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# Judging a WRW formation

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Kristian Teufel of the Guinness records management team World Records verified in a letter dated April 25, 2008, that the 35-airplane formation flights by a group of Van's RVs set the Guinness World Record for "Largest civilian formation flight."

Scott C.

Here is a better couple of pics. Even they are showing a little movement and dynamic changes between them bt it is a hell uv'a nice formation. Looks like the base 35 way on the 71 that was commented on a number of times.. Scotty should have been there faster to make it a nice perfect 36 way..

35 Way RV 1

35 way RV 2
"He who Hesitates Shall Inherit the Earth!"

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The wing is quite a mess compared to the base, so we'd expect the values to be a lot higher.

The averages should have been the same. More or less. They are not.

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A possibility would be to split diagonal distances into / and \ for normalisation. You could calculate away quite some skew that way, I think. If all you have is a picture taken at an angle anyway, you might want to do that.

A picture taken from a different angle (to the side or from behind or in front) should not affect the diagonals should it? They will become steeper (from the sides) or wider (from front/behind) but relatively they should stay the same.

If you move away from the center of the formation, at a constant height, in the direction of either the / or the \ diagonal, that one will have a constant spacing. The other one will get tighter. Effectively, you are rotating the formation with regard to the camera. Take a look at Scotty's debrief photo. It's definitely taken from an angle. That's a good one to do some calculations on BTW, I'm getting on that.
Johan.
I am. I think.

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Guinness!! well...
WS is in Guinness. That is not the point...
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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Guinness!! well...
WS is in Guinness. That is not the point...

Well would the point be to know what the criteria was for that 35 way?
"He who Hesitates Shall Inherit the Earth!"

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And look at that! They would have had no grid discussions !?!

Why don't we qualify as airplanes BTW? We got wings! Sure, we're gliders, but gliders are aircraft too! (Don't let them hear that, though. )
Johan.
I am. I think.

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Well would the point be to know what the criteria was for that 35 way?

So, what was it? Or would it possibly have been a matter of sending a photograph that is just so stunning there's never going to be any discussion?

How does one contact Guinness? James, Jeff, someone?
Johan.
I am. I think.

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ha, haa... I guess criteria was just as what was for 71 way - to make something nice..... athough the formation 35 looks not enough perfect as well, considering how easy is to fly that planes..
WS example.
long time ago criteria was to make 70 way in over German land..
well, counting seems to be a problem as they make the count to 69.... so criteria for Guinness isn't important
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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Kristian Teufel of the Guinness records management team World Records verified in a letter dated April 25, 2008, that the 35-airplane formation flights by a group of Van's RVs set the Guinness World Record for "Largest civilian formation flight."

Scott C.

Here is a better couple of pics. Even they are showing a little movement and dynamic changes between them bt it is a hell uv'a nice formation. Looks like the base 35 way on the 71 that was commented on a number of times.. Scotty should have been there faster to make it a nice perfect 36 way..

35 Way RV 1

35 way RV 2

35 - piss on that!

I was in a formation of 48 Mooneys just last July, but we didn't bother to send pictures to Guinness. I think Bonanzas have done even bigger.

Takeoff pic attached
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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OK, there were two points to my suggestion, which is, I guess semi-serious as it could be done but would take quite a bit of work.

One is to allow distortions from the ideal formation. Let's say the design grid for a diamond has a 75 degree angle at the apex. Does it really matter if the skydivers fly it with a 78 degree angle? I suggest not. So I'd allow a "homogeneous deviatoric" distortion of the grid to find the best fit to what the skydivers did (in other words, allow a change in the overall angle of the diamond, but still keep every cell the same shape). Secondly, judging 3m spacing (or whatever) is difficult - a 0.1m error in each skydiver's position adds up to several m error between base and outside on a large formation. So I'd allow a uniform (homogeneous) size distortion too. All cells are the same size, but it might be slightly bigger or smaller than the design size. After all, even RW formations are judged "complete" if they breathe in and out by several meters as long as everyone is in the "right" place).

Finally, having a uniform grid that best fits the formation, calculate the rms error between the jumper's positions and the centers of each cell.

