-A A +A

Don't Miss the 2020 Nats: Flying in Circles


The 2020 Indoor Free Flight Nats has been canceled. The Outdoor Nats will be held July 12-August 5 at the International Aeromodeling Center, in Muncie, Indiana. You can learn more about the 2020 Nats at modelaircraft.org/nats.

Don’t forget that if you’ve never attended the Nats, the $50 registration fee is waived for you this year. Online Nats registration is now open.

In this second blog of the series, written and photographed by Fred Cronenwett, learn what brings Control Line (CL) Scale pilots back each year.

It's not the competition that is the goal. Someone asked me once, "What do you win at the contests?" I told them a piece of wood with a metal plate. But it's not that—it's the idea of making something work and fly correctly and then meeting up with others who enjoy the same hobby. That is the main goal of the Nats.

The awards:

  • Normal awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places awarded on Sunday afternoon.
  • High Static awards presented at the Saturday night banquet.
  • The Saturday night banquet.
  • CL Scale Hall of Fame inductees announced.
  • The National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) Bob Lirette Flight Achievement Award (given out on Sunday afternoon).
  • Grand Champion award.

The fun stuff we do at the Nats:

  • Wearing club shirts or T-shirts from other contests.
  • Scale models of 3D animation movie airplanes.
  • Model pilot busts that look like the person (3D printed).
  • Recreating the dawn patrol tradition.
  • Special award to recognize to Jack Sheeks.
  • Sunday raffle (kits and other stuff).
  • Other competitors helping other pilots.
  • Recognizing people who have driven a very long distance.
  • Realizing that the 1/2A scale event allows us to relive the days when we were much younger and flying the 1/2A models.
  • Getting to talk with some the greats who have helped shaped this event we call CL Scale.
  • Father/son and grandfather/grandson combinations.
  • Mini-me models (large and small versions with the same paint job).
  • Unusual pilot figures (they never said it had to be a human pilot figure).

Leave it to scale modelers to make a copy of themselves. Grant Hiestand had his head scanned, then a pilot bust was 3D printed. Grant flew this 1/3 scale Spacewalker for more than 20 years—yes all 106 inches of the model with a 90-size electric motor and weighing almost 20 pounds. It had some high line tension.


The models were being unloaded and assembled for static judging on the Friday before the flying started.


Everyone getting ready for flying.


Dave Platt (left) getting his Profile Scale entry ready.


This model started out has an ARF originally designed for RC, but that was easily taken care by adding a bellcrank.


Frank Beatty on the left with John Brodak with the Hall of Fame award.


Hazel Sig of Sig Manufacturing signing a calendar. The picture in the calendar is the same Spacewalker that Grant Hiestand flew for many years.


Fred Cronenwett with his CL Scale Hall of Fame award.


Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.