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Old 05-13-2020, 12:04 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default "COVID-compatible contests"

Hello All,

This evening I sent some “COVID-19-compatible” model rocket contest ideas to Stuart Lodge, the British space modeler—and long-time competitor *and* contest judge—who almost single-handedly got model rocketry legalized in the UK, despite their infamous 1875 Explosives Act (which prevented the British Interplanetary Society from engaging in any rocket experimentation, even just rocket motor and engine static tests). Plus:

A YouTube video that Tim Van Milligan (the President of Apogee Rockets www.apogeerockets.com ) made, about 1/2A Altitude altimeter contests (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG87iPDtBPM [incidentally, the plans for the rocket in his video would be great for would-be contestants, and it would also, I think, make a good Standard Payload model!]), suggests that such contests—if run like Hand-Launch Glider “Postal Contests”—would also be “COVID-compatible,” including here in the U.S., (as I’ll explain below). Below this “COVID-compatible” contest idea (which I’ve reproduced immediately below) are other contest ideas, which I also sent to Stuart, and:

The 1/2A Altitude altimeter contest would lend itself well to use during this “COVID-19 era.” Each entrant in such an Altitude altimeter contest could fly his or her flight (or flights—maybe, say, the best one of three) alone, in an isolated field, pasture, or meadow, so as not to ruffle the feathers of any of the official (or self-appointed—we have more than our share of them here...) “virus police.” Also, each entrant could photograph—or better yet, take videos of, including the actual flight or flights themselves—his or her altimeter’s displayed altitude (for the official flight or flights), and then e-mail the images and/or videos to the contest’s headquarters. Postal Contests have been, and are, traditionally done on the honor system, and while I wholeheartedly agree with that, these e-mailed results would also make it quite difficult for any would-be cheater to cheat. Also:

Even more importantly, having the e-mailed images and/or videos (as well as the tabulated contest results) up on a webpage of the contest organization’s website would make the contest more interesting, including to non-space modelers (some of whom—children and adults alike—would be attracted to join our madness...er, hobby and sport! :-) ). Think of the possibilities...even with a, say, two-minute total video time limit per flight, a lot of interesting human-interest material could be included. We could see the people, their homes and flying sites (no doubt including a pretty, grazing or galloping mare or two, in some cases), and even scenes of them building and prepping their models, as well as their flights and recoveries, and:

I imagine (as I told Stuart, regarding the situation in Europe) most aero and space modeling contest and demo activities have been quite restricted—if not verboten—lately (except maybe indoor micro-R/C and microfilm-covered, rubber-powered F/F indoor model airplane contests, held with no spectators and broadcast online). One permitted outdoor exception (it could also be done in space modeling, as described below)—which today’s e-mail, live online audio & video, and website score tabulation would (and already *does*) greatly enhance—would be the old-style national and international “Postal Contests,” often called “Postals” for short (which have long been held by HLG—Hand-Launched Glider [F/F—Free-Flight glider] enthusiasts, see [there are several Postals links here]: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...HRTeDSMQ4dUDCA0 ^AND^ https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...HcYpAFYQ4dUDCAw ). In addition:

Postal Contests are usually held by competing clubs, but they have also been—and could be now—held between ^individual^ fliers hundreds and even thousands of miles apart, in isolated fields, pastures, or meadows. The same thing could be done for space modeling, in contest categories including Streamer Duration, Parachute Duration, Altitude, Spot Landing, Egg-lofting, Drag Racing, Superroc Altitude competition, Boost-Glider altitude and/or duration, Rocket Glider altitude and/or duration, etc. For the judged categories—Sport Scale, Concept Scale (also called Future/Fiction Scale—its contests are usually run using the Sport Scale rules for scale documentation), measured Scale, and Super Scale—the judges could do their judging over the internet. For example:

For Sport Scale contests (in which the models are judged from a distance of 1 meter, with a color photograph [or an officially color-documented black & white photo] being the scale documentation), each entrant could—using a meter stick, or a metric (or dual English/metric) tape measure—photograph his or her model (from, say, two sides, the front, and the rear), with the meter stick or tape measure between the camera and the model—the judges would judge the models using those e-mailed pictures. Measured Scale contests would be handled similarly:

For them, one or more metric rulers would be placed next to the model by the entrant and photographed from multiple directions (two sides, front, rear, etc.)—the ruler or rulers would, to keep everything fair, *not* be printed on paper or cardstock, to prevent that possibility for cheating (*UNLESS* the rulers were all printed and issued by the contest organization, perhaps with serial numbers, to ensure that they weren’t “dimensionally-nudged” copies). Otherwise, any standard, store-bought metric ruler (one of the better-known brands, such as Staedtler-Mars, Starrett, etc.) would be perfectly acceptable. Each entrant’s scale documentation (the drawings, dimensions list, paint scheme documentation, etc.) could also be scanned and e-mailed (or faxed, or even photocopied and postal-mailed [as long as it arrived at the contest headquarters before the contest date]) to the organization running the contest.

