[NSRCA-discussion] No telemetry rule & new radio systems

John Ford astropattern at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 25 09:58:29 AKST 2011

Sometimes, looking at the extreme case will give clarity to the question at hand.

Some current technology is only a short step away from the "extreme scenario"...consider my wish-list ski goggles from Zeal Optics (Transcend model). http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/01/recon-zeal-transcend-goggles-now-shipping-gps-and-head-mounted/

For less than the cost of a set of good servos, these goggles display directly to your right eye, GPS data such as speed, altitude, position, mapping, and a host of other tidbits of info. 
I'm sure that by now, some whiz-kid at Futaba or Spektrum has played around with a Bluetooth link to goggles like this and very easily puts downlink telemetry into a head-mounted display. 

If that's the case, then so what? So, we've succeeded in putting ourselves (and possibly anyone else, including the judges) into the cockpit of our planes? Raises some interesting questions, I think...
1) I believe this doesn't create any "closed loops"...at least no more than a full-scale aerobatic pilot would have. Or does it? I still don't see any autopilots, flight directors, or software that is slaved to the telemetry.
2) It certainly allows some critical safety data to be displayed or alarmed to the pilot, but at what cost? 
3) Is there in fact someone who has the brain-power processing ability to take in all this data (plus all the usual visual and audible cues) and somehow translate it into an advantage on the sticks? If no such person exists then there's no problem. If such a person does exist, then are we simply saying that we are threatened by the competitive consequences of this technology?
4) Judging by how many times society (or even our own hobby) has been faced with new technology that certain groups found objectionable or that made existing rules or laws obsolete...what has been the success rate of being able to bury, ban, or repress that technology? 
5) If technology eventually always becomes more affordable than the 
traditional technology it replaces, is this evolution a good thing in 
the long term, or only a bad thing in the short term, if in fact it steers clear of the telemetry rule?
6) If we were to count on this for box violations, then does that imply that everyone would need a GPS unit on their plane to be allowed to compete? If it was deemed to be a safety feature, then does that imply everyone would need to have "safety telemetry" to fly at the Nats, for example?

I don't disagree with most of the posts, and I don't have better answers, but if I take a step back, it seems to me that there are a number of interesting points to ponder.


--- On Fri, 11/25/11, Murray Johnson <murrjohnson at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Murray Johnson <murrjohnson at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NSRCA-discussion] No telemetry rule & new radio systems
To: "General pattern discussion" <nsrca-discussion at lists.nsrca.org>
Date: Friday, November 25, 2011, 12:16 PM

I for one am all in favour of any kind of technology that will in even a small amount increase safety. I think with telemetry a lot of mechanical/electrical issues could be reported well before a real flight critical event happens. Any programmed parameter could trigger an alarm if that parameter is exceeded and at the very least save an airframe. Having said that, I am not in favour of any kind of information that may be passed either by the caller reading the tx screen or even verbally from the tx itself with regards to heading, altitude, speed or aircraft attitude. I think this would create a certain advantage and of course generate a cost increase in equipment. If this type of feedback from the airframe is allowed, we will all have to spend the big bucks just to remain competitive. Once we all have it......then what? The techno playing field has been leveled and it will still be the skill of the pilot which will determine the score
 outcome.......just as it is today without telemetry. Same with the contra drives but that is another touchy subject. If we are going to have an investment of 5k or so per airframe I think I will have to start looking for crash insurance. Or take up knitting.

On Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 8:38 AM, John Ferrell <jferrell13 at triad.rr.com> wrote:

On 11/25/2011 9:55 AM, Michael S. Harrison wrote: 

I agree with what you are saying and that is how we currently do and perceive the plane.  However, this is a chance to embrace technology to make judging fairer and easier reducing the bias, subjectivity and emotion the judge is burdened with.  The new technology, applied properly would make the administration and work of putting on a contest much easier.  How we see and perceive the airplane would change to adapt to this new stuff and we could fly accordingly.  We would have to adapt the rules to fit, of course, but it is doab le.  I would love to see it.  I would love to know the truth about box violations, drifting, altitude changes, whatever, etc.

I think it would be a game changer and it would bring out the best/. 
That is just me.
I have been out of Precision Aerobatics for quite a while now. Even when I was an eager enthusiast, I never developed the skills to be a successful competitor.

It was never about winning or losing for me. No one ever enjoyed the game more than I.

Is the information provided by the new equipment really a problem?  If it is available to all is it really a problem? 

As I recall, there was a period where the TOC permitted the use of gyros. I think the idea was to provide a better show through the use of available technology. It did not take long for the top contestants to abandon their use. In addition to reduced reliability it was soon discovered that the best pilots preferred total control to limited control. When the rule was made to outlaw the gyros, no one cared because no one was using them anyway.  The point: is this new equipment really a problem?

If the telemetry provides a higher degree of safety to person and/or property it is hard to justify not allowing it.  

An onboard device that limits operation of the craft beyond the specified flight area could become a requirement in the near future. Think about it!

I have always felt that a constant speed controller for IC engines should be available to the fuel burners. Current rules simply prohibit it....

Back to lurking mode....


John Ferrell W8CCW
"The man who complains about the way the 
ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it."
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