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Kerbal aircraft drag race challenge


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This is a very simple two part challenge.

PART 1.  The goal is to get to 1000 mps as fast as you can from a stop.

Take off from the KSC runway. The clock will not start counting down until you power up. Go like mad until you reach 1000 mps. Take a screenshot when you reach that speed (or post a video).

 

PART 2. Return to the KSC as fast as you can.

Land your plane and come to a complete stop. Take a screenshot of your time (or post a video).

 

OPTIONAL BONUS ROUND

Upload your craft to KerbalX and challenge another participant to beat you in your own plane.

 

RULES:

1. Stock Engines only to keep it competitive. (The Making History expansion is fine)

2. All other mods are allowed that don't fundamentally alter physics.

3. You must take-off and land horizontally. You may use drag chutes, but only to aid horizontal landing.  Use all the airbrakes, reverse thrust,  engines mounted backwards tricks etc you like.  Radical stall landings unaided by chutes are acceptable.

4. You may use jets, rockets or any combination BUT you have to land with everything you took off with. No dropping staged rocket engines.

5. You must land intact and come to a complete stop.  

6. You may land anywhere on the flat grassy area (including the sandy beach, but not the water) around KSC, though major kudos if you put it back down on the runway.  (I can't hit a runway to save my life, so I can't ask others to do so :/)

7. There will be a leader board for the fastest time to 1000 mps and another for fastest overall. However all planes must land safely for their times to qualify.

8. You time is based on Kerbal time indicated by the timer in the upper left-hand corner of your screen, so make sure it is visible in your screenshot. The clock starts when you have both powered up AND hit the space bar.  That will be considered the beginning of your run.

9. Your plane must have a pilot.

10. I will create three patches: a participant patch, an overall time winner and a fastest to 1000 winner.  (Be patient and give me a bit of time to get this done. I've got to relearn Illustrator).

11. After reaching 1000 mps you must execute a 180 turn and land (mostly--we won't be measuring to the degree) in the opposite direction from which you took off.  A 180 degree turn may be sudden or you can fly a long continuous arc.  It can be a steep climb and then nose down dive or head out over the water and come back.   Your time will not count for either part 1 or 2 without the turn. A roll is not a turn. The plane must change its direction of flight.

 

The spirit of the challenge is a race of piloted aircraft, not a contest of cruise missiles. Please keep that in mind.  

The last challenge I did I missed a few things I had not considered, so constructive feedback if anything is not clear will be taken on board.

 

 

EXAMPLE: I managed 44 seconds with this plane I threw together (though it does not qualify because I crashed on landing).

CMvdN56.png

 

LEADER BOARD

1,000 MPS SPRINT

 

1.  vyznev  5 seconds (rocket)

2. TheFlyingKerman/swjr-swis team 11 seconds (rocket)

3. TheFlyingKerman 12 seconds (rocket)

4.  Klapaucius 16 seconds

5. swjr-swis 19 seconds

6.neistridlar 25 seconds

 

 

 

Overall time

1. swjr-swis 51 seconds

2. Klapaucius: 59 seconds

3. vyznev 1:07

4. TheFlyingKerman/swjr-swis team 1:12 seconds (rocket)

5. neistridlar 1:14

6. TheFlyingKerman 1:53

 

BADGES

gYUXYdC.png

 

hNRZLa1.png

 

Edited by Klapaucius
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33 minutes ago, vyznev said:

Just to clarify, does something like this count as a horizontal takeoff?

No, it needs to take off and land on gear.  However, you can angle the landing gear as radically as you want and once airborn you can go straight up if you want.  I also realized I forgot to mention pilots (my bad) so am updating that.

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@neistridlar Nice one!  I did say intact, not necessarily upright :D  Does the altitude of the Desert Airport have any bearing re wind resistance?  Technically, it should be from the KSC airport, but if there is no discernible difference, I won't worry about it. I just want to keep the playing field level for those without the expansion.  Again, nice one!

Edited by Klapaucius
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2 minutes ago, Klapaucius said:

@neistridlar Nice one!  I did say intact, not necessarily upright :D  Does the altitude of the Desert Airport have any bearing re wind resistance?

