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John Good’s Final Report for WWGC 2019

John Good’s Final Report for WWGC 2019

This is my last report from WWGC-2019 in Lake Keepit, and one I really wish I didn’t have to make.  In order to give the full story, it will also have to be a long, semi-technical, and perhaps rather boring one.  Bear with me – or skip this, as you see fit.

The story starts with the fact that gliders (especially in competition) frequently fly close to each other, often for a high percentage of flights many hours long. Basically, all pilots want to be in good air, which is nearly always of limited extent.  Thus, midair collisions are a concern: witness the fact that parachutes are required of all pilots at all competition events, and their value is by no means purely theoretical (I speak with more experience here than I could wish).

In response to this, about 20 years ago an electronic anti-collision system, known as Flarm, became popular.  Each Flarm device uses GPS-derived position information and intelligent assumptions about the way gliders behave to continuously broadcast its current and predicted position, to receive similar signals from all nearby gliders, to continuously process this information to determine whether a collision risk exists, and to warn the pilot when one does.  It’s now in wide use by glider pilots around the world, and required in most competitions, including all WGC (World Gliding Competition) events.

Flarm hadn’t been in glider cockpits long before a potential use outside of collision avoidance was noticed and exploited.  A device that can learn about gliders and their motion at well beyond typical visual range can help spot ones using that good air all pilots are continually seeking.  “Leeching” is the common practice (a part of almost every successful competition flight) of letting gliders ahead find lift, then joining their climbs without the delay and trouble of finding it yourself.  “Electronic leeching” can spot gliders at ranges possibly up to 20 km, and note just how they are doing – a big improvement on the old-fashioned version that depended on eyeballs.

And when every glider is continuously broadcasting its position, receipt of this useful information need not be limited to the cockpits of other gliders.  It’s not difficult to build a ground station to receive Flarm data from all gliders within range – and without the limitations imposed by a glider’s structure, ground-based antennas can change the meaning of “within range” to perhaps 80 km and more.

Flarm ground stations are now quite popular (especially in Europe, where it can be hard to fly a glider out of range of one).  Most have an internet connection and send the data they receive to OGN (Open Glider Network) servers, which then send glider position information to various display software, so you can choose an area and watch gliders flying there in near real-time (delays of only a few seconds).  This offers significant safety benefits (if a glider is overdue, it’s valuable to learn where and when it was last seen) and is very popular with folks on the ground: Without tracking display, glider racing is boring for all but the pilots; when tracking is available, our sport becomes much more appealing.

But it also has profound tactical implications for glider competition.  At any computer with an internet connection, a person on the ground can track all gliders, and (perhaps with some help from software) keep track of where the air is good and bad.  If this information can be sent to a competing pilot (ground-to-air communication is freely allowed in WGC events) the potential value is enormous.  For a small example, consider three pilots struggling to find the last thermal necessary to get home on a dying day:  Pilot A has just his eyes to spot gliders, birds, clouds and other indications of lift.  Pilot B’s vision is augmented by onboard Flarm, which can spot climbing gliders at twice the range of vision (and if more than one is detected, show which is climbing best).  Pilot C has his eyes, onboard Flarm, plus tactical advice from a ground crew that has been tracking just where good climbs – and bad air – have been found by 20 gliders that have recently finished.  Of these three, which is likely to get home quickest?

Though OGN coverage is widespread, participation is optional. Data sent by a Flarm device contains a flag known as “Do Not Track Me”, and the OGN system respects this: if you have enabled this flag, OGN ground stations will still receive your position, but will not forward it. Thus, a pilot can have Flarm’s anti-collision functions without being tracked.  But this pilot will then not be visible to any tracking display program, which decreases spectator interest and to some extent safety.

Until recently, at WGC events all pilots were required to have a working Flarm device, and to have the Do Not Track Me flag disabled.  The effect was to make every pilot trackable all the time.  This was great for spectator appeal, and represented a “level playing field”, since anyone who wanted to could receive near-real-time tracking data for all gliders all the time.

