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Posted (edited)

Airplane Range on 100 EC (Electric Charge) Challenge

How far can you fly an airplane with only 100 units of Electric Charge to work with?  Let's find out!

NOTE: This challenge requires the Breaking Ground expansion pack.

The Basic Idea:

  • Build and launch an electric powered airplane from the KSC runway.
  • Plant a flag next to the airplane on (or near) the runway.
  • Fly as far away from the flag as you can.  How far did you get?
  • For entries covering more than 100 km, great-circle distance from KSC should be used.  If you're not sure how to calculate that, submit your coordinates (lat long) where you land or splash down, I should be able to do that for you.  Thanks to @camacju and @OJT for pushing things this far!

Airplane Construction Rules:

  • Stock parts only.
  • Airplane must have at least 2 Kerbals.  They may be seated in lawn chairs (external seats), or in pods.,
  • Airplane must have no more than 100 EC at launch.
  • Airplane must not have ANY means of recharging batteries.  No solar panels, no RTGs, no fuel cells, no engines with alternators.  Anything that produces additional EC is prohibited.
  • Airplane must be propelled by electric rotors ONLY.  Any other propulsion is prohibited.  No Turbo-Props, no jets, no rockets, no RCS.  Anything other than electric rotors and propeller blades that produces thrust (or any force) is prohibited.
  • There are no restrictions on part clipping or parts which are offset visually.  Must use stock parts, but beyond that you are free to place them anywhere the stock game allows!
  • Autopilot mods are allowed.  Please note that to be valid, they must not alter the physics of any stock parts.  Also, if you use an autopilot mod, please indicate that in your submission.  It doesn't disqualify you in any way, but helps inform other players.  ( @OJT )

General Challenge Rules:

  • Pushing the airplane with the Kerbals to gain additional distance is prohibited.  Using the Kerbals to push a flipped over airplane so it's right-side-up again is fine though.
  • Mods that alter the functionality of parts, or which alter game physics, are not allowed.  Other mods are fine.  Specifically, visual or information mods are allowed.  Also, Autopilot mods are specifically allowed.  See the Airplane Construction rules above.
  • You must launch and start from the KSC runway.  You may travel any direction you want though.
  • Entries should ideally have a few screenshots:  One showing the airplane on the runway with no more than 100 EC, and another showing your distance from the runway (flag) after your airplane lands/splashes down.
  • If you are posting a large number of screenshots, I request you put them inside a spoiler window.
  • You can launch horizontally or vertically from the runway, your choice.  
  • How well do you need to land the airplane?  At least one Kerbal needs to survive the impact, so you can get a screenshot of your distance to the flag.  If the airplane survives the 'landing' that's great!  But not required.  Also, water landings are fine.  The easiest path would probably be just take off heading east, and just keep going till you splash down somewhere east of KSC.
  • Planting the starting flag:  Some aircraft designs make it difficult to EVA Kerbals and get them back inside.  It is absolutely allowed to plant a flag just off to the side of the runway before you launch your aircraft.  The flag needs to be several meters away from the runway, so that when your airplane is loaded on the runway it doesn't erase the flag you previously planted.  I'm not sure how far away the flag needs to be to be safe.  Hope that makes sense.

How far did I get?

Spoiler

The legend of 18Watt.

There was an argument about wether an electric airplane could fly from KSC to the Island Airfield on only 100 EC.  18Watt said, "I'm the best pilot in the world, I could do that easy."  To which his wife replied, "You're not even the best pilot in this room."   So, taking great offense, 18Watt stormed off to the airport, grabbed the nearest Kerbal copilot, and set off for the Island Airfield with only 100 EC.  He was never heard from again.

Some say he made it 10 km.  Some say he made it 20 km.  There are even some who believe he made it 24.4 km.  All we know for sure is he never made it to the island runway, and also did not return to the KSC runway.  It's assumed his airplane is sitting at the bottom of Booster Bay somewhere.

