RESPONSE TO HENK DE JONG'S OPINION RE "PILOTS' v JUDGES' VIEWING POINTS"
Peter Germann and Andy Sweetland, co-authors "F2B Judging Instructions", March 2000
Neither of us agree with Henk's conclusions about "pilots' v judges' viewing point" as recently published in "Stunt News" and on this website. This is nothing personal by the way – we both have great regard for Henk, both as "a guy to chew the fat with" around the circles, and as an F2B competitor to be respected. This disagreement is purely a "professional difference of opinion".
In any case we welcome any attempts to improve the new JI document (it's just the start, not the finish), so if Henk's article encourages informed debate amongst a wider, more knowledgeable audience, all well and good.
However, we do also see a need for balance if that informed debate is to happen, so we should also point out that of all the respondents to the original E-mail draft versions of the new JI doc, our records show that after we had offered the explanation below, all the "dissenters" except Henk accepted the approach as now set out in the new JI. Our point of view goes like this:
If you have five judges standing more or less shoulder-to-shoulder, the result is "ten judging eyes" spread out along a line which is about 4.0 Metres (or so) long - it becomes even longer if the judges spread themselves out a bit. Now add the fact that most manoeuvres are flown on the opposite side of the circle to where the judges are standing and we see straight away that those ten eyes spread out along that 4+ Metre line are also going to be somewhere between about 36+ and 50+ Metres away from the manoeuvring model.
So what? As one example, if we use the judge who is standing in the middle of the row of five (we'll call him "No. 3"), if No. 3 is positioned exactly on the centre-line of a manoeuvre, he should see "perfect shapes and angles" (assuming of course that the pilot flies them perfectly)! But what about Judges No. 1 and No. 5 at the extreme Left and Right hand ends of the line? Will they also see the same shapes and angles as No. 3? The arithmetic clearly tells us that they won't.
And what if we now consider the case when it's Judge No. 1 standing on the centre-line of the manoeuvre, so that Judge No. 5 is now offset from the manoeuvre centre-line by 4 Metres or more? The arithmetic in that example is even worse, with Judge No. 5 seeing shapes and angles which will definitely look quite different to those that Judge No. 1 sees.
Now add into the equation the fact that judges actually move around during a flight, and then finally add in the fact that pilots don't position every manoeuvre and every repeat figure in exactly the same place. Now it's definite - at any one time, only one single judge is going to be in exactly the "right place" to see a "perfect" manoeuvre, and all the other judges will see a manoeuvre which is "somewhat less than perfect" - just because of each judge's own particular "off manoeuvre centre-line" viewing position.
Actually, when you re-read the point in Henk's article, he admits to this problem himself - QUOTE: Articles have been written as early as 1971 (to my knowledge) stating the exact angles, from the pilots point of view, of for instance the bottom corners of a square loop, to be flown differently to the angles stated in the rule book so that the judges will see an exact square. UNQUOTE.
But to us, those old articles are wrong. We say in the new JI doc that the pilot should fly, for example, square manoeuvres with 90 degree corners as he sees 90 degrees, from his position. And he should not fly such corners at 87.5 degrees (or some other "funny" number) because someone worked out that in theory, what looks like 87.5 degrees to the pilot will end up looking like 90 degrees to the judge. Why not? Simply because those "funny angles" will only look really "right" to just one of the judges. So we ask anyone who agrees with Henk's view "Which one of the five judges are you going to fly for?"
This is the reasoning for the approach set out in the new JI doc, but it must also be said that this approach does of course mean that judges will have to be trained to allow for this, recognising that what they will actually see from their individual positions will be something other than perfect 90 degree corners (for example). Hence the sentence in the para 4A.6 of the new JI doc, QUOTE: ...... with due allowance to be made by judges for models flown on different line lengths and for the difference between the pilot's position and the judges' actual viewing position/s. UNQUOTE. (And also, please study the full JI doc, where you'll also see this same point made in para 4A.4.1).
Henk continues his article, QUOTE: This new interpretation gives room to differences of opinion between pilots and judges, UNQUOTE (we say here that with the "old system" we already have these!) and then he continues, QUOTE: where pilots can complain that the judge didn't make the correct interpretation of the perfect square eight that the pilot saw with his own two eyes! How can a judge judge anything if he has to interpret the shapes he sees? UNQUOTE:
Our response here is simply to say that this conclusion is illogical. We say clearly in the new JI that the judge has to interpret (and be trained in the specifics of doing that properly). But according to Henk, the pilot should fly what the rule book says should be a 90 degree corner at, say, 87 degrees, because doing this will "allow" the judge to see a proper 90 degree corner. But following Henk's reasoning above, precisely the same can happen with that "old 87 degree system", and the only difference the new JI makes is that any arguments will be about whether or not the pilot really did/did not fly 90 degrees, as opposed to 87 degrees (or some other "funny" number). Logically then, at least with the new JI, any argument would be about 90 degrees, and not 87 degrees (or some other "unusual" number), and at least 90 degrees has the advantage of being an angle that most people can already easily recognise, and it's an angle that judges can be more easily trained to recognise from their varied viewing points. Not so with 87 degrees we suggest!
Finally, there is one very disturbing paragraph in Henk's article, and to make matters worse, that same point appears as the header on the version of Henk's article already published on Göran Olsson's website. QUOTE: Interestingly, the new judging guide does allow judges to shift their position up to 1/8 of a lap during a flight, to follow a shifting wind. UNQUOTE:
We would like to make it quite plain that this new rule about judges moving around has nothing whatever to do with the new JI doc, or its authors. What happened was quite simple. As the final draft of the new JI was being prepared for submission to CIAM in March 2000, we also read that a new rule proposal (from France actually, and in no way connected to the new JI doc) would also be put to CIAM for consideration at that same Plenary meeting. The French proposal was, in essence, what Henk has written and as we've quoted above. But the reason that this new rule is included within the new JI is simply because it was also approved by the March Plenary meeting at the same time that the new JI document was approved. At the time of preparing the new JI for CIAM in March, we did not know if that French proposal would be approved by CIAM or not of course, so "just to be on the safe side" we actually produced 2 different versions of the draft JI document for CIAM. But the single difference between those two versions was simply that one contained the above French rule proposal, the other did not. So whether that French proposal had been accepted by CIAM or not, it would have had precisely nil effect on the wording in the new JI about "pilots' v judges' viewing position" that Henk is objecting to – they are in no way connected.
Just one last point:
Henk (and others) refer to the new document as "Judges Guide". Without wishing to sound pedantic, that is now incorrect. The correct title, as adopted by CIAM, is "Judging Instructions". We think the difference between the words "guide" and "instruction" is pretty clear - whilst the new document certainly does contain a number of recommendations, more important is that it also contains many clear statements on exactly what must/must not be done. To emphasis that point, the new document starts off with the statement that it forms an integral part of the FAI F2B rules – i.e. the status has changed and no longer will anyone be able to say "this is only a guide and doesn't have to be followed because it's not part of the rules".
To summarise then, we disagree with Henk about "pilots' v judges viewing point", but as said at the start, Henk's initiative in airing this matter is to be applauded if it results in a clearer understanding by all concerned - and particularly so if that understanding ultimately results in the "perfect" set of F2B Judging Instructions. By all means discuss this, but let's also, all of us, see how the new document in its present form really does perform in actual international F2B competition.