But after considerable experience the implications of the tactical tracking this enabled were judged to be an increasing threat to the future of the sport. Pilot success was starting to look like it depended too much on the analytical skills of a pilot’s ground team (and their software) rather than the traditional soaring skills that have defined our sport since it began around 100 years ago.  The extreme view is that ground-based tracking analysis could largely supplant the pilot, whose role becomes restricted to takeoff, landing, flying to points designated by the ground software, and perhaps some input regarding clouds seen enroute.

The result of this concern was a rule change, applicable in 2019: Pilots can choose to be un-tracked, or to appear on tracking but not under their glider’s actual contest ID (it’s now legal even to “spoof” the ID of a fellow competitor).  The desire for spectator-friendly tracking can be addressed if a contest provides special trackers (e.g cell-based) that have nothing to do with Flarm: pilots can be required to carry these, but the tracking display from such devices must be delayed by 15 minutes (which seriously diminishes its tactical value).

This sounds like it could be a step forward, but there’s a serious complication: It’s possible (indeed, not especially difficult) to construct private Flarm ground stations that do not participate in the OGN system and – significantly – do not respect the Do Not Track Me flag.  A WGC team with the funding and manpower can deploy a couple of these stations (perhaps moving them each day into areas where tasks will take pilots) and then harvest the data they receive.  This means some teams can have the ability to obtain tactically valuable real-time tracking data that’s not available to all – the end of the level playing field. 

This sounds a bit tacky and underhanded, but it’s acknowledged to be fully legal – in no small part because there’s no way to enforce a rule against it.  There’s no proof which – or indeed if any – WGC teams are using this.  But I can tell you that it’s widely believed to be happening. Indeed, it would be very surprising to hear that no team is making use of a scheme that’s legal, not prohibitively difficult, and likely to provide a meaningful advantage over teams not doing this.

This extremely tedious background brings us to the situation here at WWGC-2019:

This contest naturally wanted to make tracking displays available to interested spectators around the world.  For this, they chose to use what are known as GFA trackers – self-contained cell-based trackers supported by the Gliding Federation of Australia, and well proven at many Australian contests.  With the exception of the occasional battery failure, these trackers and the online software that displays their data do a beautiful job, and the tracking for this contest has been popular around the world (most notably, in the USA). Pilots naturally have some concern about carrying a tracker that continually discloses their position, but this concern is addressed by the rule (noted above) requiring a 15-minute delay on the display of such data. So far so good.

But at a special meeting of Team Captains on Friday morning, we were stunned to learn that the Australian team found a way to receive undelayed data from all GFA trackers.  They thus had full real-time coverage of all gliders all the time, and were freely using this data to help their pilots. 

Along with almost everyone here, I do not believe this was a plan to intentionally do something underhanded.  The Australian team position is that they found a web page that required no password or other access restrictions, making the GFA tracking data available there fair game.  They further believe that what they were obtaining (real-time positions for all gliders) is the same data available to any team that went to the trouble of deploying private Flarm stations in the contest task area.  They though of it as a clever and easy way to obtain the same information others would be able to get.

It won’t surprise you to hear that the other 9 Team Captains (of which I am one) did not endorse this view.  The first point is that the contest is required by rule to impose a 15-minute delay on the tracking display, so a website that offered undelayed data ought to have been secured, something anyone with knowledge of the rules would surely have known. Next, even if was not secured, any scheme that uses such data undermines the 15-minute delay requirement, thus creating a rules violation.  Pilots accepted the GFA trackers (as the rules required them to do) on good faith; they must now digest the fact that, in effect, their gliders were “bugged” during this contest.

The initial ruling from the contest organizers was that the receipt of this illicit data was unsporting behavior, but because the Australian pilots had been told – and sincerely believed – this scheme was acceptable, no penalties would be applied. 

This did not sit well with the 9 Team Captains.  If the data was illicit (as the contest had stated), extra speed and distance obtained from the use of it could not be handwaved away, even if pilots weren’t aware of the underlying problem.  The response to this objection was a revised ruling: each Australian pilot would be penalized 250 points.  This was protested, both by some teams who argued that the correct penalty was disqualification, and by the Australian team (who probably argued – correctly – that there is no specific rule against using the unsecured GFA tracking data).  The final determination was that the penalty would be amount to 25 points per day per pilot, so a total of 225 points in this 9-day contest.

