During the New Hampshire Week Zero event we saw more damage to the springs (‘pegs’ in the manual and drawings) and spring points on the gear lifts than we had expected based on our testing. Springs were getting bent such that they did not return to their original shape and points were being broken. But we have some things we’re doing to improve this situation.
Most immediately, we are providing events with extra replacements.
We are also switching to a new point design. You can see the new design here. The new point design uses slightly thinner material than the original (0.19 inches versus 0.25 inches), but otherwise the point has same shape, at least on the portion that extends from the spring. Also, it is made of LDPE instead of ABS, and is more likely than the prior design to bend rather than break during gear loading. At events, you may see a mix of both types of points in use. The LDPE material does have some tendency to move back to its original shape when bent, but during matches pilots in airships can use their hands (assuming they don’t reach outside the airship) to help the material return to the original shape if they feel a point is bent to an extent that will interfere with gear transfer.
Also, we are investigating ways to reduce damage to the springs themselves, through a change to mounting. This change is not likely to be ready for this weekend, though we continue to work on it.
With all these changes, we are attempting to retain the form and basic behavior of the original design as much as possible, while at the same time making them more robust.
Field personnel will be keeping watch for damage to these elements during events, as they do all other elements on the field, but if you see a spring or spring point that looks like it needs attention, please point it out to a volunteer working the field.
We will be formally incorporating any design changes we make in future Team Updates, but we wanted to give you a heads up about these in advance, as you will see some changes at events this weekend. We’ll also be doing a supplemental email blast to all teams about this.
Thanks for your patience as we determine the best way to solve these issues!