Saturday, April 12, 2008

2008 Aerobatic Season - Pt. II

Alright, I have judging school out of the way now. I've been attending all of the local IAC meetings and getting to know the great people of IAC Chapter 67. Finally, I have found a group of individuals that I fit in with. The passion each person brings to this type of flying is incredibly contagious and makes me want to get out and experience flying every waking moment.

Another seminar I attended a month before the Judging School had to do with emergency parachutes and safety. It was hosted by the owner of Silver Parachutes, Allen Silver. ( I highly suggest visiting his website and checking out the articles section. The seminar was very informative and mentioned several scenarios I never would have thought of before. I was very pleased to hear that everything my instructor briefed me on regarding emergency procedures and how to use the parachute was taken directly from what was mentioned in this seminar. This is one of those things that reall helps build extra confidence in your instructor.

Now, what are my plans? I'm the kind of person who always needs a plan to get things done. There are a number of events being hosted by IAC Chapter 67 such as "Patch Day," "Acro Camp," and two other official contests later on in the year. Right now the goal is to try to attempt patch day (May 17th at Ephrata, WA). This has to do with IAC's rewards program to help promote aerobatics as a recreation and perhaps a teaser to get more people involved in competitions. The reward? A fancy little pin and a patch stating your accomplishment and your name being on a list of others who have done the same since the programs inception. (Which is pretty cool to have your name on the very same list as aviation legends!)

Next I hope to be able to attend the Apple Cup also held in Ephrata later in June. This would be my first actual contest and I'm hoping things can come together to make that happen. I would also like to be an assistant judge for this contest so that next season I may be an official regional judge.

Following that there are some more smaller events I'll be attending and one HUGE one (Advanced World Aerobatic Championship 2008) in August. However, I will not be flying at this one but will be there to photograph the event and meet some of the greatest aerobatic pilots around the world.

Next September(ish) will be the Apple Turnover, also to be held in Ephrata, WA. This one I will work really hard to make it to, especially if I'm unable to attend the Apple Cup.

At this point I'm thinking I may fly Primary for the Apple Cup and then Sportsman for Apple Turnover, provided I am able to get enough practice in.

So there you have it! My fool-proof plan for 2008!

Wish me luck, please!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

2008 Aerobatic Season

Long time no blog! It's been a cold and cloudy winter here in the Pacific Northwest, hence the lack of posting activity.

Two weekends ago I attended IAC Judges School up at Arlington Municipal Airport. This was a two day seminar that covered the official IAC contest rulebook and the Aresti Aerobatic Catalogue. It was very informative and especially useful for first time pilots. Not only do I know how to judge maneuvers, but that also means I know precisely what they're looking at while I'm in the hot seat flying the sequence. Here is a quick rundown of how the weekend went:

Day 1

Went over how IAC contests are organized and the positions required to hold the contest. Each position was explained. One thing that I learned from this is that there are often 5-7 grading judges, each of which has their assistant judge, and recorder as part of the "team." The grading judge keeps his/her eyes on the airplane, the assistant announces the upcoming figure, and keeps an eye on both the aircraft and the Form A/B sequence card. In case the grading judge had a question about a maneuver they will go to the assistant. (ie. a pilot only stopping at 6 out of 8 points in an 8 point roll) Then there is a recorder who only looks at the grade card and recordes the grading judges grade and comments for each figure and does not watc the airplane. Pretty cool! All positions are REQUIRED and require very high concentration and precision. Then we got to dive deep into contest rules and regulations. Pretty intense and technical stuff. Once I take my written test and pass (80% or better out of 50 questions) I'll be responsible for inspecting and signing off pilots "free" programs. I have to know the many rules regarding constructing your own free program. Also I have to be able to find the specific maneuevers in the Aresti Catalogue to ensure they have the right figure drawn AND proper "K" value. There are several instances where a pilot may accidentally write down the wrong K value for a figure due to positively or negatively loaded rolls on vertical lines.

Day 2 is where you guys may be a bit more interested in, and that is the actual judging criteria. This has to do with which maneuvers are to be wind corrected and those which are not. Which ones require all pitching movements to have the exact same radii and those which do not require all pitching movements to have the same radii. Also, how much to deduct for barrelled rolls, wheels up/down on a vertical line, improper heading/roll/pitch on a maneuver, etc. So that's all I have the energy for now... perhaps you can pick and choose what you want more information on. I know a lot of you are like myself on here and try to fly things as close to the real thing as possible. Knowing some of this stuff can really help give you an extra challenge and/or just be something interesting to think about... especially when watching a buddy from tower view.