This is perhaps approximately just – and certainly devastating to our contest.  Jo Davis, flying beautifully in Club class, was knocked from first to fourth place; Elena Ferganani now has a gold medal that must always be bittersweet.   Lisa Trotter (a good friend of mine) lost her third place medal in Standard Class.  The contest organization here, just at the end of an impressively well-run event representing several years of work, must now digest the fact that the most persistent memory of this contest is likely to be one distasteful to everyone.

What should happen as a result of this?  The contest organization has promised to produce a full and complete description of exactly what happened.  The IGC (International Gliding Commission, responsible for WGC rules, procedures and policies) should confront the fact that their decision to abandon the level playing field contributed to this.

35 Comments

  1. Cal Watford January 20, 2020

    I am concerned that the ruling committee will not have the “guts” to apply a true and necessary penalty. Cheating is not to be allowed in any sport. There will be an argument and the definition of cheating will not be agreed on. Sad for the sport.

  2. Matt January 20, 2020

    Make a rule To Ban ground to air for competitive assistance – that’s anything outside of a safety broadcast. The end. No ambiguity there.

    Get caught – get banned for the next x internationals as a squad.

    That will stop it.

  3. Alvaro de Orleans-Borbon January 20, 2020

    FAI’s reputation to “indisputably select the best pilot” rests on the integrity of the whole process.
    It’s time to painstakingly review every part of the Gliding Sporting Code – and its underlying philosophy – to check whether and how it really contributes “to select the best pilot”.
    Simple fingerpointing at the Australian Team may punish participants convinced of acting cleverly rather than fraudulently – and may relieve the rulemakers from the hard work needed to learn & correct what happened.

  4. Gary Osoba January 20, 2020

    Thank you for your cogent report John.

  5. Angel Casado January 20, 2020

    John,
    Perhaps you are aware of an IGC project to develop OGN/IGC trackers, where the information is transmitted encrypted, they use the OGN infrastructure, those trackers do relay of the position of other trackers, increasing the coverage therefore, but the broadcast of the data will be controlled by the IGC, with a predefined delay.
    If we use that in addition of NOTRACKING and Random radio ID, will allow to separate collision avoidance doing by the Flarm of the glider tracking doing by the OGN/IGC trackers

  6. Michael January 20, 2020

    Excellent description of FLARM and the details regarding the alleged cheating, All which serve to bring a better understanding. It must’ve taken you quite a while to put this all together. Much appreciated.

  7. Stuart Venters January 20, 2020

    John, thanks for taking the time to explain the situation. Instead of remembering a distasteful contest, I prefer to remember that even in challenging circumstances Sarah won and the folks running the contest did exceeding well showing good judgement under fire.

    Instead of having only easy to enforce rules, I’d like to think we could just have clear rules with self enforcement expected (Like golf?) For electronics providing the pilot information, perhaps instead of a list of prohibited items, a very small list of permitted items. (Air mass around the plane yes, collision yes, gps position yes, tactical flarm position of other gliders no, weather no, team ground comms no)

    Did I mention Sarah won?

  8. Peter Gray January 20, 2020

    I will take the opposite view to most I think. Its time to get with the times. Abandon all hope of not having information available and simply make it part of the sport. Like Formula 1. All information is available to all participants, including teams. Tyre choice, track sector times its all there for all to use. It has not made the drivers less skillful, it just makes it a more complex sport. Embrace the future, don’t fight it.

    Finally, something is either against the rules or it is not. If its not against the rules, it is not cheating. Unless you can point to a specific rule and say “you broke that rule” then its
    not cheating. If you (the rule makers) forgot to make a rule, thats not the participants fault, its your fault. Airy fairy “sportsmanlike” rules are for the birds. And if you are
    going to have “sportmanslike” stuff, like tennis, then you have a escalation system, first a warning, then a point and so on.

