Help on running self-timed contests

This information page is provided for clubs that are participating in the F5J Monthly Club Series when they have a relatively small number of F5J pilots. With a small number of pilots it’s not fun to have to split into 2 flight groups just so everyone has a timer person. So our Monthly Club Series is allowing “self-timed” contests where all the pilots fly together in a single group.

What is self-timing?

What does it mean to run self-timed? Simply that you the pilot determine your flight duration by listening to the last field time announcement and estimating your flight time from that. We have posted some self-timing MP3 files (see below) that announce the 10 minute countdown every 30 seconds. This means that on average you will usually be no more than 10-15 seconds off your true time. In F5J +- several seconds in your duration is usually less a factor than your launch height so self-timing works pretty well.

There are several other advantages to running self-timed contests. The big one is that you literally get to fly twice the number of rounds compared to a conventional man-on-man contest where each pilot has a timer person. The obvious downside is that your duration time is less accurate. It’s a fair tradeoff when the alternative is not having enough guys to fly F5J.

There are three basic ways to run self-timed contests. All of them require that contest time countdown audio be provided so all lanes can hear it with minimal delays. How you enter your scores is the key difference with each method.

  1. Use your laptop with GliderScore and set up a contest to use smartphone scoring. This method gives you instant results after each round (group) and GliderScore’s contest automation engine provides the audio source if you have a “self-time” timer set up. If you don’t have one set up see below for help.
  2. Use your laptop and create a contest on Go into the Advanced Parameters tab in Event Settings and enable “self scoring.” Add pilots and set the number of round tasks. When flying in a single group you skip over the Draw. Everyone enters their scores directly with their smartphones same as GliderScore. Instant results same as GliderScore.
  3. Do a bunch of self-timed flights and hand record them on cards, then go home after the contest and enter them into GliderScore or Big downside is that you don’t know the overall results until you get home. The upside is that you get a bunch of contest flights in without worrying about score entry tasks.

Contest timing audio

With a self-timed contest you need to play the contest sound track (preparation and working time countdowns) over a sound amplifier system of some kind. Many clubs have invested in an FM transmitter and multiple work radios that can be placed every other lane. Other clubs just use a single radio with a powerful amplifier and MP3/Bluetooth input and play the contest sound track into it.

F5J Timer MP3 Files

We have made 2 different sets of self-timed MP3 files that can be used to run your self-timed contest. Each set uses 5 minute prep / 10 minute working time countdowns with time announcements at least every 30 seconds. The first MP3 in each set covers rounds 1-4; the second covers rounds 5-8.

This first set uses larger file sizes for higher quality 16kbps audio.

This second set uses smaller MP3 files with slightly less audio quality although they sound good and most people won’t be able to tell any difference.

You can get these files along with a “Notes on F5J Timer MP3 Files.rtf” file that describes each MP3 from this cloud drive folder:
F5J timer MP3 files

GliderScore timers for self-timing

GliderScore has the ability to create custom timing announcement sequences so it is possible to set up a timer that can announce your self-timing contest. Good news if you have not done that yet: we have already created 3 different self-timing timers (they announce times at least every 30 seconds) along with the additional audio files needed:

F5JTimer-5m10m-selftime (CB1).timer    (5 min prep, 10 min working time)
F5JTimer-6m10m-selftime (CB1).timer    (6 min prep, 10 min working time)
F5JTimer-7m10m-selftime (CB1).timer    (7 min prep, 10 min working time)

Import these by going into the Digital Timer section, then click Timer Setup, then click Import. You can get these timers and the supporting audio wav files from this cloud folder:
GliderScore self-timing files

Good F5J contesting to you!

Page last updated: 1-09-2022