The Team SA races are the ones that I do about 95% of the time. These races come under two main categories, weekly races and challenges. The weekly races are intended for practice (and having fun!) There is one race per week. In the past, each pilot was allowed three tries with the best out of three counting for the final score. Recently this has been increased from three to five tries. I believe this was done partly to discourage “cheating.” The race organizers have stipulated that practicing off-line is not allowed and consider it cheating. It may be a worthy ideal but I’m afraid that this may be a rule that is often abused since there is no way of enforcing it and it is incredibly easy to do. But with five tries now allowed, there is plenty of opportunity to make any practice runs, official attempts.
The challenges are a series of two to eight races occurring two times per week. Each pilot is allowed only one try. For both weekly races and challenges, complete information for the race is posted on the Condor SA website well in advance of the race starting date. In fact, race information is available for the whole series of races from before the series begins, throughout and after the series ends. This is different from most “serious” races where race information is received an hour before race start. The intention for the SA race format was to give people a better opportunity to participate then they would have with the “serious” race format. Indeed, this and the corresponding reduction of pressure, are what make these races so appealing to me.
I’m writing this article to document the steps that I take to prepare for a race. I use a Compaq iPaq (thanks to a generous gift from my brother Aaron) to supplement the iPaq simulator in Condor. I find the two to be complementary. I’m not a sophisticated user yet, but being able to see the wind direction relative to your direction of travel is a great asset in itself.
The first step in my race preparation is usually to enter the task information into SeeYou PC and then to transfer it to SeeYou Mobile. I outline the steps below.
First I go to the Team SA web site and select the current race. Here is the race information for the race that I will participate in today. I have had all week to make as many as five attempts, but I have not yet made any attempt and have only the remainder of today to do so.
The map is too small, and it’s awkward to resize. The canvas size cannot be resized either. After I get this information I open SeeYou PC and enter the task there.
- Click on the Add Task icon. “Unknown Type of Task” will appear in the description column. Use your mouse to Right Click on it and choose task properties.
- Enter the description for this task in the Description field of the properties window and click OK.
- Type Alt-1 to change to map view in Tasks mode. Enter the waypoints one by one by right clicking on the map and clicking Add Waypoint Here. You don’t even need to be in the correct location on the map because you’re going to copy and paste the latitude/longitude coordinates from the flight plan into the Latitude and Longitude entry area in the properties window.
- Copy and paste the coordinates from the flight plan web page to the Latitude and longitudes fields above. I find the easiest way to paste is to select all but the ‘N’ or ‘E’ and then paste the coordinate that you copied. You may have to fill in zeros at the end of the coordinate.
- Type Alt-3 to change to list view.
- Click in the “name” field just to the right of Take Off. Start typing the name of the take off until it finds the full name of the take off point that you added. Use the down arrow to go to the name field for Start and repeat.
- Repeat for all of the turn points.
- After you do the last turn point, down arrow to the next blank turnpoint, then type Ctrl-Del to delete each of the unused turn points.
- Correct the Finish name and the Landing name if necessary.
- Type Alt-1 to return to map view. If you have completed all of the steps properly, you should see the task in its proper geographical location.
- It might be a good idea to double check the coordinates and altitudes in the waypoint properties. There may be some very slight discrepancies in coordinates even if you typed everything correctly, but don’t be concerned about that.
You now have the complete task entered in SeeYou. If you have an iPaq with SeeYou Mobile installed on it, you can now transfer the task information to your iPaq memory card using the Mobile Wizard in SeeYou PC.
- Exit SeeYou Mobile and remove the SD Card. Put it in your PC’s card reader.
- In SeeYou PC select File/Mobile Wizard or type Ctrl-F9.
- I select all Items except for Airspace since it doesn’t figure in Team SA races. Other races do honor airspace restrictions, so select accordingly. “Automatically open wizard when
connected to device” should be unchecked.
- Type the race name in the “Files basename” field—in this case “Lienz 141”.
- Fill in the drive letter of your card reader plus Databases in the Copy to My Computer field: j:\Databases. Click Next. A message will pop up saying settings will not be written to the mobile device. They’ll be written to the devices memory card instead.
- Now you’ll see a map where you will select an area which will include the task area. The easiest way to handle this job is to drag from the corners to enlarge the map to the size of your screen. If you are nowhere near the task site, zoom way out on the map to get a big picture and move quickly from one continent to another if necessary. You can do this with the scroll wheel on your mouse or use the zoom icon in the upper right of the screen. I actually find it easier to use the icon instead of the scroll wheel if I need to zoom out a lot. Once you are zoomed out sufficiently, click at the edge of the map in the direction that you want to move to. You’ll see a big arrow pointing in that direction and you’ll move in that direction each time you right click. If you need to move a long way you can hold down the left mouse button and it will repeat the motion so that you can scroll quickly. Center the area of interest and then zoom in, adjusting your position as you do if necessary. Once you have identified all the points of your task, select the desired area by left clicking with the mouse in one corner and dragging to the opposite corner. Be sure that you include all the waypoints with enough extra in case it’s necessary to fly beyond any of the turn points. At the same time, don’t select any more area than necessary. This will increase performance in SeeYou Mobile. Now click Next, then Finished.
- Be sure to eject the card or card reader by clicking on the device icon in the system tray. If you don’t do this, it’s possible to cause data corruption on the card.
- Insert the card back into the memory slot in the iPaq and start SeeYou Mobile.