  9. Bob Kuykendall January 20, 2020

    John, thanks for taking the time to put all this together. This is the best primer for this I’ve seen, and the only one so far to go to any great depth into it. I think you’ve done a great job of explaining a confusing situation in plain language. I feel bad for the Australian team pilots, it seems like they were very poorly supported by the team management in this.

  10. Kimberly Olsen January 20, 2020

    Well written. Thanks John. There was considerable comment on social media by people who confused FLARM and GFA Trackers which resulted in a whole lot unnecessary commentary. I thorougjly enjoyed the event, enjoyed providing social media coverage and met some fabulous women pilots. Thankfully those memories for me will remain positive because I wasn’t a competitor. I do hope to qualify for HusBos 2021 and sincerely hope there is no repeat of this there.

  11. Gary Brasher January 20, 2020

    Many thanks for your detailed reports John. Very informative and an enjoyable read.

  12. Ian McPhee January 20, 2020

    Very well explained John and great to catch up yet again. This is essential reading.

  13. Dave January 20, 2020

    Real time safety should be promoted, but gliders should not be identified. Just that ‘an aircraft’ could represent a collision threat.
    Receiving ‘anything else’ from outside the cockpit should result in disqualification.

  14. Rod Jewell January 20, 2020

    A full review of the incedent will be investigated by GFA and an appeal may still be lodged.

  15. RC January 21, 2020

    Agree with Cal Watford.
    Have no faith in report from the GFA either.

  16. Peter White January 21, 2020

    Very well put report. Every competition, be it Chess, Football, Cricket, Politics or Gliding, is determined by the rules of the body running that competition.
    No ifs, no buts.
    If the rules don’t cover what the Aussies did, and by the sounds of it, every other team could have done, then the result of an enquiry is clear. But we all know that the “rules committee” can make alternate decisions based on the influence of the strong parties within the committee, regardless of the rules. Strange interpretations will always jump up and bite us, no matter who is right.
    Lets hope that this situation, and the resultant appeal and decision, does not cloud what is regarded as a pure flying competition that many regard as being as close to being a bird as possible.
    Gliding is nowhere near being the closest thing to being a bird. Helicopters are. You can’t land a glider on a tree branch and fly away again. Helicopters can. 🙂
    Cheating is a damning word usually used by those that have been too slow to exploit the silly rules that are implemented to cover one situation, but have an then unknown consequence some time down the track.
    Using FLARM has an obvious safety benefit that should be uninhibited, but if it’s use gives an unfair advantage to one competitor, and not the whole competition, then checks and balances need to put in place, OR, everyone allowed to use it for whatever purpose.
    This will indeed be an interesting appeal and result.

  17. David Holmes January 21, 2020

    Thanks John
    Balanced and fair, great to see the USA team do so well. We will see what the short and long term outcome of this is.
    regards
    David
    LKSC

  18. Bob January 21, 2020

    Ozzies, No surprises there.

  19. Brian January 21, 2020

    Well done John, on an accurate description of the lead up to the possible scenario that has transpired as a result of the WWGC 2020. Some big Navel gazing will no doubt follow as is very embarrassing to the sport even if (no) rules where broken. We have politicians here (in Australia) that put the “Pub test” to the punters all the time that should know better, I hope I would have known better. I know a number of the Ladies that competed, and have no doubt that they put in 100% due to the years of practice in the lead up to this comp. Very sad.

  20. Gordon Rigg January 21, 2020

    Thank you for this detailed report. I wish in the sports of Hang gliding and paragliding the details of such acrimonious disputes at competitions were presented so clearly. Instead we have had several situations where there are conflicting stories that are never clarified by the officials, when really that is the only reason they are there!

