GNSS Flight recorders
The following is included in Bulletin 1 13 May 2003
As you probably know, we are more than one month late in making an
announcement regarding the status of GPS based flight recorders in WMC
2003. Unfortunately it has now become clear that no kind of flight
recorder which fully conforms with the CIMA standard will be
commercially available in the immediate future. With great regret we
must therefore announce that flight recorders will definitely not be
used as the primary source of evidence at WMC 2003.
All pilots at WMC 2003 may carry a GPS flight recorder which may be
used, at the organizer's discretion, as secondary evidence. These may
be of any type, but if it is capable of providing the pilot or crew with
any useful information other than the time, it must be sealed in an
opaque container which the competitor provides. Any abuse of this rule
may incur immediate disqualification.
Pilots wishing to use a flight recorder in this way should also come
equipped with a data transfer cable and the appropriate software to
transfer the flight data from the recorder to a PC.
The current status re. CIMA approvals is always most accurate on the FR information site
Why organizer's discretion?
Two important reasons:
- The tasks will be designed to be run and scored on 'traditional' lines. A flight recorder may, or may not be capable of recording the required evidence. If there is a question about the time you were overhead a gate or turnpoint, for example, then flight recorder evidence may indeed be useful, however; if the task requires you to identify objects on the ground, then flight recorder evidence that you flew over the location where the object was is not enough, you must have evidence that you actually saw the object.
- Most commonly available GPS's have several major failings; they do not record altitude (either GPS or atmospheric) and often their memory is not large enough to record fixes at sufficiently frequent intervals. The evidence you provide may therefore simply not be detailed enough to solve your problem. The best option is to use one already approved by another FAI commssion (eg IGC, GAC or CIVL) which are quite likely to be capable of providing the required information.
What constitutes 'abuse of this rule'?
In accordance with rule 1.10.11 of the local regulations, whilst flying a task, the pilot or crew should not have access to any useful information that a GPS may be capable of giving. The only permitted exception is the time (UTC or local).
Before entering a task it is the pilot or crew's responsibility to ensure that their flight recorder is demonstrably incapable of giving any useful information, either by sealing it in a container and/or by programming it in a certain way, and to have this verified by an appointed representative of the organization. Anything else constitutes abuse.
Further to this, it is likely to be assumed that some sort of abuse of the rule could be made if the recorder appears to have been pre-programmed with data associated with the task, eg start point, waypoints, finish point or the route. Users are therefore advised to completely clear the memory of their recorders before entering a task.