Handicap Task Calculator FAQs
Q. How can I check that the tasks don't conflict with airspace?
A. Open the Bestpoints.igc file, that the program saves in the tasks folder when it calculates the task, in SeeYou or another igc viewer. This will show the task with variable barrels set to the size calculated for the lowest handicap and the shortest path around the task that can be flown. In map view it is then easy to see whether the task tracks conflict with airspace etc.
Q. What do I do if the calculator needs to set barrel sizes larger that the Maximum Barrel Radius for low handicap gliders?
A. The length of your task is incompatible with the range of handicaps and maximum barrel radius that you have selected.
You can either:
1) Reduce the task length, or
2) Increase the Maximum Barrel Radius setting, or
3) Add one or more variable barrel turn points to the task.
Tip: If you allow the calculator to 'continue' when it alerts you to this problem then the report will show you how large the maximum barrel radius needs to be to accommodate the lowest handicap glider.
Q. Do you have any advice on designing tasks that are fair
A. Yes. Tasks become unfair if the high handicap pilot and the low handicap pilot have different problems to solve. For example, making the faster glider turn under lower airspace or in dead air.
My tips are:
1) Use acute turns (<90 degrees) and enough of them to make the largest barrel size reasonable e.g. <10k Long tasks need more turns.
2) Check that the low handicap glider is able to optimise their flight without diverting around airspace. Use checkpoints.
3) Check that the high handicap glider doesn't have to duck under airspace to make a turn
4) Consider changes in air mass behaviour such as sea air, large lakes, ridges, mountains, convergences etc
Q. How much difference in task lengths is there between the different calculation schemes?
A. Bisectors will be longer than Bestpoints. Only use Bisectors if your competition rules demand it or your computer is really slow. The difference between Bestpoints and Windicapped Bestpoints depends upon the wind speed and direction entered. If the windspeed is very low, there is not much difference. If there is any wind, using Bestpoints will give an advantage to the higher handicap gliders. You can see the differences on the status bar at the bottom of the task entry form after calculation, and you can load the various tasks into SeeYou to compare the tracks.
Q. Do low handicap gliders get an unfair advantage by being able to turn anywhere in a large barrel?
A. On the face of it, yes. However, they will only fly the shortest possible task by flying to the optimum point on the edge of the barrel. If they fly to a sub optimal point anywhere on the edge or within the barrel they will fly further than they need, and will take extra time to complete the task. The higher handicap gliders have less opportunity to get this wrong!
It can be argued that low handicap gliders have an advantage in that they can avoid bad air by turning at a sub-optimal point. On the other hand, high handicap gliders are much more able to fly through bad air without landing out. Handicap competition will never be completely fair but this format is pretty close.
Q. How can I add additional data to the Task Report?
A. You can add notes to the Task Report by clicking the 'Add Notes' button when creating the task. Alternatively you can save the Task Report as a Microsoft Word file using the 'Save' icon on the report and add the data in your word processing program.
Q. Does the calculator recognise FAI style handicaps?
A. Yes. The program will recognise that handicaps entered are based around 1 instead of 100 and calculate accordingly. It is necessary to use the Multiple Classes feature to enter FAI style handicaps. They can be entered as a text string or using one of a number of file formats. See Advanced Options for more information.
Q. Does the calculator recognise US style handicaps?
A. Yes. As with FAI handicaps, the program will recognise that handicaps entered are based around 1 instead of 100 and calculate accordingly. It is necessary to use the Multiple Classes feature to enter US style handicaps and to tick the 'Invert Handicaps' check box to indicate that the higher numbers represent the slower gliders. Handicaps can be entered as a text string or using one of a number of file formats. See Advanced Options for more information.
Q. Why do I need to register the program and enter a licence key?
A. The quality and accuracy of the Handicap Task Suite of programs is important to us so we are keen that you are always using the latest version. This way we can be sure that you are notified of changes and updates to the software.
Q. How can I reuse previously created task notes?
A. Task notes persist while the program is open. If you create multiple tasks for the day in one session each will inherit the task notes of the previous. If you want to use the task notes from a previously saved task you can do so by opening that saved task then using the reset menu item. This will set everything to defaults except the notes.
Q. I am using numeric turn point identifiers. Why don't they appear in the expected order in the turnpoint drop down list?
A. The drop down list is ordered alphabetically by default. This means that 31 will appear before 4. If you wish the turnpoints to be listed exactly in the order that they appear in your turn point file then add the line "TPSort:False" to the handicaptask.ini file using a text editor.
Q. My turn points contain language specific special characters such as œ and å. Are these supported?
A. Yes. If you have set your Windows to use your language this should happen automatically. Otherwise, or if it does not, find the Windows Code Page number (cp#) that contains your special characters and add the line 'CodePage:cp#' to the HandicapTask.ini file. For example to use the characters above you would add 'CodePage:1252' (without quotes!).
Q. What does the "Act Dist" column mean on the task sheet? It looks whacky.
A. It is the actual distance that the pilot will fly through the airmass in completing the task. If windicapping is used this distance increases with wind speed and may be in excess of the nominal task length.
Q. How can I contact the author to give feedback on features and bugs?
A. Contact Jim White by email at firstname.lastname@example.org If you detect a bug please first try to replicate it then give me enough detail in your email for me to replicate it also. I will then try to fix the problem in the next release. If you have ideas that would improve future versions, I would be pleased to hear them too.