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3

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Leaderboard:

  • 4,923 km @OJT  30 May 2022  Getting ridiculous!  Even so, @camacju still has suggestions for further optimization!
  • 2,083 km  @OJT  17 May 2022  Further weight and drag savings, but the big change was a new flight profile and engine/prop settings.  Great circle path over the isthmus northeast of KSC, where 800 m altitude was more than adequate.
  • 1,047 km  @OJT  15 May 2022  Optimizations include new flight profile, a few weight improvements, and rotor/blade settings.  Oh, and using shorter Kerbals to reduce drag!
    373 km  @camacju  13 May 2022  Wow!  Experimenting with a single-engine design, after seeing @OJT's success.  You guys are taking this to the extreme, single-engine props are not easy to fly!
  • 370 km @OJT  13 May 2022.  Jumping into the lead.  We think.  Actually, we think @camacju might have bumbled his last estimate, and perhaps underestimated his range.  We'll sort it out tomorrow!  (sorted it out- @camacju missed a digit in his calculation, he's actually in the lead.  Currently..)
  • 262 km  @OJT  13 May 2022  At these distances, we need to calculate great-circle distances.  A more optimized run with a similar craft to a previous run.  Another single-engine entry, so the pilot has more work compensating for torque.
  • 258 km  @camacju  13 May 2022  The bar is raised.  Another entry which cleared 10 km altitude.  This entry didn't ditch any parts (I think..) but that's being considered.
  • 231.4 km  @OJT  13 May 2022  The mission director allowed the Kerbals to put their helmets on approaching 10 km altitude.  A single-rotor entry- those take extra skill to fly!
  • 109.9 km  @OJT  13 May 2022  Passing 100 km on the first attempt!  
Edited by 18Watt
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Now that's more my type of challenge! Although rotors are also not very kind to physical time warps, but at least I can move faster

Will try to scramble something up for this 

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Just now, OJT said:

Although rotors are also not very kind to physical time warps

Yeah, I couldn't agree more.  I've managed to make them work at 2X and occasionally even 3X, but it's risky.  I'm hoping the 100 EC limit will make moving at 1X endurable.  

For rotors where I'm trying to use physics warp, I've had the best results by attaching the blades with auto-struts AND rigid-attachment.  And using the shortest blades seems to help too.  But again, I burned through the 100 EC pretty fast, so time warp wasn't a must-have.

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First entry. I think this endeavor went much better than my rover

soiAKwf.jpg

I closed up all nodes I could find (I forgot about motor front nodes tho) and utilized the fairing trick to get rid of as much drag as possible. Both external seats are placed on the offset grip pads inside the service bay. 4 wheeled landing gear setup for stability on the runway. Very downsized small motors with 8 smallest fan blades each. 1787 kg dry, 1975 kg with 2 kerbals. I also took off the parachutes and jetpacks that they had in inventory to save up weight

I didn't go to great lengths with optimizations. I simply made a reliable small plane first just as a benchmark. Like, add a solar panel or an RTG and you can easily fly this plane all around Kerbin if you wanted to

Spoiler

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Planting the flag. I put it on the side of the runway so I can spawn new planes on the runway without the flag disrupting it

Spoiler

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Proof of battery charge

Spoiler

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Taking off and flying eastward

Spoiler

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My plan was to slowly gain altitude and then, when the charge runs out, gently glide the airplane to the halt. Around half throttle seemed to be sufficient to maintain the velocity and climb rate without consuming too much charge

Spoiler

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Running out of charge at above 6km altitude. As soon as that happens I retract the fan blades (with a custom action button) so their edges face prograde and don't generate drag

Spoiler

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Speed drops off rapidly as the engines run out of charge, but wings provide enough lift to glide with descent rate of about 5m/s. At this point I thought that I would be able to phys time warp, but phys time warp seemed to pitch down the plane every time I tried to engage it. Maintaining stable descent rate was crucial for me, so I decided to glide without phys time warp

Spoiler

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A bit of eye candy

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I actually managed to pass 100 km mark on my first attempt! Problem is, target blip of the flag disappeared at 100 km. Thankfully, KER provides distance readouts for targets: you can see it on the left in Rendezvous window

Spoiler

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And final splashdown happened at 109.9 km. I honestly did much better than I expected. And thanks to low splashdown speed, the plane is fully intact, as are both kerbals

Spoiler

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Imma see if I can improve on this :ph34r:

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16 minutes ago, OJT said:

I think this endeavor went much better than my rover

Well, @camacju only went a tad farther than you did, and you still had a lot of battery left when your rover submitted to the Kraken.  

19 minutes ago, OJT said:

Planting the flag. I put it on the side of the runway so I can spawn new planes on the runway without the flag disrupting it

In hindsight, I should have specified this for the rover challenge too.  You did it exactly the way I envisioned it.

23 minutes ago, OJT said:

And final splashdown happened at 109.9 km.

