have helped set up for contests, I hadn't actually flown in one. Here's what it's like in under two minutes:
     
  2. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Awesome! My brother was a judge there and flew an Extra in the contest. I need to get out to one!

    He made a brief appearance in your video:) @ :42
     
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  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    What are the judges looking for as the score you?
     
  4. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Roundness of looping segments, accurate 45 degree attitude lines, equal line lengths before and after a roll on a 45 line, rolling the airplane at a constant flight path/heading/roll rate, constant bank angle/turn rate/altitude during turns, a level flight path starting and ending each figure, flying on heading with either the X or Y axis, presenting your flight well to the judges -i.e. not flying too far at the front, back, or out the sides of the box, and not flying too low or high in the box. That's just the Primary category. More types of figures and judging criteria in the higher categories, but these basics apply to all.
     
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  5. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-Flight

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    Scores for the same figure can be amazingly inconsistent across judges as well. On a loop, for example, one of the judges gave me a 4.5, one gave me a 6.5, and the other two gave me an 8.0 The "real" score is the average of the judges which moderates the effects of judges with overly positive or negative attitudes.

    Another aspect of the judging - for my half-cuban on one flight, one judge commented that the first 45º line was shorter than the second while another judge said the exact same opposite - that the second line was shorter than the first. They score on what they see, and each judge sees things differently. The best advice I've heard so far is simply to never read the judges comments :)
     
  6. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, unlike almost every other possible figure in the book, there are no clearly defined criteria for exactly how to make deductions on a loop. Everyone has to adapt their own method, being consistent with everyone as possible. I can attest that being a line judge is hard work, not only to see the flight in minute detail, but to translate what you see in that figure (often flown at 3000' AGL) into a fair score. Yes, there's significant judging variation, but the system and software is designed to mitigate that. Just like pilots, judges are human and make mistakes. But IMO at all the contests I've participated in, the pilot who flies the best and/or makes the fewest technical (non-subjective) mistakes is the one who ends up placing first in their category. It generally all works out fairly.
     
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  7. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-Flight

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    I'd tend to agree - having been through judges school with DJ Molny to see what goes on there as well as done the recorder thing, the judges really are trying to be fair. I really think it comes down to they score what they see, and sometimes what they see doesn't match reality. For example, during both my primary flights at the contest, I had a helmet cam on as well as the flight data recorder feature of the PFD. One judge commented that I was descending during the 180º comp turn, but the camera as well as the data did not agree. On the other hand, it was pretty gusty both days and none of the judges noticed that the 180º roll coming off one of the cubans was more like 190º with a correction. So it works out. The statistics the IAC keep are excellent as well, and fun to look at if you have a basic knowledge of stats. Lots of great data there!

    An additional highlight for the contest for me was recording for a judge who is a bonafide Mig killer - Bill Gordon downed a Mig 17 in an F-4 with an AIM-7 in 1967. It was a pleasure and honor talking with him.
     
  8. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Yep, they MUST grade only what they see. Sometimes a perfect figure may appear imperfect. Other times an imperfect figure may appear perfect. Perfect figures do often appear perfect as well. :) Pilots must get a feel for these things. There's an entire sub-discipline in this sport related to deliberately flying imperfectly, or "cheating" something to your advantage such that it appears perfect from the judge's perspective. Examples are wide-ranging. World level competition gets deep into this. Very interesting subject.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
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  9. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for posting the video. Very nice.
     
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