Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

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Mike.MacKuen
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Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Mike.MacKuen » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:25 am

At the moment, the future of the Round the World Race is in doubt. Many pilots have expressed a view that the event has run its course. So retiring the honored RTWR before it dies of neglect might be the right thing to do.

As that famous philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said, "If people wanna stay away, ya can't stop 'em."

Other pilots have expressed some interest in maintaining or reviving the event. So the least we can do is ask for suggestions that might make the event more fun for everyone.

A caution. Some pilots would prefer a simple straightforward baton relay event with minimal distractions. Others would prefer a return to the more varied and multidimensional challenges that characterized the events of a couple of years ago. So some compromise is necessary lest the event lose one faction or the other.

We would like to hear everyone's views about the future and how we might make things better. Without your ideas and enthusiasm and participation, the Race will end. So its future lies in your hands.

Please help if you can.
Mike MacKuen, Executive Committee

robert41
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by robert41 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:33 am

A couple of things to mention for the RTW race.
Lets start with the rules. Not the fact that they are simple or complex, but that the rules could be wrote in a easier to understand way.
Aircraft selection. Perhaps adding more jets. And for use in regular, non special, legs.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Spookster67 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:13 pm

Firstly, I'll say that I'd be really disappointed if the race came to an end. I don't get to spend much time on Flight Simming, but I do look forward to it, and I usually try to participate in whatever events come along in the autumn or Christmas period, as a way of getting back into it and reminding myself how to fly the planes fast!

This year's race was probably one of the simplest, in terms of aircraft variety and number of special flying challenges. (5 types: big jets; regional jets; mil jets; thoroughbreds; regulars, plus 4 challenges: team; formation; Extra 300; KingAir 350). I think it doesn't need to be simplified any further, and I'd welcome a return to some of the "slower" special challenges we've had previously (e.g. VinFiz; Tri-planes; helicopters; sea boats) as long as we don't over-complicate things. As you say, we need to find a compromise position that keeps most people happy, if not everyone.

The other part of the race I really enjoy is the route planning challenge. Again, I think this year's rules were reasonably simple in that regard, without being too simple. And again, if there was a move in future to a slightly more complex route setting challenge, then I'd welcome that. One of the most interesting sets of routing rules was the year in which we only uncovered the full set of requirements as we progressed around the world. However, I suspect that (a) that was very complex for the Exec Committee to design, and (b) teams would need more resource than they have available to both fly and route plan simultaneously. It probably isn't something to consider for next year.

From a personal perspective, I appreciated the earlier start (Friday evening for US pilots, but midnight for me in the UK) because it meant less disruption to my working week on the Monday/Tuesday than has been the case previously. I'd predicted a 62 hour race, but in fact it was done in about 57-58 hours, as a result of the higher average flying speed of the allowed aircraft types (and some good tail winds). If future races were a little longer that would be OK, but I would still like to see it finish on Monday rather than run into Tuesday.

A key part to the sustainability of the event is the attraction of some new pilots by all the teams. That needs to start soon for next year's race, and not be left until the last couple of months before. If we had a concerted attempt at marketing the online racing concept to other Flight Simming communities in the summer/autumn, perhaps by getting them involved in an autumn event that has similar concepts (use of duenna, etc) then that might be a good way of introducing them to the full demands of the RTW race a few months later.

Finally, I hope Frank (ponchovilla), a FlightSim.com rookie pilot this year, doesn't mind me quoting him, from a post over at their forum. It gives me a lot of encouragement that we can and should find new pilots who will enjoy the race!
ponchovilla wrote:Congratulations everybody! What a great race, and what a great team we had this year! A big thank you to everybody for all your encouragement, advice, and support. This has been, without a doubt, an immensely satisfying experience.
Let's keep this race going! :)
Martin Ward.
Race Committee Member. Race pilot FSRTW Race 2009-2019.

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cbtaylor
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by cbtaylor » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:43 pm

The biggest draw for me is the team comraderie and dynamics. I really enjoy the international diversity of our Avsim group, and appreciate those of the other teams as well. Now that great strides are being made to include FSX:SE and Prepar3d users, perhaps we can find a way (if it doesn't exist already) for all three platforms to fly online together. I think removing barriers to participation should be of primary concern if we want to continue the event.

I concur with what Robert41 posted about the rules. Having seen them now "from the inside" as a Duty Officer and Racemaster, I feel like they are just as hard to enforce, sometimes, as they are to interpret. The rules, and the FAQs that go along with them, could be made less inscrutable, I think. That might make some who have watched from the sidelines take a more interested look.

I think the Duenna could be promoted in a more positive light, and Martin's (Spookster67) point about having it used for an event or two during the off season would go far to make it seem less onerous and more useful for folks. Eamonn's site really shines, and the race tracker fed by the Duenna is the heart of it now. Using it for other events (such as the recent MacRobertson last fall) would be a great way to show it off. I also think it would be great to find a way to rely on the online tracking without needing to post duenna files to the race forums, and just use the forums for baton handoffs.

Also concur with Martin's points about the race timing. I thought the Friday evening start worked well, as did finishing no later than Monday. I remember some races going as late as Wednesday (or even a Thursday once), which places very hard demands on teams to field pilots. I think a long weekend is about all any of us can manage these days.