Wow!  I'll post ya on the leaderboard shortly.  I'll also try to figure out a stock work-around for the distance to a targeted flag becoming not visible at large distances.  I'm glad you were able to use KER to display the value.

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44 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

 I'll also try to figure out a stock work-around for the distance to a targeted flag becoming not visible at large distances.

Landed/splashed craft will show their latitude and longitude. You can calculate distance pretty easily like this.

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Second entry

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What's changed compared to other entries? One motor instead of two, motor itself is now placed at the back, smaller wings all around. Then it suddenly hit me that rules do not require for the plane to be landable on solid ground, so I made the landing gear detachable with small hardpoints. All of this brought the total mass of the aircraft to 1631 kg with landing gear and 1343 kg without it, saving up over 600kg from my first submission

Spoiler

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Unfortunately, I didn't plant the flag far enough from the runway on first attempt, so I had to replant it

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Proof of battery charge

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As I leave the runway, I drop the landing gear

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Since I am flying with only one engine, I had to trim my ailerons from time to time to keep the plane flying level. But it is worth it since I am saving up a lot of charge now. First airplane consumed around 0.24 EC units per second to maintain speed. This one uses up around 0.12 EC units per second. Combine it with lower weight and it makes the plane much more efficient

Spoiler

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I wasn't sure how high kerbals could fly without helmets. Since I was reaching higher altitudes than on my first attempt I put the helmets back on. They did stick out a bit, but it didn't seem to generate any extra drag

Spoiler

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Beating my first attempt. And I am still flying under engine power! Infact, I actually reduced the throttle a bit without losing speed, so I was saving up even more charge. And also, I passed the 10 km altitude

Spoiler

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125 km distance, still flying. Although I was getting very close to running out of charge

Spoiler

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Finally running out of charge. Instantly retracting the props and correcting the trim. I tried to glide with SAS at first, but it seemed that it glided better with occasional trim, so I turned it off

Spoiler

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150 km distance, still gliding

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Passing 175 km

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Passing 200 km. At this point I actually couldn't believe my own eyes

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Passing 225 km. What will be the final distance?

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Aaaaand splashdown! 231.4 km, more than double the distance compared to my first attempt

Spoiler

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From personal observations, if I glided without SAS from the start and played a bit with throttle settings higher in atmosphere I could've potentially squeeze a couple of more km out of this, but this design's limit will be around 250 km

Fun fact: both this mission and my 100 EC rover mission took around 50 minutes to complete and the plane travelled over 23 times further. Just shows how wack rovers are in this otherwise great game. I hope for major improvements in KSP 2

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1 minute ago, OJT said:

it suddenly hit me that rules do not require for the plane to be landable on solid ground

Yep.  It's not a lot of weight and drag, but when your plane is already very light, it's a significant fraction.

5 minutes ago, OJT said:

I hope for major improvements in KSP 2

Amen.

Another impressive entry!  I actually thought about 75 km would be the best that could be done with 100 EC, boy was I way off base!

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Posted (edited)

I thought I had a comfortable first place until I checked this thread and saw @OJT's new submission mid-flight, and immediately got a bit scared.

Final point-to-point distance (across Kerbin's surface) is approximately 258 km, but actual distance covered will be a bit greater.

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Craft in VAB. I use two of the small DLC electric motors with motor size set to 15%, each pushing two of the largest ducted fan blades.

KSP's electric rotors actually don't act like real electric motors at all. As RPM and torque increase, electric charge usage increases. This means that I want to be flying as quickly as possible, which increases drag on the propeller blades and decreases RPM. 

Spoiler

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Full throttle to get off the runway

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Leveling off at 10 km, playing with propeller trim and deploy angle and trying to select a sweet spot

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As I get higher, drag decreases, which means I can reduce torque and RPM limits while keeping the same speed. This probably means I could benefit from a steeper initial climb.

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Out of electricity. I actually lost a good bit of speed here due to how KSP's propellers behave with quickloading, as I was trying to figure out how best to minimize drag. I found that immediately feathering the propeller and stopping the motors was optimal, however I suspect that simply ditching the propellers will be best.

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Just before landing, pitching up to gain those last few meters.

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Landed!

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I landed at 50 degrees 16 minutes West, and KSC is at 74 degrees 43 minutes west. This means I've covered 24.62 degrees of longitude.

