Electronic Flight Cards?

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BDB

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So now I'm procrastinating at work.....https://forms.gle/Nf3qxKMB3Q1tRXxZA

If anyone is interested in testing this for me, follow the link and give me some feedback. I intentionally made it scant and simple, but I think this could work for a relatively small club launch in an area with good cell phone coverage.
 

David Schwantz

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So now I'm procrastinating at work.....https://forms.gle/Nf3qxKMB3Q1tRXxZA

If anyone is interested in testing this for me, follow the link and give me some feedback. I intentionally made it scant and simple, but I think this could work for a relatively small club launch in an area with good cell phone coverage.
Just filled it out. Simple enough. Remarks section is good. I added L3 cert. But could add record attempt, or any number of things. Would this be savable by the flier?
 

FredA

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I'll stop being a "negative Nancy" -- do whatever floats your boat.
Put please answer this:
what is their function beyond giving the LCO something to read?
We keep the cards long enough to collect the motor usage curve and flight count and those are report to members. Then cards are destroyed.
No data is "kept" beyond email history.

Why do all this work? Collect all this data? Who keeps it private? Who is the consumer?
 

heada

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I'll stop being a "negative Nancy" -- do whatever floats your boat.
Put please answer this:


We keep the cards long enough to collect the motor usage curve and flight count and report to members. Then cards are destroyed.
No data is "kept" beyond email history.

Why do all this work? Collecting all this data? Who keeps it private?
At my club, the RSO signs off on the card to show that its passed RSO. Then when you go to the LCO, they place the card on a board and hand you the pad number. When you return, then put the pad number over your card on the board to show that its been assigned and you're no longer out there. (safety feature) That's alot of hands touching a card that could be infected with who knows what. If an electronic version of that can be made so that no hands are involved, all the better, right?
 

Buckeye

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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?
If this was a quick and useful thing to do, then every cash register in the world would have been mandated to have one of these things by now.
 

FredA

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At my club, the RSO signs off on the card to show that its passed RSO. Then when you go to the LCO, they place the card on a board and hand you the pad number. When you return, then put the pad number over your card on the board to show that its been assigned and you're no longer out there. (safety feature) That's alot of hands touching a card that could be infected with who knows what. If an electronic version of that can be made so that no hands are involved, all the better, right?
You are mostly passing a token. Could be anything.
Data on the card is only "read" by the RSO - just talk to them with a proper Q&A.
The RSO allows you to pass if you pass the Q&A -- bigger question for me is the RSO going to touch your rocket or just talk???

You pick a pad.
If you must - tell the LCO which pad you are on.
Walk away and wait your turn based on the pad you chose.

No Paper needed.
 

BDB

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Just filled it out. Simple enough. Remarks section is good. I added L3 cert. But could add record attempt, or any number of things. Would this be savable by the flier?
That worked pretty well. The form sends the info to a spreadsheet. It contains all of the information that I would need as LCO for one of our launches. I'd probably add a column so I could assign pad numbers.

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 5.50.42 PM.png


Assuming that everyone had access to a phone to complete the form, I could pretty easily use this to run a launch from my iPad or laptop. I'd be happy to create a form for anyone who wants to use it.

In the mean time....feel free to keep filling out the form and offering suggestions.
 

David Schwantz

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I had no problem filling out the form. And I am a computer dummy. Some say that they don't have a phone. I also would have no problem filling one out for them. We can stay 6 feet apart and talk.
 

Handeman

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I'll play devils advocate. I love playing devils advocate! 😈

You get your system of e-card in place.

How do you deal with the exceptions?
A person shows up without cell phone. Assign staff member to help.
A person has an incompatible device. Assign staff member to help.
A person just can't figure out how to work the system. Assign staff member to help.
Power source for comms fails. Assign staff member to help.
Software crashes. Assign staff member to help.
Any problem with the system occurs, Assign staff member to help.
You run out of staff member that have the knowledge to help. Deal with disgruntle fliers and staff members.

I know, a typical day on the range.... ;)
 
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cwbullet

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I am getting a lot of positive comments. As with any of you, I think the key starting point is to develop the backbone - the database.
 

David Schwantz

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I try to have all my cards filled out at home the night before. I rubber band them to each rocket. That way I know rocket is prepped and RTF. I do not see why using an e card would be much different. Instead of rubber banding my phone to the rocket, there could be a check mark "RTF" or you could change the color from red to green. It would be very simple to just pull up the rocket you are going to fly, and just hit send. Might save time. RSO could review upcoming flights while others are being launched. If he spots a problem he could inform flier before standing in line, and then having to go and fix something before being approved for flight.
 

