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 PROPS - Rules and Regulations

PROPS PILOT MANIFESTO

Introduction

Online Air Racing can be one of the most exciting interactive experiences you can have. Racing wingtip to wingtip at over 400 knots and 50 feet off the ground takes coordination, a steady hand and smooth moves.

The goal of PROPS is to create an atmosphere of casual competition where pilots can come together and race high performance aircraft. While the focus of PROPS is to have fun and build a community, it is also about re-creating the sport of air racing as realistically as possible within the flight simulator world. This means treating all practices and air races as if they were the real thing and using proper procedures. This document will provide you with the practices and procedures used during online air races.

Joining a Race Server

Due to the competitive nature of PROPS events, there is some special etiquette to joining the race server. The steps below will ensure that you join the race session properly.

  1. Before you join the races, check the Calendar page of the WCATC website to get the information for the race session. All of the information including the time and airport for the races is located there. Please don’t ask for the race location when joining a session. The information has been posted for you. Use it.
  2. Join the PROPS Air Racing communications channel first. Once you’re connected, wait for a break in the communications and state your callsign and ask for a radio check and password to join the session.
  3. The Air Boss will let you know if your communications are OK and will give you the session password and advise you of the current race situation. If a race is in progress you will be asked to wait until the end of the race for the password and permission to enter the race server.
  4. Before joining the race session, it’s important to get the OK from the Air Boss to enter the server. This check is to be sure that a race is not in progress. Joining the server while a race is in progress will cause a lag in the multiplayer connection which will affect the outcome of the race. Racers who join during a race will be warned initially and then may be banned if they persist.
  5. Once you have the password and clearance from the Air Boss, you can join the race server in-between races.
  6. Start up FS2004 and create a flight at the proper airport using the race aircraft that you’ve chosen. Position your aircraft in a parking area before joining the multiplayer session. Do NOT join a multiplayer session on a runway. One recommendation is to position your aircraft in a good starting position before joining the server and then saving the flight so that you can simply load the saved flight rather than having to set up the flight each time.
  7. From the Multiplayer menu in FS2004, enter the IP address to join the multiplayer session.
  8. Enter the password when prompted.
  9. Once you are in the session, all movement on the ground and in the air should be cleared through the Air Boss.

Communications

Race communications follow normal ATC procedures for the most part. Racers identify themselves by either their aircraft name or their race callsign.

All movement on the ground and in the air must be cleared through the race ATC, called the Air Boss.

Since the race frequency is shared by racing pilots and spectators, the race frequency must be kept clear during all races to allow for proper communications amongst racers and the Air Boss.

Racing requires a high amount of concentration and focus. Chatter on the Teamspeak channel can be distracting to the racers, so be courteous to your fellow racers and never address a racer directly during a race or make comments which could be distracting to racers.

In addition, the use of profanity or lewd language on the Teamspeak channel is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. The Teamspeak channels are an open forum and therefore must maintain a ‘G-Rated’ atmosphere.

Violation of any of these Communication rules will result in the following:
FIRST OFFENSE: Verbal Warning
SECOND OFFENSE: Removal from current session
THIRD OFFENSE: Indefinite ban from PROPS.

PROPS is strongly committed to maintaining an acceptable racing environment for ALL members.

Pre-Race Briefing

Before the start of an air race event, all pilots will be briefed by the race staff. This briefing will give pilots information about heat assignments, number of laps per race, pace lap speed and altitude and other critical information about the race event.

Race events will be run with time, date and weather set from the FSHOST server. This will ensure that everyone is running under the same race conditions. The weather is updated regularly by the server to keep all racers in sync.

Racing

A typical air race is divided up into 3 parts; the Start, the Race and the Finish.

Air Start

Several of the PROPS race classes use an air start procedure. The normal air start has three phases:

1.      Takeoff

At the beginning of each race, all racers in a particular heat line up on the active runway as directed by the Air Boss.

Before takeoff, all racers should ensure that they have the proper fuel loads for the race. The Air Boss will announce the number of laps in the race so that fuel can be set accordingly.

Once all racers are READY, the Air Boss will clear the Pace Plane to take the racers out.

The Pace Plane will start rolling first and all pilots will follow and form on the Pace Plane. In the interest of time, each aircraft is not cleared separately. All aircraft may take off together. While this is not standard airport operations in the real world, certain changes have been made to keep the pace of race events moving.

2.      Pace Lap

The Pace Lap is the time for all racers to get into position behind the Pace Plane and prepare for the start. Establishing a proper and stable formation early in the pace lap is critical to a successful air start.

It is also the time when you will be asked to validate with the race program. The Air Boss will start the race program and then ask all racers to validate using their assigned hot-key. By hitting your validation key, you are signifying you are ready to race. The Air Boss will ask any racers who have not validated if they need some extra time or are having a technical issue. It’s important to validate as quickly as possible so that the Air Boss can make this evaluation and begin the form up process.

To form up on the Pace Plane, use the CTRL-SHFT-T key combination to cycle through the names which will appear in the upper right of the display until you see PROPS Pace Plane. Once you have Targeted the Pace Plane, you can use CTRL-SHFT-F to Form up behind the Pace Plane. This will place you behind the Pace Plane. Use the throttle to match speeds with the Pace Plane. Pace laps are flown at 300 mph or 260 kts.

