FAQ for using the Online Contest:
What is OLC?
The On Line Contest is a free internet site that keeps track of glider flights made all over the world. The OLC site takes flight logs submitted by individual pilots and scores them automatically. The flight is then posted on the OLC web site which automatically sorts and ranks the flight by date, individual, country, SSA region, club membership, etc, and the site keeps a running total of points earned during the year in several categories. All flights and statistics are then available for view by the glider community. Additionally you may down load a specific flight log to your computer where it can be replayed in very high detail.
Who may participate?
The answer is anyone. Student pilots, new pilots, journeymen pilots, and world class racers, all participate in the OLC. Last year there were 1527 glider pilots in the U.S. and Canada who logged flights on the OLC.
What can I fly? Do I need a super ship?
Any glider maybe used. The automatic scoring system on OLC handicaps each glider by specific make and model, using the sports class handicap system. The club’s SGS 1-26 B has a handicap of .61 which means that you get 13.9 miles credit for flying 10 miles. Compare that to the Club’s Open Cirrus 17.5 which is handicapped at 1.02, which means for every 10 miles you fly you get 9.8 miles credit. Even the 2-33 has a handicap of .54 which is a 46% bonus. A super ship like the LS8 has a handicap of 1.14, which means it must fly 11.4 miles to get 10 miles credit. So maybe the clubs 1-26 is a super ship after all.
How does this works in practice? For you to earn the minimum 50 points (one kilometer equals one point) in the 1-26 you would have to fly 18.5 miles total distance. For the Cirrus to get 50 points it would need to fly 32 miles total distance to get the same 50 points. The LS8 (18) would have to go 35.5 miles (17 more miles than a 1-26 or almost twice the distance) to get 50 points.
What do I need to log a flight?
All you need to do is take a GPS logger with you when you fly. Many club members use a GPS capable smart phone with a free soaring app. There are numerous inexpensive PDA/GPS systems, as well as very upscale soaring specific devices. Many of our members are using a “homemade” system combining a mini e-reader with a GPS chip and free software, that is very functional and inexpensive. However the club already owns a full function GPS portable logger that any member may use.
Is it that simple?
Almost, don’t be confused by thinking it is the same procedure as the SSA badge flight requirements. For OLC you do not need to declare a flight, have an official observer or do any paper work before or after your flight. Just take your “logger” or the club’s logger with you. The club’s logger is self contained with a GPS and barograph built in. It has its own built in battery and is about the size of a small paperback book. The logger records your flight either to an internal memory or to a SD card inserted in the logger. Turn it on and put it in the glider, go fly.
You do have to tell the club logger who you are before you take off. You need to set it up by connecting it to a lap top computer and entering you name in the loggers data base. Or, you can obtain a personally owned SD card (less that $10) that you set up one time with a file that shows your name and a few simple data points. Using this SD card option you simply put the SD card in the logger and turn it on. That’s it, go fly.
Where and how do I have to fly, what about the rules, and what about turn points?
Fly any place or any way you want. Fly like you normally do. There is no requirement as to what you have to do, or route to fly, or time limit, that’s up to you. You can use turn points if you want as a personal challenge but you don’t have to. Just go fly, OLC will figure out your points based on very simple rules. If you want to maximize your score, understanding the scoring system helps, but at first just go fly.
What do I do after the flight?
The logger has recorded you flight in detail. Depending on what device you are using and where you chose to store the flight log, will determine how you “get it out” of the logger. If you used the internal memory of your device you need to connect the logger to a lap top, PDA, or smart phone and down load the flight log to your computer. If you used a SD card, the flight is stored on the SD card. Just take the card out and at some point you or another club member with a computer can down load the flight from the SD card. If you’re using your own smart phone it will send it directly to OLC at your command.
How do I post my flight to OLC?
To put your flight on OLC, you log onto the OLC web site and up load the flight log to the site. The first time you do this you will need to register your name, club affiliation, and country you live in with the OLC. It is free and pretty simple. OLC will automatically add your flight as an individual achievement and to the clubs record. Any of the other participating members can help you with this, but once you see how to do it, you should be able to post your flights by yourself.
How is it scored?
OLC automatically scores your flight. When you post your flight the site calculates a score for your flight based on one kilometer distance equals one point. The program automatically selects up to six “legs” to figure distance flown and adds a bonus for the largest FAI triangle that fits into the flight.
Let’s take an imaginary flight in the Clubs 1-26. You take off, and manage to fly south down to the quarry by ABL. That’s as far as you’re comfortable with in the 1-26 today, so you turn around and head north up to Sacred Heart hospital at the narrows. After that you fly south to Cresaptown and then north east over the city to the new hospital by the community college. Finally, you wander west to the Mall and then land back at Cumberland. At no time were you more than 4.5 miles from the airport.
That imaginary flight covered 31.2 miles or 50.8 kilometers in six “legs”. With the 1-26 handicap of .61 the flight would score 70 points plus a bonus of 8.5 points for your flight outlining a triangle area between turning points for a total score of 78.5 points. If you can make it to the mall and back in a glider on a good day, you can do this.
OK, so what’s the point?
That is up to you. As I have said before members who have started to log their flights become very enthusiastic about it. Ask any of the members who use it. You can see how your soaring compares to other members of the club, the region, the U.S. and to all the other glider pilots on the planet. Your flights contribute to the national ranking of the club and raises our clubs visibility in the soaring community. You can see what others have done on the same day in the same soaring conditions. But most of all you might find a real feeling of achievement and growth as a glider pilot as you progress to higher scores and faster speeds.
With some additional free software you can view your flight in 2D, 3D or in Google earth, as well as view other club members flights from that day simultaneously with yours. Now you can show your spouse, children, and friends what you did at the airport. The “You should have seen, there I was” factor alone is worth the effort.
Even cursory study of your flights, will improve your skill level in the sport. It will vastly stretch your personal horizon as to what is possible and even routine in the soaring sport.
OK, I’m in, but I need help.
Contact anyone who is currently participating and ask them for more details. They will walk you through the process step by step, just ask.
The OLC web page is here:http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/daily.html?df=&c=US&sc=&rt=olc&st=olc&sp=2012
This will remind you why you loved soaring in the first place.