It might also be of benefit to add back in the old kick-off style events. I think those were a good way for teams to ease in the new participants and get them acclimated to the race format and pressures that a lot of us have become accustomed to. The "Berlin Airlift" and the "Hollywood Premier" are both good examples, where they didn't take up all that much time, used aircraft that were fairly easy to fly and that everyone had at least one default model.

OK, I've rambled on enough. Hope to see everyone again next year!

Warm regards,
Craig

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fsxar177
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by fsxar177 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:28 am

Firstly,
The Race must go on!

This is the longest held tradition in flightsim, and the most intense event as well! Much fun!

We do need to seriously re-think the rules, and how they are expressed. Too much is repeated, and said in a way that forces us to read the FAQ to clarify. These documents need to me merged, and condensed. Absolute MUST. This is the most glaring fault in the event. Pentalites should be for rules infractions, not for failure to complete special items. If we want special items, that's great. But it shouldn't be mandatory to complete those, to have a good chance at winning. Have special awards, if need be, for special items.

I really appreciate all that Eamonn has done, to streamline the event. The site worked flawlessly. Everything was easy to find here, and that was great. And the new duenna was outstanding! +1

If we had the rules/required airports published 2-3 weeks out, rather than 1 week, that would be huge. We barely had the time to plan, only completing our plan late into Thursday.

I took a week off work for this event. Not so much because I had to, but because that's what it took to win.. really. It took a lot of time as team captain to digest the rules, assist in forming a plan, and to prepare for race master operations. It really does take a lot.

There's a couple directions we can go..

I offer that we retire the current committee, in favor of the teams electing new members. (Including those teams that may be added next year).

These new elect's, could form a direction for the race to go in 2016, a direction that maintains the integrity of the original event, but also a direction that continues to streamline the event to be more user-friendly.

I'm afraid we cannot achieve these new goals, without fresh blood in the committee. Rob, Mike, and Ed, this is nothing against you gents in personal. You guys have served well, and hard.

With Eamonn's help, a new committee could revive this event into what it needs to be in the future.

Best regards,
Joseph
FSX Air Sports Association
http://www.fsxairsports.com

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ponchovilla
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by ponchovilla » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:19 am

I've finally thrown my hat into the ring and there's talk about the Race dying off? Oh, HELL no! I worked myself to where my jeans are a lot more baggy in the back, and I'll contribute what I can to help make the Race a better event for all.
The rules and FAQ's need to be streamlined, that's for sure. I was in Max Prep Mode for six weeks -SIX WEEKS!- and at least a few times during the Race I was asking my Teammates, "Am I legal?" C'mon, it has to be more simple than this!
One thought for a Kickoff event: New pilots fly appx. 50NM from an airport of their choice to the starting point with a veteran pilot, Baton or Wingman, in the default Cessna 172. No big hurry, no pressure, just a sort of "Welcome to the RTW, glad to have you here!" Maybe it would help to shake out most of the remaining butterflies.
Another thought is a supersonic jet leg, with F-4, F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18 or similar. One leg only. Might help to roll back the finish time on the Race.
Thought for Team Flight BONUS schedule: +0:30=0 min, 0:10-0:30=1 min bonus, 0:01-0:09=5 min bonus, 0:00=10 min bonus. Tweak the numbers, but good flying should be rewarded.
Just throwing some thoughts out to see if any portion of it even partially sticks.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by PhantomTweak » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:29 am

May I be permitted, let me be the third, fourth, ninth, whatever to request a Rules simplification. We aren't lawyers, and shouldn't need one to interpret them for the average line pilot. It can be daunting to try and get through that much legaleze at all, let alone in less than a week, meanwhile trying to learn the inricacies of new aircraft (new to me anyway, and I still need a lot of practice on some). Publish the routing requirements, rules, and aircraft lists a little farther ahead to give us a chance to try and do more than a fam-flight in some aircraft, and for the team's leadership to get the planning locked down. Also, make special events/legs for a bonus, to subtract from the team's over-all time, if they need/want them, or to help offset penalties which should, IMO, be for Rules violations alone.
Possibly get a "social media" site to advertize the Race. They are the way of the future, like it or not. Get a Facebook account and start blaring the joys of this Race to anyone who wants to listen. Put up selected screen-shots, Pireps, whatever. The more who bother to take a look at such things, and they are legion, the more chance for A) larger teams, and B) More teams. To me, it would be like taking a billboard out on a busy highway. Not everyone may take a second look who sees it, but there will be a lot more to see it at all than if you have a sign on a club's building on a back road or downtown street. And the more that even see it...
Another thought is a supersonic jet leg, with F-4, F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18 or similar.
I wish to throw out a screaming YES to that idea. I love flying such aircraft, I really do. And I know I am not alone, so THAT idea, by it's self would be a draw.
Same with helicopters. The Hovercontrol website has a few thousand great choppers. The rest are not slackers in the area either.
Maybe a leg, or special BONUS event, for the amphibs: They PBY, Grumman Goose, Cessna 208 type birds. I realize it would actually have to be two legs, one for land-to-water, one for water-to-land. Open Ocean only, lakes shorter than X feet, only thus and such a waterway between this and that point, whatever. Or perhaps a single leg, with a waterside airport serving as the arrival airport for the previous leg, and a waterside airport for the take-off for the next leg, but the amphibs have to launch from the water adjascent to it. Maybe require they start up at the land and then waddle off into the water for take off/landing. Or that the airport have a amphibian parking dock on it, so it serves both amphibs and land-only aircraft. That opens up the team's choices a lot as such airports are legion in Canada and Alaska. That way, the amphibian can be waiting on it's "runway" the way the land-based planes wait at the ends of their runway for the baton trade-off.
I'm just throwing ideas as they come to me. If I think of more, and thinking is not my strong suit, I'll put them in here.
Pat☺
Fly high, fly far, and fly free!
Pat Bernard
2S7, Chiloquin, Or
Sgt, USMC, Inactive Duty,
10 years Proud Service

