Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

36 leg Achievement

Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:13 am

Welcome to the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Who:

Open to all members of the network

What:

Fly to an from airports in the ZLA airspace and PE coverage area as outlined on MyFlightRoute dedicated webpage:
http://myflightroute.com/atoz.php?

Log the flight using a filed flight plan which is then recorded in PEaware. Fly each leg as VFR or IFR or consider VFR in one direction, IFR in the opposite direction.


Where

Flights are between airports in alphabetical order, A through Z including 0 through 9. Flight are completed in order starting with the "A-B" flight, then "B-C" and so on.

When

Complete flights by the end of the year 2016.

Why

1. Fun
2. Structured practice
3. Challenge of non-standard flight planning and conditions
4. Bragging rights

Rules:

1. Flights must have a valid flight plan filed on the PE network.
2. Flights must take place during operational hours of the PE network.

Ideas on ways to increase the challenge or make it personal - NOT RULES:

1. Logos or badges that show completed flights
2. Start a thread in the forum under the "Alphabet Challenge" sub fourm for each leg, then pilots can post "pireps" to that message for all to see lessons learned and the assuredly funny stories that will go with it.
3. Restrict your flying to one type of aircraft or one type of navigation (VFR, only fly with one NAV radio, fly a helicopter, etc).
4. Maybe pilots who complete the challenge can 'win' a t-shirt that Keith with cut the back out of and send to them, with a required picture of the recipient wearing it.
5. You must take off and land at the designated airports for that leg. If weather requires a diversion to another airport, you must follow the corrected missed approach procedure (if IFR) or follow appropriate instructions from the controller. If you do land at the alternate airport, your next flight should be from that alternate back the destination airport from the original leg.
Last edited by stevekirks on Sun May 08, 2016 6:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby Pieces » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:44 am

Thoughts on public logging? I'm currently putting flights in my signature, but the character limit is going to become a problem shortly. I know Ken posted a spreadsheet, but that isn't a public deal.

Could make a thread in the subform, and update the post with PE aware links as flights are completed (like I am in my signature).

Maybe a public google doc? Any other ideas?
Reece Heinlein, PPL - IR, KMZZ
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:02 am

Good stuff, guys. For public logging, maybe I'm oversimplifying, but we're not awarding a real world rating here. If someone says they're on the 14th leg, then I believe them, and I believe they've completed the previous 13 :) For that reason, I think a simple link to the alphabet page and a note saying which flight you're up to is a great start. If you want to link to the last flight, great, that way people can find you easier if they want to see what kind of profile you've been flying.

Being able to do a single click to see all of the flights someone has done in the challenge would be tricky. We'd need to be able to flag a flight in peaware based on remarks...it might be a bit 'heavy' and if someone doesn't put the term in their remarks, it all falls apart.

So, I vote for the simple honor system. We will do audits from time to time if it scales up, keeps momentum and if we eventually put more weight behind Achievements.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:05 am

Pieces wrote:Thoughts on public logging? I'm currently putting flights in my signature, but the character limit is going to become a problem shortly. I know Ken posted a spreadsheet, but that isn't a public deal.

Could make a thread in the subform, and update the post with PE aware links as flights are completed (like I am in my signature).

Maybe a public google doc? Any other ideas?


Maybe a link in your sig with your own hosted Google doc or similar might be a good way to go.

I'm working on a write up of my flights, but after write the rules above, I think I need to "restart" my challenge and document better.
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Alphabet Challenge
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:18 am

One possibility is to have a "Submit my alphabet flight" button on myflightroute. The form contains a place for you to paste the PEaware URL (like the flight analysis option does now). It works out the user ID for that flight, and stores the flight number in a table containing the pilot ID and the flight ID. If that's too much work, we can just have ppl get that info themselves (a 30 video will show how to get that data very easily) and submit the pilot number and peaware flight # directly.

Then, there will be a form allowing you to query all the alphabet flights conducted by a given pilot. THAT would be the link you'd put into your forum sig.

Just an idea! It does require support from Ken or Tim, though.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby wmburns » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:18 am

This past weekend I had some drama on my 1st attempt to fly the KAPV-KBFL leg documented in here:

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=4802

Keith made the point about completing the flight from the alternate airport to the final destination as would happen in real life. Unfortunately in my case I didn't see Keith's reply before I re-flew the original segment. By this time the weather had improved in KBFL.

