By Jim Quinn
Our fourth and final day of RC Precision Aerobatics always starts with a special and newly fresh atmosphere. The 2021 Nats was no exception, but the SPECIAL had a whole new meaning this year.
Kevin Young, a regular at our Nats and World Championship competition, made this year extra special. Yes, Kevin is special, but … Kevin was joined this year by his wife, Sarah, and their beautiful daughter Allee. Thank you Sarah and Kevin for this extra special start to Day 4.
A pilots’ meeting began the competition for day 4. Tim Jesky, Site 1 Director, Jon Dieringer, ED, and Jon Carter, Chief Judge, briefed the 8 finalists in FAI. Tim and Jon Dieringer explained procedures while Jon Carter went over the finer points in the two new sequences.
Friday evening, three Unknown sequences were computer generated. Of the three, two were used Saturday morning. A non-competitor blindly draws 2 tiles to decide which of the 3 Unknowns will be used. The pilots also have a blind drawing to determine the flight order. Pilots are forbidden to practice either Unknown sequence before the contest the next morning.
Day 4 marks a whole new contest for the 8 FAI finalists. The 2 Unknown sequences and an additional sequence of “F” are flown. All three flights are counted for final scores. No rounds are dropped.
Given the importance of these three final flights, additional judges are used. The Electronic Scribe is used so the judges can observe the plane in flight without looking down to write a score down. Each judge has a controller. Using the buttons on the controller, the judge can make downgrades and move from maneuver to maneuver without ever losing eye contact with the airplane.
As the 8 finalists have never flown the 2 Unknown sequences, they practice the morning of the contest using “stick planes” to memorize the maneuvers and understand the elements of each individual maneuver. Mark Hunt, a regular finalist in FAI, is using this technique.
Before the Electronic Scribe (thanks Peter), paper score sheets were used. They would regularly be “run” from the flightline to the tabulation center, “The Whale.” These scribes would have to manually enter the scores into the scoring computers.
One of our runners, who actually drove around in old carts from site to site and to the Whale, has joined us this year. Thanks so much to Evelyn Jesky for her years of service driving from site to site in the blistering Muncie sun for hour after hour.
Keeping our planes' electronics cool is vital. Check out this “plane wrapper,” as the company calls it. There is a matching stars and stripes Allure under the “wrapper.”
We bid goodbye to our 5 first-time pilots from Site 4. When asked to complete the sentence, “My first Nats was…” they all smiled first and added comments such as, "Great time, nerve wracking, eye-opening experience, informative, a pure pleasure, I’ll be back."
The day and the competition were drawing to a close. The banquet and awards were waiting for us all. The dinner looked great. There was plenty of food and beverages. Everyone seemed to have a grand time.
MC Rusty Dose encouraged more participation in the Nats and suggested some Classic RC airplane competitions take place at your local events and even nationally.
NSRCA President, Charlie Barrera gave a plaque to thank our new Event Director, Jon Dieringer.
There were a surprising number of couples at the Nats and at the dinner. Here is just a small sample from one table.
Jon Dieringer took over once everyone was full and deserts were consumed. He announced the pilots in each class who will receive awards.
First Scott Campbell
Second Jeff Mueller
Third Wilfredo Salvador
First Scott Pavlock
Second Steve Miller
Third Matt Baccari
Fourth Justin Wells
First Jonathan Mowrey
Second Chuck Edwards
Third Chris Fitzsimmons
Fourth John Wolfe
Fifth Don Ramsey
Sixth Cliff Bradford
First Andrew Jesky
Second Jason Shulman
Third AC Glenn
Fourth Joseph Szczur
Fifth Chip Hyde
Sixth Greyson Prichett
Seventh Mark Hunt
Eighth Chris Gini