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Contest Automation Overview

George Norris -- IAC Chapter 69 -- gbnv35b@yahoo.com

What Is It?

A set of modular VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programs running on top of Microsoft Excel for Windows to automate many of the functions involved in contest registration and volunteer coordination. 

What Does It Do?

Contest Ledger provides:

  • Contestant and Volunteer Registration (with multiple stations)
  • Order of Flight Determination and Listings
  • Financial Record Keeping
  • Final Award Computation
  • Completion of Collegiate and Grassroots Award Program Forms

Volunteer Log provides:

  • Volunteer Assignments and Listings
  • Critical Volunteer Identification from Order of Flight for VC and Drivers
  • Judging Records and Completion of IAC Judge Record Forms
  • Volunteer Lists for CD

Pre-Registration provides:

  • Input of data from Pre-registration Web Site before contest
  • On-site Pre-Registration at multiple stations
  • Printouts of Entry and Tech Inspection Forms

What Does It Require?

One or more PC’s (200MHz/96MB minimum) running Windows (Win NT-2000-XP desirable or 98/ME minimum) and Microsoft Excel (Excel 2000-XP or Excel 97 – for Pre-Registration only).  Contest Ledger & Volunteer Log can be run on one or two computers.  Pre-registration requires at least one, less powerful computer.  All computers require access to a printer and communicate via floppy disk.  LAN connections are desirable and will make the process more convenient, but are not necessary.

What Benefits Does It Provide?

For the Contestant:

  • Far fewer forms to fill out – initial data entry into the Pre-registration program replaces filling out the Entry, Tech Inspection, Volunteer, Order of Flight, Collegiate/Grassroots Awards, Chief Judges Penalty, and “A”/"B"/"C" Forms … essentially the whole registration packet.
  • Better flight orders – each contestant has an order of flight score that allows the registrar to insure no one flies too early or late, on the average
  • Better volunteer assignments – the VC can see when a volunteer flying in the previous or following category has a problem with the order of flight

For the Registrar:

  • Less work during the registration process – the Contest Ledger keeps track of required entries and uses Pilot/Volunteer entered data to complete registration.
  • Less work making up Orders of Flight – the Contest Ledger provides automation to speed up and improve the quality of Orders of Flight
  • Easier assembly of clipboards – all forms for the clipboards comes from the Contest Ledger, Volunteer Log, or Visio.  A Visio VBA program can print the entire clipboard for Knowns and Unknowns, in order, based on the Contest Ledger Order of Flight.  Alternatively, Contest Ledger can print stick-on labels for the Form A's in the order of flight.   This results in fewer errors on the Judging line (Judge numbers are printed on the forms, and the forms are printed in order).

For the Scorer:

  • Less work setting up the scoring program – the Contest Ledger can preload the IAC scoring program files with all of the registered pilot data in each category, reducing workload and the chance for errors.
  • Less work in computing final scores for the CD – the Contest Ledger can read the IAC scoring program files after the contest to compute chapter trophies, grassroots awards, or other special trophies.  It can also produce a finely formatted HTML page of results for posting to the web.

 For the Volunteer Coordinator:

  • Easier volunteer assignment – the Volunteer Log organizes the volunteer data in logical order, keeps track of assignments, and presents priorities for assigning people to flights. 
  • Better volunteer assignments – the VC can see when a volunteer flying in the previous or following category has a problem with the order of flight (even if acting as Safety Pilot) while making up the volunteer assignments.  Specific requests for judging or assists are tracked and highlighted if not met.
  • Less work keeping track of assignments – the log keeps track of who did what, even with many changes, and can automatically fill out the IAC Judging forms at the end of the contest.

For the Contest Director:

  • Determination of Chapter, 1st Time Sportsman, Grassroots, and other award winners from IAC Scoring program data
  • Completion of Collegiate and Grassroots Award Program forms from IAC Scoring program data
  • Formatted listing of all volunteers for recognition and gifts
  • Automatic completion of IAC Judging forms
  • Complete income tracking, including cash/check reconciliation, check deposit slips, and input to contest budget.