posted on October 23, 2011 23:08
Deep in the heart of District X is one of two premiere scale aerobatics events in the United States. The Tucson Aerobatic Shootout (TAS) was back this year in early October. The Tucson Aerobatic Shootout began in 2002 when Dave Johnson, of Desert Aircraft, saw the end of an era with the death of Bill Bennett of the Tournament of Champions. The TOC was always a fabulous event held in Las Vegas and celebrated the best pilots in the world by inviting around 20 of the best to compete for a lot of money. Around 2002 the International Miniature Aerobatic Club in the South West was growing because of these two events. IMAC now has more than 1000 members nationwide and many more pilots in a dozen or more countries with many competitors that strive for excellence in aerobatics on a regular basis. IMAC is the modeling equivalent of the full scale International Aerobatic Club and follows many of the rules and procedures of this organization. Now, in the South West United States, 200 plus members fly in the District 10 area at 20 different venues in 5 states. As regional director it is my pleasure to help this along in any way possible.
The 2011 Tucson Aerobatic Shootout had almost 70 pilots from distant places: Australia, Austria, France, Mexico, Puerto Rico and all around the nation arrived a week or a few days early to prepare for the competition. The typical aircraft flown at this competition is a 40 percent of real size scale airplane powered by 15- 20 horse power gasoline engines (Desert Aircraft supplies a large variety of these motors). The event differs from IMAC in that you must qualify in some way to be invited. Another difference is that it is a five day event with preliminary flying on Wednesday through Friday. Saturday is the final day for the lower classes: Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited. Prizes and money topped 140,000 dollars in total value which is the most offered for flying models that I know of and then there is the added prestige of placing well in the TAS.
The invitational (professional) class had the top 13 pilots flying for a first place prize of 12,000 dollars. Andrew Jesky, Gernot Bruckmann, and Mark Leseberg finished one two three. The Free- style event was separate and Gernot took first and close behind was Gabrial Altuz from Puerto Rico and Ryan Archer from Arizona.
The other four competitive classes are Sportsman and the top four this year were Geoffrey Donati from Ohio first, Victor Lysakowski, John Pomroy and Parker Rathbun (11 yrs old) in that order. Intermediate was won by Oliver Soto followed by Randy Dreyer, Rusty Fried and John Eells. Advanced was won by Bill Adams followed by Bryant Mack, Cameron Irwin and Andrew Taylor. Finally in the top IMAC class of Unlimited Matthew Szueber took the top spot followed by Todd Bridges, Matthew Stringer and Brian Sanik. Importantly for our sport, the majority of these top spots are being won by pilots that are under 20 years of age. Several older gents did the older guys proud though and we applaud them as well as the youngsters.
Every competitor gets to visit the prize table in turn and 30 plus sponsors led by Desert Aircraft insure each pilot getting a prize of at least $300 value. The five days of TAS were marvelous in weather but more importantly in organization and execution led by Dave Johnson’s Desert Aircraft team of Tony Russo, Steve Richardson, Brian Howard, Anna Woods, Bob Sadler (mouth of the South).
Fred Midget from Higher Plane recorded the highlights which he offers for viewing with a Flight Pass. Many dedicated judges came from across the country led by IMAC president Wayne Matthews. This all came together with TIMPA, the host club, plus the aforementioned talent …..and then add to that nearly 70 happy, grateful, friendly Scale Precision (IMAC) contestants and you have the best Tucson Aerobatic Shootout I have ever been to….thanks everyone.
Next year 2012 will see many of these competitors at venues all over the United States trying to win contests in their regions to do well enough to get to come to this outstanding event. Go to www.mini-iac.com for much more information about IMAC and the 20 contests held in our District X area. Complete schedules and sequences and instruction are available to view and use and we encourage you to find out more about the world of Scale Precision Aerobatics in the South West United States.
IMAC SW Regional Director
AMA District X AVP