My "grass-roots" speed timing system is now complete and ready for its first real world test...I've been working on this one for a while now and have finally gotten to the point where I'm confident that it'll get the job done.
This is a chronometer-style system that uses two timing triggers that are actuated by people sitting at either end of the speed course. A so-called manual system, it still suffers from human response time, but unlike the complex and expensive automated systems, it is very reliable and will work every time.
The purpose of this project was to develop something that any person or club interested in speed flying and competition could replicate for under $100 and be confident that their final speed results were comparable to others. Hopefully this will help grow the discipline by lifting a major hurdle in the eyes of many, that being timing system availability and ease of use.
First real world test will be May 13-15 at our local PNW Othello fun fly. We'll time anyone who wants to run the course and I'll also be doing direct comparisons to the GPS-II data from my speed helis.
This system will provide run time and associated speed through a 200m or 120m course with a simple switch used to select course length for speed calculations.
Not only will it display this on the on-board LCD screen, but it can also be connected to a laptop computer via USB and will display the times and speed on a simple GUI so that the event participants and spectators can see results in real time.
It also has LED's that indicate when the model is in and out of the course so that status can be announced over a PA, if desired by the event coordinators.