  21. Mike Lee January 21, 2020

    It seems clear that the intent and spirit of the 15 minute delayed tracking rule were well understood by all.
    Using an unsecured tracking site to eliminate the 15 minute delay is a violation of the intent and spirit of the rule.
    While it could be argued that there was no specific rule against using the unsecured GFA tracking data, the intent and spirit of the 15 minute delayed tracking rule were still being violated.
    The honorable action for whomever on the Australian team, discovered the unsecured GFA site would have been to report it to the competition organizers so that the issue of un-delayed / unsecured GFA tracking could have been mitigated in some fashion.
    Competitive soaring to me is a wonderful thing, testing pilot skill against pilot skill at a high level. Using loopholes to violate the intention and spirit of rules clearly created to create a level playing field, degrades and dishonors our sport to just another “best cheater wins” sport.

  22. David Ellis January 21, 2020

    Hello John Good and other familiar names!
    In the 15 or so years since I left the sport as an instrument manufacturer, I am amazed at its continuing evolution!

    Dave Ellis
    Cambridge Aero Instruments 1986-2002

  23. Enno Cramer January 21, 2020

    Please note, that use of FLARM data through ground stations is most probable in violation of current EU laws, most specifically the GDPR.
    As OGN has not deployed to an opt-in kind of service but is using any FLARM data that can be received (although seemingly usually honoring the “no track flag”), there is some strong believe that OGN is operated illegally. However without any know name and address of any OGN station operator there has yet been no means to deliver a legal order and bring this to decision with an ordinary court.
    My opinion here therefor is that any team that is deploying their own FLARM receivers might be violating (at least in Europe) the law. Anyone operating a modified FLARM receiver that would actually ignore the “no track flag” is without any question violating the (EU) law. Thus I do not at all agree with the made statement “This sounds a bit tacky and underhanded, but it’s acknowledged to be fully legal” … as it is absolutely not (at least in Europe EU countries). Perhaps it is not even legal in other places. As a consequence, competition rules should explicitly ban the use of data that has been externally connected. Of course this will then raise the question about how to enforce this and ensure that the rule is being followed. I do not really have a good idea for this at the moment, but I believe this is what the effort should be put into.
    Perhaps do not allow internet connection or other outside communication into the plane, by having pilots cell phones checked and “sealed” pre-flight and put in a Go-Pro in each and every cockpit to record activities and radio communication exchanged which will be checked on a probe basis. Penalty: disqualification from the event, successive violation: ban from competitions for 2 years, lifetime ban the third time – similar to “doping” in other sports.

  24. David January 21, 2020

    Thank you for your detailed and balanced account. As an Australian pilot, I concur with your measured views and, as we say here, surely “Blind Freddie” could have seen the implications of exploiting that undelayed data source was in essence unsporting behaviour.

