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Tutorial 3
OK, They're All Registered, Now What?  ... Setting Order of Flight


1. Picking Up Where We Left Off

    After the last tutorial, you learned how to enter registration data for your pilots and volunteers and how to sell merchandise.  Now lets assume we're at the end of the registration day, and we're ready to set up orders of flight for the next day.  Let's load a full contest worth of registration data to work with ... go to "Contest Ledger", "Data", and "Restore Archive" and locate the file "Copperstate02.CLA" to load from the Contest Automation installation directory.  If you look at the Excel status bar at the bottom of the screen, you will see each of the parts of the archive file being loaded.  When complete, this will give us 51 pilots in 4 categories to work with.

2. Navigating the Order of Flight Page

    After the data is loaded, let's look at the order of flight worksheet.  Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Go To Page" and select "Order of Flight".  Here you will see the order of flight used for the contest, sorted by category (in the order entered during the setup phase -- "Contest Ledger", "Data", "Setup Ledger") and by the order of flight in one of the three flight programs: Known, Free, or Unknown.  The selected flight program is printed at the top of the page and is selected by going to "Contest Ledger", "Select Flight", and then picking one of the three programs.  Do this and select a program different from the current one listed; note that the order of flight will change each time.
    Looking at the page, you'll see that the first several columns list Pilot Name, N-Number, Aircraft Type, and Category.  This is followed by three columns containing the actual orders of flight for each flight program.  Choosing the flight program through the "Contest Ledger" menu OR by pressing the button at the top of the column will resort the data for that program.  The next column, under "Warnings", identifies pilots flying the same aircraft.  The numbers, highlighted in red, link pilots sharing the same aircraft in in the same category.  Thus for the data you loaded, #1 identifies 2 pilots flying Pitts N5351N in Intermediate and #6 identifies 3 pilots flying Decathlon N5051Q in Sportsman.  If the same aircraft is set to fly again within 3 or fewer flights, a red "Share?" flag will be displayed in the next column.  This also applies across categories as well, so that if an airplane flies next to last in one flight and then 2nd in the following category, it will be flagged as well.  These should be avoided to prevent delays in launching aircraft.  The final column, under "Warnings" and "Position", give the relative position the pilots fly through the contest: e.g., in the data you loaded, Jim Clapper flies 1st, 3rd, and 6th out of 6 pilots in Unlimited and has a position score of 47%, meaning that he flies, on average, 47% of the way through the flight order and is nearly halfway between being always first (0%) and last (100%).  In an ideal world, every pilot should be as close to 50% as possible, meaning that they aren't always either early or late in the order.  Position scores less than 30% or greater than 70% are highlighted in red and should be adjusted.  Position scores between 30%-40% and 60%-70% are highlighted in yellow as a warning that these positions shouldn't be further compromised.
    A few other things should be noted.  Any first time Sportsman pilots have an "*" added in front of their name.  If any of these pilots are put first in the flight order, their name will be highlighted in red.  This indicates that they should be moved down in the flight order, as first time competitors shouldn't be asked to fly low lines, unless some other arrangement has been made, such as having the 2nd pilot fly the lines while the 1st climbs in the holding area.  You should also note any horsepower challenged aircraft (Decathlons, draggy biplanes, etc.) being put up first as well, as these can delay the start of the flight after flying the low lines.

3. Making an Order of Flight

    Ok, enough of looking at a canned order of flight; let's make our own from this contest data.  Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Order of Flight", and "Create Known OF" menu.  This will erase the previous order and generate a new, randomly selected order of flight for the known program only.   The program will then pause and ask if you want to separate pilots flying shared aircraft and then complete the Free and Unknowns, based on the order of the Known.  Unless you're a glutton for punishment, answer "Yes" and the orders will appear for all of the flight programs.  You can now check the known for any problems. Note who was put into the first flights of each category and note that an aircraft may be shared across two adjacent categories, causing additional sharing conflicts.  Fix these problems by interchanging the pilot with the issue with another in the same category who won't have the same problem.  Do this by right-clicking on the order number of one pilot and then double-click on the order number of the other pilot.  The program will ask if it should interchange the order of the two pilots; answer "Yes" and it will be done.  Be careful about choosing a pilot flying a shared aircraft to fix a problem with another, as this may cause additional sharing problems.  Seem challenging?  Well it occasionally can be ... but give it a go now and come back here when done.  If it seems way too easy or hard, note that every time you generate a random order, it is different and can be easier OR harder.  If after many minutes, it seems like a complete morass (pretty unlikely, as the software now takes care of the worst of it), give it up as a bad roll of the dice and re-do the "Create Known OF" menu. It may be a lot easier than fighting an unfortunate random draw!  On the other hand, if you have 4 pilots sharing one airplane in a category of 6 pilots, nothing will be able to solve the sharing issues!  The starter and chief judge will just have to live with the delays!   The good news is that it does becomes a lot easier with a little practice. 