If you drift away from the Pace Plane, use CTRL-SHFT-F to Form up again.

3.      Start [ The Chute ]

The start will happen as the Pace Plane makes the final turn towards the airfield and heads towards the Home Pylon. This is called entering ‘The Chute’ and is the indication for all aircraft to form on the Pace Plane. In order for the start to work, all aircraft must be in proper formation behind the pace plane and at the same altitude. Once everything’s set, the Race Official will call a final form up and then ‘GO’. At this point all racers can throttle up and dive for the course. If the start looks clean, the Race Official will announce ‘Gentlemen, you have a race’.

If there are issues with the formation, the Race Official may order another Pace Lap.

Tips for the air start:

-         Establish the proper pace lap speed as early as possible. This will keep you in position behind the Pace Plane.

-         Establish a good formation position early in the pace lap so that Race Officials can predict a good start.

-         Stay behind the Pace Plane. Especially as you approach the start.

-         Sling-shotting the start or climbing above the Pace Plane is NOT allowed. A stable formation must exist for a fair start.

Standing Start

Some race classes are run from a standing start using a starting grid arranged at the Home Pylon. Racers are lined up according to a random drawing for all Heat races and by finishing order and/or time for Bronze, Silver and Gold races.

Racers will be required to validate using their hot-key combination. Once all racers have been validated, the Air Boss will begin the countdown to the start.

The countdown will appear in the FS9 chat window. It is important that your chat window be set to SINGLE LINE rather than CONTINUOUS. This will ensure that countdown messages appear on your screen all at once rather than scrolling across the top of the window. Racers MUST remain stationary until the ‘GO’ message is seen in the chat window. At that point all racers can throttle up and start their takeoff roll. Racing begins immediately. There is NO pace lap.

The Race

For classes running an AIR START, the race begins once the first aircraft passes the Home Pylon and the Race Official announces the race is ON.

Races run from a STANDING START begin immediately when the ‘GO’ command is issued.

Here’s some things to keep in mind regarding the races:

-         A normal Unlimited race consists of 5 laps counter-clockwise around the larger Unlimited course marked by the pylons with the RED AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD barrel at the top. The outside of the course is marked by pylons with a YELLOW AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD barrel at the top. You must remain between the RED and YELLOW pylons [red pylon to your left, yellow pylon to your right]

o       Due to the length of the Unlimited course at KNFL [Fallon], heat races may only be 4 laps long and the Gold race is 5 laps. The Race Director will inform all racers at the beginning of each Heat race how many laps will be run.

o       At other Unlimited courses, heat races are 5 laps and the Gold race is 6 laps

-         A normal Sport Class race consistes of 5 laps counter-clockwise around the medium-sized course marked by the pylons with the ORANGE AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD barrel at the top. The outside of the course is marked by pylons with a YELLOW AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD barrel at the top. You must remain between the ORANGE and YELLOW pylons [orange pylon to your left, yellow pylon to your right]

o       Sport Class Gold races are 6 laps at all courses.

-         A normal T-6 race consists of 5 laps counter-clockwise around the T-6 course marked by the pylons with the PINK AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD BARREL at the top. Gold races are 6 laps

o       Occasionally, T-6 races may be run on the Biplane course. The Race Director will inform all racers at the start of a race event which course will be used.

-         A normal Biplane race consists of 8 laps counter-clockwise around the shorter Biplane course marked by the pylons with the TEAL AND WHITE CHECKERBOARD DOUBLE-BARREL at the top.

o       Biplane Gold races are 10 laps at all courses.

-         The number of laps will be announced before takeoff so that all racers can set proper fuel loads.

-         The Race Official will count off the number of laps and the laps remaining as the lead aircraft passes the Home Pylon.

The Finish

The race is complete once the first aircraft crosses the Home Pylon after completing the required number of laps.

-         Finishing order will be determined by the Race Official as indicated by the FSRACE software.

-         After passing the finish line, pull up to a holding altitude and continue around the course. Await landing instructions from ATC.

-         The final results of the race are based not only on the order in which racers cross the finish line but also on who makes a successful landing. Failure to return the race aircraft safely to the ground will result in a DNF for that race.

-         DO NOT PAUSE, SLEW OR LEAVE THE RACE SESSION UNTIL THE FINAL RESULTS HAVE BEEN POSTED. Pausing or slewing before the race program has been stopped will result in the race software disqualifying you for that race. Leaving a session before the race program has been stopped will cause your results to be removed from the final standings. Consider yourself warned!

Penalties

If a racer cuts a pylon [passing inside it rather than outside] they will be assessed a time penalty which can affect the ultimate finishing order. Cut pylon penalties can be seen in the RACE RESULTS window once they are posted.

Jumping the start will also incur a time penalty of 20 seconds. If multiple racers jump the start, the start will be waved off and a re-start will be required.

Wrap Up

While the procedures in this document may seem complicated, they get much easier with a little practice. The procedures help to make race events run smoothly and give everyone a fair chance.

It is very important that you attend a practice session in order to familiarize yourself with these procedures. Practice sessions are held on a regular basis in between racing seasons. Always check the WCATC calendar for PROPS events, locations and times.

If you have questions, comments or issues, be sure to contact the PROPS team and they’ll be happy to help you out. Contact information for the PROPS Officials can be found on the PROPS website.

See you at the races.

The PROPS Team

 
 
 
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