  25. micro January 21, 2020

    John, upfront a big Thank You for your excellent report with a perfect summary of Flarm, onboard and ground usage perspectives and the explanation what happened at the WWGC 2019 at Lake Keepit.
    Personally, I think that a lot must already have been discussed at the end of that championship and any ruling will certainly produce positive and negative responses – perhaps a wise ruling is always the one where all complain about at the same volume….
    I agree that it is most unfortunate that such a great event demonstrating the international friendship and engagement of gliding enthusiasts of many countries will be more remembered for this not-so-nice outcome instead of the safe competition with many good flights and new contacts enjoyed between all participants.
    But this should be even more so an incentive to think forward and ask ourselves some questions.
    First – we exercise a hobby and sport which is dominated by the technical aspect. Man (and woman) can only fly using flying machines and the constant evolution of these aerodynamic and lightweight wonders have pushed our sport (and our rules) continuously. Should we not accept that this topic is just another step in this process of evolution towards more modern machinery?
    Second – is it really possible to stem against something which is already invented and feasibly in operation like OGN? Just remember, when people said that it is unfair to navigate by GPS instead of maps, to thermal using an audio signal instead of the trusty mechanical vario or to use a Butterfly instead to just see what you might see with your eyeballs. In all cases the gliding folks learned to fly even better using these devices and a lot of the much-improved speeds and distances are based on these steps of evolution in sailplanes and equipment.
    Third – do we really have to fear that the pilot will be reduced to “…to takeoff, landing, flying to points designated by the ground software, and perhaps some input regarding clouds seen enroute”? Of course, a good ground crew would have then more possibilities than it already has today. But when comparing current teams and their possible ability to help the pilot already shows that it indeed is already a joint pilot-team-effort which nicely reflect the reality that our whole sport needs teamwork to be exercised. It may be erasing the benefit of the local experts and of those who simply have the luck (and/or experience) to find the much better climb route but isn´t this exactly the definition of a level playing field? And by the way, just consider the beauty and thrill of sailboat regattas or a Gordon-Bennett balloon race – they have full visibility of all competitors and tacticians within the team on board or in the ground crew, right?
    And fourth (and last but not least) – what is the safety perspective here? As outlined perfectly in your report, Flarm was (and is) a result to allow us to fly in rather large flocks enroute and in thermals without a central coordination (like airliners use) with a much-improved situation awareness with the goal to lower the collision risks. We could say that stopping use of Flarm eliminates the problem and dilemma you detailed in your fine report, but will that not solve a small problem by creating a much larger one? Indeed, risky and much too-close flying has been an issue for perhaps most of the time in gliding and now we at last have a system, which currently could already help to become safer here.
    Admittedly, many reports indicate that often in competition gaggles the warning becomes continuous and therefore leads to ignoring the warning altogether – certainly not the intended outcome. Why not develop rules that will lead to documentation of each time, a pilot takes aim at a fellow pilot or forces the others to leave the thermal? The technical possibilities are here already. But even without adding such a possible evolution to use Flarm even a bit further we should not really wish to revert back to a world were we only could look out to see all the others.
    For perspective: I fly in the country of the next WGC in the open / 18m / 15m classes and we have here on good days literally thousands of sailplanes in the air and a lot of OGN coverage. Furthermore, I am a member of Ostiv, where technical, meteorological and safety topics around gliding are being discussed since many decades. There will be the next Ostiv congress in Stendal during the WGC and this would be the perfect spot to have a good discussion about these important questions and the background of your input.
    Sorry for the long post, but I think your report is an outstanding starting point to think (and discuss) these aspects even more.

  26. Michael January 21, 2020

    Yup, that’s cheating. The URL was a “back door”, a secret entry to the data on the web site, usually known only to the insider developers of the web site. The involved member of the Australian Team was part of the development team, knew the secret URL “back door”, and was part of the Gliding Federation of Australia (which made the tracking devices and insisted that all pilots must use them). All the Australian team knew the data they used was not sanctioned because it was not time-delayed.

  27. John Mills January 22, 2020

    For the integrity of the sport to back to no tracking. Still have Flarm for safety, but spectators just learn through radio and word of mouth as to how various pilots are making progress.

  28. Stefan January 23, 2020

    Coming into the sport after quite a racing sailor career, I am very happy obout Flarm and its general consequences it had up to now. However, when I see what’s happening in World’s and European’s in gliding, i. e. without a lot of means and a consequent ground crew you have no chance at all, I am happy to race in regional and national contests, where only the pilot in the cockpit and may-be his or her team mate are at stake. Everyting else is closer to some e-sport…

  29. Max January 24, 2020

    Good explanation John.

    As a Crew, I look forward to the level playing field! and decent tracking.

  30. John January 24, 2020

    John, a question by way of comment.

    The FAI rule 5.3 (see below) requires “One frequency should be designated for each Class flying within a common task area.” This rule was replaced with local procedures – rule 5.3.1(see below also), “-Lake Keepit BASE (FREQ 122.025 MHZ) will be used to advising start gate opening, official announcements and for gaggle safety. “ and ” -Team Frequencies: Each team will be allocated one team frequency for team communication related to the contest.”

    Separate team frequencies would facilitate the communication of live data and tactical information, no matter how it was obtained, between ground crew and pilot. Class frequencies for use between pilots would not.

    So, why does the FAI, which must review and approve the local procedures, turn a blind eye to the non-compliance of the local procedures with the FAI rules?

    To me, by far the most significant problem with this rule change is to safety. Gliders in close proximity and entering thermals will be on either 122.025 or (most likely) on their team frequency – especially if the other glider was unsighted. The FAI rule requires that, “To improve safety, competitors should maintain a listening watch on the designated frequencies” which on track would have been the class frequency. I don’t think the Local Procedures, i.e. Lake Keepit Base frequency, could meet this requirement.