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ponchovilla
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by ponchovilla » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:50 am

Finally, I hope Frank (ponchovilla), a FlightSim.com rookie pilot this year, doesn't mind me quoting him, from a post over at their forum. It gives me a lot of encouragement that we can and should find new pilots who will enjoy the race!
Quote me all you want. If I throw it out there for everybody to see, it's fair game.

Congratulations to everyone who flew in the Race this year. To have all three teams reach the finish within about a half hour of each other is a real testament to all the preparation, planning and piloting that everybody puts into this Race each year.

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Rob Osborne
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Rob Osborne » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:11 am

Joseph,

Remember what Cody @ A2A (CodyValkyrie) said to you a couple months ago?

Apparently there is a pattern here that I'm not aware of. Just keep in mind that most of the people here are quite educated and are detail aficionados. You can't create a thread like a charging bull and not expect people to take issue with how you went about it. If I didn't have passion for people like Scott and Lewis, and the whole A2A team, I wouldn't have spent the time even responding to these off kilter remarks.

http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtop ... 30#p333594

I made a joke about your "charging bull" behaviour over at AVSIM in your Dear RTW Committee 2015 thread... but you just don't get it. Once again here you are with your "off kilter remarks" (to put it mildly). There are guys here who have been running / attempting to improve the race for what... a decade plus. And you started last year?... and decide they need to go? The idea being what? So you can be on the Exec Committee and mold it into the race you think it should be?

At the very least, try to assume a hint of humility. A simple suggestion could have been, "Would the Exec Committee be willing to take a one-race hiatus? Each team would submit a name to the current exec. committee for their approval" etc. I could not possibly imagine the "unmitigated gall" even to suggest that in a public thread... but then... that's me.

Another point. You stated, "We do need to seriously re-think the rules, and how they are expressed. Too much is repeated, and said in a way that forces us to read the FAQ to clarify. These documents need to me merged, and condensed. Absolute MUST."

Your opinion - all fine and dandy. But if it really is an "Absolute MUST" then why not "merge and condense" this year's rules to your satisfaction? Then you could submit the doc to the Exec committee and see if they (the exec and any sub-committee the exec has established)... if that meets with their approval. I am sure, if you really have a talent for "tech writing", the Exec committee would appreciate your efforts when submitting a suggested edit.

Very patronizing your, "Rob, Mike, and Ed, this is nothing against you gents in personal. You guys have served well, and hard." What do you know? Run your own successful RTWR for a decade or more involving multiple sim forums - then you can speak with some authority about serving "well and hard".

You said, "There's a couple directions we can go.." but only mention one direction. Let me offer another: if you want "fresh blood" for the folks running the race, my suggestion is simple - go start your own RTWR.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by fsxar177 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:06 am

Rob,

To quote Mike, and to keep from de-railing this thread from it's initial purpose;
"Without your ideas and enthusiasm and participation, the Race will end. So its future lies in your hands."

I hope I can speak for all, that we certainly do not intend for this race to end. So I have offered my opinion toward those ends.

Let's discuss our option(s), rather than slandering each other, shall we?

- Joseph
FSX Air Sports Association
http://www.fsxairsports.com

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Rob Osborne
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Rob Osborne » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:05 pm

fsxar177 wrote:Let's discuss our option(s), rather than slandering each other, shall we?
Well, I appreciate your willingness not to post something false about me in retaliation for something I know you do not want to hear.

And as far as discussing options... reread my post. I list several.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Eamonn » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:19 pm

Wow, great suggestions people, keep them coming.

First off, this is your race, not the exec committees and sure as hell ain't mine, so hopefully the event can still be a fun event for everyone. I myself look forward to it each year and I absolutely love it.

Thanks all for the kind words on the site, I have tried to make it as best as I personally can, given some of the limitations that I run into. Up until this year I had no control over the duenna software so all the "tracking" done on the main site, is actually trying to grab as much data from the fs-duenna.com site as I possibly can given standard html parsing. Even still I appreciate you saying it was flawless, it does require alot of manual intervention on my part during the race to keep the map up to date as the duenna site can't determine properly who is the baton holder and who is the wingman so quite often the map would be wrong in some cases.

This kinda leads me into my next thought, the Duenna software, suggestions people, need loads of them, please feel free to drop ideas into the forums here for suggestions on ways to improve that software. But do keep in mind I have no control over the fs-duenna.com site so I may need to move tracking off that site if further development continues.

