Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday 30 June: Task 5: 130km: Stopped

5pm: Tom Payne watching from Geneva posted a good question:

'How does the scoring work when a task with multiple start gates is stopped with no pilots in goal? If you score it up to the point that it was stopped then pilots who chose a later start gate will have had less time on the course.'

The answer according to the scorers is that the task will be scored on distance only, and to 20 minutes before the task was stopped: so as far as the pilot got at 3.24pm. And yes, that means people who took a later start gate will end up scoring less. The pilots knew it was likely to storm early. They knew the task might be stopped because of storms on course. Savvy ones got up quick and set off on the first start gate. Those playing for tactics by waiting in the air to race through the pack after taking a second start gate will probably have lost out this time.

Comp leader Christian Ciech is in the campsite bar having a bit of a sit-down and an orange juice. He looks pretty knackered to be honest. How was it Christian? 'A little bit windy, around the first turnpoint.' Nothing more. Everyone will just have to wait and see.

4.15pm: Some 20+ pilots have now landed in the goal field after flying straight here once the task was stopped. More coming in. Manfred Ruhmer landed around the number 25 mark, well after Christian Ciech, Attila Bertok and Jonny Durand. What does this mean? Who knows. It could mean he was way back in the field when the task was stopped, or it could mean he went for a bit of a fly after the task was stopped, or he took a later start gate to try and race through the pack ... Results should make interesting reading tonight.

: Task stopped at 3.44pm. Rain was reported - via radio - on course by at least one pilot, Gordon Rigg of GB. Big overdevelopment - storm clouds - pretty much everywhere now. Smells like rain here at the goal field. Non-competing pilots who have landed here in the last half an hour are now quickly packing up. No competition pilots in goal.

Explainer: The task today was stopped because storms started to develop near to where the competition pilots were flying. Storms are dangerous to all pilots. Read here what happens when glider pilots get too close to thunder clouds.

3.30pm: The sky looks like this just south of Laragne camping and landing field. Big clouds all around now.

: Launch pictures in this Flickr set

Bill Moyes, above, of Moyes Gliders is here with his team of Moyes pilots. 'Could do with a bit more flying, but pretty happy with the gliders.'

Took a while but all the pilots are off now. Some biggish-looking cloud development around, but nothing too serious yet. Pilots are out on course now, with the first expected to arrive in goal around 4pm.

Jonny Durand (AUS) launches from the North side of Chabre

Dust devils on launch, pilots are now taking off from both north and south launches, Manfred Ruhmer (AUT) and Jon Durand (AUS) just went off the north side.

12:35pm: First pilots have launched and are getting high, winds are very light and switchy so launching is a little slow, the sky is looking great with lots of cumulus clouds.

A 130km task is called exit circle 20km around B36 then 114 (Villeperdrix), B29,then north to B56(Valdrome), east to B44 and then goal at camping. Launch opens at 12:20, with 4 starts 13:50 14:10 14:30 and 14:50

: Wind is south east on Chabre just now, which is good. Hopefully a decent breeze will set up and pilots will get off easily today. Twitter posts from launch are here

9.50am: In the meantime, the competition has been on French TV, above. Watch it here. Fantastic in-air footage

: Yesterday saw us sitting on a west launch in a north wind – not good. The reason this happened, we are told, is because of a strong inversion at 2,300m that kept the north wind trapped below it and blowing past us. The expected local westerly flow never really happened. Chabre was flyable, but tricky to launch – meet director tells us only one in five gliders got off there as well. Tricky everywhere, is the message.

Today’s forecast has been done for both launch sites, and is also tricky (NW flow is the hardest one to fly here):

Winds at 1500m
Aspres at 2pm: NW 8knots, 15 kmh
Chabre at 2pm: WNW 4 knots, 8kmh
Aspres at 5pm: NNW 27kmh
Chabre at 5pm: WNW 23kmh

3000m winds: N, 3kmh – very light

By 6pm: southerly winds at 6pm, coming from storms to the south east.

Local breezes will dominate. Less likelihood of thunderstorms today

Inversion at 2,300m. This trapped northerly flow beneath the inversions yesterday.

Drier, more stable air than yesterday.