Something to consider. In all the time I have flown online with FSX (default weather) not once did I HAVE TO divert. Even though if the weather was accurate it should have been a guaranteed diversion. I could always "see'" the runway or the FSX weather just wasn't correct. The default FSX weather engine just isn't up to the challenge.

The default X-plane weather engine did a much better job of simulating the actual conditions.

To me that says anyone using a default FSX system will, in general, be less likely adversely affected by weather. Where as the X-Plane and FSX with add on weather are more likely to see adverse weather. Advantage?

What about the person that sets the weather to "clear sky with no wind" thus making it even easier to complete the flight?

Some of you may be thinking this post is about adding more "rules" to the process. Actually it's the opposite.
  • What is the REAL purpose/goal of the challenge?
  • Are we really expecting someone to cheat? Why isn't a spread sheet log good enough?
  • Why is it necessary to fly the legs "in order"? Why can't it be good enough to fly all of the legs and keep a good log of the flights? Consider that we all have demands upon our time (family/work). What if I don't have time to fly a long segment but I do have time for a short one. Why place additional restrictions that may make it more difficult to complete the challenge?
  • Why is it necessary to restrict the challenge to one plane? How does this improve the value gained from the challenge?
  • Why is it necessary to restrict the challenge to one type of navigation (IFR/VFR)? Shouldn't we really be encouraging the pilot to choose what is most appropriate for the route/weather/airplane?

It seems to me that the act of completing the segments has training value regardless of the order, the type of plane flew, the type of flight (IFR/VFR) or the weather.

It seems to me that we should be encouraging (not requiring) certain behavior such as:
  • Using real world weather whenever possible.
  • conducting the flight in a "safe" manner. Don't do anything in the sim that you wouldn't do in real life.
  • Performing a detailed weather brief on the ground. Practice good ADM and make the go/no decision. IMO this is another reason we should allow the flights to be made in any order.
  • Encouraging everyone to try something new. If you mainly fly IFR then fly some segments VFR.
  • Try different airplanes.

Bottom line, IMO whatever restrictive rules applied to the challenge should be in place for strong valid reasons. We want to encourage people to finish the challenge not place road blocks in the way.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby Pieces » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:30 am

My goal with the logging was not to "prove" that people are actually making the flight. There isn't anything at stake here, so if someone really wants to say they completed the flights without actually flying... well, ok. Your loss. I'm just trying to keep track of the flights I've completed. The challenge gives me a reason to fly, and fly routes I wouldn't do normally. Personally, I think so many "rules" is defeating the purpose.

Great idea to encourage well planned flights, and reflecting on how the flight went afterwards. I've had a couple of interesting flights already.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:51 am

wmburns wrote:Something to consider. In all the time I have flown online with FSX (default weather) not once did I HAVE TO divert. Even though if the weather was accurate it should have been a guaranteed diversion. I could always "see'" the runway or the FSX weather just wasn't correct. The default FSX weather engine just isn't up to the challenge.

The default X-plane weather engine did a much better job of simulating the actual conditions.

To me that says anyone using a default FSX system will, in general, be less likely adversely affected by weather. Where as the X-Plane and FSX with add on weather are more likely to see adverse weather. Advantage?

What about the person that sets the weather to "clear sky with no wind" thus making it even easier to complete the flight?


I made a change to the draft to reflect this concept, moving the language about diversions to the ideas section.

wmburns wrote:Some of you may be thinking this post is about adding more "rules" to the process. Actually it's the opposite.
  • What is the REAL purpose/goal of the challenge?
  • Are we really expecting someone to cheat? Why isn't a spread sheet log good enough?
  • Why is it necessary to fly the legs "in order"? Why can't it be good enough to fly all of the legs and keep a good log of the flights? Consider that we all have demands upon our time (family/work). What if I don't have time to fly a long segment but I do have time for a short one. Why place additional restrictions that may make it more difficult to complete the challenge?
  • Why is it necessary to restrict the challenge to one plane? How does this improve the value gained from the challenge?
  • Why is it necessary to restrict the challenge to one type of navigation (IFR/VFR)? Shouldn't we really be encouraging the pilot to choose what is most appropriate for the route/weather/airplane?

It seems to me that the act of completing the segments has training value regardless of the order, the type of plane flew, the type of flight (IFR/VFR) or the weather.


