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.

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