4. Checking the Free and Unknown Orders of Flight

    Sort by "Free" and note and, as above,  fix any problems with the first pilot or with sharing between categories in that flight program.  Do the same by sorting on the "Unknown" flight.  The position scores should be between 30%-70% by design, so no one flies too early or late.  You can also further tune the orders for position scores if desired, particularly if one or two pilots have a position score in RED (possible if there are a lot of shares).  Note that if there are pilots missing in the order for a given flight program (such as Primary combined with Unlimited, who don't fly the Known or Unknown), the position scores will be distorted by the missing pilots and may not be able to be adjusted.  Save your work by both backing it up and making a new archive (that can't be overwritten by a single backup).

5. Publishing Orders of Flight

    Before the morning briefing, you will need to print out the orders of flight for the Chief Judge or CD.  First select the "Known" flight program.  Then go to the "Contest Ledger" and "Print" menu.  This will open a print dialog box.  Once open, select "All" for categories, check off "Order of Flight" for output, and select 1 or 2 copies.  Press "Print".  Once printed out, you'll give one set to the CD or Chief Judge and post the second set, if you printed it out, on the wall for the pilots.

6. Adding Pilots to Orders of Flight

    OK, here's the situation.  You've registered all of the pilots.  You copied them over to the Order of Flight worksheet and through perseverance and hard work have arrived at the perfect flight order.  Then it happens ... a pilot shows up late.  You jump through hoops and get him registered and now ... how do you get him into the Order of Flight without starting from scratch?
    Here's what you do.  Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Order of Flight", "Update OF Pilots" menu.  This will look for any pilot in the Ledger that's not in the current Order of Flight.  If found they will be entered into the OF at the end of their category with no flight order numbers for any flight program. 
    Let's try it.  Go to the "Contest Ledger", "Finish Preregistration" menu and, when the data window opens look for a new entry name "Blow, Joe" and double-click it.  This will enter "Joe Blow" into the Ledger and popup the Volunteer Data window.  Press "Save" to return to the Ledger.  At this point, the basic pilot data for Joe is in the Ledger, so use the "Contest Ledger", "Order of Flight", "Update OF Pilots"  menu and you'll find "Blow, Joe" added at the end of the Advanced pilots but with no flight orders.  All you have to do now is enter him into the Orders of Flight for each flight program.  There are 12 pilots in advanced, so lets put "13" for the order in Known, "6.5" for the Free, and "1.5" for the Unknown.  This will place him late, mid-point, and early in the contest.  Sort by Known, then Free, and then Unknown and you'll see the Joe Blow is placed at the end (after #12) for the Known, between the original #6 and #7 for the Free, and between the original #1 and #2 pilots for the Unknown.  The fractional order is used for sorting, and then replaced by ordinals (whole numbers) after the sort.  And you're done ... and your hard work is preserved!  Note that if no order number is entered for a pilot for any given flight program, they will not be printed on the flight orders for that program.  We will use that to our advantage in a later tutorial, When Everything You Know is Wrong! .... Modifying the Order of Flight..

That's It for Now!

If you're the registrar, the next thing is assembling clipboards  ... and we'll cover that shortly.  But first, the VC has to make volunteer assignments and that's the topic for the next tutorial!  Meanwhile, what have we learned?

  1. How to generate a Known order of flight
  2. How to generate Free and Unknown orders of flight
  3. How to print the complete or individual orders of flight for posting
  4. How to add a late entry to the orders of flight

Round Pegs, Square Holes ... Making Volunteer Assignments


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