Possibly, I did not even think about that, it just happened to be the last runway I used, and I was too lazy to change it. Thinner air gives less resistance, but also less thrust, so I'm not entirely sure whether it is an advantage or not.

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Ok, my first entry for this challenge: the SpeedyReturn-2 - 0:22 to 1000 m/s, 0:54 to full stop on the runway:

Spoiler

svRbHuY.png

The SpeedyReturn-2 - 77 parts, 6.157t

HQSCJb1.png

Reaches 1000 m/s in 0:22 after horizontal take-off from the KSC Runway.

9dbwXYe.png

Holy Gees, Batman! Yanking back on the stick to haste ourselves back to the runway.

Zs6eBRo.png

Slamming on the airbrakes (826 to 179 m/s in less than a second!).

UMrB5be.png

Full stop on the runway at 0:54.

 

Full imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/rg3xe5w

And a video:

Spoiler

 

Craft file: https://kerbalx.com/swjr-swis/SpeedyReturn-2  (consider yerselves challenged to beat my time in this baby :sticktongue:)

The roundtrip can be done better: the one posted could've been under 50 seconds, but I forgot to fire the retro rockets to come to a full stop quicker. My fastest run was on the very first trial (46s!), but I wasn't recording that one. :/For now, this one takes the top spots.

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11 minutes ago, swjr-swis said:

Ok, my first entry for this challenge: the SpeedyReturn-2 - 0:22 to 1000 m/s, 0:54 to full stop on the runway:

  Hide contents

Holy Gees, Batman! Yanking back on the stick to haste ourselves back to the runway.

 

Slamming on the airbrakes (826 to 179 m/s in less than a second!).

 

Ugh, my stomach lurched up into my teeth watching that turn.  :cool:

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Argh!  I made my own challenge hard!  I'm frustrated because I have had really good runs, and at the last second I deploy the chutes but during the lag time, I seem to gain just enough altitude that I wind up coming down vertically (against the rules) and breaking off my front intakes (also no good). I've done this half a dozen times and have not got it sussed yet.

vcyXfRJ.png

It does not count, but I wanted to post this anyway just so I have something to show for my evening: 19 seconds unofficial!

zeurcVj.png

 

I'll try this again in a day or two :-)

Edited by Klapaucius
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Okay, I needed to get a successful run in before quitting.  I got risk averse, but I just wanted to LAND, so I'm last in overall time. But, I did get 20 seconds on the run to 1000.  That puts me first for part 1 and last for part 2.  The craft file is up on KerbalX. I challenge one of you who can actually land on target to get it down in a good time.

https://youtu.be/ateV8WDS7xw

 

Edited by Klapaucius
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13 hours ago, Klapaucius said:

The craft file is up on KerbalX. I challenge one of you who can actually land on target to get it down in a good time.

I wanted to give it a try. I tried to fool 1.3.1 to load it with some craft file editing, but no dice: it keeps telling me some format is incorrect or something and ends up only loading the cockpit. I considered for a moment just rebuilding what I see from your screenshots and movie, but seeing as even tiny offset/rotation differences can make a big difference in this sort of challenge, I decided against it.

 

Which left me with a drag race itch to scratch. So, the SpeedyReturn-2b was born, with 4 Panthers this time.

I didn't see any point in mixing engine types, as the thrust curve advantage of the Whiplash over the Panther hardly comes into play before hitting the 1000 m/s, but the weight difference is still very much an advantage for the Panther. I also got rid of the retro rockets, out of frustration more than anything - I kept forgetting to use them at the right time. Added two drag chutes instead (which, you guessed it, half the times I still forgot to deploy).

A dozen or so runs later, I can present new top times for both objectives: the SpeedyReturn-2b speeds in 0:19 to 1000 m/s, and comes to a full stop on the runway in 0:51.

Spoiler

eUHxKfi.png

The SpeedyReturn-2b - 77 parts, 6.157t

PBcvtIQ.png

Zero to 1000 m/s in 0:19 after horizontal take-off from the KSC Runway.

xz3ttq3.png

130-155 G turn to head back to the runway.

flhDm2z.png

Tossing our cookies as the airbrakes engage just when the engines flame out.

vr9F0iB.png

Full stop on the runway at 0:51.