24.62 degrees = 0.43 radians

0.43 radians * 600 km Kerbin radius = 258 km 

Note that this value can be significantly increased with proper abuse of KSP's aerodynamic model, and probably increased a good amount by using wing panels or control surfaces instead of propeller blades (KSP's control surfaces have a much more forgiving Mach curve than propellers).

Edited by camacju
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40 minutes ago, camacju said:

I thought I had a comfortable first place until I checked this thread and saw @OJT's new submission

Yes, he went a lot farther than I thought was possible on 100 EC.

43 minutes ago, camacju said:

24.62 degrees = 0.43 radians

0.43 radians * 600 km Kerbin radius = 258 km 

Unless there are any objections, this looks like a reasonable alternate method of determining distance from the flag.

Another impressive entry!  I'll add ya to the leaderboard.

Just a few questions about your plane-  First, it looked like you kept the landing gear for the whole flight?  (Not required, just curious- OJT dropped his, and was hard to tell from your screenshots)  Also, you said you used two rotors- again hard to tell but looks like they are co-located in the same position, but counter-rotating?  If so, I've tried that also, but end up confusing myself.  Just getting a single rotor and blades to work hurts my brain..

Finally, you mentioned considering ditching the blades when you run out of EC.  The method that pops into my mind to accomplish that is a small decoupler between the motor(s) and fuselage.  Makes me wonder if the added weight would be offset by the additional glide distance.

Nice run!!

 

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Just based off the distances so far in this challenge I'm starting to believe a circumnavigation of Kerbin is possible on battery power alone, without solar panels or RTGs.  Both contestants have covered roughly 1/15 of the distance around Kerbin on 100 EC.  So it should be possible to do a circumnavigation on 1500 EC.  Let's call it 2,000 EC.

In KSP 2,000 EC doesn't really weigh a ridiculous amount, and doesn't take up much space either.  Not that I'm encouraging that- it would take a lot of time.  Just amazed that building a battery-powered circumnavigator seems to be well within the realm of possibility in KSP.

Oh, I should mention that you don't have to have a winning entry to be added to the leaderboards!  I'll put any legitimate entry on the boards, even if it barely makes it to the end of the runway!

 

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It's probably a lot more feasible than that, as in my run I spent almost half of my electricity just to get up to altitude and speed. From there I was able to reduce power draw significantly.

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Trying to optimize my design (and failing), I decided to give the plane from second submission another try. I reckoned that by optimizing the flight profile and carefully adjusting the throttle I could squeeze extra mileage

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From test flights of my failed optimization attempts I concluded that the optimal strategy would be: carry as much speed as possible, reach 10 km altitude as soon as possible and carefully adjusting the throttle throughout the whole powered flight. I applied this flight plan to my Second Submission plane and saw noticeable improvements: I passed 160 km distance before running out of juice and then I carefully glided using only trim for control, no SAS. This allowed me to reach 260.4 km at splashdown, beating the current record

Spoiler

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Beating my Personal Best

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Splashdown

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Now, I am not trying to diminish @camacju 's submission. But KER also gives latitude/longitude readouts, and my final longitude was 49 degrees 39 minutes. Seeing as our results are very close, you sure you got your distance calculations right?

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8 minutes ago, OJT said:

Seeing as our results are very close, you sure you got your distance calculations right?

It's possible that you're measuring straight line distance rather than distance across Kerbin's surface

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OJT said:

Now, I am not trying to diminish @camacju 's submission. But KER also gives latitude/longitude readouts, and my final longitude was 49 degrees 39 minutes. Seeing as our results are very close, you sure you got your distance calculations right?

 

56 minutes ago, camacju said:

It's possible that you're measuring straight line distance rather than distance across Kerbin's surface

Actually, I'm pretty sure the 'distance to the flag' measurement is straight-line distance.  However, you actually covered a much greater distance than that.  When I came up with this challenge, I never imagined that the curvature of Kerbin's surface would become a factor.  I believe for these ultra long distance runs that using the radians method will be the most appropriate.

There is also a way to determine the length of great-circle distances if you fly in random directions, but it's a tad more cumbersome.  If y'all keep flying due East it makes the great-circle calculation easier.

@OJT, by my calculation, you covered a great circle distance of 262.49 km.  That's 074d43' - 049d39' = 025d04', or 25.066 degrees covered.  That's about 0.437 radians, for a great-circle distance of 262.49 km.

Edit:  It wouldn't hurt my feelings if someone checked my math though..

