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10 Comments on RCP 2021-017
This is a bad idea. This proposal wants a new record to exceed the previous value, but does not state by how much.
US model rocketry competition is not the Olympics or Formula 1 racing. Our tools, accuracies, and procedures do not support the same degree of precision.
USMRSC 20.2 says altimeters must have an "... accuracy of 1 percent of recorded altitude or 2 meters, whichever is greater." Our procedures require that we adjust the recorded altitude based on the ambient temperature at the launch site. This will be different from the temperature at apogee. Further, depending on the altitude of the launch site, the result could be very different.
Our timing procedures are based on the mark 1 human eyeball and human reflexes. Then we average the times and round to the nearest whole second.Â
In short, our tools and procedures have many built in points of error. We have agreed that these are acceptable in competition. Record setting deserves more if we are to maintain a meaningful process.
If we want to refine the record setting process, we must first refine the tools and procedures on which the record setting process is based.
Of the 1268 records currently in the database, 426 could be exceeded by 1 meter or one second. A simple rounding error could lead to a false record. We need a buffer such as the 1% to maintain the validity of new records.
Happened to me at NARAM this summer. Â Won B-Payload with a flight of 315 m but old record was 314 m, so it didn't reset. Â The old record holder (me, LOL) thinks it's kind of silly to not have the record reflect the "real" number. Â
But, as a flier who has set a number of altitude records, I kind of like the 1% rule because it's a nice small arbitrary buffer to ensure the previous record really got beat. Â With the issue of where and when temperatures are taken and recorded at contests, a degree or two of temperature alone can affect an altimeter altitude by more than 1%. Â Also, as accurate as barometric altimeters are, if you've ever flown more than one in an altimeter compartment at the same time Â you know that they usually show different numbers. Â Occasionally way more than 1%.
So, it's not perfect, and at times seems kind of silly, but I think I'd stick with the 1% rule.
I agree with this proposal. While there is imprecision in altitude assessment, roughly the same opportunity for imprecision existed with the standing as with the new flight breaking the record. Â We shouldn't demand though that our records be "statistically significant"! -- Patrick Peterson