[Headline: 2014 IMAC World Championship]
[Subhead: Inaugural event draws pilots from 13 countries]
[Author: Joe Cutright]
[Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Orebaugh]
[Sidebar: Results, sponsors, text in file]
Results (Top three in each category)
World Team Champions
Kurt Koelling USA
Nicolas Pinzon CAN
David Moser USA
Tyler McCormack USA
Greg Marsden CAN
Evan Curto USA
Anthony Gorgone USA
Avery Poole USA
Earle Andrews USA
Santiago Perez USA
Kal Reifsnyder USA
John Paul Takacs USA
Cody Wojcik USA
Tyler McCormack USA
Spencer Nordquist USA
Academy of Model Aeronautics
Clover Creek Aerodrome
Duralite Flight Systems
Extreme Flight RC
Falcon Hobby Supply
Futaba Corporation of America
Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides
Iton Industries Inc.
MTW Silencer Systems
Performance Aircraft Unlimited
RC Sport Flyer
Triple Tree Aerodrome
Can you believe that the International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC) celebrated its 40th anniversary during the first week of September 2014? It’s hard to believe IMAC has been around that long, right? And what better way to celebrate this anniversary than by holding the first IMAC World Championship at the home of AMA in Muncie, Indiana!
The idea began more than two years ago when current IMAC President Wayne Matthews made the announcement at the 2012 US Scale Aerobatic National Championship. Wayne would be the event organizer and chief judge and Curtis Cozier would be the event director. Both men are well known throughout the IMAC community and there was no doubt that the 2014 IMAC World Championship was going to be nothing short of spectacular! With the date set, September 2-6, 2014, couldn’t get here fast enough!
The US team was formed by utilizing the 2013 Regional Points Series in all six regions of IMAC. The top four pilots in each region progressed to a zone qualifier. This event consisted of the Southeast and Northeast regions competing against each other; likewise the South Central and North Central regions competed with each other, and the Southwest and Northwest regions did the same.
The top three pilots in each class—Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited—from these three qualification contests earned positions on the US team. This resulted in nine pilots in each class representing the USA. Each country competing in the event formulated its own team-selection criteria.
By the end of 2013, the US team had been formed. Kent Porter was named the team manager and Kurt Koelling the team captain. The IMAC website had a place for team members to discuss practice regimes, tips on flying their sequences, aircraft setup, as well as how to practice with purpose. The 2014 Known sequences were announced and the team pilots were on a mission to master these sequences and be well prepared for the event!
By the time the contest day arrived, Wayne had assembled 89 pilots from 13 countries and 22 judges from nine countries to meet in Muncie for the weeklong competition. The week before the event, weather forecasters predicted cool temperatures and mild wind conditions and that is exactly what we got!
As Tuesday broke, we settled into the contest routine. After breakfast we headed to the field to sign in and receive our welcome packages. The event team greeted us with smiling faces and open arms. Everything was well organized and laid out for the pilots.
As check-in proceeded, we encountered several fellow team members as well as many international competitors, all of whom were excited and eager to get to the flying field for a few last-minute practice flights. The flightlines had no fewer than 20 aircraft cued up at each flight station!
We were on a tight schedule because at 1:30 p.m. we had to report for a mandatory pilots’ and judges’ meeting. The pilots’ meeting was followed by the Opening Ceremonies at 3:30, which included a march of flags, national anthems, and event staff presentation, and team pictures.
When I had a chance to sit down and take it all in, I was overwhelmed that the event was finally about to happen! It was truly a remarkable experience to see everyone gathered with their respective teammates and countries and then stand together and listen to each other’s national anthems with flags waiving in the air!
We finished the ceremonies by drawing for Wednesday’s flight order, and picking up Wednesday’s Unknown sequence. Pilots were to report at the field the next day, ready to fly at 8 a.m.
What beautiful weather for the first day of competition! Winds were no more than 8 mph and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was a great day of competition and people were settling in after their first two single rounds of Known sequences.
