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SSA-OLC 2.0 Update

OLC LogoNow that spring has sprung, and pilots are flying X/C again, many are using the new SSA Online Contest 2.0 web site for the first time. Here are some tips to help the transition.

Flight claims through the web site are much easier than before. Many pilots were challenged by the old claim form, but now the server reads as much information as possible from the *.IGC log file, and only asks for the missing information. In fact, if you enter your name and glider information in your logger exactly as it appears in the OLC database, the claim is now completely automatic!

You can still make claims using 3rd party software like SeeYou and StrePla, but make sure you are using the latest version downloaded from their web site. The vendors release patches to correct problems, and there is no sense having a problem that is already solved. If you do have problems with these claims, contact your software vendor right away, and send them your log file so they can troubleshoot your problem before the claim deadline.

The claim deadline has been moved to midnight local time on Tuesday, instead of midnight GMT. Since there is one deadline for each country, and the U.S. is a big country, we now have an extra 10 hours (until 0959z) to enter claims. The Tuesday deadline applies to flights through Monday, so you have at least a full day to claim, and up to a week, but please claim as soon as possible. We want the SSA-OLC to be a near real-time information system.

When your claim is scored, you will now receive a confirmation email, so be sure your pilot registration has a valid email address. The OLC server scores the flight claims in the order received in a batch process, and it can get backed up during busy times. So there's no need to stay up late sitting by the computer waiting for your score to appear. Just go to bed, and check your email in the morning. The email will have a web link to your flight information page as well.

If your claim does not score properly, you can reply to the email for assistance. Be sure to attach your original *.IGC (or *.CAI) file as well. Then please be patient--the OLC team are all volunteers who provide assistance in their free time. Don't worry about the claim deadline if you have technical problems, it will be waived as long as your claim attempt was made in time.

One common problem is IGC files that are marked invalid. If you get a red-V on your claim after scoring, double-check your *.IGC file using the Vali-XXX.exe program from your logger manufacturer. If it does not pass, try downloading the log file from your logger again, using the manufacturer's DOS software. If you can't get a valid download, contact your logger manufacturer for assistance. Invalid log files cannot be scored.

If your logger file passes validation on your local machine, but not the server, download a copy of your *.IGC file from the web site, and save it in another directory, then run the validation program on that file. If that file fails, there was an error in transmission. Try your claim again, and if that fails, reply to your confirmation email with the valid file attached for assistance.

Sometimes the OLC server is not available, especially in the evening when U.S. pilots like to claim. Unfortunately, this is when the OLC team in Europe is sleeping, so they may not be able to restart the server until they wake up. The OLC is free to participants, so this does not allow for 24/7 paid support staff. The OLC team is notified when the server is down, so please be patient and someone will fix it as soon as possible.

The best way to have a positive experience with the SSA-OLC is to work together with your local club or group. The more experienced members can often encourage and help the others, and this enthusiasm is contagious. Please be an advocate for the SSA-OLC where you fly!

Doug Haluza
SSA-OLC Administrator

Posted: 4/14/2007 By: OLC Committee

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