As for the rules, yes, they could use some TLC, they are long and wordy for a reason, but I'm sure there are ways of making it better. Perhaps an idea would be for someone to suggest how you would rewrite at the very least the general rules and FAQ (the part that rarely changes).

All in all though this was a great race, I do prefer longer races as it gives more time for more people to get involved but I understand some of you need a short race, be interesting to see what comes of it but we do need to get the word out there earlier, and I love the social media idea, in fact someone suggested that to me last year and even make automatic posts to it (Twitter/Facebook) for each leg of the race. I did look into this but I just did not have the time to start to program this as its quite a pain to get the API's and to get the proper programming set up to post to those sites. Keep in mind I do this on my off hours and usually quite rushed in Dec/Jan. :)

Keep the ideas coming.
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by jt_williams » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:57 pm

RTWR – Observations, Suggestions, & Recommendations

My thanks to the Executive Committee for organizing another great RTWR event. I really enjoyed this year’s race.

Planning & Race Route
Like Martin, I really enjoy the planning process leading up to and during the race as much as flying in the race itself. Trying to find the best way to satisfy the routing requirements and get around the world efficiently is tremendous fun.

Race Length
The time required to complete the race has gotten progressively shorter over the past few years. I have been happy with this until this year. I think this year’s race was a bit too fast. I think there will be a wide diversity of views about how long the race should be. Team size and participant availability are two factors that vary widely and likely impact our individual views on this.
Recommendation: Target Race Duration between 65 to 72 hours.

Eligible Aircraft
As someone who remembers some of the aircraft controversies of the past, I have come to appreciate the introduction and evolution of the RTWR white list. It provides a good variety of competitive aircraft for the race including a nice selection of freeware. I appreciate the effort made to test the many eligible aircraft for realistic performance. I also appreciate the inclusion of appropriate payware aircraft options for those participants who have them and enjoy flying them.

Suggestion: If possible, it would be nice to have links to download packages for the freeware white list aircraft that are properly configured for each version of Flight Simulator (FS9, FSX, P3D) . I understand that this may require the permission of the developer of the white listed aircraft. What I am trying to address is the situation where an approved air file or aircraft.cfg must be used and/or modifications to the aircraft.cfg or panel.cfg must be made in order for it to work properly in a version of Flight Simulator. I had a problem with the download for the F80, it did not install properly in FSX. Some other team members had problems with the F86 working properly. I understand that this may not be feasible for all white listed aircraft.

Suggestion: If it is anticipated that aircraft from the white list will be permitted for Wildcard, jet, or other special legs in the special rules; provide public notice of which white listed aircraft or categories of aircraft that are called out two weeks prior to the commencement of the race. This will allow adequate time for participants to download, install, configure, and begin practicing in an aircraft that they may not have had prior experience in.

Wildcard Legs & Jet Legs
I think this variety and combination of Wildcards, Continental Jet legs, and Cold Warrior Legs worked very well this year. The constraints imposed by the special rules add an extra dimension to route planning and strategy.

Suggestion: Consider consolidating Wildcard and Continental Jets into a combined special rule that limits the maximum leg length of a particular category of aircraft but does not specify the number of times the aircraft category can be used. The constraint on aircraft usage is provided by the limitation on total miles flown by all categories. For Example: A special rule permits three aircraft categories for Wildcard, Continental Jets but limits total usage to less than 5500nm.
wc 1.jpg
wc 1.jpg (21.64KiB)Viewed 69572 times

Each team would plan it’s RTW route to make the “best” use of the available aircraft. Do you choose to use a slower aircraft category that may allow you to reduce the total length of the route flown or is it better to fly more legs in faster aircraft. Here are a few ways these aircraft could be used:
WC 2.jpg
WC 2.jpg (98.34KiB)Viewed 69572 times

The max length numbers for these aircraft categories are just notional and would need to be refined.

Special Legs

Team Flights: The KingAir and Extra legs are fun and provide an excellent opportunity for participants to fly together as a team. These legs do not add much time (~1 -1.5 hrs) to the overall length of the race.

Formation Flights : Our team performed poorly on these this year (mostly because we had difficulties with the F86). I am OK with them, but not a big fan. I am glad they did not determine the outcome of the race this year.

Suggestion: Prologue Event
In past RTWR’s there was a kickoff event where the teams would muster as many team members as possible just prior the official race start . Team pilots would then complete some short series of flights before the actual commencement of racing. I always found this to be a fun event and am sorry that it was dropped but understand that the need to shorten the duration of the race was more important for many participants. Perhaps the kickoff event could be revived but conducted on the weekend before the race with all teams on a single Teamspeak/Multiplayer server.

Bonus Bank / Penalties
Bonus Bank works well. The volunteers to be Avsim bankers this year were GMT 0 and GMT-1. We should have gotten a North American as a banker too. There were a couple of times in the race were we were slow to post our penalties to the bank.

Teams

New Team Formation: I would be happy to see additional teams join the competition. Because of the preparation and effort required I think there need to be a deadline on how late new team can request to join the race. We will need to develop some guidance (white paper) to help new teams understand the undertaking and assist them in their preparations.