I hope this information will be useful.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:25 AM
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Jason,

You do know that the National Rocketry Competition structure currently in place with the NAR only requires two people to have a meet, right? And from there the scores are posted on a national scoreboard . And that one of this year's six events is 1/2A altitude/altimeter...

That's not quite a solo postal contest, but as things are loosened up a bit (here in Washington some counties have already done so, and the rest of us hopefully will get there by the beginning of next month) then small groups - up to 5 initially - can do this.

That said, what you suggest is interesting, indeed.
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Last edited by BEC : 05-13-2020 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Jason,

You do know that the National Rocketry Competition structure currently in place with the NAR only requires two people to have a meet, right? And from there the scores are posted on a national scoreboard . And that one of this year's six events is 1/2A altitude/altimeter...

That's not quite a solo postal contest, but as things are loosened up a bit (here in Washington some counties have already done so, and the rest of us hopefully will get there by the beginning of next month) then small groups - up to 5 initially - can do this.

That said, what you suggest is interesting, indeed.
The "activated text" NAR scorecard link won't open for me. Never having competed in--or even attended--a space modeling contest (and having only skimmed through a quite old copy of the "Pink Book" many years ago), I didn't know any of those things; I'm glad that the minimum number for a "meet quorum" is so small.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:26 PM
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Jason,

Sorry....it appears I muffed the copy/paste of the link. Here it is not hiding behind other words: https://www.nar.org/nrc-scoreboard/

The NAR a couple of years ago completely reformatted competition in an effort to encourage more participation and now, as I say, it only takes a couple of people (and a bit of advance notice to post it on the NAR site) to set up a meet in which any of the NRC events can be flown and scores reported back to this national scorecard.

So it's not quite a solo postal contest, but it's much closer to that than NAR competitions have been in the past.

The jury is still out on whether the reformat has really helped more people do contest events, but it's early yet, and the virus business has reset those efforts both for the NRC contest year and NARAM-62, which has been pushed off until 2021.


(I fixed the link in my other post, too.)
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Old 05-13-2020, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Jason,

Sorry....it appears I muffed the copy/paste of the link. Here it is not hiding behind other words: https://www.nar.org/nrc-scoreboard/

The NAR a couple of years ago completely reformatted competition in an effort to encourage more participation and now, as I say, it only takes a couple of people (and a bit of advance notice to post it on the NAR site) to set up a meet in which any of the NRC events can be flown and scores reported back to this national scorecard.

So it's not quite a solo postal contest, but it's much closer to that than NAR competitions have been in the past.

The jury is still out on whether the reformat has really helped more people do contest events, but it's early yet, and the virus business has reset those efforts both for the NRC contest year and NARAM-62, which has been pushed off until 2021.


(I fixed the link in my other post, too.)
Thank you--it opened for me this time! If nothing else, the reformat removes an excuse from any nervous folks who might say, "I couldn't start or host an event, because one requires more people than I could probably persuade to come." The new arrangement would enable even a single teacher at a school, with just a handful of interested kids, to have an official meet, which sounds like a positive development. (If memory serves, the German version of the Hand-Launched Glider--HLG--Postal Contest Rules [John Kaufmann's book, "Flying Hand-Launched Gliders" https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Se...d+Gliders&isbn= , covers both the "regular" and the German rules] were designed with the same situation in mind--having many fewer participants in a given Postal Contest.)
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:39 PM
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I like 1/2A Altimeter Altitude

I actually don't think postponing NARAM had anything to do with COVID. I think the contest board just wanted to give folks a whole extra year to try to dethrone me from the leader board. It's my own personal conspiracy theory and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:29 PM
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Good grief, Steve - 222 m on a 1/2A. Yeah, I'd say you like it. But watch your six...
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:16 PM
fulldec fulldec is offline
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Default Postal Virtual NARAM

Blackshire,

I just found this thread, great idea. Chris Flanigan and I had put out heads together and are running an unofficial postal Virtual NARAM, much like what you have outlined. We are running all the NARAM-62 events except R&D, which btw included 1/2A Altitude and Sport Scale. The announcement is elsewhere in this section but the details are on the web here:

https://www.nar.org/site/virtual-naram/

Chris has actually run some model rocket postal contests in the past and I have been a contestant in them. They are a great way to fly contests, in a relaxed sort of way. We've tailored the rules to make it about as easy and flexible to participate as possible.

