When we left you at the end of the last tutorial, you had installed, started, and setup the Contest Ledger. So, if you've taken a break, reload the Contest Ledger using the Windows Start menu. You created backup and archive files with your contest data in them; using the "Contest Ledger" menu followed by "Data" and "Reload Archive", reload that data now. You should now see the Ledger, with contest data, but no pilots or volunteers.
Normally you would now be waiting for your first Pilot or
Volunteer to show up and register. When they do, under the full blown
networked system, they'll be directed to one or more workstations running the
Pre-Registration program (we'll cover what happens to get pre-registrations
into a single workstation
system just a bit later, so for now play along). This program takes their entry data, prints the entry
and tech inspection forms, and saves the data in a file that the Contest Ledger
program can later read. The pilot then heads out to get their plane tech
inspected. Assuming that they've done that, let's load this
pre-registration data now. Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Data", and "Import Preregistrations" menu. This will open a file window with at least one file name
like "PRD_1_2002-12-11_13-23-17.TXT". This is the pre-registration data
from computer #1, saved on 11/12/2002 at 13:23:17. If you don't see a file
like this, you need to navigate to the directory that the pre-registration
workstations are saving their data over the network in. Once you find the file(s), press
the "Open" button. The Ledger will then look at all of the PRD*.TXT files
and load the latest versions from each workstation. You'll eventually see
a message like "Loaded x new and updated y old preregistrations". This
tells you that you've got the data previously entered queued up for the the
pilot or volunteer when they return.
If you don't have a network set up, then the pre-registration workstations don't have an easy way to save their data on the Ledger workstation. In this case you'd have to cycle floppy disks (sneaker net) between the computers. Even with a real network, having to continually check for new pre-registration data files isn't much fun. So if you are networked, use the same automatic import/export function we used for backup files in the last tutorial. Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Data", and "Automatic Import/Export" menu and check off "Import Preregistration Data" in the pop-up window. The file path in the associated list box should match what you had when you manually loaded the data before. If not, press the "Location" button and browse to the proper directory. Check the interval (3-5 minutes is probably OK) and select "Update". From now on the data will be uploaded automatically. While you're at it, check off the "Backup Ledger" function as well ... then, no matter what, you can't lose too much data.
Now imagine that a pilot has wandered back in from the ramp, entry form signed, tech inspection complete and signed off, money in hand, and asking to be registered. Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Finish Registration" menu. A box will pop-up with all of the pre-registered pilot and volunteer names. Find the persons name (say its "Jeff Boerboon"), click it, and press the "Load" button (or just double-click it). The appropriate data will be loaded into the ledger and a Volunteer Data window will pop-up. This allows you to verify what the person has volunteered to do (besides fly!):
The program will then automatically place the cursor at the next blank field in the ledger for that pilot or volunteer. Pilots will have a series of "Yes" or "No" responses to First Time Sportsman, Grassroots Award eligible, etc. Enter each response, noting that the cursor will automatically advance to the next appropriate field. Once these are filled out, or if the person is a non-flying volunteer, you'll arrive at the money section. Here you'll enter the quantity for each item. The first thing is registration fees. The program automatically selects the appropriate amount and quantity for Registration. If you enter a "1" for "Reduced Fee" however, it will make the regular registration 0. Otherwise, hit the delete or "0" keys to move on to the next item. Go thorough each item, entering nothing ("Delete" key) or a quantity (positive whole numbers only) followed by return for each. Eventually, you'll get to "Chapter Dues": enter one of the two amounts from the pull down list or "Delete" for no dues paid. The cursor will move to "Other"; enter any other amounts owed here (more on this later). The total amount owed will show under "Total". Select "Paid Cash", "Paid Check", or "Paid Credit" and make any additional comments for your own reference in the yellow "Comments" column. At this point you're done with this pilot or volunteer. If they want a receipt, use the "Contest Ledger", "Tools", "Print Receipt" menu (or just use the "Receipt" button on the top of the Ledger Page). Try it if you have a printer handy.
So, that wasn't so bad, was it? Just for practice, pick another entry from the "Finish Preregistration" menu and try some other inputs. You'll note that as the ledger fills up, it get harder to keep track of who is already there. To help with this, note the small radio buttons in the lower right hand corner of the column labels at the top of the screen. Press one and note that the center turns black. If you now use the "Contest Ledger", "Tools", "Sort Ledger" menu (or the "Sort" button shortcut), all of the entries will be sorted by the column you selected. "Pilot Name" is the default sorting field and often the most useful.