Membership & Recruiting
All teams have experienced some attrition of participating pilots over the years for a variety of reasons. Each team has it’s own recruiting challenge. Flightsim have been successful this year in attracting two energetic and motivated new pilots and we hope they continue to be active race participants going forward. Up until this year I have been discouraged about the ageing demographic in Flight Simulation but the arrival of FSX-Steam Edition may introduce the flight simulation experience to a new generation. That gives me some hope for the future. The challenge is how do we reach out and make ourselves and this event known more widely.

Organization
A final thought about the organization. There are many participants in the RTWR and just as many views on what features of this event make it a rewarding experience. Each team has a member who represents their team participant’s views in the joint effort to set up the special rules for each years race. I would not presume to suggest to Sim Outhouse or to Flightsim or any other participating team who should be the representative of their teams desires, concerns, and expectations.
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by P51FAN » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:34 pm

Eamonn wrote:As the duenna site can't determine properly who is the baton holder and who is the wingman.
Since you have the source code, why not have a checkbox for if you are flying as the baton holder and another if you are flying as wingman?
jt_williams wrote:Eligible Aircraft
As someone who remembers some of the aircraft controversies of the past, I have come to appreciate the introduction and evolution of the RTWR white list. It provides a good variety of competitive aircraft for the race including a nice selection of freeware. I appreciate the effort made to test the many eligible aircraft for realistic performance. I also appreciate the inclusion of appropriate payware aircraft options for those participants who have them and enjoy flying them.
The thing that did surprise me is that with some aircraft, such as the 767 did not have an eligible freeware aircraft named.
jt_williams wrote:Suggestion: If possible, it would be nice to have links to download packages for the freeware white list aircraft that are properly configured for each version of Flight Simulator (FS9, FSX, P3D) . I understand that this may require the permission of the developer of the white listed aircraft. What I am trying to address is the situation where an approved air file or aircraft.cfg must be used and/or modifications to the aircraft.cfg or panel.cfg must be made in order for it to work properly in a version of Flight Simulator. I had a problem with the download for the F80, it did not install properly in FSX. Some other team members had problems with the F86 working properly. I understand that this may not be feasible for all white listed aircraft.
Or for example:
ABC F4U-7 v7: flightsim.com files corsf4u7.zip and cof4ufix.zip.
jt_williams wrote:Suggestion: If it is anticipated that aircraft from the white list will be permitted for Wildcard, jet, or other special legs in the special rules; provide public notice of which white listed aircraft or categories of aircraft that are called out two weeks prior to the commencement of the race. This will allow adequate time for participants to download, install, configure, and begin practicing in an aircraft that they may not have had prior experience in.
I personally think that two weeks for the white list is cutting it fairly close, especially to become comfortable flying an unknown aircraft. For example, when I first started flying an Airbus A320 for a VA (the first time I'd seriously flown a jet powered aircraft), I crashed it on short final during a visual approach 3 times before I finally got it right. And it took several more flights before I was comfortable flying it during low IMC.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by srgalahad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:42 pm

Just a couple of quick responses for now. I'll have more later.
New Team Formation: I would be happy to see additional teams join the competition. Because of the preparation and effort required I think there need to be a deadline on how late new team can request to join the race. We will need to develop some guidance (white paper) to help new teams understand the undertaking and assist them in their preparations.
We had two groups approach us this year asking to join the race. There are several considerations we addressed:
1. The amount of work required for a team to prepare -practice, Duenna, posting formats, Rules knowledge, aircraft compliance and diversity, etc. WE know these things but new folks don't.
2. The additional workload for the Committee to get a new team in compliance and up to speed which cannot be done in the last few weeks.
3. Pilot experience in the format, planning and flying so they don't get overly discouraged and quit after one race (or even part thereof).

In addition there is the extra workload for each existing team and the Committee to monitor more competitors during the race. This has all been discussed and passed on to the new groups, and it was suggested that for the first year they spread their prospective pilots among the existing teams to gain that experience. Their absence perhaps shows that they had little understanding of the intensity of the effort required, nor the amount of manpower required. (At least one of the potential teams was well-organized in a group sense but there response was :shock: We will follow up on their interest going forward.)
I suggest that, if a team chooses to enter, experienced participants offer to mentor (in the off-season) and guide them through the process. This is the only way as we have already determined that the latest date for a team entry will have to be late autumn - notice will be posted and incorporated into the Gen. Rules now that we have time.