Allowing angular distortion makes sense. I would propose we accept that as a given that any set of criteria must satisfy. Costyn's distancing does this, taking grips (noodled or not) does this, diamond grids allow for this, square grids do not (a rectangular grid would).

Allowing dimensional distortion also makes sense. I would propose we accept that as well. Costyn's distancing, when normalised, complies, taking grips complies, both square and diamond grids allow for this.

What is a 'best fit grid' ? I'd say the one, allowing for both kinds of distortion, that offers the lowest RMS error. (BTW, RMS stands for root mean square; it is basically averaging absolute errors, on steroids.) Fitting that grid sounds like a job a computer should do, really, though you could project a photo on a wall (so you can vary the size of the formation a bit), overlay an iron wire grid that can be flexed (to adjust the angles), mark the four (you only really need three actually, for any formation) corners (they define the grid position, size, orientation etc.) and go back to the computer anyway for the calculations. (You probably still have to point out the 71 heads in the picture to the computer manually. I don't see this as a problem.) But the programming from that point is going to be a lot easier and shorter and the calculations are over a lot quicker (I don't know if that would actually be a bottleneck when using it for debriefs, but if we can prevent having to have a supercomputer for realtiming this, let's do so. it means someone gets to play with a lot of iron wire as preparation, but if we can play with spray paint we can do this*).
Calculating an RMS error in the end returns a value that is probably best expressed as x% of the size of one side of the diamond used. So normalising again, to prevent having to go back to calibrating distances. We then get to haggle over what value would be acceptable. This sounds like it might actually work. Professors rule!

* Of course, Jeff and co did it in the computer, so nobody might actually get to play with iron wire. I think that's a shame - iron wire is almost as cool as duct tape.

Thinking about it, a square grid is a special case of a rectangular grid. If we are going to do calculations based on a grid, there is no reason to use a rectangular grid instead of a diamond grid. So a rectangular grid only makes sense if you're going to fly inside your box. I propose that you might as well fly within a diamond, which might be smaller or bigger (!) than a grid cell (though centred over it of course), if only just so we can categorically do away with the square grids.

My first idea, overlaying diamonds and blotting out sky, depends on absolute sizing. I see no way short of measuring wingsuiters and calibrating distances in the photo to accomplish that. Moving that idea to the back of my head for now.

Allowing or disallowing (well, penalising) crooked or bent lines in the formation seems like a major point to me, not sure which way yet. Grids do not allow this, it's not really applicable to grips, Costyn's distancing allows for it (though you have to make up for it by flying closer to you slot generally). Food for more discussion ..
Johan.
I am. I think.

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35 - piss on that!

I was in a formation of 48 Mooneys just last July, but we didn't bother to send pictures to Guinness. I think Bonanzas have done even bigger.

Takeoff pic attached

Honestly Prof, I'd be a lot more impressed if you attached a photo of the formation.
Johan.
I am. I think.

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Wing diamond normalised horizontal sigma .0416, diagonal .2544, overall .2213
Base diamond normalised horizontal sigma .0737, diagonal .1130, overall .1045

A possibility would be to split diagonal distances into / and \ for normalisation. You could calculate away quite some skew that way, I think. If all you have is a picture taken at an angle anyway, you might want to do that.

More results from the Dutch jury.

Wing diamond normalised split diagonal overall sigma .1683
Base diamond normalised split diagonal overall sigma .0998

The base gets under 10%! Bases rule too!
Johan.
I am. I think.

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I stand corrected! I didn't look in that corner of the interweb
BASEstore.it

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I stand corrected! I didn't look in that corner of the interweb

LOL, I figured there had to be a Record somewhere....

You planing on heading over to the US in '09, maybe for the Bigger "one point" way (as someone called it) in Nov.. You can be on my plane...

Scott C.
"He who Hesitates Shall Inherit the Earth!"

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We'll see how things go with the rug rat Maybe share a slot with K to take turns
BASEstore.it

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Ill be there in Nov. for sure as well!
JC
FlyLikeBrick
I'm an Athlete?

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35 - piss on that!

I was in a formation of 48 Mooneys just last July, but we didn't bother to send pictures to Guinness. I think Bonanzas have done even bigger.

