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Jet Bike / Landspeeder Challenge


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It's the near future and Jeb found himself a hobby to kill some time between launch windows. In a corner of the SPH, he threw together some parts from an old Karley-Davidson together with one of his crashed business jets, and hauled the kit out to the runway to have some fun.

Challenge!

Build a micro-sized craft that can fly to the island runway and back. The conditions are straightforward: The craft can have no wheeled landing gear and must carry at least one Kerbal in a command seat. Carrying more Kerbals is allowed, as long as they are carried in command seats or EVA. No command pods, probe cores or cockpits.

There are no strict size restrictions, but no bonus points are awarded for bigger craft either. If you want to build a hover railway locomotive and fly it over there, your bragging rights for is all your own to carry. :wink:

Stock parts only, but Tweakscaling is allowed. I will allow part clipping but I would recommend doing it for cosmetic reasons only, because clipping other parts into each other will only make the craft heavier and impossible to fly. Any other mods are up to you, I would highly recommend installing Kerbal Flight Indicators which is a very useful mod if you fly VTOL aircraft.

Scoring / Achievements

"Eye of the Needle": Complete the challenge of flying to the island runway and back. 1000 points awarded.
Achievers: 

"How's the weather up there?!": Fly your craft to a service ceiling of 12.000 meters or higher. +100 point bonus.
Achievers: 

"Hop on!": Carry a second Kerbal to ride in tandem with your driver. +100 point bonus.

"Shotgun Rider": Carry another passenger alongside your driver. +100 point bonus.

"Meep Meep": Hold the record for the fasted recorded speed in the challenge. +100 point bonus.

"Look Out Below!": Hold the altitude record in the challenge. +100 point bonus.

"Long Ranger": Hold the record for the longest distance travelled in the challenge. +100 point bonus.

"Jet Ski": Build a craft that can sail on water. +100 point bonus.

"Wet Nellie": Complete the challenge with a craft that is submersible. +500 point bonus.

"Boom!": Achieve supersonic speed with your jet bike. +500 point bonus.

"Chasing the Sun": Circumnavigate Kerbin. +500 point bonus.

"Are we even supposed to be up here?": Escape Kerbin's atmosphere with your jet bike. +500 point bonus.

"Loud Pipes Are Useless Here": Achieve orbit with your bike. +1000 point bonus for anyone who achieves orbit, +500 additional for the largest orbit record holder.

"West Koast Kustom": Have the best looking craft in the challenge. +500 point bonus.

Penalties

Of course, the challenge wouldn't be very challenging if there were no penalties, right?

"Rolling Thunder": Complete the challenge with a wheeled craft. 250 point penalty.

"Lift Hiker": Have wings, elevons or other airfoils on your craft. 250 point penalty.

"Lazy Robot": Use automation mods (other than SAS) to control your craft. 250 point penalty.

"Gamma Ray Hazard": Use RTGs or nuclear engines. 500 point penalty.

"Physics Defiant": Use excessive part clipping. 250 point penalty.

"Points for trying": Try to compete with a craft that is obviously not a hover vehicle, e.g. a rocket, jet aircraft, or an SSTO spaceplane. 2500 point penalty.

Disclaimer: Scoring is for entertainment purposes only and I am still looking into a more progressive scoring system, without placing too much focus on craft performance, but rather on "doing fun stuff" with your craft. If anyone wants to give me a hand, drop a DM.

And of course, for good measure, kicking off with my own entry which is pretty much the bare minimum of what you would need to get to the island, and back:

The HoverSpeeder 1000 was thrown together as a hobby project by Jeb, out of some jet parts, duct tape, and the old vacuum cleaner that was sitting in the broomcloset. The craft has enough fuel to get to the island runway and return to the KSC. It has a service ceiling of 12.000 meters and its fastest recorded flight speed is 146.5 m/s. This craft would give a total score of 1100 points.

