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Food For Thought
Technology is a wonderful thing.
We can use it in our sport to review our flights and know on what we need to concentrate the next time.
The following group of pictures are screen captures of aircraft tracks at Texoma.  Three of the aircraft had GPS data loggers -
and these tracks are the result of downloading their data post-race and overlaying on Google Earth.
There are some good lessons here.
Whose three aircraft were tracked?   Heh, heh... I'm not telling...


Track of aircraft 1


Track of aircraft 2


Track of aircraft 3


All three aircraft tracks overlayed.


This is Turn 1 in the Texoma race, and a very nice illustration of different turn techniques.
You can see there is the flat, constant rate turn which works well for less powerful aircraft to keep their speed up throughout the turn.
You can also see the pop-up-and-haul-it-around technique that is suited for more powerful aircraft that have the reserves to overcome the speed reduction due to G application.


But this picture shows us where a race is REALLY won or lost.  At the turn.
Note the inbound tracks all the way back form the start.
As far as I know none of these pilots were drinking before the race. 
Now note the outbound tracks.  The other guy can have a lot more horsepower, but if he flies a longer course due to over or under-shooting the turns, he may get beat anyway!
Of course we all try to nail the outbound course after a turn, but in the heat of the moment it's not always an easy task.


Now take a look at the outbound tracks from Turn 2.
Not as much, but still a lot of wiggling going on there!