Takeoff pic attached

Honestly Prof, I'd be a lot more impressed if you attached a photo of the formation.

I don't think anyone took one, we didn't think it was a big deal.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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You can be on my plane...

We have a Team Kim Jong Ill Vision Acro that will fit him, so he with us.......
www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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Allowing angular distortion makes sense. I would propose we accept that as a given that any set of criteria must satisfy. Costyn's distancing does this, taking grips (noodled or not) does this, diamond grids allow for this, square grids do not (a rectangular grid would).

Allowing dimensional distortion also makes sense. I would propose we accept that as well. Costyn's distancing, when normalised, complies, taking grips complies, both square and diamond grids allow for this.

Agreed. We should let it stretch uniformly.

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(You probably still have to point out the 71 heads in the picture to the computer manually. I don't see this as a problem.)

Well I'm thinking since all wingsuiters have a pretty similar shape, maybe it'll be possible to automate this too, with some image pattern matching. But, lets first get an application that'll calculate all the values from manually moving the dots on the heads of people.

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But the programming from that point is going to be a lot easier and shorter and the calculations are over a lot quicker (I don't know if that would actually be a bottleneck when using it for debriefs, but if we can prevent having to have a supercomputer for realtiming this, let's do so. it means someone gets to play with a lot of iron wire as preparation, but if we can play with spray paint we can do this*).

The calculations aren't that hard, and besides your average laptop computer has a ridiculous amount of computing power anyways. I do not think this will be a problem. Image pattern matching for automated picking out of heads might be computanionally intensive, I don't really know about that actually.

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Thinking about it, a square grid is a special case of a rectangular grid. If we are going to do calculations based on a grid, there is no reason to use a rectangular grid instead of a diamond grid. So a rectangular grid only makes sense if you're going to fly inside your box. I propose that you might as well fly within a diamond, which might be smaller or bigger (!) than a grid cell (though centred over it of course), if only just so we can categorically do away with the square grids.

But my distances between heads method does away with the grid right? I mean why bother with diamonds, rectangles or squares any more?

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Allowing or disallowing (well, penalising) crooked or bent lines in the formation seems like a major point to me, not sure which way yet. Grids do not allow this, it's not really applicable to grips, Costyn's distancing allows for it (though you have to make up for it by flying closer to you slot generally). Food for more discussion ..

Hmm interesting point... again, we'll have to see what it does for the numbers once we have the app. I'm thinking that if the front diagonal is bent, the rms of the horizontal lines will be higher as everyone will be flying closer together, so that should work out, right?

About splitting the diagonals you mentioned in an earlier post... you're right, if the photographer goes ahead and to the left of the formation, you get distortion there. I think we should be able to compensate for that though. We can even include an extra dot in the application which represents the approximate location of the photographer above the formation, so we can compensate.

Cheers
Costyn van Dongen - http://www.flylikebrick.com/ - World Wide Wingsuit News

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.. prevent having to have a supercomputer for realtiming ..

The calculations aren't that hard, and besides your average laptop computer has a ridiculous amount of computing power anyways. I do not think this will be a problem. Image pattern matching for automated picking out of heads might be computationally intensive, I don't really know about that actually.

I was referring to the task of fitting the grid over the formation for Kallend's method. I'd think that's quite an intensive task.

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But my distances between heads method does away with the grid right? I mean why bother with diamonds, rectangles or squares any more?

Your method does. Kallend's does not.

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Allowing or disallowing (well, penalising) crooked or bent lines in the formation seems like a major point to me, not sure which way yet. Grids do not allow this, it's not really applicable to grips, Costyn's distancing allows for it (though you have to make up for it by flying closer to you slot generally). Food for more discussion ..

Hmm interesting point... again, we'll have to see what it does for the numbers once we have the app. I'm thinking that if the front diagonal is bent, the rms of the horizontal lines will be higher as everyone will be flying closer together, so that should work out, right?

Actually, I think the RMS of one of the diagonals is going to be higher, not of the horizontals. But I think you have to decide if you want to allow for it at all. Personally, I can imagine skewing and crooking that does not make the formation look *very* bad.