----------------------------------------
We all appreciate the difficulty adapting to new aircraft on short notice - including, sometimes, having to carry the baton in a type you've never flown until you get a message saying: "We need a baton pilot in 20 minutes!" :o

At the same time the list of primary aircraft in all categories has not changed significantly in several years and when there is a new addition there has almost always been a choice from the 'old' list. New conscripts.... errr, volunteers are always at a disadvantage in their first event and get a lot of sympathy for their plight but you can only claim to be a rookie once. We can all see what was flown in past races by every team so there are 11 months in which to become proficient in each and every one (and this will be a recurring theme). Hint, this also applies to things like Formation flights and the often-dreaded default aircraft.
Rob Ibey, Executive Committee

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cbtaylor
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by cbtaylor » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:58 pm

srgalahad wrote:I suggest that, if a team chooses to enter, experienced participants offer to mentor (in the off-season) and guide them through the process. This is the only way as we have already determined that the latest date for a team entry will have to be late autumn - notice will be posted and incorporated into the Gen. Rules now that we have time.
I think this is a good idea, and probably the only practical way to incorporate new teams into the event and expect them to be competitive while also not getting too discouraged first time out. While not speaking for everyone, I'm sure some of us veterans are willing to share the basics of planning and executing the race -- without divulging any trade secrets, of course. ;)

If SOH hosts another off-season event like the Western Round-up or the MacRobertson for example, this would be a good opportunity to share some of the fundamentals, and get new teams' participants acclimated to rules, planning, forum posting and the Duenna. Avsim maintains some "open" channels on its Teamspeak where I (and probably others) would be willing to meet. We also have casual flights periodically where all comers are welcome to fly online. These flights are usually announced well in advance.

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by PRB » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:55 am

This was a fun race this year, and I hope we continue the event next year.

Special Bravo Zulu to Eamonn for the updated duenna. Well done sir.

I still think the “rules comprehension” problem could be helped a lot by posted them in the form of a web page, with a clickable table of contents, with cross referencing links throughout as needed. I'm working on an example of what I mean. Will post soon...

Is it time to retire the concept of Thoroughbreds? I thought the idea behind this was to allow a limited number of legs with planes that were understood to have “hot” flight models, but which were very popular with the racing pilots out there. This year we've added the F-80 and the F-86 to that category, albeit a “sub-category”, in that they are not unrealistic flight models, but are jets, and therefore fast. On the other hand, is Gnoopey's P-47M “hot”? So you see my confusion... Apparently “thoroughbred” now means either “hot”, but not hot enough to remove from the white list, or just too darned fast for our taste. This seems like a “squishy” criteria, at best. We have no problem restricting from the white list other planes that we think are “too hot” (the list is long) as well as planes that aren't too hot, but we just think are a couple of knots too fast for our liking, such as the Milviz 737 (last year). Allow 'em, or don't allow 'em. Lets make a decision. It would also remove one more thing our race planners, and race day duty officers, have to deal with...
- Paul (SOH)

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Wombat » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:14 pm

I know it's been almost 3 months since the race finished but I've been too busy to do much more than work and cough my lungs up for longer than I cared too.

I can see that there are a few general lines of improvement that everyone has been expressing, I'll try to add my thoughts in as coherent a way as possible.

I think we all agree that the rules are a bit too complex, especially the fact that we have a FAQ document that's longer than the rules themselves. I'm not sure how it got so out of hand. I don't understand why we need to restate the same rules in the FAQ that we stated in the rules themselves. Most of them seem perfectly straight forward and simple to me, but obviously some of them need simplification. My opinion is that if we make the rules understandable in the first place we have no need for a FAQ.

This includes the white list. Most of it is pretty simple and self explanatory. It's only within the special use categories that things seem to get bogged down. I'd like to see some additions to the jet white list, but that's not as simple a process as it seems on the surface. We have three major platforms that we have to make sure are allowed equal access to enough aircraft that have similar performance values. Most aircraft that work in FS9 will work in FSX and P3D, but not all will port over. This is one of our biggest challenges on the Committee, to have a fair and equal playing field for all that wish to participate. This becomes extremely difficult when it come to jet performance, especially super sonic. There were a couple of you that requested some super sonic fighters to be used during the race. Well, I doubt that's ever gonna happen because the way fuel burns are programmed between FS9 and FSX in super sonic flights makes it impossible to have the same aircraft work fairly in both sims. Simple case in point is the B-1 from Virtavia. In FS9 it has great range at full power and super sonic speeds, even at lower altitudes. In FSX it barely has one tenth the rage it has in FS9 at the same power settings.

Someone also suggested that links to special use aircraft be included in the white list. I suggested that as well. I also suggested that there be a single source for downloading any required or optional, I don't know why we call them optionsal because if it's available you definitely want it, upgrades for any aircraft listed in the white list. No one should have to scour the internet to find any file or upgrade needed to fly in the race, whether they be aircraft upgrades or scenery fixes. This race is complicated enough without having to tear your hair out searching for a must have file days before the start.

While I'm thinking of it, yes, we need to get the white list out much earlier! The rules say one month, I think it should be two months to give everyone plenty of time to get all the stuff they need downloaded, installed and tested so there's no last minute stress about not having the tools to finish the race.

A few of you commented on having all the various platforms able to connect together easily on the same server. For those in FS9, FSX and P3D that's already taken care of with the FShost and FShost client. They have been playing nicely together thanks to the wonderful work of Russell Gilbert. For FSX:SE it's a dead end because those flying with it can ONLY connect through the Steam portal, and ONLY with other Steam Edition sims, for now at least. But I seriously doubt they will ever allow connections outside of their server systems. But then again there is nothing within the rules that requires pilots to fly together online.

