Posted by Ron Graham
Posted on 11/10/2015
Second in a series by Bill Teeter – NC Assistant Regional Director
My purpose here is to share some useful ideas and suggestions as to how to make your first contest a success.
If you are reading this article, you have managed to find the IMAC web site. Take time to explore all the menus and read the information on the site. Most importantly there are several key areas you will want to spend time on.
Under the Downloads section you will find the Basic Sequence. Download the sequence document because it is your guide as to what you will need to learn and practice before you go to your first contest.
OK, but you quickly realize that these documents are written in some peculiar collection of lines, arrows, numbers and triangles. Don’t be dismayed. You will need to start learning “Aresti” language. All those lines, arrows and symbols have particular meanings and are adopted from the full scale aerobatic language that is used to depict the various maneuvers.
Don’t let “Aresti” language frighten you, it is fairly easy to understand once you get the hang of it. Also you don’t need to become an expert over night. It is something you can learn as you go.
The good news is that there are a series of VIDEOS under the Training section of the IMAC web site, and the first video is “Learning Aresti”. After you go through that video you will start to understand what this strange language is all about, and you will be able to look at the Basic Sequence and understand what the various figures mean.
Not to swamp you with homework, but you also need to develop a working familiarity with the Scale Aerobatic Rules. You can DOWNLOAD these from the Rules Section on the IMAC site. Take the time to read the rules, they contain important information every IMAC pilot needs to know. It may seem onerous at first but break it down into sections and study them. The rules will help you understand how you should fly the maneuvers and what the judges are looking for.
The other good news is that there are a series of VIDEOS on the IMAC Training site that walk through all the Families of Figures and what the judges are looking for. These videos are a tremendous learning tool. It may seem like a deluge of information at first, but pace yourself and work your way through it. Review the videos periodically and you will readily absorb the information.
One document that has been produced almost every year is the “Basic Sequence Judging Guide”. This is a “must read” for all new Basic pilots and applies the rules to each of the maneuvers in the sequence. Again it is found in the Training section. It is a terrific document for new pilots and new judges.
So how should you practice? In an ideal world it would be best to find an experienced IMAC pilot who can coach you and be your mentor. If you have someone locally who can do this, take every advantage of the opportunity.
However I fully appreciate that many pilots will not have another experienced pilot to advise and guide them. This makes it a little harder but don’t let it discourage you. I had no one locally to coach me when I first started, there are other ways to move forward and learn as you go.
It has been a common occurrence that video recordings of the various sequences flown on a computer simulator are put up on the IMAC site. These videos are great for new pilots because they give you an idea what the sequence looks like and the “flow” between the maneuvers. By “flow” I mean how the sequence is flown, stringing the maneuvers together, one after another.
Of course the other way to learn how a sequence is flown is by attending a contest and observing other pilots. Whether flying or spectating, one suggestion I would make is to volunteer to “scribe” for the judges. Scribing is just sitting beside one of the pilot judges and writing down the scores that the judge gives you. It is easy and it is a terrific way to meet pilots and to start to understand what judging is all about. Between pilots, don’t be afraid to talk to the judges about what they saw or why they scored a maneuver a certain way. Scribing also gets you involved in a low-key fashion and will increase your learning of what IMAC is all about. Volunteer to scribe, you will be glad you did!
See you soon . . .