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Open Window:

Free take--off without any set order within a predefined time period.

This time period is normally limited to 1 to 1 1/2 hours to ensure pilots compete in the same conditions.

Open window requirements:

A large enough rigging area for competitors with enough marshals to ensure easy entry into the take-off corridors.

There should be at least one ramp or take-off place for each 25 competitors, and competitors should be able to take off at a rate of at least two per minute.

Designated Start Order Window

Pilots choose their take-off time on a time board.

Requirements. A board marked with suitable time intervals (e.g. 30 seconds) with a nail or hook at each time space. The board should have spaces for about 3-4 hours time. Each pilot is given a small disc bearing his contest number.

Each pilot hangs his contest number disc on the take-off time hook of his choice. Only one disc is permitted on any hook. Pilots may rehang their discs on any empty hood until ten minutes before take-off, If a pilot is not ready to go at his time he must pull out of the line and hang his disc on an empty hood giving a time at least ten minutes later.

Start list.

Pilots take off in a scheduled order which advances automatically each day.


A take-off order is made by lottery before the first task. This order advances each day by a proportion of the competitors (say 2/7). If space allows (as in an aerotow launch competition) the gliders can be placed on numbered spots before first take-off time.

The “Tarp Start”

is the most relevant timed race.

Tarp starts can provide spectacular finishes on short races, creating great gaggle racing and tight finishes. These often requiring large goal fields to accommodate multiple landings and reliable goal judges for timing.

Tarp (Air Gun) starts are most effective when accompanied by a short launch Window following the start time. Timed starts are often considered to have poor validity due to changing soaring conditions

Pilots launch before race time, soar and try to climb out as high as practicable and photograph the tarp when it is laid out at a predetermined time. The pilot may then cross the start line.

Conditions must be soarable in a large enough three dimensional block of airspace to avoid dangerous congestion.

Pilots left on launch are given a strictly limited time period to take off after the tarp start time.

Timed Races

Timer starts, while labor intensive, are excellent for difficult launch conditions. The more lengthy the start window, the poorer it is at assessing how individuals perform against the group. (Weather becomes a factor)

Timers at launch and finish are labour intensive and require reliable timing pieces and officials. Timed races are good at testing pilot skills against their own past performances. A heat system should be used with large number of entrants to reduce the effect of inconsistent weather conditions. Contests should be designed to reward the best pilots.

Timing devices must be synchronized.

Clocks and other time recoding equipment shall be checked over a period of 3 hours against official time signals, the 10 AM CBC time signal, or the NRC Atomic Clock at 1-613-745-1576 both immediately before and after the event to factoru out errors put into scoring calculations.

A Speed Task

(or speed section of a distance task) shall be timed from:

take-off; or

from a pilot’s photograph from the air of a (tarp) clark laid out at a defined position and adjusted at predetermined time intervals.

or, if approved time-recording cameras are used, of a marker. (If a pilot’s camera prints a time on the film this time shall not take precedence over a time shown on the official clock.)

The Launch Window

(Duration of time in which pilots may start their race) for all tasks should be strictly limited. Should pilots wish to relaunch they must do so within the designated time period and may only relaunch after landing in designated bomb out LZs. (ie 30 min timed start)
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