You can participate all by yourself - time your own flight, judge it's safety and adherence to the rules, and email the reuslts in! This means small groups, households and the like can go out whenever they like, as long as they can find a place to fly. It makes it possible to not have to rely on club-size launches that may not be permitted under local restrictions. It also means that folks who would not have been able to travel to the real NARAM can get a taste of nationwide competition!

Of course, this not the actual NARAM, it is just fun reason to practice flying the NRC events that are currently in place plus the addition events that will also be held at NARAM-62 next year.

We are also planning to other NARAM-like activities, such as the Manufacturer's Forum, but do it virtually.

Perhaps you might give it a go?


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Old 06-12-2020, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulldec
Blackshire,

I just found this thread, great idea. Chris Flanigan and I had put out heads together and are running an unofficial postal Virtual NARAM, much like what you have outlined. We are running all the NARAM-62 events except R&D, which btw included 1/2A Altitude and Sport Scale. The announcement is elsewhere in this section but the details are on the web here:

https://www.nar.org/site/virtual-naram/

Chris has actually run some model rocket postal contests in the past and I have been a contestant in them. They are a great way to fly contests, in a relaxed sort of way. We've tailored the rules to make it about as easy and flexible to participate as possible.

You can participate all by yourself - time your own flight, judge it's safety and adherence to the rules, and email the reuslts in! This means small groups, households and the like can go out whenever they like, as long as they can find a place to fly. It makes it possible to not have to rely on club-size launches that may not be permitted under local restrictions. It also means that folks who would not have been able to travel to the real NARAM can get a taste of nationwide competition!

Of course, this not the actual NARAM, it is just fun reason to practice flying the NRC events that are currently in place plus the addition events that will also be held at NARAM-62 next year.

We are also planning to other NARAM-like activities, such as the Manufacturer's Forum, but do it virtually.

Perhaps you might give it a go?


Don Carson
Wow...Thank You (and for the link; I just read it), Don! I can also think of another reason to keep such postal substitute/practice/parallel ("along with" in-person meets) events, even after things have returned to normal. There will always be people who, for various reasons (finances, health, type of job, or individual [or family] business, inability to take enough time off from work [or at the proper time], etc.), will never be able to attend a NARAM or a NARCON, and:

Much like the Boy Scouts of America's long-running--since 1915--Lone Scout program (for physically isolated boys, often in rural areas; the Girl Scouts appear to also have one, see: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...&sclient=psy-ab ^and^ http://www.lonescouting.org/girls.htm ), postal model rocket contests (and even R & D contest events, as well as NARCON activities, which wired, wireless, and wireless satellite internet connections would enable) would enable such isolated children (and isolated adults, who are also interested in competition spacemodeling) to participate.
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Old 06-12-2020, 07:58 AM
fulldec fulldec is offline
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You are most welcome.

I agree with your point and alluded to the same idea in my message(and in our announcements) but did not make that case very strongly.

The fact of the matter is that the newer format of competition, the National Rocketry Competition, or NRC, that Bernard referenced was driven in part to facilitate access to competition by rocketeers with constraints like you point out. In addition to those folks, there are those who go off to college and are removed from most of their supplies, shops and club support. We lose many competitors when they go off to college (for a variety of reasons, of course). Flying the same NRC events year long reduces the number of models you have to build each year. Our busy college students can squeeze in a few flights with a box full of stuff you can store under the bed.

Through the year, these folks can compete in contests with as few as two NAR members, yet they are competing with fellow contestants all across the country. It is essentially an ongoing nationwide postal contest where you can fly over and over to improve your standing.

I think the challenge, in this case, is getting the word out to that world of isolated rocketeers and encouraging them to participate.

The Virtual NARAM is an even more informal event, more of a reason to go out and practice fly. With so many things closed, cancelled, or postponed these days it is good to have something to do.

Don
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