The two Known rounds were followed by the Unknowns, and I learned a lesson the hard way again, by having my idle set too low for a spin. The resulting flameout earned me zeros for each figure remaining in the sequence. Not quite the way I had envisioned finishing day one of the competition.
Throughout the day, competition moved along nicely with no delays. The flightline bosses did a fantastic job ensuring that the competitors were lined up at least four deep. The curtain came down on the first day as we drew a new flight order and collected our Unknowns for the next morning.
Thursday, September 4, was another beautiful day with temperatures in the upper 80s and winds lifting to roughly 12 mph. The first order of the day was the Unknown sequences, followed by three more Known sequences. Unfortunately, I fell apart on my Unknown sequence, but I did fly some solid Known sequences.
In Unlimited, more often than not, it is the Unknown sequences that will make or break a pilot. I came into this contest aware of that, but for whatever reason just couldn’t seem to focus on the Unknowns as I should have. After the day’s flights concluded, we completed the draw for Friday’s flight order and the third Unknown sequence was handed out.
Friday, had the weather forecasters been right, would have been a complete washout. Fortunately, the bad weather never materialized and we got in the full complement of flying. Friday’s schedule also included the event’s first Freestyle flights!
Throughout the day, the winds were blowing out 90° to the runway at nearly 15 mph. The Freestyle competition consisted of 15 pilots and all of them put on a great show considering the wind greatly affected their timing and placement of maneuvers.
Nicolas Pinzon, Spencer Nordquist, and Cody Wojzcick had the crowd on its feet and cheering. They were making their aircraft dance to every beat of the music and bringing their models low to the ground for all to see!
After Saturday’s flight order was drawn and Unknown sequence distributed, we headed for some food and relaxation—or as much as possible with the final day yet to come.
Saturday, the final day of the contest, consisted of flying the last Unknown sequence, a single Known sequence, and another round of Freestyle. The anticipated bad weather had finally rolled in overnight with winds gusting to 50 mph, rain, and even some hail. We awoke to an overcast day with the temperatures in the low 60s and winds at roughly 10 to 15 mph, blowing into our faces as opposed to our backs as it was for the first three days of competition. This wreaked havoc for some pilots, while others still flew as if they were on rails!
I finally flew a good Unknown sequence, finishing fifth in the round. The Freestyle round was another fantastic show with pilots laying it all on the table, and a couple going over the edge!
With flying completed, the pilots, helpers, family members, and event staff reconvened at the Horizon Center in downtown Muncie for the closing ceremonies and banquet. The food was delicious, the conversations stimulating, and the friendships—new ones and those rekindled—created memories that will last a lifetime.
Wayne and his team set the bar high in this inaugural event. The pilot awards were handed out, as well as some nice merchandise, courtesy of the many event sponsors.
One award in particular deserves a special mention. Wayne received the first-ever Visionary Award that was created by the recipients of the IMAC President’s award. The Visionary Award is IMAC’s highest possible service award and is only issued to those who demonstrate an unmatched level of dedication and commitment to IMAC.
Wayne has been involved with IMAC for many years in positions that include seven years as a national judging instructor, six years as chairman of the sequence committee, two years as IMAC secretary, and four years as the IMAC president.
Wayne’s involvement with other prestigious events including the Clover Creek Invitational, Tucson Aerobatic Shootout, and the Electric Tournament of Champions demonstrate his passion for aeromodeling. The successful 2014 IMAC World Championship may be the crowning achievement in Wayne’s impressive résumé.
If there is a more-deserving first recipient of IMAC’s Visionary Award, I can’t imagine who it would be. Without Wayne’s vision that there would one day be an IMAC World Championship and without his persistence and great sacrifices, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure to enjoy and celebrate IMAC’s 40th anniversary as we did.
IMAC, all of its members, and Scale Aerobatics enthusiasts everywhere extend to Wayne a heartfelt thank you!
IMAC World Championship
IMAC World Championship