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A Suggested Improvement for the Course - Buggy Alumni Association

A Suggested Improvement for the Course

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Elmo Zoneball
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:31 pm
Organization: SAE
Graduation Year: 1979
Location: Bottom of Flagstaff, watching the chute, collecting samples...

A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby Elmo Zoneball » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:24 pm

I keep reading about driver's missing their chute flag and not turning when they are supposed to, and have a suggestion that could help solve that problem and also make driving the course more user friendly.

I propose that easily readable signs with numeric designation be sequentially fastened to the parking meter posts in the chute, lowest number near the bottom, highest near the top (of the chute, not the parking meter post!) The signs would be made of poster board, foam board, or similar material that won't cause injury in a wreck. I envision them being something like 1 -2' in size (roughly the size of speed limit sign) for easy visibility from the top of the chute. It is imperative the location of the numerical signs remain consistent from FR to FR and for the race.

Drivers could be instructed (especially newbies) to "Start your turn at #3" .... and then they can fine tune their subsequent turn-in points as they deem appropriate, using the sequential numerical signs as guide posts. I would add a stripe of paint at each parking meter post, perpendicular to the curbing, on the pavement sticking out into the street, so the driver can tell when he/she is passing over that mark.

This system is similar to the markers used in auto racing as a driver approaches a corner -- there are numerical signs that indicate the remaining distance to the entrance of the next corner on the track -- the drivers typically use the numbers to know when to get off the gas and onto the brakes and still make it around the corner. For Sweepstakes, the sequential numbering would simply be an aid to knowing when to turn in, and is an adjunct to the corner flagger.

In order facilitate driver visibility, onlookers would have to stay back behind the parking meters.

Alternatively, the signs could be placed in between hay bales instead of on the parking meter posts (this is probably the best location for visibility reasons.) The point is to uniformly space the signs and paint stripes so the drivers have a "count down" to their preferred turn-in point, and gives them something else to go by if they can't see the flagger very well.

Lastly, in keeping with the nerdly tradition of CMU, I propose the sequence of parking meter post numerical signs use the following sequence: from bottom to top of the chute: -1, 0, 1, sqrt2, 2, e, 3 pi, 4, etc.... (sign placement is not to scale)
"I love the smell of solvents in the morning -- they smell like... victory."

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swiftsam
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Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2004
Real Name: Sam Swift
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Re: A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby swiftsam » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:42 pm


User avatar
Elmo Zoneball
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:31 pm
Organization: SAE
Graduation Year: 1979
Location: Bottom of Flagstaff, watching the chute, collecting samples...

Re: A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby Elmo Zoneball » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:37 pm

"I love the smell of solvents in the morning -- they smell like... victory."

User avatar
Elmo Zoneball
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:31 pm
Organization: SAE
Graduation Year: 1979
Location: Bottom of Flagstaff, watching the chute, collecting samples...

Re: A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby Elmo Zoneball » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:20 pm

For illustrative purposes, here's a photo of distance markers used on big runways -- they denote the number of thousands of feet remaining to the end of the runway. They are useful for pilots in big aircraft to judge if they are accelerating fast enough to get off the runway. For a given load, temperature and altitude condition, the pilots can look up what their takeoff distance should be, and if they aren't at the appropriate speed at a certain distance, they know they need to abort the takeoff.

Similarly, on landing, if the brakes fail, it tells them how long they have to put their head between their knees and kiss their *ss goodbye!

Image
"I love the smell of solvents in the morning -- they smell like... victory."

hmrose87
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Organization: Pioneers
2nd Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2009
Real Name: Hannah Rosenblum

Re: A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby hmrose87 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:14 pm

Drivers aren't having problems seeing the chute flag, at least from what I've heard. I think the main problem is that the new drivers haven't been told that you don't really see the entrance to the chute until you start turning. That's why the chute flag is there. Just start turning when you get to it and the chute entrance will come in to view. Then just go for it.

shafeeq
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: A Suggested Improvement for the Course

Postby shafeeq » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:11 pm

I've known drivers who used other landmarks more than the flags. Especially with standard trikes where the flag would be hidden behind the wheel until the last second, so if you could see it, you knew you were in the wrong place. We were never quite sure how they were supposed to know if it was a stop, go, or no flag at all if they never saw it...

In the late 90's, the road had painted T markers between parking spaces, which drivers loved because they could tell their position left-right and distance along the course. After the markings wore off and were not replaced, I think some driving difficulties are more common than before.

With the transition flag, one issue was that due to the slope of the road, and the limited vertical visibility from the buggy, if the meatball was high enough to see from the start of the transition, it would be too high to see at the end. I suppose a vertically stretched target would solve that. Some teams, Pioneers in particular, didn't use a transition flagger for several years.


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