Edited by 18Watt
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It appears that one engine is indeed far better than two.

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In SPH. I added detachable landing gear, removed one of the prop engines, and reduced the number of elevons.

Spoiler

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On runway

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Climbing

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I can actually cruise faster with this than with two engines. I attribute this to the reduced mass meaning I can fly higher for less drag.

This entire flight was very painful because trim wouldn't work (SAS messed it up) so I had to manually keep heading and angle the whole time.

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I was using KER's distance readouts for estimation. This proved to be pretty good, but then I went out of debris loading range and the target got deleted. Unfortunate, but also good news.

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Gliding down with feathered prop. At this point I start to wonder whether I can actually make it to the continent.

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It's close, but I have just enough altitude to make it. The incredibly high lift to drag ratio of 15 doesn't hurt either.

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Terminal descent

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I honestly didn't expect the plane to make it this far, so I neglected to provide any landing protection. Luckily, Kerbals don't need much of a crumple zone.

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Final landing position: 39 degrees 1 minute west, and about 1 degree south. I'll ignore the south component because it makes the calculations harder, so my result will be an underestimate of the true range.

Total longitude covered: 35.7 degrees = 0.611 radians = 366.5 km.

This is probably very close to what I can squeeze out of this design. The only improvement I can think of is to swap the ducted fan blades or change the wings.

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Just now, camacju said:

It appears that one engine is indeed far better than two.

I wondered about that.  One of my guesses was that the drag from the aileron or rudder inputs needed to offset the torque would negate any gains from the reduced mass.  However, @OJT got spectacular results with single-engine entries.

4 minutes ago, camacju said:

This entire flight was very painful because trim wouldn't work (SAS messed it up) so I had to manually keep heading and angle the whole time.

I've struggled with this as well.  I play stock, and it seems that you can either use trim, or SAS, but not both.  Using one cancels the other.  To have the airplane trimmed for efficiency, I need to use trim, and thus not use SAS.  However, the stability of SAS also has advantages.  Do either of you use autopilot mods?  I'm wondering if a good autopilot mod could give the best of both worlds- an efficiently trimmed airplane, with the stability that comes with an autopilot.

7 minutes ago, camacju said:

but then I went out of debris loading range and the target got deleted. Unfortunate, but also good news.

I know you guys understand, but I do apologize for needing to adjust the challenge rules.  I truly never expected for this to be a factor!

9 minutes ago, camacju said:

Luckily, Kerbals don't need much of a crumple zone.

You did twice as good as needed:  The rules state only one of the Kerbals needs to survive.  I'm sure the other Kerbal appreciates walking away too though.

11 minutes ago, camacju said:

I'll ignore the south component because it makes the calculations harder

I appreciate that.  If you want to include the off-axis component, you'll have to show me the formula.  I have it somewhere, just can't remember where I put it!

@OJT, looks like it's back to you!  I can't think of anybody who has been able to consistently knock @camacju out of the top slot in an aviation challenge like you have.  You weren't kidding when you said this challenge was more up your alley!

Updating leaderboards.  Again!

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Posted (edited)

Pretty much at the same time as camacju: I was uploading the screenshots just as he posted his latest submission. My third attempt (and last one for today, it's getting quite late here)

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Pretty much same concept as my second plane, just with weight optimizations

Spoiler

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Proof of battery charge

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I reached 13.9 km altitude. By the time I've beaten my 2nd submission of 231.4 km I was still flying under engine power. In fact, drag that high is so low that at one point I was actually flying with just 14% of throttle (on already 12% sized engine). Plane was using only 0.03 EC per second, honestly mindblowing

Spoiler

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Passing 200 km

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Running out of charge. I noticed on previous attempts that the engine automatically locks up when out of charge. In this one I turned off automatic lock after battery depletion and let the engine spin for a bit before retracting the props. I dunno if it gave me any extra kick, but at least it didn't make things worse (visibly at least)

Spoiler

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Passing 260 km

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Passing 300 km

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I was planning my landing when I saw... land. I actually made it to the land

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Passing 350 km. I was expecting to land in the water near the furthest shore...

Spoiler

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Unfortunately (or fortunately) I glided for a bit after that and had a hard landing. Plane was wrecked, but Kerbals thankfully survived. I waited for the morning to have more light in my screenshots

Spoiler

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Chairs also survived the crash landing, so I sat in one of those to get KER distance readings. 364.8 km

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And here are the coordinates if you wanna calculate these

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Edited by OJT
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Posted (edited)

Wow, that's far too close for comfort. 

