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Author Topic: SO Wright Stuff 2020  (Read 4101 times)
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OZPAF
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« Reply #125 on: March 11, 2020, 12:37:46 AM »

That is an impressive contribution Tarheel. I hope the teams really appreciated it. Has there been any sign over the years of members of these teams spreading their knowledge with teams following them?

John
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ILM Tarheel
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« Reply #126 on: March 11, 2020, 06:31:57 AM »

John, Thank you for your kind words. Of all the students I've coached over the years, I know of only two that have taken up Free Flight as a hobby. A few students have told me that the building skills they have learned helped them with other school projects. Occasionally, a high school student will help me with the younger middle school teams. The most common comment from a new student is usually "I've never built anything". The total lack of handcraft skills among the young people of today is apparent.     
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calgoddard
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« Reply #127 on: March 11, 2020, 01:04:52 PM »

I coached all the Science Olympiad (SO) flying events for fifteen (15) years in one of the most competitive regions in the country. I am no longer coaching any SO events. Here is my story.

I eventually grew tired of seeing cookie-cutter Wright Stuff (WS) airplanes built from the Freedom Flight Models (FFM) kits. Several years ago, my daughter (gold medalist in WS several times) and I wrote a set of rules for an SO trial event called Rubber Powered Airplane (RPA).  See
 
https://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_forum/index.php?topic=21883.0

Note that the RPA rules are reproduced in Reply # 19 as the link in the first post is no longer active.

Under the RPA event rules if the rubber powered airplane fits within the standard “Large FedEx box” in a ready-to-fly condition (less prop) and weighs at least 5 grams, it is legal.  This encourages experimentation in design, and makes it easy at check-in, and provides a safe transport carrier. There are no limits on the size of the prop or the weight of the rubber motor under the RPA rules.

See Reply # 11 in the HPA thread for RPA for a design of an RPA airplane proposed by expert builder and flier Joshua Finn of J & H Aerospace.

The size of the box and/or the minimum weight of the airplane specified in the RPA rules could be changed each SO season so that models that met the rules one season would not be competitive the next.  This would prevent students from handing down models to other students for use in competition.

As the Event Supervisor (ES), I ran RPA as a trial event at the SoCal State SO finals held at Caltech in Pasadena, California, in 2017. The RPA event at that State SO competition was a very successful one in my opinion. Nevertheless, the flying events committee of the national SO organization rejected the RPA event. A long-time member of that committee made it very clear that SO has no interest in supporting free flight, and AMA participation, in particular.

As to the RPA event, the main excuse I was given by a member of the committee for not adopting it was as follows. Due to tolerance variations in the size of a FedEx large box a student’s plane might not fit in either of the official boxes provided by the Event Supervisor at check-in.  I proposed an easy fix by slightly amending the RPA rules to provide that students could bring their own airplanes inside their own FedEx boxes and they would be legal as long as there were no apparent alterations to the physical size of the boxes.  Realistically, several millimeters difference in the size of the boxes between competitors would have little, if any, impact on the outcome of the WS competitions.  No response was ever received by me regarding this minor fix.  It is very clear to me that “not invented here” (NIH) is the guiding principal of the SO flying events committee.

So, in the end, students got stuck with the absurd rules of the WS 2020 event where the rules essentially dictate an inherently unstable model that, with rare exceptions, can only be trimmed for optimum flight with the assistance of experts.  The bonus of circling in opposite directions only adds more frustration.  If you want to limit flight times in WS, just raise the minimum weight of the model. However, at least give students a reasonable prop size and conventional air frame proportions that give them a realistic chance to get a model trimmed so that it can circle for 30+ seconds.
 
I have many years of building and flying LPP, A-6, No-Cal, Embryo, P-18 and other indoor rubber powered models competitively. On a number of occasions, I have been my club’s indoor champion. Last year I competed at the AMA indoor Nats.  I give you this summary of my experience so that you can appreciate the following. This year I had a lone interaction helping two very bright young high school students in a gym who were trying to trim their WS 2020 models.  They were easily some of the most difficult models to trim, if not the most difficult, that I have ever encountered.  RPA (renamed as WS as I had suggested to the committee) would have been a far superior event than the actual WS 2020 event.

I enjoyed my time with the students.
    
Finally, young people in the U.S. mostly don’t build things any more.  Unfortunately for the future of our country, they mostly only interact with screens during their free time.  

Well, that's my story. Thanks for reading it. 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 02:55:58 PM by calgoddard » Logged
bjt4888
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« Reply #128 on: March 11, 2020, 02:26:16 PM »

ILM and Cal,

Great job volunteering to help the students with the flying events. Agree with you both that students get a lot out of these events.

Cal,

I personally liked your flying event rules. Very simple and allowing for a great measure of creativity. Flying events are quite popular with the students and are very competitive in Michigan. I usually see about 1/3 of the top teams flying custom designs at States.

Brian T
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Olbill
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« Reply #129 on: March 11, 2020, 03:57:00 PM »

At least we had one year of very nice flying models - 2019. I guess the performance last year must have scared the bigwigs at SO.

The model specification for 2020 is the very worst of the 20+ years that I've been involved. They could have limited the performance by ways other than making the models so unstable.

I was interested in the statement that SO isn't interested in AMA participation. I thought AMA was a sponsor.
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rogerl
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« Reply #130 on: March 11, 2020, 08:49:51 PM »

It looks like we are going to be stuck using the same planes for next year. Below is a note I received from the head coach of our Science Olympiad team.

"Science Olympiad is planning to replay the 2020 Rules for the 2021 season so students can retain and reuse their resources and devices."


Roger L
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ILM Tarheel
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« Reply #131 on: March 11, 2020, 10:10:42 PM »

I received an email this evening from the National Science Olympiad Organization. The 2020 Science Olympiad National Tournament has be officially canceled due to the virus. The 2019-2020 rules will be re-run in 2020-2021.
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Little-Acorn
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« Reply #132 on: March 13, 2020, 04:50:34 PM »

Very disappointing, but expected.

I wonder if that also means that the Trial Events some contests had this past season (2020), will be run again next season (2021)?

Such as Electric Wright stuff, whose rules were the same as in the 2019 season?
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OZPAF
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« Reply #133 on: March 15, 2020, 11:32:56 PM »

Sad to hear of your unacknowledged contribution Cal. I can sympathise with your efforts to instill some sanity in the class while dealing with closed minds. I have had similar experiences, and I agree with your comments re building experience.

I originally thought the idea of SO was to exercise the mins of the participants in design, construction and problem solving. It seems to have moved a long way from this concept.

I'm glad you had that session with the appreciative students and i'm sure many of the others you worked with also enjoyed the time and as you mentioned learnt from it. However it is a pity that it now seems to be a diminished ghost of the original concept.

All the best.

John
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