    Regards
    John

    FAI RULES

    5.3 EXTERNAL AID TO COMPETITORS
    The following limitations are imposed so that the competition shall, as far as possible, be directly between the individual competitors, neither controlled nor helped by external aid.
    5.3.1 Radio Transmitters and Transceivers Communications radios are for voice transmissions between team members and between them and the Organisers only.
    a. They may not be used to contact Air Traffic Services other than for obtaining permission from an airfield to land on it, unless the Organisers add specific requirements in the Local Procedures.
    b. Voice transmissions may only be made on frequencies prescribed by the Organisers.
    c. The Local Procedures shall designate common radio frequencies that shall always be used by competitors for flight safety.

    A single frequency should be designated for the launch, start, finish, and landing. One frequency should be designated for each Class flying within a common task area. To improve safety, competitors should maintain a listening watch on the designated frequencies, especially during the launch, prior to starting, while finishing and landing, and when thermalling with other sailplanes.

    5.3.2 Other Types of Aid Leading, guiding, or help in finding lift by any noncompeting aircraft is prohibited. Competing sailplanes abandoning their task or still airborne after cancellation of their task must land or return to the competition site and land without delay and may not lead, guide or help in any way competitors in other classes still flying their assigned task.

    LOCAL PROCEDURES

    5.3.1 Radio frequencies to be used during the championships
    For the championships the following frequencies will be used:
    – Lake Keepit CTAF (132.25 MHz) will be used for operations at the contest site including marshalling, launch, finish, landing, return gliders to tie down.
    – Cars used to retrieve gliders must monitor Lake Keepit CTAF 132.25. Note Car radios tuned to 88.0 FM can receive CTAF broadcasts.
    – Lake Keepit BASE (FREQ 122.025 MHZ) will be used to advising start gate opening, official announcements and for gaggle safety.
    – Team Frequencies: Each team will be allocated one team frequency for team communication related to the conte

  31. Kurt Wiesmann January 27, 2020

    Thank you for the clarification of many aspects of this case. As you stated: “it’s acknowledged to be fully legal”. This maybe the case as you point out but the questions ought to be:
    1. Is it ethical?
    2. Is it moral?
    I would not want to the pilot standing on the podium knowing that I won because I had used this data. I would never know would I win if I had not used this data made available to me.
    I would not like the stigma attached to wining under such circumstances. Rather not win and have a clear conscience. But that is just me and my way of thinking. Of course I could be wrong.
    I doubt it.

  32. Rick Sheppe February 1, 2020

    John, thank you for the outstanding synopsis. It has proved to be the worldwide foundation for the conversation going forward.

    The only thing preventing me from calling it “100% factual” is the final sentence. IGC did not “abandon the level playing field,” and I felt somewhat aggrieved when I first read that.

    IGC made a serious and as yet unexplained mistake: we failed to prohibit tactical tracking when we had the chance. This was a boneheaded screwup, not a decision to turn our back on fair play.

    So you are right in stating that IGC is in part responsible for the unhappy events at WWGC. I just wish you had chosen different words to make the point.

  33. Alf February 6, 2020

    You say: “The initial ruling from the contest organizers was that the receipt of this illicit data was unsporting behavior, but because the Australian pilots had been told – and sincerely believed – this scheme was acceptable, no penalties would be applied.”

    1. Who had told the Australian pilots that the scheme was acceptable?
    2. When were the Australian pilots told this?

  34. Robert Thompson February 9, 2020

    Thank you John for your comments.
    I am one very sad and embarrassed Australian. I am even more embarrassed how our governing body is currently trying to make excuses and justify our actions.
    We need a very big change in our gliding leadership here in Australia so I have started a petition to change the way our executive officers are voted in.
    Here is the details of the online petition I have started. http://chng.it/fDG7DP8C

    Rob Thompson
    “A very embarrassed Australian”
    amessagetorob@gmail.com

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