Canadian Nats

A really fun time!


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Over the course of the summer of 2005, I did a lot of IMAC flying, attending various IMAC contest and the Canadian Nats. It was a real great event, so I've decided to post some pics from the event. The membership at Richmond Hill, asked me to write an article that was related to the Canadian Nats, so I have included the article here for anyone who is interested in IMAC Flying.

Here are some pics from the event, followed by the article:

Canadian Nats IMAC Article

As some of you know, Dave Dietrich and myself have been flying in a lot of IMAC contest this summer, and it seems that some of the membership at Richmond Hill are interested in finding out a little more about what takes place, or exactly what competitive flying is all about. Rick Schobesberger asked me to write a little bit about the IMAC circuit, and so I have agreed to share my experiences.

The first thing I should mention is that IMAC flying is not about competing. In fact, if you ask the average competitor who attends an IMAC contest, he will tell you that the main reason he goes is for the people, and the assured fun that will take place. I think many people shy away from contest thinking that it is too competitive, or “too serious”, their skills aren’t good enough, etc. The reality is that IMAC is for any flyer out there who wants to have a good time, make some new friends, and learn to be a better pilot.

IMAC (International Miniature Aerobatic Club) main goal is to promote Scale Aerobatic flying in our modeling community. IMAC was formed by a group of modelers who wanted to emulate what takes place in a full scale Aerobatic competition. The IAC (International Aerobatic Club) is the governing body for full scale Aerobatics, and is the basic blue print to where IMAC gets most of its rules.

In IMAC there are 5 different classes Basic, Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited. At the beginning of each season, the governing body of IMAC designs a set of Aresti sequences (or aerobatic maneuvers) for each individual class. The link for the sequences is on the IMAC web site at:  the sequences are the same for everyone, this way no matter what contest you may attend, everyone is flying the same sequences. This also makes it more even when comparing results on an International scale.

IMAC is divided into 6 different regions. The Northeast, Southeast, Northcentral, Southcentral, Northwest, and Southwest. Here in Ontario we have a sanctioned IMAC chapter #401, which belongs to the Northcentral region of IMAC.  Here is the link to Chapter 401’s website with each contest that you compete in; you are awarded an allotted amount of points depending on how you place. For example; if you place first you are awarded 250 points, second 200, and so on. At the end of the IMAC season, there are awards handed out to the point leaders in each class. Here is the link to the regional championship standings in the Sportsman class that Dave and I are part of

This year there were 6 scale aerobatic events in Ontario of which 5 of them were sanctioned IMAC events. The MAAC NATS is not an IMAC sanctioned event, as it only pertains to Canada, and thus any points derived from the Nats does not apply to the overall IMAC standings.

To give you a little flavor of what IMAC contests are like, I’m going to give you a small synopsis of the Canadian Nats, what I went through, and my impressions of the whole IMAC scene. The Nats were held in Chatham, Ontario on Aug 6th and 7th at the Chatham Aeronauts flying field. The pre-registration fee for the Nats was $50.00 per contestant. I know it’s not cheap, but if you factor in all the costs to put on an event like this, the prizes, etc...$50.00 is a moderate amount.  Since I knew the field would be open on the Friday prior to the contest, I decided to take the day off, and head to Chatham Friday morning. I figured that this way I could get some practice in at their flying field.

Friday Aug 5th 2005:

When I arrived at the flying field, there were at least 15-20 pilots there from all over practicing their individual sequences. Pilots had come from all over Ontario and Quebec. Some even drove as much as 14 hours to be in Chatham.  The weather was beautiful, and it was a fun day seeing some old friends, and making some new ones. Dave had arrived a little later in the day, and also got in a few flights. It was more of a fun day than an actual practice day.  Once the flying was over, most of the Pilots and their families decided to go out for dinner at the local KC’s., where we all had a nice dinner, a few drinks, and some laughs.

Saturday Aug 6th 2005

Saturday morning, Dave and I arrived at the field at 7:30 am.  We started to assemble our airplanes, and register for the event. Most of the pilots were also arriving, and there was a pilots meeting scheduled for 8:00 am. As I understood there were about 40 pilots that were pre-registered for the event, but because a few dropped out, or didn’t show, the finally tally ended up being 31 pilots ready to compete.  Ivan Kristensen, as many of you already know is probably the most world renowned pilot that Canada has ever produced. Ivan was the CD for the event and a great ambassador for the sport. He led the pilots meeting with instructions as to how the contest was to run, flight order, and judging. One thing to realize is that the majority of times, in an IMAC contest; judging is something that is done by the pilots themselves. This may sound a little odd, but the reality is that judging is an excellent way to better your own skills. It teaches you what to look for, what not to do, and how to better your own skills. Generally in an IMAC contest the higher classes will judge the lower classes as the case with the Nats. The flying began in and around 9:00 a.m. They had set up two separate flight lines that ran parallel to each other. In other words there were two airplanes in the air at all times doing sequences. If for some reason you felt that there could be a collision, you had the right to call “an avoidance”. At that point the judges would allow you to re-fly the sequence from where you left off.  Through out the entire day, we flew the known sequences from 9:00 am till about 6:00 pm, non stop. That is a lot of flying!

