Electronic Flight Cards?

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cwbullet

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I wouldn’t be surprised to see an ele

I understand. i was thinking that the launch organizers could have a few of these for people to use. One of the Kindles is even waterproof so it could easily be disinfected between uses.

Regardless, I don’t think that every place will switch to electronic flight cards anytime soon. We do have to adapt to the potential problem of transferring viruses through the use of paper flight cards. How do we avoid that?

@cwbullet ,
I thought I read that in direct sunlight the Coronavirus virus lives for a very short time. What about a quicker solution that involves placing the paper flight cards onto a conveyor that passes them through UV-c and possibly a disinfectant mist or ozone before dumping them at the LCO desk?
Short is in the eye of the beholder and not well studies. It appears to last minutes to a half-hour depending on the surface.
 

BDB

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The more I think about this, it sounds like this could be easily done with a Google form. Users could easily fill out the same information that they would put in a flight card, and it would export to a google sheet that the LCO could keep at the table. It’s not a perfect solution, but it should be acceptable.

If I have some spare time today, I’ll try to build one to share. It should only take a few minutes.
 

Mike Haberer

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I think in order to make e-flight cards practical three things will need to be in place to start:

1. Good cell and data coverage at the launch
2. Everyone who attends has a smartphone/computer/tablet with data and is proficient with said device and are willing to use it in this manner.
3. Club members with the time, motivation and resources to set it up.

You lack any one of these items and this is giant exercise in futility. Might as well be pushing rope uphill.

IMHO this is a solution in search of a problem.
You don't need cell coverage, only a WiFi hot spot. That could be from someone's phone or a cheap router. A router can be powered by a car battery and an inverter. You just need on site connectivity to exchange data, not internet service. For example, when the internet is out at home, no device can get to the external internet, but I can get to any device on my WiFi network because they all communicate through the router.
 

Mike Haberer

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That’s true, and I did yesterday, but the leads, possibly a continuity button at the pad, and the rails are exposed to sunlight for many minutes between when one person touches them to when the next does and people make mistakes, get forgetful or complacent. There are still some people who believe that Coronavirus is fiction. So, having an extra layer of defense wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
Sunlight is not a given. We don't always fly in full sunlight; high cloud ceilings above the approved ceiling for a given launch are still flying days. Some clubs fly in winter (Michiana), where UV rays are in low supply. Non-starter.
 

Mike Haberer

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The more I think about this, it sounds like this could be easily done with a Google form. Users could easily fill out the same information that they would put in a flight card, and it would export to a google sheet that the LCO could keep at the table. It’s not a perfect solution, but it should be acceptable.

If I have some spare time today, I’ll try to build one to share. It should only take a few minutes.
The challenge with a Google form is you WILL need an internet connection. Google forms is could based. If you are out at a remote site (particularly out West), no dice. Try it. Go to Google forms, disconnect from the internet and try it. "Resource Unavailable".
 

Mike Haberer

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Four months ago, I would totally have agreed with you. In the present, I can see value in reducing passed items between flier, RSO, and LCO. In two years when this is (hopefully!) all behind us, it might be pointless again. Or it might streamline 40%-90% of flights and be worth keeping.
First, a vaccine is not a given, and two years is optimistic, regardless. Second, this type is system would have long-term value at large launches if implemented thoughtfully. I was in IT my entire career. It's not about the tech, it's about automating and streamlining the PROCESS. That's what most people don't understand; the underlying tech is easy enough, you just need folks that understand the tech to put it in place. HOW you put in place, the underlying process that you are automating, is where the gotchas are. Always.
 

cwbullet

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Chuck, if you would, I'd appreciate a list of the fields you're going to include on your Electronic Flight Cards. I'd like to start putting together some ideas for the exchange format. You can PM me with that info.
Reply to thread and add you items to the list.

Let’s start a run of a list of fields:

First Name:
Last Name:
Cert Level:
NAR #:
TRA #:
Rocket Name:
Motor:
Deployment:
Recovery:
 

58pan

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Main Deploy or Release Altitude
HP Rocket Weight
RSO Approval
 

Mike Haberer

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Reply to thread and add you items to the list.

Let’s start a run of a list of fields:

First Name:
Last Name:
Cert Level:
NAR #:
TRA #:
Rocket Name:
Motor:
Deployment:
Recovery:
I fly with multiple clubs. I've attached all of their flight cards. Glean all of the fields from these and you should have a fairly complete list.
 

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boatgeek

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Reply to thread and add you items to the list.

Let’s start a run of a list of fields:

First Name:
Last Name:
Cert Level:
NAR #:
TRA #:
Rocket Name:
Motor:
Deployment:
Recovery:
We also include whether it is a kit or scratch, first flight, and known heads up (first flight of a scratch build, sparky motor, staged HPR, etc.)
 

David Schwantz

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I am not an EE, nor IT guy. But could you not connect everyone through Onstar in my pickup?
 