Records / Leaderboard

Highest recorded altitude: 12.050 meters.
Highest recorded airspeed: 146.5 m/s.
Lightest craft in the challenge:
Heaviest craft in the challenge:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Edited by Stoney3K
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8 hours ago, Benjamin Kerman said:

Not clear on this: Are rocket engines allowed at all, or only LF? I.e.: could I build a hovercraft that uses a swivel engine to pop out of the atmosphere?

You can use any engine you want, as long as your entry gets you to the island runway and back to the KSC (pad or runway). So in any case, your mission will involve escaping the atmosphere, re-entering, making a vertical landing on the island, and flying back to the KSC.

I am only ruling out nukes at the moment because they would make it too easy to build an SSTO, but in any case, re-entering from orbit in an open-topped craft AND landing at back the pad is going to be one hell of a challenge.

 

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Here's my entry, the IslandSpeeder1: pure stock, 39 parts, 3.939t, carries 4 kerbals in command seats, Juno-powered (4 hover, 3 propulsion).

Spoiler

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In SPH, without the gantry.

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Max recorded speed of 406.3m/s at 5000m altitude.

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Service ceiling of 12101m.

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Max distance covered: 328524m

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Fully seaworthy, can land on and lift off from water. Max surface speed recorded 31.4m/s

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Fully functional submersible, max depth reached 873m, underwater speed 12.3m/s, can achieve flight immediately from submerged.

 

 

The album containing pics of the run itself (and the pics above):

The video:

Spoiler

 

Points (2700?):

  • Made it to the island runway in 3:10, and back to the KSC launchpad in 07:00. +1000
  • Service ceiling of 12101m. +100
  • Carried a 2nd kerbal in tandem (two, actually). +100
  • Carried another kerbal alongside. +100
  • For now, the fastest recorded speed of 406.3m/s. +100
  • For now, the altitude record of 12101m. +100  (F3 claimed 12102, but in the video I only see 12101 reached)
  • For now, longest distance traveled, 328524m. +100
  • Craft can sail on the water. +100
  • Craft is a fully functional submersible. +500
  • Achieved supersonic speed. +500
  • No circumnavigation. No space. No orbit. No orbit record. 0
  • Best looking? Will have to wait until there are more entries.

Penalties (0?):

  • No wheels. No lifting surfaces. No mods, control or otherwise. No RTG or LV-N. Definitely a hover vehicle. 0
  • There is some part clipping, mostly for aesthetics flight/hover balance. Up to you whether you feel it's excessive, I don't know how that's judged.

It has a very effective airbraking system, without using actual airbrakes. VTOL lateral speed nullification, hover mode, and landing are about as easy as can be in stock (assisted with a Jr docking port). It can stay mostly intact and protect all 4 kerbals after fully unpowered drops from 1250m, hitting the ground at 85m/s (How I know? Fuel ran out a couple of times while still more than a km above ground, heh :blush:). Not bad for a quickly slapped together ship to get me through a sleepless night. This was fun!

Craft file: https://kerbalx.com/swjr-swis/IslandSpeeder1

 

Edited by swjr-swis
added pics, video, craft file
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9 minutes ago, swjr-swis said:

Here's my entry, the IslandSpeeder1: pure stock, 39 parts, 3.939t, carries 4 kerbals in command seats, Juno-powered (4 hover, 3 propulsion).

 

(...)

Having trouble with the video of the run, diskspace issue. Do you need the full thing, round trip?

Nice entry to start off with, I will keep the records in the OP. My own entry is not included because it was only an example.

Anyone who wants to be eligible for any records, screenshots are fine, pretty much the minimum you would need:

* A screenshot of the craft in the VAB/SPH so statistics are shown.
* The craft landed at the island runway (to prove you can fly it there and land it.)
* The craft landed back at the KSC (to prove you can return it in one piece.)
* The craft at maximum top speed during its speed run if you want to be eligible for the speed record.
* The craft at maximum altitude if you want to be eligible for the altitude record.
* An orbit map view in case you achieved orbit.

