ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC-L:1002] Re: 1 Class/1 Design (long)
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Thread: [IAC-L:1002] Re: 1 Class/1 Design (long)
Message: [IAC-L:1002] Re: 1 Class/1 Design (long)
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From: Don Peterson <autotech at flash.net>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 01:56:35 UTC
I have had the pleasure of competing (twice) in an actual one design contest which has been held now for 22 years. To my knowledge, no one involved in the planning of the IAC one design concept bothered to visit or research the above mentioned event in the hope that they might learn something about how things actually turn out under this plan. Needless to say, after more than two decades, the concept has been pretty well refined. This is not to say that we will end up with a mess, just an editorial on the way things often happen in a not-for-profit club where leadership is primarily a function of volunteerism rather than proven qualifications. The law of unintended consequences tends to be an absolute. In any case, I have a few observations... It definitely adds something to a competition when only one type is flying. Very small nuances in ability become apparent, and aid in the selection of the true "best pilot". When power and performance is not only identical, but rather limited, skill becomes paramount. In fact, when these items are identical, they cease to be a point of concern entirely. The focus shifts from basic maneuver geometry to making the best overall "presentation". It is a more pleasant ground on which to compete, and I feel more rewarded by meeting an artistic challenge than just a mechanical one. When all aircraft are identical, the contest organizers can refine the required sequences to a very fine degree. As followers of my occasional posts know, I am big proponent of making our sequences harder. The most common debate against this is on the basis of "fairness" to lower performance aircraft. In the above one-design contest, the organizers have developed sequences that are right up at the edge of the aircraft's ability, without overstressing it. Again, the very best pilots can negotiate these challenges while the less prepared end up having troubles that subtract from the score. I have never heard the judges' scores seriously challenged. There tends to be a bit more spread in the scores as a result of this approach. The paint schemes don't matter one whit. Every aircraft is painted differently at the above contest, and it is a factor which simply disappears once the aircraft are in the air. Truly identical aircraft (these are all factory/production aircraft) fly so similarly, that a judge's trained eye becomes attuned to the rhythms and motions of the airframe. At least in this event, the local club favorite has been beaten several years in row now, and I can see no signs of favoritism being given to the judges' countrymen (an Englishman won this French contest for two years running, now). It is hard to believe that our judges would be more prone to home-town hero worship than the French. On a regional level, I believe strongly in the fairness of IAC judges. It is the lack of concensus on the judging criterion that creates so much unfortunate scatter (at the regional level). This is not a favoritism or fairness issue. It will clearly be many years before a single class contest is held. In my view, the true benefits of this idea will not be realized until a true one-type contest is convened. There is no value in anonymity, as some posters have suggested. There is GREAT benefit in throwing up one identical aircraft after another, flying a sequence that demands much of the aircraft, and is a true test of the pilot. And no, the Pitts just doesn't make it on this score. There are so many variations and performance differences that any effort to organzize a "one design" contest would collapse under the burden of debate as to what should be allowed. Again, the judging benefit of true "one-performance" is striking, once you have seen it. Plus, the Pitts is just so small that many of the nuances that I mention tend to get lost in the angry-bee blur. But that's just my opinion. Don Peterson Midlothian, Tx.