Summary for Laragne
12noon: SW at 10 knots, 1-2/8 cu, base at 2,400
3pm: WNW wind, cb at 2,700m,
5pm: Could be big cloud devpt, possible rain showers

High risk of thunderstorms in mountains to the east and north east. Showers over Pic de Bure.

Conclusion: we are going to the top south launch at Chabre with an early briefing of 11.30am.


Tom Payne said...

How does the scoring work when a task with multiple start gates is stopped with no pilots in goal? If you score it up to the point that it was stopped than pilots who chose a later start gate will have had less time on the course.


Davis Straub said...

How does scoring work when a good number of pilots were not allowed to launch before the first start time?

Chabre2009 said...

I don't know - I will get a response to this today and post it on this page. The scorers are in conference this morning about all Task 5's scoring issues.

Chabre2009 said...

Tom Payne emailed this in - it belongs here on this Comments section:

Just had a look at the FAI Sporting Code.

It seems that the organisers are following the rules.

Despite this, yesterday's task was manifestly unfair.

I've just checked and the organisers are following the FAI rules (CIVL Section 7A dated 1st May 2009):

5.5.8 Scoring of Stopped Task
A task which is stopped, but not cancelled, shall be scored if a minimum of one and a half hours have elapsed since the first valid start taken by a competing pilot, or a least one pilot has achieved in goal. Pilots will be scored up to the point in time when the task was stopped, less a specified "score back" time; this "score back" time is to be equal to the time between start gates or a minimum of 15 minutes in the case of single start gate task. This will be applied to all pilots, whether in goal or en route to goal but this will not cause a task not to be scored if a pilot has landed in goal before the task was stopped.

The times in this case were:
First start gate: 13h50
Time between gates: 20min
Task stopped at: 15h44
So scored up to: 15h44 - 20 = 15h24
Time on task: 15h24 - 13h50 = 1h34, i.e. just over 1.5 hours

Gotta say that it's clearly not a fair competition if pilots were unable to launch to get the first start gate due to launch conditions. Poor pilots.

Chabre2009 said...

SE also emailed this in, which also belongs in the Comments:

'I am sure there must be appeals / calls for the last task to be cancelled.

Scoring of this task shows a real problem in the scoring system or the way it is applied.

When a stopped task is applied to a task that is almost over. I.e. 90% of those who are likely to make goal are already there it works fairly well.

When it is applied to a task where all are still in the air, the leaders have only been flying for a short time and have only covered about half the distance, then it clearly should not be applied in the way it has. (Distance only.)

To make this task the highest scoring task with more points available than the other completed tasks is clearly wrong.

Surely at the very least a validity factor should be used for a task that is stopped when only part completed. In this case max score of say 1/2 the total number of points (500) would be slightly more realistic.

In addition it may make sense to apply all the leading bonuses etc as well.

When taking the 2nd start gate, rather than the first, costs 500 points I think it shows up a very large scoring error rather than pilot error.

Please get is sorted as it may spoil what was becoming a really interesting battle at the top.'

Chabre2009 said...

1.30pm update on this is that the scorers have been working on the scoring system issues all morning. They have been in discussions with the designer of the scoring system by email and phone. They will be working on it for the rest of the day. They will be reporting back at the Team Leaders' briefing tomorrow morning, after which it will be blogged on this blog/and the website, hopefully by the scorers themselves.

Chabre2009 said...

So by last night the scorers had fixed a bug in the scoring system, with the help of the guy who wrote it. The day was rescored, and went from a 1000 point day to a 918 point day. The Austrian team has this morning put in a complaint about the rescoring, which is being dealt with now. It is ongoing. The answer to Davis's question is that in hang gliding comps it's just tough if you are at the back of the field in a hg comp and the launch is slow. Most hangy pilots seem to accept this as an unavoidable evil of comps. The main pilot who suffered this task was comp leader Christian Ciech. For whatever reason after getting off early he hung about in the air waiting for the second start gate. The forecast was for storms. As a result he was a long way back when the race was stopped and he has slipped a few slots back down the ladder.

Chabre2009 said...

The Austrian complaint was rejected. The next step for them will be to protest to the FAI jury, which is here at the comp and made up of three people.