Part clipping is accepted as long as it doesn't involve spamming tanks and engines in a single place to get more performance. Be reasonable and feel free to clip parts that would otherwise fit together like in real life.

Edited by Stoney3K
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1 hour ago, Stoney3K said:

Anyone who wants to be eligible for any records, screenshots are fine, pretty much the minimum you would need:

Ok, I added the specified pics to the imgur album and pasted the link. Video is rendering added, and I'll add the craft file next too so is the craft file.

Edited by swjr-swis
updated
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May the Fourth be with you!

I didn't have time to build a proper airspeeder, so I converted my smallest X-wing by removing the probe cores and airfoils and installing a pair of seats.  I also replaced the astromech with an emergency chute.

Vertical takeoff from KSC:

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They landed on the island airfield...

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...and returned!

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...to the same continent.  Same country?  County?  Well, they didn't make it to the runway, but they definitely made it "back" before running out of fuel and landing with the emergency chute.

I included a photo with aero overlay on to demonstrate that the airbrakes do not contribute any lift.  The only aero forces are body lift and drag.

Scoring:

  • "Eye of the Needle": Complete the challenge of flying to the island runway and back. 1000 points awarded.
    • This depends on how you define "back"...
  • "Hop on!": Carry a second Kerbal to ride in tandem with your driver. +100 point bonus.
  • "Wet Nellie": Complete the challenge with a craft that is submersible. +500 point bonus.
    • It is a submersible craft, as shown in the album, but I did not submerge for the island trip.
  • "Physics Defiant": Use excessive part clipping. 250 point penalty.
    • Up to you.  There are 36 parts in a length of 3m.
  • Pure stock, no tweakscaling.
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7 hours ago, Jollyfellow said:

Are A.I.R.B.R.A.K.E.S allowed as long as they don't cause lift? As in, will they count towards the "lift hiker" penalty, or not?

Airbrakes are fine, as well as the use of lifting surfaces as cosmetic panels. As long as the lift of the airfoils is not the thing that keeps the craft airborne.

@Torquimedes I commend your screenshots in the May 4th theme but sadly enough, the return trip needs to end at the spot where you started, so you will be 1000 points down. On the other hand, I don't see any excessive part clipping, so you can drop the 250 point penalty, making your total 600 points.

I'm still not out of the woods on the emergency chute thing since it can be exploited, but for now, it's fair. :wink:

Edited by Stoney3K
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2 hours ago, Stoney3K said:

Airbrakes are fine, as well as the use of lifting surfaces as cosmetic panels. As long as the lift of the airfoils is not the thing that keeps the craft airborne.

@Torquimedes I commend your screenshots in the May 4th theme but sadly enough, the return trip needs to end at the spot where you started, so you will be 1000 points down. On the other hand, I don't see any excessive part clipping, so you can drop the 250 point penalty, making your total 600 points.

I'm still not out of the woods on the emergency chute thing since it can be exploited, but for now, it's fair. :wink:

Dock me for the chute to keep it fair for everyone else. I'm in it for the fun of it.  I just didn't have time to develop a perfect flight profile to stretch the fuel that far.  And it was funnier this way.  Just look at the photo where they flame out. :-)

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Here's my entry, the "Hoverslug". It's completely stock, no mods at all.

Here's my current (set) score: 2,500 points
-"Eye of the Needle": Complete the challenge of flying to the island runway and back. 1000 points awarded.

-"How's the weather up there?!": Fly your craft to a service ceiling of 12.000 meters or higher. +100 point bonus.

     -Peaked at 14,970 meters

-"Look Out Below!": Hold the altitude record in the challenge. +100 point bonus.

-"Hop on!": Carry a second Kerbal to ride in tandem with your driver. +100 point bonus. 

     -I have two in this case, one was supposed to be for "Shotgun Rider", but I see that it doesn't count for that.

-"Wet Nellie": Complete the challenge with a craft that is submersible. +500 point bonus.

