The Modified Assigned Speed Task Discussion
By Irn Jousma, Rules Chair
The MAT is one of two task types available for the CD at the 1-26 Championships in recent years. A discussion of the rule impact in several tasking situations follows. First the Rule:
5.1 Modified Assigned Speed Task (MAT)
Speed over a course with one or more turn points, with a finish at the contest finish gate. The turn point radii are 1.0 mile.
· The CD shall assign a minimum task time, a minimum task distance of not less than 30 miles, a turn point sequence and a finish direction.
· The CD may assign from zero to 11 turn points.
· The CD may assign a final turn point (FTP) which all contestants must achieve immediately prior to a finish. This FTP shall be no further than 5 miles from the finish gate.
· Assigned turn points must be attempted in the assigned sequence, but a contestant may elect to return home and finish after any turn point in the sequence, provided that the FTP is achieved.
· Contestants who achieve all assigned turn points in the assigned sequence may then elect to fly to additional turn points prior to the FTP, if assigned. No turn point may be repeated unless at least two intervening turn points are achieved.
The first task scenario features three CD assigned turn points (1, 2 & 3), a minimum task time (MTT) of 2.5 hours and a Final Turn Point (FTP); total task distance about 90 miles. The novice may look at this task as really formidable so, what are his options? The rule allows one to skip assigned turn points after the first one is achieved so the novice may elect to return after turn point #1 but he must achieve the FTP before the finish because the FTP is mandatory, if assigned. This strategy has two important “catches” though. If you skip any assigned turn point, you loose the option of choosing unassigned turn points later in the task. Also, all contestants who finish with less than MTT will be scored using the assigned task minimum time (in this case 2.5 hours) to calculate speed so, if the contestant finishes early because he skipped turn points, he will suffer a reduced speed calculation.
In the next scenario, the CD assigns only an FTP, a minimum task distance of 30 miles and a minimum task time of three hours. This task is like our old POST (Pilot Option Speed Task) with the last turn point mandatory. Contestants have all the turn points in what ever order to choose from for their task with the only caveat being the mandatory final turn point before the finish. I personally like this task because one can take advantage of the weather and lift patterns as they develop during the day. At a site like Parowan, lift may be best over the high ground early and later over develop. This task would allow one to take advantage of the good stuff until the storms dump and then run to the sun. Novices might want to stick to close in turn points to minimize a landout. If you want to use a turn point more than once, bear in mind the rule about two intervening turn points first. One more point; be sure to fly the minimum distance or more to get a speed finish
In the last scenario, the CD assigns one turn point, a minimum task time of 2 hours and no FTP. This is a simple task. After achieving the only assigned turn point, the contestant has his choice of all the rest in what ever sequence. The strategy is similar to the above scenario without the FTP before the finish. It is very important from a safety perspective to communicate with the finish gate well before you finish and to monitor the gate frequency during your final glide. Contestants will be finishing from different angles even though the finish direction is required by the CD. Another thing to remember is that as you near the finish you must PLAN THE LANDING PATTERN as first priority. If you get too excited and do a poor job of this, the score certainly will not matter so, keep you head and fly within your experience and capabilities. This will keep the fun meter high too.
One last point: why use the FTP? The use of a last close in turn point is a safety device to ensure that all the contestants approach the finish from the same direction. Now you know.