Competition readyness

Everything competitions.
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AgeingHippy
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:11 pm

Competition readyness

Post by AgeingHippy » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:21 pm

Hi All

With the interesting post regarding the BP cup coming to the Dales, and with a bunch of our own going to the Chabre Open (at least 6 paid up as far as I'm aware) this has got me thinking...

I'm wondering at what point one could be considered ready for competitions. I am led to believe participating does wonders for your learning and they sound quite interesting as well. The Chabre open specifically states it is aimed at competition virgins and the BP Cup indicates it is a friendly stess free comp.

I'm just starting my foray into XC, with 10km in Spain last year and 12, 11 and 25.7km in Porterville this year. Still CP rated but have the intention of getting my pilot rating by the end of Q2.

I am considering entering the B group at Buttermere and maybe even the Lakes Classic, but these two I feel are well outside of my ability. Possibly try them next year once I have managed to add 80 hours under my belt in 2019 :P

My biggest fear is the crowded skies on start...

What do those of you who have stepped or are in the process of stepping into the competition world have to say about readyness. How do you cope with the crowded skies on start and what thought process or preparation did you go through.

Ta
Charles McDonald

Martin Baxter
Posts: 1399
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Competition readyness

Post by Martin Baxter » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:42 pm

I have moved your post from the General Discussions forum to the Competitions one. I hope that makes sense.

My first piece of advice would be to achieve you pilot rating before even thinking about entering formal competitions. That's the basic qualification that you need to fly XC. (There are exceptions: you can fly in the BCC as a CP but only if you have been fully briefed on airspace and are supervised by a coach. You can also have a go at the Northern Challenge Trophy as long as you stay 'within range' of the normal landing field.) This might seem a bit tiresome but it's important to understand where you can (and can't) fly, and landing out can be challenging at times.

Once you get to Pilot Rating then feel free to dip your toes into the competition scene. The LCC, BPCup, GWO and Chabre all come highly recommended. You will learn a lot just by being there, even if you don't fly. BUT (and it's a very big BUT) beware of competition pressure. You may have travelled a long way and paid a lot of money to be there but the normal safety rules still apply. If you don't feel happy then don't take off. Take-offs are likely to be crowded when the window first opens but you're not going to win your first competition, so it may be better to hang around a bit until things quieten down. Things can also get a bit stressful in the first thermal as everyone tries to climb out or maintain position before the start. Again my advice would be to let the top guns get away - if it's a slow day they will be marking the thermals for you all the way round. Be especially wary on scratchy days with intermittent thermals blowing through. Competing in light conditions in busy airspace can be very intimidating.

Get your Pilot Rating. Enter any of the above mentioned competitions. Beware competition 'horns'. Enjoy.

aeros
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: Competition readyness

Post by aeros » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:52 am

I'd go along with all of Martin's excellent advice.

A couple of things you may consider, especially as the two BPC rounds and the LCC are almost on your doorstep.

Don't enter, but feel free to simply visit to see what it's all about, how crowded is it (usually no more than a normal good flying day), what sort of tasks are set, weather and site briefings .... and basically how relaxed it is. You can often learn quite a lot by just being on the hill around people, listening, observing and talking with piots. Nothing prevents you doing your usual flying either.

Why not look at a few NCT tasks, just as a focus for your days flying. The majority are deliberately designed to include CP pilots as they are site based. The other big thing is they get you into setting up tasks on instruments and learning the task navigation skills - essential before you enter any comp.
Have you checked out the rules and guidelines ... they explain it all.

Personally, I would avoid the big Euro fun comps for now ... in my opinion having done lots - they are NOT FUN for some pilots. There are often up to 130 pilots milling around a start gate for up to an hour. That is stressful for anyone, but if you're not used to it, it can freak you out - I've known many go and land. These comps are not cheap either once you factor in insurance, accom, air fares, car hire, entry.

Finally, to ALL local pilots, a plug for the BPC. It's got two round on your doorstep plus an xc bonus round. You'll learn a lot, it's very friendly - it puzzles me that 95%+ of local pilots don't want to get involved. If your aim is to be a better pilot then here's an opportuntity.

aeros
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: Competition readyness

Post by aeros » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:29 am

BPC - all rounds now full.

You can go on a waiting list however .. and hope.

AgeingHippy
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Competition readyness

Post by AgeingHippy » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:08 pm

I have just registered and paid for the Lakes Charity CLassic, B group.

Would be nice to know if any other Dales pilots are signed on :-)
Charles McDonald

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