To give you a better idea of what takes place during a round, I will give you a brief description: (note: You are allowed a caller in IMAC flying, someone who will basically stand with you and call out the maneuvers as you fly. Dave and I called for each other throughout the entire contest) When it is your turn to fly, you must have your plane set up on the flight line. Your caller will hold your plane as you start it. Once you taxi out to the runway, you will stand with your caller at the flight line, generally in front of the judge’s tent. Either yourself or your caller will then greet the judges, tell them who you are, what class you are flying, and from which direction you will be flying i.e. right to left, left to right etc. At that point you will take off, and make your first turn away from the flight line. Once you are airborne, you are not allowed to do any aerobatics, or you will be zero’d and asked to land. You are allowed to do turn around maneuvers only! Procedure turns, split ess, etc. You are also allowed a single trim pass where you can fly straight and level to make sure your plane is in proper trim and ready to go. Once you feel comfortable, either yourself or your caller will then say the words “in the box” to the judges; which will signify that you are in the aerobatic box, and commencing your sequence. Once you have finished your sequence either you or your caller will say “out of the box” which signifies that you have left the aerobatic box and have completed your sequence. Typically during a contest the norm is to fly two sequences per flight.  This helps speed up the contest, and allow for more flying.

Throughout the entire first day of competition every competitor flew a total of 2 rounds and it took till about 6:00 pm to get it all in.

Once the flying was complete, the local club that hosted the Nats, had a pig roast for all the competitors, spectators, and families. It was a great night. We all ate at the field, feasted, had some drinks, and had a real great time. Dave and I even pulled out the foamies and did some 3D till it was almost dark. It was a real great day!

Sunday Aug 7th 2005

Like Saturday, Dave and I arrived at the field at 7:30 am again. Most of the competitors were there, assembling their airplanes. The pilot meeting was again at 8:00 am, and at this point, all the “unknowns” were handed out. In IMAC flying, all the classes other than the Basic class must fly an unknown set of maneuvers. The unknowns are usually not as difficult as the known maneuvers but can be tricky as you have never flown it before. Typically once the pilots receive their unknown sequences, they head off to a quiet corner, and start writing down the maneuvers in a way that will help them understand the sequence. Most flyers will also use a little stick plane, that they can use as a tool to help visualize what they are about to fly. I know it sounds a little intimidating, but the reality is that is not that bad, and usually a fun challenge.

That morning before any unknowns were flown, we all flew one more round of known, bringing the total of known sequences to three. Once the “knowns” were complete, it was time for the unknowns. The Basic class is the only class that doesn’t fly unknowns, so they flew another round of known. The unknown sequence is only flown once and that’s it. You just basically take off, do your trim pass, fly your sequence once, then land. You can not fly it twice as you do with the known sequences. The real key to flying the unknowns is having a good caller that will guide you through the sequence.

In and around 2:00 pm, all the sequences were finished, and the scores were being tabulated by the computers. At that point as a secondary part of the Nats, a freestyle event was scheduled for any competitor who wanted to compete. It is not mandatory to compete in the freestyle, and is purely up to the individual. Dave and I both entered in the freestyle event and I believe in all there were about 10 or so who decided to compete. It was fun, and a pleasant change from flying sequences for the better part of the past 2 days.

Once the freestyle competition was over, the scores were submitted, and a meeting was called for all the pilots and spectators present. Ivan Kristensen thanked all the people who attended, and presented the awards to all the pilots in their respected categories. 

Here are the results from the Nats:

Here is a link to some pictures of the winners after the awards ceremony:

Here is a link to some pictures that were taken during the competition:

All in all the Nats was a great experience, and more than anything was a real great time. As I’ve said to many out there; you won’t find a better group of modelers than the guys who are on the IMAC circuit. They are all great guys, and make the events that much more enjoyable. It’s not about winning, or the competition aspect of it. It’s more about advancing your flying skills, making friends, and just having fun. I highly recommend anyone out there who has any interest in IMAC, to give it a try. I guarantee you will have a great time, and learn more about flying than you will ever learn by just sport flying.

Sam Filippelli
MAAC 40005
IMAC 3534




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Last Updated 05/23/2007