Note that this process can be speeded up by using barcodes. See the separate document, Using Barcodes in Contest Automation.
You will also be selling merchandise, taking food orders, etc. after the pilots and volunteers have registered. Or someone not associated with the contest will wander by and have to have one of the contest T-shirts. It's important not to go back and add sales to any existing entry (row in the spreadsheet), as it messes up the accounting. Just go to the "Contest Ledger", "Sell Merchandise" menu. The program will find the first blank row, assign a transaction code in the Pilot Name column and then immediately jump to the merchandise quantity columns. Fill these out as before, take payment, and you're done. You can enter the customer's name in the "Comments" column if you'd like to keep track. Try a couple and then sort the ledger by "Pilot Name". Note that the sales go the the bottom.
You've seen how to register pilots and volunteers, once they input their pre-registrations into the system, as well as how to sell merchandise. What if you don't have multiple pre-registration workstations networked to your Contest Ledger workstation? Not to worry, most of the functionality of the Pre-Registration program is built right into the Ledger, so you can enter the data or recall the pre-contest pre-registrations. Once this is done, the data can be recalled just as described under part 3 above. So, using the Contest Ledger, let's pre-register a pilot. Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Start Registration" menu. A pre-registration window, nearly identical to the Pre-registration workstation program's will pop up. If the pilot previously pre-registered over the internet (ask), then press the "Find" button and a list of existing pre-registrations will pop up. Highlight the pilot's name and select "Load" (or just double click the name). The data will be loaded and you can check it for accuracy and completeness. If the pilot didn't pre-register, then just enter the data in the fields provided. Once complete, press the "Save Data" button. The program will now ask if it should print the entry forms (for pilots only). As this is usually the pilot's first contact with you and they will need to sign the entry form and get tech inspected, reply with a "Yes". The program will then ask if it should continue with the registration process, by entering the pilot data into the Ledger. Normally you'll answer "No", waiting for the pilot to return with a completed tech inspection and signed entry form; however, if this is a volunteer, you can proceed straight to the steps in part 3, so answer "Yes". If you answered "No", the data can be recalled later to complete the registration process using the "Finish Registration" menu. Try it, the data you just entered should be found by pilot name using the "Contest Ledger", "Finish Registration" menus. What if you retrieved the data, but really didn't want to? No problem: be sure the cursor is still on the row for the new pilot/volunteer and use the "Contest Ledger", "Data", "Delete Entry" menu. The program will ask if it should delete all data for that row and if you respond with a "Yes", it's gone! Be careful though, you can fairly easily delete the data for someone who plans on flying and volunteering in the contest and lose all track of the money they paid for the privilege. You can recover by using the backup file if you made a backup just before deleting.
This will cover the majority of your activities for the registration day; signing up pilots and volunteers, selling merchandise, and taking money. Occasionally, there may be an odd situation where the pilot has everything they need except for one random piece of information or their checkbook. Or one pilot may be paying for another ... seems odd, but it happens. You can use SmartNotes to keep track these and related situations; see the documentation here and try it with the sample data provided (look at the AZState02.CLA archive). You can check for any registration marked "Not Paid" by using the "Contest Ledger", "Tools", "Check Receipts" menu item at the end of registrations; this will remind you who you need to track down for payments.
As the number of participants grows, the VC may want to take a look at his pool of volunteers. To do this, use the "Contest Ledger", "Data", "Export Volunteer Data" menu. This will write out a "Vollist.TXT" file that the companion spreadsheet program Volunteer Log can use to assign volunteers (this will be covered an a later tutorial). If the ledger can't match a pilot's safety pilot with another pilot in the Ledger, it will ask you to identify them by clicking a name in the "Pilot Name" column. It will also ask if it should automatically find any non-flying volunteers that have pre-registered but not registered and automatically put them in the volunteer list. This is a two-sided coin. A volunteer may have pre-registered at a pre-registration workstation, but not told you. On the other hand, someone may have pre-registered over the internet and then never show up. If you answer "Yes", only those pre-registrations with today's date (hopefully separating the first example from the second) will be automatically included. You can automate this function with the "Automatic Import/Export" menu, so that a current volunteer list is saved on a regular basis for the VC.
There isn't a lot else you can do until you have to figure out the orders of flight at the end of the day ... but that's a topic for the next tutorial! Meanwhile, what have we learned?
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