Full imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/JicZRc1

And of course the video:

Spoiler

 

Craft file: https://kerbalx.com/swjr-swis/SpeedyReturn-2b

There's room for improvement on the roundtrip - the edge of the runway can be reached in 40-41 secs on a near-perfect run, and with airbraking and drag chutes it can be at a full stop within a few seconds. So feel free to beat me with my own craft... it can be done.

 

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45 minutes ago, swjr-swis said:

 

I didn't see any point in mixing engine types, as the thrust curve advantage of the Whiplash over the Panther hardly comes into play before hitting the 1000 m/s, but the weight difference is still very much an advantage for the Panther. I also got rid of the retro rockets, out of frustration more than anything - I kept forgetting to use them at the right time. Added two drag chutes instead (which, you guessed it, half the times I still forgot to deploy).

My experience with Whiplashes is they really start to go around 600 mps.  I tried swapping them out. With 4 Panthers and no other alterations I lost 2 seconds.

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1 hour ago, Klapaucius said:

This thing is horrendously balanced when the fuel runs out.

It pays to build with balance in mind. When you have that solved from the start, you can make the plane as controllable as you want, or as twitchy as you can handle, with very minor adjustments. It's worth sacrificing a bit of blistering speed to get a bit more control.

A few tips from looking at your entries here: I think you could use more yaw and roll stability - it seems lack of those that are making your turn/approach so random. At the same time, if you haven't dialed back the gimbal on the engines, try that too - the default causes wild over-corrections. And when you start stacking engines: maybe consider cutting throttle when starting the turn, and only powering back up when you have aligned yourself again - the resulting tighter turn could end up saving seconds.

 

2 hours ago, Klapaucius said:

I just took your plane for  a spin. 19 seconds to 1000 and I crashed at 43 :confused:

Ya, the 19 sec come out of the design - it will need changing to get under that. The potential improvements are in the return leg. I think 43 secs roundtrip is a very real possibility, I've been close a few times; but the return needs to be flawlessly aimed and executed. For now though the record stands and I need to redesign to beat your 16 secs again. :huh:

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11 minutes ago, Andetch said:

I got sub 10 seconds to 1000 m/s but a no good time to land as it comes back dead stick

Crazy TWR and guzzles fuel like there's no tomorrow... sounds like Vectors have entered the race. :D I figured we'd still be doing jets for a bit longer, wasn't gonna touch the rockets just yet.

Have you tried pitching straight up from take off (hint: SAS Radial Out), and letting gravity help you on the no-fuel return? Might be a better tactic with that kind of craft. How close to the runway do you dare to flare...

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24 minutes ago, swjr-swis said:

It pays to build with balance in mind. When you have that solved from the start, you can make the plane as controllable as you want, or as twitchy as you can handle, with very minor adjustments. It's worth sacrificing a bit of blistering speed to get a bit more control.

A few tips from looking at your entries here: I think you could use more yaw and roll stability - it seems lack of those that are making your turn/approach so random. At the same time, if you haven't dialed back the gimbal on the engines, try that too - the default causes wild over-corrections. And when you start stacking engines: maybe consider cutting throttle when starting the turn, and only powering back up when you have aligned yourself again - the resulting tighter turn could end up saving seconds.

Generally speaking, most of my planes are quite balanced. But I was just going for ludicrous. Also, I've got the authority limiter pinned at 150 for the big turn, but for landing, the canards really should be less.  Alas, it is all or nothing with those.  Also, if it was supposed to be anything other than what it is, I would put some more weight in the nose. 

As for gimbals, I never fly with gimbals on. I just don't like them.  Every plane I have built that and uploaded to KerbalX have the gimbles turned off.

I'm pretty stoked about the 16 seconds, but you own the return flight.

Edited by Klapaucius
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FWIW, I'm going for the 5 second mark. Because that's how long sepratrons burn.

Nz6RY99.png

This is the unkerballed version; I'll need to mount a command chair on it and see if it can still break the 1 km/s mark, or if I'll have to add even more sepratrons. :D  Watch this space...

(Also, it flies back as a glider, and a pretty lousy one at that. And it has no brakes, so coming to a full stop is a bit tricky. But it can return and land intact, although it's not going to be breaking any speed records for that phase.)

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