The race duration has been a hot button topic for the past few years as the number of pilots participating in the race seems to be dwindling a bit from its heyday. I remember my first race, we had at least a dozen pilots all waiting in line to get a baton or wingman flight. This year we had barely a dozen pilots total on my team. If we had a bigger pilot pool and they were willing to take a day off, jobs permitting, I wouldn't mind a slighly longer race, but anything past Tuesday would be completely out of the question. As much as I love flying in this race, 3 and a half days is enough!

Some of you lamented about the lack of simple challenge flights and opening ceremony events. I'm about to express my very personal opinion on these flights, so I don't want anyone firing up their flame throwers. I think the opening events were a complete and utter waste of time, and ridiculous to say the very least. They reminded me of a Chinese fire drill with everyone running in circles getting nothing done. Yeah, I know that their original purpose was to build up some bonus bank time so you didn't have to sit out a penalty in the early going before a team could bank some special bonus during the race. But then again I think building up massive amounts of bonus is worhless as well. I kind of liked the system we had this year, but it wasn't the simple solution I was hoping for when I lobbied to remove excess bonus from the winning time. It worked, but I'm never in favor of forcing teams to do things, which is pretty much what bonuses were used for. I think the race is challenging enough as it is without adding complexities of special this flights and special that flights that only slow the race down. I'm a racer, I like to fly as fast as I can and cross the finish line first, or put my best effort into doing that. Flying some special team flight in some slow as molasses plane to make it into a team building excercise does nothing for me. I get plenty of camaraderie hanging out with my team mates in TS. As fair as opening events, I offered up the concept that they don't necessarily have to be in the hour right before the race. We could hold it the day before, weekend before, and it would serve the same purpose. Getting people pumped up and excited about the upcoming race.

This leads right into the dilema of recruitment. I don't know why it's been getting harder to recruit new pilots. We opened up the race to new platforms this year with P3D and FSX:SE and it didn't seem to make much of an impact. What we really need to do is hold regular short duration events, say no more and two or three hours, throughout the year to get newbies acclimated to flying online and using TS and Duenna, and how to fly with crash detection and other settings. You wouldn't believe some of the conversations I had in the past year trying to recruit new pilots into the fray. I had one pilot have a near nervous breakdown when I told him he had to have ground collisions turned on! He'd been simming for years and never had that checked!! Others have asked how much time they'd have to set aside to fly in the race, like they had to sit awake for 80 hours or something. Still others were stressed out over some performance anxiety of not wanting to let their team down by making a mistake that cost them the race. I was a nervous wreck my first baton flight, as I'm sure all of you were, and this was after a couple of weeks of practice and a couple wingman flights, but it's just a race. As hyper competetive as it gets, no one is gonna hate you for a mistake. If anything they are going to tell you to shake it off and do everything they can to help you figure out what might have gone wrong. Sure, if you continue to mess up you might not get the warmest of welcome backs, but as long as you make a effort your team will do everything they can to get you sorted out and ready for the next one. This is supposed to be fun, yeah, it can feel like work sometimes, but for the most part it's a blast!!

On the subject of new teams being added. I'm all for it as long as they have the time to get up to speed with the necessities of running in a race of this magnitude. Joining 3 weeks before the start just ain't gonna happen, sorry. Now if they want to build a forum now ( April ) and recruit enough crazy people that want to lose sleep for a week to ten days planning and flying in the event next year, bring it on!!

One of you asked that the current Committee members step down for a year, which started a near flame war that I won't get into here. He's within his rights to state that opinion, just as much as anyone else here can state their opinion in an open and civilzed way. I'd be willing to step down as a group if there was a new group of fresh blood that's dedicated enough to put together a decent race, pour over all the pages of rules and FAQs and clean them up to be more easily understood, and create a challenging race that isn't bogged down in ridiculous challenges. If anyone thinks putting this race together is easy I can forward them the over 100 emails I received from the other Committee members and tell them about the hours spent hashing things out in teamspeak and ask them if they still think they want to do it. As Eamon said, this is your race, not the Committee's, we try our best to make sure there's a challenging level playing field of all that wish to participate, but we're only human and mistakes happen sometimes. We try not to repeat them, that's all we can do.

Not sure if anyone will even read this as it comes at a time when the race is a distant memory or a possible future afterthought, but those are my opinions.

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RTW Lite

Post by TornadoWilkes » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:17 pm

Wow, what a difference a few years makes. It's great to see the enthusiasm in the teams and even better to see the Exec Committee making plans for 2016. There are to my mind four strands that make any organisation successful:

1. A clearly understood objective
2. Good organisation
3. A good team of people to take part
4. Management by principles, and the participants ability to try new things to get an edge using their abilities, know how and sometimes cheek

The objective is clear... get around the globe.
The organisation is well established, but can always be tweaked.
Be in no doubt, this event is the Superbowl/World Cup of simming... each team should make it their first aim to promote in such a way, have it on the front page of each website and further afield... build the excitement, get spectators on board. Make the event like the Superbowl, something that you can watch at home e.g. promote Google Earth tracking, make the forums transparent.. don't hide the light under the bushell.
And finally, keep the rules simple enough that imagination and ingenuity are encouraged, nurtured and rewarded.

Good luck in 2016, I'm sure it could be the best ever RTW Race and I'll be right alongside...

