Task Day Rules
(Last updated: January 11, 2020)
The objectives of Task Day competition are two: to encourage cross-country soaring among beginning cross-country pilots, and to extend an opportunity to experienced cross-country pilots to hone their skills under conditions approximating SSA contest conditions. At least three pilots must agree to participate. A Competition Director (CD) will be assigned who will designate the day’s task and establish the beginning start time. CDs are urged to consider the needs of less experienced pilots when designating tasks.
The Task Day and Club Championship program is under the supervision of a Task Chairman appointed by the Club President. At the beginning of each season a Competition Committee of three participating pilots is appointed by the Task Chairman. The duty of the Competition Committee is to revise and interpret the Rules, hear complaints, adjudicate disputes, and report on relevant issues to the Task Chairman. A Scorer is also appointed who records flight statistics, calculates scores, and publishes results. The Task Chairman is not part of the Committee but the Scorer can be.
Establishing a Task
A club task may be set on any day of scheduled operations, including 10-Day Weekends, but excluding SSA Regional Competitions. The day’s task is designated by an assigned Competition Director (CD) or alternate, who also specifies a beginning start time. If the assigned CD is not present by 10:30 a.m., an alternate will be chosen from among the competitors. Tasks should be posted on the flight sheet and announced by radio. The goal is that all potential task pilots be informed of the task: early launchers by radio, late launchers by the OD or flight sheet or radio. Ideally, the task is declared on the ground with advice from someone aloft. If the task is set in the air, an attempt must be made to relay the information to the ground. If this fails a special effort should be made to inform possible participants by radio. No competitor may make a start until a task and start time have been established. An established task may not be changed after any competitor has started. Up until the first start the task may be changed only with the consent of all the members who intend to compete. Only one task may be set at each field on a given day. Every effort should be made to obtain weather information on which the day’s task is based.
Task Categories are based on current SSA Contest Rules and include Assigned Tasks, Modified Assigned Tasks, and Turn Area Tasks. An Assigned Task is one in which a number of designated turnpoints must be rounded in sequence. There is no minimum task duration. Turnpoints have a radius of one mile. A Modified Assigned Task is one in which a number of turnpoints, from zero to eleven, must be rounded usually in sequence, but individual pilots can decide when to round their last turnpoint and return to the finish. It is suggested that enough turnpoints should be assigned to challenge the faster pilots. If a contestant completes all the assigned turnpoints, two other turnpoints must be rounded before a pilot returns to the same turnpoint. The start and finish are not counted as turnpoints. A minimum task duration must be established. Turnpoints are one mile radius. A Turn Area Task is one in which a designated number of turnpoints must be rounded in sequence, but each turnpoint radius, from one to 30 miles, is established in advance. A minimum task duration is set by the CD. All tasks are scored using the maximum distance flown within each turnpoint cylinder. Tasks will follow the SSA Contest Rules definitions.
The possibility exists for CDs to propose a new type of task not covered by the existing rules: an Experimental Task. The CD will need the approval of all participants at the time of the task decision. These experimental tasks will be limited to three within the flying season.
Minimum Task Distance
The minimum task distance is fifty miles for gliders with a handicap factor of 1.0. The minimum distance for other gliders is obtained by dividing 50 by the glider’s handicap factor. A task will only be scored if at least two competitors fly the minimum distance for their gliders. It should be considered unsportsmanlike for any pilot to abandon the task so as to deny another pilot an otherwise valid score.
Starts and Finishes
Starts will use a 5 statute mile radius circle around the center of the airport and 5000′ AGL maximum altitude. A beginning start time must be specified by the CD. Pilots must announce their starts over the radio as they start. The suggested transmission is: “Juliet Delta Start 13:15.” Finishes will use a one-mile radius circle centered on the same point as the start circle. Pilots must announce their finish over the radio at four miles out (as measured to the finish point). The suggested transmission is: “Juliet Delta, 4 miles, from the NE.”
The Minimum Finish Height is 1300′ MSL when using a one-mile finish cylinder. When the TFR is in effect, the finish cylinder is three miles in radius and the Minimum Finish Height is 1700′ MSL.
