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vcaptmattsmith

Discontinued Aircraft - RTWR Executive Committee Canvassing

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All,From time to time, some of the aircraft used in the race become unavailable to new race participants. This is normally due to the aircraft being discontinued by a developer (freeware or payware) and the model being withdrawn from distribution.Thus the aircraft no longer meets the historical requirement of "publicly available for download or purchase two weeks before the race starts".The Executive Committee has no desire to punish pilots who have legally downloaded or purchased aircraft for use in the race, but we must also maintain the ability for new pilots to compete on an equal footing. We cannot condone copyright violations of providing unlicensed copies of aircraft to team participants.Thus we will likely be forced to establish a list of "Discontinued Aircraft" which will be ineligible for the race.We have no desire to force pilots to verify the availability of their aircraft every year, nor will we condone 'ambush' declarations that an aircraft used in good faith during the race is suddenly ineligible. This process needs to be public and open to discussion by all interested race members.We invite members of the various teams to comment on how the Executive Committee might establish such a list, identify such aircraft, what type of time frame might advisable to notify participants of aircraft ineligibility, etc.Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts!MattFor the Executive Committee


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Matthew Smith, PPL-ASEL

matt@fsrtwrace.com

Chair | Executive Committee

Microsoft Flight Simulator Around-the-World Race | www.fsrtwrace.com

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I think the requirement that an aircraft be "publicly available for download or purchase two weeks before the race starts" is a valid requirement to ensure that teams have equal access to race aircraft.. A fairness issue arises when a discontinued aircraft has a competitive (usually speed) advantage and is not available to all participants. In last years race the Alphasim B-2 was in this category.A problem for the committee is that it is easier to identify the discontinued aircraft "fairness" problem after a plane has been used in the race. The task of building a list in advance of each years race will be time consuming task with the possibility that some aircraft that would qualify as discontinued will not be identified and listed.If the committee decides to create the discontinued aircraft list here is where I would start.

  • Create master list of RTW race aircraft actually flown based on the Duenna logged and posted on the official race tracking site.

  • Identify Payware Aircraft Vendors who have ceased selling/distributing aircraft.
    • Alphasim
    • PSS (Phoenix Simulation Software)

  • Identify discontinued aircraft from those vendors that have been or are likely to be used in the RTWR. Nominate those aircraft as proposed discontinued aircraft. Publish proposed discontinued aircraft to race forums for comment.


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If I buy or download an airplane in 2009 yet it is removed from the 'marketplace' in 2011, why should I be punished for having a perfectly realistic aircraft that met the race rules at the time I obtained the aircraft? If a team (or pilot) didn't download/pay for the same plane prior to its removal from the marketplace then that is a loss for that pilot and that team. In my opinion I would still meet the 'spirit' of the rules and obtained the plane two weeks (in my example 2 years) prior to the start of that years race. The use of the B-2 gave that team an advantage, it is naturally a fast aircraft but it met the rules at the time that pilot obtained that aircraft.We saw the B-2 being used and our team wanted that plane, but couldn't obtain it. In our view it was "illegal" (because we couldn't obtain it) but in reality it was legal (because it was downloaded/purchased well prior to last year's race) just discontinued. In essence we got caught flat footed on considering and evaluating the potential for that aircraft for our race. In fact other teams have used that B2 in past races and I assume it was without objection since it wasn't excluded.The challenge to the B2 may have opened a huge can of worms in regards to other teams paying closer attention to each other and causing a cascade of complaints about this or that minor or major alleged rule violations. I can see the volume of complaints has the potential to pollute the fun for the Committee. I agree that the Committee exists to referee but I also think they need to get involved in the race as pilots too. How can the have fun if their time is spent on a huge volume of complaints? We need to focus on our race, planning and use of aircraft. There are planes in our hangers that have the potential to be placed on the discontinued list. Then that opens another debate as planes get added and pilots get upset and complain about the addition. The added rule of "discontinued aircraft" may limit the involvement of some team members who 1) don't use payware aircraft (like me) but downloaded aircraft that met the rules at the time of download or 2) who spend money on payware that met the 'spirit' of the rule at the time they bought the aircraft.The team that used the B-2, in my opinion, pulled a brilliant, surprise, strategic and legal race move.With that said, I would recommend that the Committee leave the rules as they are. I think more research is needed. Another potential issue becomes who determines what to do when planes that are available in FS9 are not FSX and vice versa? How will that be managed. Until the time can be devoted to that research (maybe a form a sub-committee consisting of one member from each team) I suggest that the Committee add a rule to allow teams to challenge an alleged violation of the rules.My suggestion is:

