2024 IAC Contests

Ed Haywood

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Big Ed
Gonna use this as a rolling thread, maybe suck in a few other current competitors.

Sebring was 3 weeks ago. Very well run contest, and better attended than last few years. At least as many young pilots as old ones, which is great to see.

Rome GA was scheduled this weekend but was just cancelled for weather. First time I have seen that in advance.

I hope to do at least 4 local chapter contests this year, plus nationals if I can get away for a week. Hopefully Rome gets rescheduled soon. Next closest contest in Warrenton VA in June.

Once upon a time NC used to have a contest at Rocky Mount. Too bad that seems to have died out.
 
What is an IAC competition like, outside of the flying? There are never events anywhere near me so I haven't been able to justify a long trip (nearest one this year looks like it's 500 nm away in Nebraska) just to satisfy my mild curiosity.
 
What is an IAC competition like, outside of the flying? There are never events anywhere near me so I haven't been able to justify a long trip (nearest one this year looks like it's 500 nm away in Nebraska) just to satisfy my mild curiosity.
Where are you located?

For competitors, it is 3 days of sitting on the ramp from 8am to 6pm, with most pilots volunteering to help run the contest when their category is not being flown. Usually there will be a contest hotel designated, so evenings tend to turn into a party. There will always be an awards banquet on the last night.

For spectators, it is much more relaxed. You can show up when you want, watch what you want, and then leave. There is no charge, and usually no access control, so anyone can wander up and hang out with the competitors and volunteers, see what is going on, ask questions, and stand behind the judges to watch the flights. There will typically be plenty of cool airplanes on the ramp, usually 20+ Extras and Pitts plus a few others, and nobody is too uptight about wandering around looking at them as long as you stay away from the active category.

The contest rotates through levels, with each category taking an hour or two, and probably a 30 minute reset between categories. A category typically has 8-10 pilots, with each pilot flying a 4 minute routine in the box, and a few minutes between each pilot. The higher level categories are obviously more fun because the pilots fly more complex sequences lower to the ground.

All flying is within the box, which looks like this:

Aerobatic Box Graphic Model 2012 - 33pct.gif
 
Thanks. I'm familiar with the box and sequence concepts, although I haven't flown a serious aerobatic maneuver in years (I did a 10-hour course in late 2017 and performed the basic elements during phase 1 testing of my RV-14 back in 2021) and have never tried to fly a sequence within a box. I've been curious about getting into it a little bit but the travel would kill me. But if it's worthwhile to be there and spectate, I might try to make the trip.

How busy is the flying schedule? Constantly a plane in the air for the day or long breaks between competitors and/or classes?
 
Typically each class will fly for 1 to 2 hours, depending on pilot count, with a plane in the air about 50% of the time. There will be a 30 to 60 minute break between classes. Overall pace depends on how well organized the volunteers are.

Are you still in ND? There are contests in June in Nebraska at KSWT and Iowa at KSPW.

The first few times you fly in the box, you feel rushed. Once you get the rhythm, it comes naturally. The biggest challenge is compensating for wind. Nobody pays much attention to upper or lateral boundaries in the lower classes. Just don't bust the floor.

If you want to try it out, the Primary sequence is not too difficult and a great way to start. Everyone is very welcoming and helpful to first time competitors.


sequence.PNG
 
Are you still in ND? There are contests in June in Nebraska at KSWT and Iowa at KSPW.
Yeah. KSWT is about 500 nm away. Long trip to watch airplanes but I've gone farther for less (1100 to watch a movie).

If you want to try it out, the Primary sequence is not too difficult and a great way to start. Everyone is very welcoming and helpful to first time competitors.
I think I printed out the Primary and Sportsman known sequences back in 2021 and based my phase 1 aerobatic work on having sufficient tested maneuvers to perform them, although not in a box and not in a sequence. I don't remember for sure. I should really just throw the parachute on and go do some fun flying one of these days.
 
I think I printed out the Primary and Sportsman known sequences back in 2021 and based my phase 1 aerobatic work on having sufficient tested maneuvers to perform them, although not in a box and not in a sequence. I don't remember for sure. I should really just throw the parachute on and go do some fun flying one of these days.

Boxes and sequences are not hard. You just vary the timing of the pause between each maneuver to keep yourself centered on the judging area. Choose a linear feature like a prominent road to align with, and pick a prominent object about a half mile off one side. Start with a few seconds between each maneuver, and increase or decrease as necessary to stay centered on the object. Seems rushed at first, but once you learn to be mindful of the wind, it is straight forward. Longer pauses into the wind, shorter pauses going away.

In between each maneuver, eyeball the airspeed and altimeter. If you get within a few hundred feet of the floor, wag out and restart.
 
I think I printed out the Primary and Sportsman known sequences back in 2021 and based my phase 1 aerobatic work on having sufficient tested maneuvers to perform them, although not in a box and not in a sequence. I don't remember for sure. I should really just throw the parachute on and go do some fun flying one of these days.

Fast forward to 59:30 and there is video of an RV-14 flying Sportsman in the Nationals last fall.

 
Fast forward to 59:30 and there is video of an RV-14 flying Sportsman in the Nationals last fall.

That's a very specific RV-14, in fact. Thanks for sharing the video. He must not be done editing his in-cockpit footage yet. :)
 
There used to be a local IAC contest near me. I didn’t compete but I did volunteer. Running score sheets from the judges (the judges were usually pilots not flying that category), acting as a recorder for judges, grabbing water bottles, whatever. I was a low time pilot back then and learned a lot about energy management from observing and talking with the competitors. And getting a good first hand lesson in how to handle an inflight emergency - remember rule 1A (no one ever collided with the sky), and come up with a plan then work the plan. It all worked out.

I really recommend volunteering if there’s an IAC comp nearby, and bring a handheld.

Edit: and remember to put sunscreen in your neck, under your chin. You’ll be looking up all day.
 
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