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About splitting the diagonals you mentioned in an earlier post... you're right, if the photographer goes ahead and to the left of the formation, you get distortion there. I think we should be able to compensate for that though. We can even include an extra dot in the application which represents the approximate location of the photographer above the formation, so we can compensate.

For now, I'd like to focus on the criteria itself, and not start compensating for things. We can always test on photoshopped formations, so you don't need to take marginal photos and go compensating. (That's what I'd like for now. Feel free, of course.)
Johan.
I am. I think.

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Fundamental questions:

Do we allow angular distortion?
Do we allow dimensional distortion?
Do we allow crooking (bent lines) in the formation?
Do we allow skewing in the formation?
Do we want criteria based on calculations at all?

When I find the time, I may draw up some examples.

I think Robi has a point that one ought to be able to look at a photo of a nice formation and say 'they got it' but frankly, I don't see how you can keep that objective with no contact formations. James might have something with the lines, but what would you call acceptable and what is over the line? James, what is your idea exactly anyway? It may have limitations or not be finished yet, but care to throw it out?
Johan.
I am. I think.

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You can be on my plane...

We have a Team Kim Jong Ill Vision Acro that will fit him, so he with us.......

sorry ed, i think i have slot reserved with Kim Yong Ill Vision's boys & girls!!Will bring even color matching dress
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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that is frankly easy to set.
allow the distance between two jumpers be no less that 10-30 cm and you have all fixed by it self ...
formations need to be way more compressed johan..
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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I appreciate your opinion, and it applies to some possible formations.

But to say the 71-way could not ever have been a formation, based on the spacing only, is not what I would want. If the spacing had been perfect, and if the grid would have worked, that would have been good enough for me. That's my opinion.

There is something to be said for (and I included this possibility) requiring grips for any official record. You will then need something else for bigways.

Effectively, you (Robi) also don't want to allow dimensional distortion. That means either taking grips, so you're limited by length of arms (with or without extension noodles), or introducing calibrated distances.
Johan.
I am. I think.

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Your method does. Kallend's does not.

Ah, okay yea.

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Actually, I think the RMS of one of the diagonals is going to be higher, not of the horizontals. But I think you have to decide if you want to allow for it at all. Personally, I can imagine skewing and crooking that does not make the formation look *very* bad.

Agreed. Lets find out what skewing and crooking do for the numbers. Maybe it will sort itself out, and otherwise we need to adapt.

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For now, I'd like to focus on the criteria itself, and not start compensating for things. We can always test on photoshopped formations, so you don't need to take marginal photos and go compensating. (That's what I'd like for now. Feel free, of course.)

Agreed. Lets start with good pictures of formations and see what kind of numbers we come up with. Later we can work with compensating for the more difficult pictures; or maybe we don't want to do this at all.

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Fundamental questions:

Do we allow angular distortion?
Do we allow dimensional distortion?
Do we allow crooking (bent lines) in the formation?
Do we allow skewing in the formation?
Do we want criteria based on calculations at all?

When I find the time, I may draw up some examples.

Yes, some examples might be good. I'm not clear on the angular distortion? What kind of distortion is that?

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I think Robi has a point that one ought to be able to look at a photo of a nice formation and say 'they got it' but frankly, I don't see how you can keep that objective with no contact formations. James might have something with the lines, but what would you call acceptable and what is over the line? James, what is your idea exactly anyway? It may have limitations or not be finished yet, but care to throw it out?

Yes, it would be nice, but except for a couple formations that have been done like Top Gun's, the Lodi 16-ways etc where it was really obvious, we really do need a way to judge and compare formations.

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that is frankly easy to set.
allow the distance between two jumpers be no less that 10-30 cm and you have all fixed by it self ...
formations need to be way more compressed johan..

That's going to be very hard or impossible. Like I wrote in another thread, leaving more room between wingsuiters in a formation will make the formation with a lot less movement. Put everything tight together (but not yet docked), and you get some insane waves going.

Or maybe we're just too eager. Maybe we need to wait with flying large flocks until we can fly small no-contact ones where everybody is within a foot of eachother... But big ones are fun, damnit...
Costyn van Dongen - http://www.flylikebrick.com/ - World Wide Wingsuit News

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