John Kemker

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I try to have all my cards filled out at home the night before. I rubber band them to each rocket. That way I know rocket is prepped and RTF. I do not see why using an e card would be much different. Instead of rubber banding my phone to the rocket, there could be a check mark "RTF" or you could change the color from red to green. It would be very simple to just pull up the rocket you are going to fly, and just hit send. Might save time. RSO could review upcoming flights while others are being launched. If he spots a problem he could inform flier before standing in line, and then having to go and fix something before being approved for flight.
That's a good reason to have a standardized interchange format.

Scenario: David has an app he's downloaded on his phone/tablet that let's him pre-fill his flight cards out. It has the information that he wants/needs stored in his app. He's all ready to go and packs up his fleet and heads to the field.

Once there, the field is using a different app for check-ins. David uses the "send card" feature of his app to send the flight card to the RSO's app. (Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, doesn't matter.) If the minimum fields are present, David has checked in his rocket. RSO shoots it to LCO, who assigns it a pad and that gets sent to David, informing him where to go next.

So, RSO/LCO types: What is the minimum information needed for a flight card? Here's what I've got, so far:

First NameLast Name
NAR #TRA #
Rocket NameMotor (multiples possible, definition would include delay, etc.)
Deployment Style (Electronic, Motor, etc)Recover type (Parachute, glider, streamer, etc.)
Mass on padKit/Scratch/Bash
Main Deployment (apogee, altitude)Heads-Up (boolean, 0 for no, 1 for yes)
Comments/Notes (text field, probably limited to 255 characters unless you convince me otherwise)

Interchange would be acknowledged by a packet that includes flight serial number to uniquely identify the flight. Once that's done and a pad is assigned, a packet with serial number and pad assignment would go back to the RSO and the flyer's app.

Comments and suggestions certainly welcome. Still working on the XML definitions.
 

John Kemker

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I am getting a lot of positive comments. As with any of you, I think the key starting point is to develop the backbone - the database.
Chuck, every developer that I've ever worked with that was worth their salt started out by defining the data dictionary. You've hit the nail on the head.
 

rharshberger

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You might be an ideal system tester, though. People who don't know what not to do are great for finding new ways to break stuff. :)
Hence the reason the Army gives new stuff to Privates to test.....not only will they break it if possible, but they also tend to find uses for it that nobody else would A) think of or B) willingly contemplate actually doing with it...I used to love TDY to Aberdeen Proving Ground!
 

cwbullet

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Chuck, every developer that I've ever worked with that was worth their salt started out by defining the data dictionary. You've hit the nail on the head.
I learned that in my first programming class 30 years ago. It is hard to believe that was almost my career. I am only 2 semesters from math and CS degrees. I got into medical school and that was that.
 

cwbullet

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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.
Tripoli Indiana has one clean well-designed card!
 

cwbullet

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I'll play devils advocate. I love playing devils advocate! 😈

You get your system of e-card in place.

How do you deal with the exceptions?
A person shows up without cell phone. Assign staff member to help.
A person has an incompatible device. Assign staff member to help.
A person just can't figure out how to work the system. Assign staff member to help.
Power source for comms fails. Assign staff member to help.
Software crashes. Assign staff member to help.
Any problem with the system occurs, Assign staff member to help.
You run out of staff member that have the knowledge to help. Deal with disgruntle fliers and staff members.

I know, a typical day on the range.... ;)
I am not suggesting that we not have a paper card at all. I would like to get there, but I realize that might not be user friendly for newbies. Exceptions will be made, but they should be rare.
 

Richard Dierking

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Coming in late on this conversation. I suggested an electronic system for ROC about 10 years ago but it was a no-go. With the potential dust and frequent abuse the launch system has to endure, I had to admit it probably wouldn't work for long.
Also, a few years ago flyers began to sign each flight card to accept responsibility for the flight.

Has anyone mentioned passing flight cards and other paperwork through a germicidal UV light box when they are brought to the Pad Manager?

Although the sharing of pens to write the info on the flight cards would probably be another big problem. You probably wouldn't be surprised on the number of people that show up at a launch without anything to complete the flight card.
Going forward, it's probably going to be, "pens are $1 and thanks for your donation." Great, now there's going to be a PCO.
 

H_Rocket

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That's a good reason to have a standardized interchange format.

Scenario: David has an app he's downloaded on his phone/tablet that let's him pre-fill his flight cards out. It has the information that he wants/needs stored in his app. He's all ready to go and packs up his fleet and heads to the field.

Once there, the field is using a different app for check-ins. David uses the "send card" feature of his app to send the flight card to the RSO's app. (Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, doesn't matter.) If the minimum fields are present, David has checked in his rocket. RSO shoots it to LCO, who assigns it a pad and that gets sent to David, informing him where to go next.