My opinion with the creation of the "rules" post is that it's like a physical fitness workout routine. There has to be some structure like "use dumbells and lift weights, increasing the weight over time" but it shouldn't be "you must start with the 15 pound weight". That said, when I wrote the draft, I tried to take what had already been written in other posts and place into one big outline.

I see the Alphabet Challenge could be structured in many different ways:

1. Make the flights regardless of weather, rules, PE online, etc. No restrictions, simply use it as a list of places to go so you don't get bored flying the same routes.
2. Make the flights in accordance with a training plan you design with your own goals
3. Make the flights based on an instructor's input as part of a training program that you're paying for as part of a flight school.
4. "Cherry pick" flights that look hard to challenge yourself in ways that you didn't expect (i.e. enable failures in X-Plane on a route with terrain issues and minimal nearby airports to test emergency procedures).
5. Find a group of other like minded people and structure your own rules and post your progress for bragging rights or a silly trophy.

Finally, I hold no real emotional value in any of this other than I started with an idea and I hoped I could give it a home on PE. I thought it was cool enough that others might like it too. I wanted to get out of the rut of flying the same places too often.

wmburns wrote:It seems to me that we should be encouraging (not requiring) certain behavior such as:
  • Using real world weather whenever possible.
  • conducting the flight in a "safe" manner. Don't do anything in the sim that you wouldn't do in real life.
  • Performing a detailed weather brief on the ground. Practice good ADM and make the go/no decision. IMO this is another reason we should allow the flights to be made in any order.
  • Encouraging everyone to try something new. If you mainly fly IFR then fly some segments VFR.
  • Try different airplanes.

Bottom line, IMO whatever restrictive rules applied to the challenge should be in place for strong valid reasons. We want to encourage people to finish the challenge not place road blocks in the way.


Maybe the core of your post could be used as a questionnaire for the simpilot? Questions to ask yourself when setting up a self-administered training program? I really like what you've written and it's made me think of this whole thing differently.
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:08 pm

One reason for having some set of rules is to set a bar such that completing the challenge has some defined value or weight to it. This way, when someone has the "Alphabet Challenge 1" Achievement in their shiny forum signature, people know what it means. If the bar is set too low, the value perceived value of the achievement is reduced.

I'm not here to say where that bar should be set, I'm just pointing out that it's something to think about.

As an aside, I totally agree that type of aircraft should, style of navigation, VFR vs IFR should all be up to the pilot. Even the decision as to whether the use real world weather doesn't guarantee they'll fly in challenging weather, it might just mean they take longer while they wait for nice days. It's hard to predict what the affects of the some of the variables will be.

Regarding doing the flights in order, I would say that it does add a social element to it. If you see someone is on the same leg you are, you know where they are in the process. If the order is totally random, that goes away. It also means if people blog their flights here in the forum, there will be a consistent pattern and flow to them. Having the flights in same order also means a more consistent experience for each user, which again comes back to the value of the brand that's being created. I don't feel strongly about that one, but thought I'd bring it up as something to consider.

I can't wait for my current project to be finished so I can participate in this one. I hope I won't be the last to do it :)
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Re: DRAFT: Rules for the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge

Postby kullery » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:27 pm

Keith Smith wrote:One possibility is to have a "Submit my alphabet flight" button on myflightroute. The form contains a place for you to paste the PEaware URL (like the flight analysis option does now). It works out the user ID for that flight, and stores the flight number in a table containing the pilot ID and the flight ID. If that's too much work, we can just have ppl get that info themselves (a 30 video will show how to get that data very easily) and submit the pilot number and peaware flight # directly.

Then, there will be a form allowing you to query all the alphabet flights conducted by a given pilot. THAT would be the link you'd put into your forum sig.

Just an idea! It does require support from Ken or Tim, though.


Done....at least the submission portion. Enter the PEaware URL for each of your flights on this page.

The program will log your user id, from, to, URL and will determine which flight number you competed. If you submit a flight that is not part of the challenge (i.e. diverted to alternate) the flight number will show as "n/a". Still need to build a page to allow searching completed flights.

I'm sure there will be some issues but this should be good enough to get started.

(EDIT: Reece, your 5 flights are already logged.......I used yours for testing. If you try to enter one of them again, it will show you all of the entries.)
Last edited by kullery on Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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