  • Each team is allowed a certain number of challenges (i.e one or two per continent or one or two for the entire race).
  • The Committee would review the challenge and make a final decision.
  • If a team is correct in their challenge the erroneous team is penalized, per the rule violation that occurred.
  • If the team making the challenge is incorrect then the "challenging" team is assessed a penalty (10, 15 or 20 mins).
  • A team may not challenge if they have no challenges remaining.
  • If a team makes a challenge without any remaining they will be penalized (10, 15, or 20 mins)

The addition of my suggestion would, I think, reduce the volume of "ambush" declarations of rule violations and make teams think about their challenge prior to making the challenge to the Committee. FYI this rule is similar to the National Football League's (NFL) challenge process.Thank you for opening this up for discussion. Good for the spirit of the race!


 

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We saw the B-2 being used and our team wanted that plane, but couldn't obtain it.
The Alphasim B-2 had been flown by members of all teams including Avsim in the past in practice, and on most teams during the race.Long time race participants will remember the Alphasim B-2 was first brought up as an issue in late 2005 as members of one team were observed to be flying it in practice. Further investigation showed the aircraft to be well within the publicly known performance of the real world aircraft.I personally flew the Alphasim B-2 aircraft for a leg as wingman during the 2008 race.It was not a surprise usage of a new to the race aircraft in 2011.I have also flown another 'discontinued' aircraft to with a substantial performance advantage in past races - the FSD C-17. The performance advantage of the C-17 is in low level flight. By design it can reach very high speeds at low level flight. This make the C-17 able to out perform almost any other normally used jet when flying against high speed winds. Keeping the C-17 down near the ground - 1 to 2,000 agl often gains it 15-25 knots over more powerful aircraft higher up.I've been testing other models of both aircraft now available as freeware on the major download sites.One reason I like the C-17 is that it has a huge reverse thrust capability. I've watched real world pilots do training assualt landings at Altus - stopping in less than 1/2 of the 3,500 foot distance of the assualt strip. I can't stop it quite that short, but I can fly it into 2,500 foot strips with no problem.I don't personally like the B-2 because it has no reverse thrust and it can be very easy to overrun a runway less than two miles long.The B-2 is also much more sensitive about landing FPM than the C-17 - again that is the design of the real world aircraft. So folks tend to float for longer distances before touchdown.

MSFS Around-The-World Race Executive Committee Member

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I should also add that one of the big problems for the Executive Committee is the increasing amount of RTW practice being done on private servers, and the lack of pre-race Duenna records to examine.Over the years, we've seen several instances which have raised our eyebrows. A 863 nm flight by a twin engine piston warbird in less than two hours, many aircraft whose flight dynamics allow then to effectively exceed Mach 1, etc.Many of these we've found, others have been pointed out to us.We've been able to deal with these in various ways and have been able to keep them from negatively impacting the race.But as teams moved to private practice sessions, it becomes impossible for us to keep up with what the teams are planning, what they are practicing with, what 'tricks' a team might have discovered.Since Executive Committee members do not actively participate in team pre-race practices and planning, we miss a lot. Last year I was approached about using aircraft with altered flight dynamics by a fellow who wanted to fly faster. I appreciate that input. I don't know if I would have caught it on my own had he attempted to use those aircraft in practice.Had the practice been on an open forum, someone would have noticed.There has always, at least as long as I've been involved with the race, a determined search for the fastest aircraft. But the fastest aircraft has never been the key to winning.The key is good flying. Making the flights, making the landings, no crashes, no mental mistakes.Forgetting to start Duenna is still a major problem. It costs teams time every year. Choosing to force a leg to the maximum possible length by flying into a very questionable airport. Those are the things which lose the race. Not aircraft choice.Yes, teams have to have people who can fly fast aircraft like the Mustang P-51H and the dh Hornet. But flying skills are still critical. Fast aircraft cannot overcome mistakes.


MSFS Around-The-World Race Executive Committee Member

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The key is good flying. Making the flights, making the landings, no crashes, no mental mistakes.
That, Sir, is indeed the truth!BRGDSSven

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What is the deal with discontinued aircraft 'models' ??? How does this affect any model entrant as long as it's specifications meet real world and the model cannot physically exceed it without breaking up - well FSX will break it - FS2004 will not.I am for a 70/30 ratio of free to payware and dont feel that just because a model was discontinued pay to go free that disallowing it into RTW is an issue; did I miss something?Blake


Keep The Shiny Side Up And The Greasy Side Down !

 

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