Steve Shannon

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First, a vaccine is not a given, and two years is optimistic, regardless. Second, this type is system would have long-term value at large launches if implemented thoughtfully. I was in IT my entire career. It's not about the tech, it's about automating and streamlining the PROCESS. That's what most people don't understand; the underlying tech is easy enough, you just need folks that understand the tech to put it in place. HOW you put in place, the underlying process that you are automating, is where the gotchas are. Always.
The greatest challenge will be getting users to accept and embrace using the new process. That will be complicated if there are different processes or systems at different launches. Watching this thread has been very reminiscent of tech projects I’ve worked on with all the same skepticism that it’s a solution in need of a problem. The objections of users must be considered. Acceptance could easily take more time than finding a virus.
 

heada

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Anything that requires an internet connection should be frowned upon. Lots of sites have no or limited signal. A peer-to-peer based app or small DB&WebServer that is self-contained would be good, that way it could use a local network for those sites that can't/won't support internet connections. For those people that can't/won't do an app, fill out the paper card and have the RSO enter it into the e-card system at the RSO table. Then it can move forward in the e-card system as normal and you're not required to buy something you don't want to.

Raspberry Pi acting as the wifi hot-spot and also running a small DB with webserver. People connect to the RPi, go to the web page and submit the flight card. RSO reviews the rocket and flight card and passes. LCO/Pad assignment happens and rocket is launched. Club decides to keep or purge cards post launch. Doesn't need huge coverage since it is only used near the range head so the ~200 ft range in open air should be fine. RPi is ~$50 so a club can easily afford to buy one and no one is forced to use it before the RSO and after RSO its all club managed.

Just some random musings of an IT dude before his training class starts.
 

Steve Shannon

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Even though they are universally used, there is no organizational requirement for flight cards. I would start with a bare minimum of fields. If it’s not truly useful for some safety reason or statistical reporting that your AHJ or landowner requires, leave it off. The level of user acceptance will be inversely proportional to the ease with which they can fill out their EFC.
 

David Schwantz

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One nice thing about E card could be that if you fly the same rocket and motor combo over and over, you only need to fill it out once. Just refresh it or change that date.
 

Steve Shannon

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One nice thing about E card could be that if you fly the same rocket and motor combo over and over, you only need to fill it out once. Just refresh it or change that date.
When I’ve thought about this in the past I’ve imagined a whiz-bang system where there’s a database table for users, one for rockets, and one for motors and filling in the card is as easy as selecting a user, a rocket, and a motor all from a menu, similar to the way a server taps out an order in a restaurant. All the myriad information for each of those selections would be populated automatically. New entries could be easily added, custom rockets or motors could be added. Users could see and choose from combinations that he or she had flown before.
That’s a long way off.
 
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FredA

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For those people that can't/won't do an app, fill out the paper card and have the RSO enter it into the e-card system at the RSO table
It's already hard to get RSO volunteers....let's pile on book keeping too.

You DON'T need a card - what is their function beyond giving the LCO something to read?

You don't even need pad assignments - launch in numerical order - require spectators to pay attention. If you are on pad #3 and the rocket on pad #2 just launched, guess what, you are next.

Post processing of our cards is nothing more than counting the flights and counting the motors flown by letter. Then destroy them.

Indeed a solution looking for a problem.
 

PhlAsh

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SEVRA uses paper cards. The PDFs and Docxs are available online for those who wish to fill them out ahead of time. After each launch, I enter the card info into the database. WE've toyed with the idea of eCards but haven't found a consistent implementation yet.
 

cwbullet

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One nice thing about E card could be that if you fly the same rocket and motor combo over and over, you only need to fill it out once. Just refresh it or change that date.
BINGO. Auto populate fields with the last rocket and motor.
 

cwbullet

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To be honest, I am looking for suggestion. Negative Nancys do not need to keep repeating their objections. I got it that a lot of you do not want it at you club. We are gonna try it. There is no reason to keep piling you objection over and over on the thread.
 

David Schwantz

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Steve, some of us got nothing but time now. I would volunteer to help with it but I ain't got that much time left for this dumb old hick to figure that stuff out :)
 

BDB

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The challenge with a Google form is you WILL need an internet connection. Google forms is could based. If you are out at a remote site (particularly out West), no dice. Try it. Go to Google forms, disconnect from the internet and try it. "Resource Unavailable".
I agree. This probably isn't a viable solution at Black Rock, but I bet it could work for the clubs that I fly with in the Northeast. I'm swamped with work today, but I hope I get some time to look into it.

I'm itching to fly something again, so I'll put in a little effort to get me closer to that goal.
 

DankMemes

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@Steve Shannon as a software engineer For two decades, and Software Quality assurance executive currently, I’d be more than happy to get an privacy sensitive open source project going to facilitate launch activities especially if backed (or at least encouraged) by the rocketry governing bodies. I’ve been looking for a meaningful side project to sink my teeth into for a while.
 

John Kemker

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Thank you everyone for the fields suggestions.

I'm pruning out certain fields from the interchange format. Approval doesn't need to be included, because it shouldn't have flown if it wasn't approved. Likewise, long text fields, such as "heads-up warnings" etc. aren't really relevant to shared data after the flight.

Give me a day or two to ruminate and write some XML defs and I'll post on here.
 

prfesser

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Reply to thread and add you items to the list.

Let’s start a run of a list of fields:
Most of the Research launches I've attended have a separate card, different color and different fields for research flights: Motor class, propellant type, expected average thrust and burn time, etc. I don't know how that works into the scheme.

One positive aspect which I'd want to see, based on many hours at the LCO table, would be to have a place for a photo that the flyguy/flygal takes when at the pad, after the rocket is ready to go. It would be convenient to be able to look at the pads 500 feet or more away, and immediately focus on the correct rocket. (Yes, I know the pads are numbered but sometimes there are bobbles with that.) And that way you have a photo of every rocket for a newsletter or whatever. Unfortunately it would essentially require a color display that could be viewed in bright sunlight.

Best -- Terry
 
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