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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by srgalahad » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:41 pm

(Disclaimer: The following comments and suggestions are mine alone and do not reflect any official policy of the Executive Committee. They may, however, indicate how I approach the organization of the RTWR.)

After much sleep-deprivation, pain and some bits of chaos, we have once again survived a Race Round the World.

Rather than start a new thread to indulge in postmortem analysis I have decided to continue this discussion as the Race does evolve based on previous efforts.

Let me begin the post-2016 segment by pointing out a few of the developments thus far:

1. The General Rules remained intact (as designed) and the Special Rules were simplified. Can they be made even more simple? I suggest that is near impossible without losing some of the details. Each situation requires sufficient description to eliminate ambiguity and short of turning to a 'graphic novel' format, it takes sufficient words to define the situations.

2. The Aircraft groups were simplified somewhat this year and The Jet Flights were realigned to leave much of the planning to the teams. In my view this worked as intended. Also, the 'normal' race aircraft were given limits of usage. This came partly from a need to accommodate a couple of 'not quite conforming' types (the 2015 F7F) but also to induce a degree if diversity that many have asked for in past years. Perhaps the most significant effect here was to make it clear that , especially with small-to-minimal teams, pilots could not afford to be limited to one favourite type. Might it lead to further streamlining of the aircraft groups and lists? That will likely come from feedback received.

3. Every year there is much made of the complexity of types and rules in general. It's likely this genre of complaints will be eternal but in my view it is a 'red herring' as the appropriate response is: "You have 11 months to prepare." Each pilot can take some responsibility and practice regularly in the well-known types, keep current with software changes (ie. the Duenna), study and debate the meaning and relevance of any/all rules and offer suggestions for additional inclusions in the intervening months. That there was no post to this forum between April 4th and December 29th does lead to the question of how committed the participants are to improving and perpetuating the event.

4. Speaking of things "new", we all appreciate how stressful it is to have to learn new types, but on the other hand those inclusions have also helped make significant changes to parts like the race duration. Some have even asked for groups like jet fighters/bombers or supersonic legs. If you want to see new classes or types, take some time to learn why they have not been previously adopted, then do the research to find suitable candidates, collect and present sufficient data to support your suggestion and then offer to help with the extensive testing required to provide balanced and available models that could be included. An additional reward for this work is that, now that we have seen a developed formula that has cut the race time down to sub-sixty-hours, any additional increased speed allows the Committee to reintroduce a few slower challenges to appeal to the rookies and the fans of diversity and fun flying.

5. As we saw in 2016, there is a significant issue with visibility and recruiting. Many reasons are given - and some may be insurmountable - but it boils down to thousands of people either not being aware of the Race and it's requirements and excitement, or a lack of understanding of how simple it can actually be for the individual. The sites/forums we represent while racing are grossly remiss in promoting the event in general and much could be done to convince your administrative groups to do that promotion for the good of the Forum (and therefore the Team). It should begin in the spring/summer and be continual and increasing as we reach toward the next race. Not only would this go toward increasing the pool of racers AND support staff but would give a lift to the Executive Committee who sometimes may wonder if the effort is worth it.

6. Continuing with the idea of participation and recruiting, there are numerous events of a similar style without the complexity and pressure of the RTWR in the "off-season". While these are helpful, there is little to prevent teams or individuals from creating additional small events within their forum or open to a wider base, using simplified rules but demonstrating and testing the essential bits, including head-to-head racing. One-day, or four-hour circuits in limited (and/or simple) types, held, not in a sub-forum with dim lights or on private servers, but with the blessing of those same admin. types out in the main sections of each site. If we hide in a corner and hope people will flock to the teams, I think everyone knows the result. The flight simulator community has been retreating into smaller and smaller special interest groups over the years. Unless some effort is made to break through these barriers we may well see a future race populated by teams of three. On the other hand, no, I do not see it as advantageous to open promotion on Steam for some obvious reasons.

7. Getting tired of the "grind"? That's understandable! However, instead of just 'retiring', perhaps we should all make a decision to find a replacement before wandering off into the outback, muttering our disaffection. Your team will be sad to see you leave, but will welcome the new members and heap praise on you for your dedication to the team effort.

Overall I'm happy with the 2016 event -except for the struggles of Team FlightSim - and I expect to see everyone coming back for more.

Reach for the pile of bricks or toss the bouquets... I have a real-world trip to Europe to plan and a week to do it. :shock:

Rob
Rob Ibey, Executive Committee

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Eamonn
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Re: Suggestions for 2016 and Beyond

Post by Eamonn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:00 am

Great read Rob.

I know I created the facebook page with the hopes of drumming up some interest but I am not sure how that has worked out. Steam also seems a bust, I tried twice to drum up support over there, but no. We definitely need more interested parties within the teams we already have. I like the idea of events throughout the year to try to get people together and perhaps lead it as a build up to the race.

AVSIM currently has a saturday get together in their race forum for anyone to join, and there have been quite a few non-race members join in on this, some have shown interest in the race, but converting them over to the race seems to be an issue.

I do think that we do need some document or page on the site that gives a very clear view of the race and requirements but not overwhelm a potential new racer with information. At the end of the day it can be incredibly rewarding experience and you do not need a great deal of flightsim experience to be a part of the race.
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