Updated: Mar 5, 2020
This project has so far taken us to Tolmin - Slovenia, St Jean Montcalm - France and for this the 3rd BGD Weightless we come to Roldanillo in Colombia, for those that don't know about it yet, The BGD Weightless is aimed to try to eliminate the need for people to carry a ridiculous amount of ballast while flying the lightest aircraft available. It's pretty disappointing that people have flying gear that can be under 10kg and then carry 10kgs or more of ballast. In addition we are trying to help improve pilot skills during the event with evening debriefs after each task.
Behind the scenes work is in progress to design a scoring system that allows smaller pilots to be competitive with heavier ones. There have been many topics over the years about the advantages that larger pilots have over smaller ones so this is an attempt to find a solution to this disadvantage.
What is MRT? For this edition Multiple Radius Turn points (MRT) were introduced meaning that we had 10 groups of pilots divided into weight categories, pilots over 130kg AUW being group 0 which meant that these pilots would fly the entire route as it was written up on the task board, each subsequent group would multiply their group number by 100m and add this to the selected MRT turn points. These proved to be only really effective when you had multiple way points with over 90 deg turns to the next point and for safety reasons we tried not to use them at the beginning of the race where collisions would be more likely to occur with pilots turning at random moments.
Eg: --------Task------- Group 0 Group 5 Group 10 start 3.5km 3.5km 3.5km 3.5km 3.5km TP1 25km MRT 25km 25.5km 26km TP2 1400m MRT 1400m 2100m 2400m TP3 3000m MRT 3000m 3500m 4000m ESS 2km 2km 2km 2km 2km Goal 400m 400m 400m 400m 400m
Blue: line alone points Purple: group 0 Green: group 10 Above you can see a visual of what this would look like for each groups individual case in Naviter.Seeyou. We can see that, the green pilots will be flying a fairly large distance less than the purple pilots.
A Change of Strategy? It turns out that on some days having to fly further was an advantage for me as a bigger pilot, if I had not flown all the way to the group 1 cylinder i would not have found a strong climb to speck out and head for the next turn point, although saying that if i had turned earlier I would have probably had the height to get to a thermal along the course line closer towards the following way point allowing me to earn more lead points.
One main thing that I noticed as a by-product of the MRT in my own approach to flying the tasks was that I would be racing a little bit faster than on a typical task as I was never quite sure who was in what group, which meant I didn't know when they would tag the turn-point and turn to be in the lead.
Over the week there had been a few times that I had relaxed a bit too much and when I still had 400m to the TP a Zeno pilot that I was flying next to had already turned and was flying downwind to the next TP, once I had finally tagged the point the Zeno was not only already over 1km further down the course line but had a fairly big advantage in glide and speed over me even with a smaller sized wing. Having this constant uncertainty it was an additional motivator to push out in front whenever possible to try and maintain a steady flow of lead points that might save me if I miscalculate a pilots group and lose time points or get overtaken by a faster wing on final glide. To a certain extent it reminded me of flying Elapsed time tasks, where each pilot is timed individually from the moment they started the speed section rather than a set time, this would make it difficult to know if and by how much you were ahead and how to strategize in your favour.
Will MRT be the solution for smaller pilots? Personally, I think a variation of MRT with the right formula behind it has the potential to help counteract issues small pilots have faced from the beginning of racing paragliders. There will need to be a more complex ways to allocate the points or groups used. Taking only the pilots starting weight is too limited as you can have 2 pilots of the same size with one flying a low En-B and the other a 2 liner which then forms an additional advantage for the smaller pilot on the 2 liner. For the MRT to be a more reliable system we would need to take into account a combination of take off weight, Glider class/performance and Pilot experience. One major factor that has come across in all of the editions of the BGD Weightless is that pilot skill and experience level plays a very large part of the equation.
A Great Week of Racing
What a week we had, we flew 6 out of 6 tasks plus a great training day with most tasks in the mid 50 kms, covering areas north, east and west of Roldanillo. Conditions ranged from overcast and weak during the first day that took a lot of patience and efficiency to stay up, to typical booming convergence lines along both the main mountains and in the flats, to rough disorganised conditions that took a lot of focus to find which way the lift was moving to get into the core.
The conditions were fairly tricky compared to what is normally here in the Cauca Valley with the pacific winds hitting earlier than expected or forecast on several days. For me personally the highlight was arriving into goal about 20 mins before the next wing on an overcast, difficult, slow and weak 57 km first task.
Here we can see a typical mix of what Colombia has to offer, Rain, Fire and cloud streets.
During the week we were rewarded with some amazing views especially during the pre-start time with the variable cloud base allowing some pilots to surf the sides of the clouds 3-400m higher than base while still staying out of the clouds, at least most of them. Here are a few shots from one of those days.
Here I am all alone for about 20 mins trying to hide and not be noticed by anyone.
About 20 mins before the start i was joined by some other pilots with Bruce getting some shots of Andy, both flying the CURE 2
A Great time in the Cauca Valley It has been a great experience to be part of the organisation team once again for this event, we hope that all the pilots enjoyed themselves and learnt a thing or two about flying XC, Thermalling or competition flying. A highlight of the even for me as with most places I visit is the interaction with the locals. Here i have a great bunch of kids that kept me company on a walk out after bombing out 300m from goal.
Final Results Female Class
1. Daria Krasnova (RUS), UP Kangri, 2833 points 2. Magdalena Pawlak (POL), Niviuk Artik, 2555 points 3. Mariaalejandra Mejia (COL), BGD Cure, 2140 points
Leisure Class (EN B and below)
1. Kay Kuehne (GER), Ozone Swift 5, 3036 points 2. Daria Krasnova (RUS), UP Kangri, 2833 points 3. Edward Browne (GBR), Gin Carrera, 2814 points
Sports Class (EN C and below)
1. Bruce Goldsmith (GBR), BGD Cure 2, 4676 points 2. Stan Radzikowski (GBR), Gin Bonanza 2, 4290 points 3. Pavel Titov (RUS), 777 Queen 2, 3772 points 4. Schuyler Heath (USA), Flow Fusion, 3296 points 5. Andy Smart (GBR), BGD Cure 2, 3082 points
Serial Class (EN D and below)
1. Bruce Goldsmith (GBR), BGD Cure 2, 4676 points 2. Stan Radzikowski (GBR), Gin Bonanza 2, 4290 points 3. Surzmyshyn Taras (UKR), Ozone Mantra M7, 4014 points 4. Pavel Titov (RUS), 777 Queen 2, 3772 points 5. Frode Graff (NOR), Ozone Mantra M7, 3693 points
Super (Overall) Class
1. Bruce Goldsmith (GBR), BGD Cure 2, 4676 points 2. Stan Radzikowski (GBR), Gin Bonanza 2, 4290 points 3. Serghei Nebesnii (MDA), Ozone Zeno, 4054 points 4. Surzmyshyn Taras (UKR), Ozone Mantra M7, 4014 points 5. Didier Desaintetienne (FRA), Ozone Zeno, 3988 points Stan Radzikowski Thermalling, XC and Comp Progression Courses Instagram: @stanradzikowski firstname.lastname@example.org