Task Day Rules During TFR Activation
All pilots are absolutely prohibited from entering the active 10 nautical mile TFR circle centered around P40 during the task. Any evidence of having entered the TFR will invalidate a task flight. When the TFR is activated, finishers must observe the TFR entry restrictions and not head toward the center of the TFR/P40 at high speed.
Whenever the TFR is active, the one-mile finish circle around Fairfield Airport is extended to three miles. This finish circle includes both the Golf (W) and Pond (E) TFR entry points and allows approximately one-half mile to slow down before entering the TFR. After entering the TFR, pilots are reminded they must observe the TFR protocol: groundspeed limited to below 70 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), altitude below 4000′ MSL at the entry points and below 2,500’ MSL at the field, heading toward the north end of runway.
To maximize task speed, pilots may reach TFR entry points Golf and Pond with only sufficient altitude to fly directly to the south end of the runway and land. They should be aware that other gliders may be making a regular pattern at higher altitude and avoid cutting them off.
Flight documentation will be by GPS flight log. IGC format flight logs may be emailed directly to the Scorer, but no later than noon Thursday following the task. Participants are encouraged to enter their flights in the On-Line Competition (OLC). Doing so will also record them for the Scorer as Club tasks, but pilots must describe their tasks, claiming turnpoints, by email to the scorer or, preferably, in the pilot comments section of the OLC. Note that OLC uploads must be completed within 48 hours of landing or within 48 hours of the last fix.
Link to current Region 4N and M-ASA Task Day turnpoint databases.
Up to two events each season may be designated Mentoring or “Egg Race” events, in which an experienced pilot will fly with and coach a less experienced pilot, each in their own gliders. The least score of the two pilots will be recorded for both as a team, using the lower handicapped glider to calculate the team score. Both pilots will be credited with the team score.
Start Anywhere MAT
This is a special task type to be used on days where long flights are possible. The object is to combine Club Championship flights with Task Day racing. For example, a pilot might judge that the day offers the potential for a very long flight. By launching early, the pilot could accumulate significant distance prior to the beginning of the task. The SAMAT allows pilots to start from anywhere, their distance and speed determined from the official start time and measured by legal legs with a finish at the airport of origin (either FDK or W73). Since most pilots will want to stage their starts to best advantage, a later than normal start time is recommended. During the months of May, June, and July, a start time no earlier than 1330 is recommended.
Grand Prix Racing
From time to time, the CD may call a Grand Prix race that features side-by-side starts and handicapped speeds based on an equal task distance for each finisher. The event will use a 1sm start cylinder to 5000’ AGL. The goal is for all participants to start at the same time. The gate open time will also be equal to the latest start time (LST). Pilots starting after the LST will be scored as if he/she started at the LST. Task distance will be measured from the start circle; to the center of each turnpoint; to the finish circle. A 1sm turnpoint radius will be used such that the pilots need only to touch the 1sm circle, turn and head for the next turnpoint. Finishers will be awarded speed points. Pilot who land out will receive distance points. The CD should also consider the experience level of all participants before calling this type of task. This style of racing should not be used for more than 25 percent of Task Day events during the soaring season.
The goal of team flying is for two or more teams of pilots to compete against each other with individual pilots being awarded the average handicapped point score for their team. Each team must have a minimum of two pilots. Any type of task may be called. Pilots will be scored using the Regional Sports Class rules. Scores will be post-processed to determine the winning team with the best average score. This style of racing should not be used for more than 25 percent of Task Day events during the soaring season.
Determining a Champion
The Task Day Champion is determined based on each competitor’s highest cumulative score for up to a total of ten tasks flown. The Task Day Champion must have flown at least five tasks during the season to be considered for the title. The Champion will be the pilot with the highest cumulative score. In case of a tie, additional flights will be added until the tie is broken.
Scoring is based on Winscore and the Regional Sports Class Rules. The scorer will introduce post-processing scoring corrections to account for special circumstances not covered by the software, such as varying wingspan or change of equipment.