I've noticed that I'm flying a lot faster than you are - I wonder if I'm running into some inefficiencies from Mach effects around the propeller. Maybe it's time to downsize my engine once more?

10 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

Do either of you use autopilot mods?  I'm wondering if a good autopilot mod could give the best of both worlds- an efficiently trimmed airplane, with the stability that comes with an autopilot.

I tried Mechjeb Smart A.S.S. but it couldn't handle the constant torque (probably a poorly tuned PID).

Maybe its dedicated aircraft autopilot module could handle it?

Edited by camacju
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4 minutes ago, OJT said:

My third attempt (and last one for today, it's getting quite late here)

A successful challenge: I've wasted a lot of your time today!

6 minutes ago, OJT said:

I reached 13.9 km altitude. By the time I've beaten my 2nd submission of 231.4 km I was still flying under engine power. In fact, drag that high is so low that at one point I was actually flying with just 14% of throttle (on already 12% sized engine). Plane was using only 0.03 EC per second, honestly mindblowing

Just wow.

7 minutes ago, OJT said:

Plane was wrecked, but Kerbals thankfully survived.

Dunno,  looks like you might have bigger pieces remaining than @camacju had.

12 minutes ago, OJT said:

Chairs also survived the crash landing, so I sat in one of those to get KER distance readings. 364.8 km

Got some bad news.  I calculated your great circle route, comes out to 370.5 km.  Somebody better check my math on this one.

(KSC) 74d43'W - (you) 39d20'W = 35d23' covered, or 35.383 degrees.  That's .6175 radians, which works out to 370.5 km great circle distance.

 

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Posted (edited)

UPD: I did calculations myself and my traveled distance comes out as 370.2 km. Claiming top of the leaderboard again, but gotta say that's hell of a competition. Fair play @camacju

19 minutes ago, camacju said:

I've noticed that I'm flying a lot faster than you are - I wonder if I'm running into some inefficiencies from Mach effects around the propeller. Maybe it's time to downsize my engine once more?

From what I see, I use fan blades instead of props. They are more compact than props but from my experience building prop planes I've actually found them much more effective: they generate more thrust. But also, I use fan shroud and put the engine into it. From my searches and experiments, I couldn't determine whether fan shroud is a cosmetic part or it actually is beneficial for fan blades. I suggest you experiment with fan blades instead of props

But I gotta say, I find it amusing that we both are getting quite similar results while using two vastly different looking concepts

26 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

Do either of you use autopilot mods?

No. I use Caps Lock to fine tune trim adjustments. Not saying it's "be all end all" solution to the problem, as I still need to correct the flight path regularly, but alas there's no way around it in stock game

5 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

Got some bad news.  I calculated your great circle route, comes out to 370.5 km.  Somebody better check my math on this one.

Got pretty similar numbers, 370.2 km

And how is it bad news? I did beat camacju's result no?

EDIT: Okay, seems like camacju is downplaying his range for some reason. From my calculations he got 372 km. I guess I gotta try crack 400 km next time

Edited by OJT
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39 minutes ago, camacju said:

Total longitude covered: 35.7 degrees = 0.611 radians = 366.5 km.

Okay, I came up with something different.  Perhaps my calculator needs to be calibrated?

My calculator says that 35.7 degrees = 0.623 radians.  0.623 X 600 = 373 km.  No need to get back to me tonight, but by my math you are still in the lead.  But not by much.  

Perhaps you could double-check my (or your) math?  

 

14 minutes ago, OJT said:

And how is it bad news?

Just a little joking- the bad news was that you underestimated your distance, not that you hadn't shot into the lead!

Although tomorrow after we get some sleep, we need to get @camacju to take another look at his great-circle calculation.  I think he actually went a tad farther than your entry (so far!), but we'll sort that out later.

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14 minutes ago, 18Watt said:

My calculator says that 35.7 degrees = 0.623 radians.  0.623 X 600 = 373 km.  No need to get back to me tonight, but by my math you are still in the lead.  But not by much.  

Perhaps you could double-check my (or your) math?  

Yeah I checked and I made a mistake, for some reason I forgot to put ".7" after 35. Your number is correct

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Adjusted @camacju's latest entry, he's actually in the lead.  But only by 3 km.  I suspect we are getting close to the limit of the attainable distance.  

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