So, RSO/LCO types: What is the minimum information needed for a flight card? Here's what I've got, so far:

First NameLast Name
NAR #TRA #
Rocket NameMotor (multiples possible, definition would include delay, etc.)
Deployment Style (Electronic, Motor, etc)Recover type (Parachute, glider, streamer, etc.)
Mass on padKit/Scratch/Bash
Main Deployment (apogee, altitude)Heads-Up (boolean, 0 for no, 1 for yes)
Comments/Notes (text field, probably limited to 255 characters unless you convince me otherwise)

Interchange would be acknowledged by a packet that includes flight serial number to uniquely identify the flight. Once that's done and a pad is assigned, a packet with serial number and pad assignment would go back to the RSO and the flyer's app.

Comments and suggestions certainly welcome. Still working on the XML definitions.
I've never understood the value of the Kit/Scratch field. I would rename Mass on Pad to loaded weight. Some other thoughts

1. Make as many of these as boolean or checkbox as possible.
2. I like rocket color and recovery color. Both are, to me, safety points to assist in spotting the rocket.
 

neil_w

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I've never understood the value of the Kit/Scratch field.
I always figured it was in indicator of confidence in the flightworthiness of the rocket, with scratchbuilds requiring more attention or scrutiny.
 

boatgeek

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I always figured it was in indicator of confidence in the flightworthiness of the rocket, with scratchbuilds requiring more attention or scrutiny.
The idea being a kit is a proven design and scratch is....eh, who knows. Not all kits are the same so really and so even some kits are of questionable design.
A Boolean "First Flight?" field may be more useful than a kit/scratch to identify if it might be a marginal flyer. Although the LCO telling people what kit it is might be helpful in identifying which rocket is about to fly. Our club also announces color, presumably for the same reason. That might not be enough reason to put it in the "every club should ask this" list of fields, though.
 

Richard Dierking

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Actually, probably passing a flight card through a laminating machine with the heat on without the laminating sheet would probably be adequate.
 

Steve Shannon

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The idea being a kit is a proven design and scratch is....eh, who knows. Not all kits are the same so really and so even some kits are of questionable design.
I always felt that a ton of the fields that existed on flight cards were just for personal interest, to be announced during the flight and in launch reports afterward. No real functional importance, but interesting to some.
 

neil_w

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I always felt that a ton of the fields that existed on flight cards were just for personal interest, to be announced during the flight and in launch reports afterward. No real functional importance, but interesting to some.
As a spectator, I will say it is interesting to me to hear such details.
 

NateB

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So now I'm procrastinating at work.....https://forms.gle/Nf3qxKMB3Q1tRXxZA

If anyone is interested in testing this for me, follow the link and give me some feedback. I intentionally made it scant and simple, but I think this could work for a relatively small club launch in an area with good cell phone coverage.
I'm procrastinating at work too, actually chores and all our daily tasks are done, extra classes are complete for the semester, and the 300' ceiling means we won't lift IFR either. So, I'm playing on the internet.

I filled out this form from a smartphone using spotty wi-fi inside a giant metal building. It seems to have worked well on my end.
 

John Kemker

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I've never understood the value of the Kit/Scratch field. I would rename Mass on Pad to loaded weight. Some other thoughts

1. Make as many of these as boolean or checkbox as possible.
2. I like rocket color and recovery color. Both are, to me, safety points to assist in spotting the rocket.
Thanks for the feedback!

Kit/Scratch field I see as a safety issue. If it's a kit, it's usually a proven design. If scratch, may be a heads-up. Of course, nothing stops a kit from being a heads-up and an established flyer is usually fine with a scratch.

Agree on boolean/checkbox. Also like the color fields being added.
 

boatgeek

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Loaded weight/mass also needs to be flexible enough to handle grams, kg, and pounds/ounces. It might be worth having two fields, one labeled grams and one lbs/ounces. We can probably trust people to do the conversion from kg to grams themselves. Hopefully nobody shows up with decimal pounds.
 

BDB

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Thus far, I've had 6 people complete the Google Form. It may not be the most elaborate program, but for those of us who fly in areas with plenty of phone service, this is a wicked easy solution.

Flier completes this form on their phone:

IMG_DBB3F6EDDA74-1.jpeg

Output to a spreadsheet on laptop or tablet at the LCO table:

Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 12.21.17 PM.png


I'd be happy to help anyone set up a form like this for your club. I could customize it with whatever fields you wanted. This one was intentionally simple; It took < 15 minutes to create.
 
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