     -(For some reason, the last picture doesn't want to show up, it shows the "Hoverslug" underwater)

-"Boom!": Achieve supersonic speed with your jet bike. +500 point bonus.

-"Jet Ski": Build a craft that can sail on water. +100 point bonus.

-"Long Ranger": Hold the record for the longest distance travelled in the challenge. +100 point bonus.

     -Traveled a total of 315,193 meters

-No penalties

Potential Points: (This would bring my score up to 3,000 points)

-"West Koast Kustom": Have the best looking craft in the challenge. +500 point bonus.

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Edited by Jollyfellow
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Will do, this is kinda similar to the jetpack challenge except I like the scoring system better. I have an awesome idea for a design!

Edit: NVM my idiot brother just got all our computers and phones taken away

Edited by LazySoUseHyperedit
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All right, here you go!

I like this entry a lot. It's super easy to control once you get the hang of it, it has a nice TWR and lots of fuel, and it's very versatile. Messy if you don't know how to control it, though. I don't think I'm going to get high high scores on this, but it's definitely a lot of fun to fly!

Images are in no particular order and I didn't have time to annotate them all. Maybe sometime this weekend.

It's 100% stock, with no tweakscaling. I used long radial ramp intakes for the forward section, which gave it a nice Star Wars profile and helps immensely with jet efficiency during acceleration. The mass is perfectly balanced between two fuel tanks that drain evenly, with the central engine providing about 0.98 gees at "launch" so it is extremely responsive and controllable. I just set the throttle to 100% and I right-click the tail engine and use tweakables to adjust its throttle. It's SO much fun to fly. I'm happy to post the craft file if anyone wants it.

It has six Sepratrons for an extra speed boost; I set the staging so you use them one at a time. Engaging them all at once allows you to just barely go supersonic, if you're high enough and use a shallow dive. I've taken it up to 8.5 km and brought it back down; not exactly sure what the service ceiling really is. I'm pretty sure I could go exoatmospheric but I haven't tested that yet. 

This is my first time (other than the jetpack challenge) working with jet engines; I only got the full KSP a few days ago. The low responsiveness of jet engines is annoying, but I got used to it. One of the tricks is to use the high level of control authority (provided by several reaction wheels) to alter pitch heavily during flight. I pretty much keep the central engine at max the whole time and alter speed and altitude using pitch and the tweakable on the rear engine. It climbs pretty well at up to 20 degrees, though it tends to slow down past that.

The rear fins are solely to provide prograde stability; they contribute no lift whatsoever. I gave them a very very small amount of control authority; you can very easily rip this craft apart or send it into an unrecoverable spin if you aren't careful. Turning at speed is very challenging; you need to use roll, pitch, and yaw in tandem or you'll end up either not turning at all, or spinning wildly.

Most of the time I control from the probe core hidden between the central intake and the central engine. Setting this to "Radial Out" provides complete stability, though if your fuel tanks are full you need to keep an eye on things so you don't lose altitude and crash. In this setting, roll is yaw and yaw is roll, so compensate accordingly. If you control from the Kerbal in the command seat, you can use prograde SAS to great effect; you can climb super high this way without any manual control input.

I don't think it's possible to circumnavigate Kerbin in this, but if anyone wants the craft file to try, be my guest!

Scoring:

I did this more for aesthetics than for scoring, but whatever score I get I'll be happy with. I know I completed Eye of the Needle, Jet Ski, and Boom!. If you want to assess the Lazy Robot for my use of a probe core for control, that's fine; I could have used a docking port for the same effect, though. I think I currently hold title to West Koast Kustom for pure brilliance in design aesthetics, but that's not entirely up to me.

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I liked this challenge so much that I made another entry.

This one had slightly higher scores. 

Eye of the Needle: +1000
How's the Weather up there?!: +100
Meep Meep: +100
Jet Ski: +100
Wet Nellie: +500
West Koast Kustom: +500
 

Total: 2300

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