2017 NASA Scale Classic - RC Groups

2017 NASA Scale Classic

On October 6-8, the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers held their end of the year contest, The Scale Classic, at the AMA Headquarters in Muncie Indiana. Mean Joe was on the ground competing in his first NASA scale competition, let's see how it went!

Splash

2017 NASA Scale Classic

The last event of the 2017 NASA Scale Season was held in Muncie Indiana at the AMA Headquarters. The Scale Classic had a great turn out of over 50 pilots! With the forecast being what it was (rainy and windy) this was a quite a surprise for many in attendance to have such a good turnout. Let's start off with a little history of the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers and see how they got where they are today.

History

In 1976 Bob Underwood acted on what seemed to be an interest in creating a Special Interest Group (SIG) within the AMA. At this time the concept of a SIG was still very new to the Academy of Model Aeronautics(AMA) but was starting to gain strength in some of the other modeling disciplines. After contacting several prominent modelers of which the list would include names such as Mike Gretz, Claude Mc Collough, and Dave Platt among others, Bob was encouraged to pursue the possibilities.

Bob then reached out to then AMA Executive Director, John Worth, and with his help and enthusiasm for the program, things started to move pretty quickly. Gathering names from the 1976 "Nats" registration cards, he was able to send out a very large number of postcards to individuals showing interest in building and flying model aircraft within the free flight, control line and scale portions of the hobby.

Armed with over 200 contacts showing interest in such a formation, Bob and John set up an organizational meeting to be held at the 1977 "Nats" competition begin held at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California and with more the 75 "Nats" contestants showing up to the meeting the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers was born! There were five officers elected; a President, three Vice Presidents (one for each discipline FF, CL, RC) and a Secretary/Treasurer. Additionally, goals were set for activities, along with plans for scale documentation source guides, working with the AMA Contest Boards and a variety of other items.

In the over 40 years since the inception of NASA the organization has been involved in helping to produce the "Nats" as well as two FAI World Championships and many other events held throughout the years. Now that we know a little bit about NASA'let's take a look at this year last scale competition.

Scale Classic

So let me start out by explaining just how a NASA Scale event is judged. So there are a few different disciplines in the RC Fixed Wing Scale competitions. Here is a quick list of all of them:

  • RC Sportsman Sport Scale
  • RC Expert Sport Scale
  • RC Sportsman/Expert Combined
  • RC Designer Scale
  • RC Sport Scale Soaring
  • RC Fun Scale
  • RC Team Scale
  • RC Open Scale

For the Scale Classic event, we competed in Fun Scale- Open and Novice(open to anyone), Sportsman- Expert, Designer, Open, and Team (by invitation). Each entrant signed up in the class they were competing in and the brackets were set up from those lists. Being as this was Mean Joe's first competition, it was a little intimidating to see names like Barbee, Noll, Landis, Hahn, and Hyde on the lists. But with the encouragement of my friends, I signed up and it was on!

For the Sportsman and Expert classes, a "proof of scale" package must be presented to the judges that should include things like 3 view drawings, photos of the modeled planes, and possibly even a plastic model of the scale version of the planes being modeled. A full list of the regulations of what would be required can be found HERE

This is the class where all the big boys compete and Mean Joe is sure not ready for that yet!

The class that I competed in was Fun Scale Novice. For this class, all I needed to provide the judges was a picture of the full-scale version of the plane I would be competing with. Five points for Gryffindor! It was just that easy. There is no static judging done at this level, so no other documentation is needed. If its a model of a full-scale plane then you are good to go. There are people competing with all kinds of airframes in this class. It is designed to give folks a way to get into competing and learn the ropes before they head up into the more complicated classes.

How the flights are judged is based on the performance of ten maneuvers, five mandatory, and five optional. The list of mandatory maneuvers is as follows:

  • Takeoff
  • Figure Eight
  • Fly-Past
  • Landing
  • Realism

The optional maneuvers are just that, optional. all that is required is that you pick 5 from the list and fly them during your routine. There are a bunch of maneuvers available to pick so I won't list them all here but a few examples would be:

  • Taxi
  • Straight Out Flight
  • Procedure Turn
  • Straight Flight Back
  • Inside Loop
The rest of the approved maneuver list can be found in the Guide Book

Here is what I learned about the maneuver list during my first competition. First of all, HAVE FUN! Have an experienced pilot help you set up your list of maneuvers based on what your comfortable flying. In the Fun Scale Novice class, it's all about learning the ropes. You will have plenty of time down the road to be stressed out when you move up to the higher classes. (Or if your anything like Mean Joe you would stress out now too, but that's a different article.)

The second thing I learned about the maneuvers is, tell the judges what you are going to do in detail. What I mean is, if you like me and you are going to be flying a WWI airframe, then describe your maneuvers to them. As an example, I picked a loop as one of my options. A WWI biplane that's flying scale doesn't do a perfectly round loop, the loop is "egg-shaped". So tell them that, "Hey this loop is gonna be egg-shaped". Just make sure you talk them right though the maneuver so they know what your thinking.

The third and final thing I learned about the maneuvers is....wait for it.... HAVE FUN!! The Fun Scale Novice class has FUN in the title, so that is what they expect to see you doing. So what if instead of flying a figure 8 you go brain dead and fly a figure 6 instead (like Mean Joe), just make sure you have fun doing it. That's probably the most important thing about this whole scale competition thing. Come out hang out with your friends and have fun. The competition side will come with higher scores eventually. Just have fun and do it!

The Results

So after dodging the weather all weekend Mean Joe didn't really do too bad his first time out. I finished about the middle of the pack in my class and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I showed up on Friday morning with literally no idea what I was doing, and no plan for how I was planning on doing it. I was "voluntold" by a good friend, "BTW your competing with us this weekend." so I did. My scores started out in the 8 point range out of 10 for each maneuver, and after four rounds were solid in the 9 to 9.5 range (with the exception of a 7 for the "figure 6"). I can't really complain too much about that. (mostly cause the judges may read this). I learned a ton and had a blast! And to me, that's what model aviation is all about!

As for the rest of the field, here are your 2017 NASA Scale Classic Winners:

  • Fun Expert- Greg Hahn- Skyraider
  • Team Scale- Mike Barbee and Frank Noll- King Air
  • Open Scale Advanced- Adam Grubb- DC-3
  • Desinger Scale- John Borton
  • Fun Novice- Brady Ornate- Spitfire IX
  • Fun Special- Mike Barbee- P47
  • Expert Scale- Larry Folk- Top Cub

In Closing

In closing, if you have any desire to take your RC flying into the scale competition ring then get out there and do it! The people are awesome and the events are a ton of fun. I am totally hooked! So if you're out trying to find Mean Joe next year, check around at your areas scale competitions, I just may be there. For a complete list of the 2018 NASA Scale events make sure you keep an eye on their WEBSITE for more details. Happy Flying! ~Mean Joe

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Oct 25, 2017 at 10:31 AM..
Thread Tools
Oct 25, 2017, 04:31 PM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
Vapor Trails's Avatar
Thanks for the article!

I'm no crackstick pilot, but have always wanted to try my hand at a scale competition.
My cub can impress, though I was not the original builder.

I wonder if anyone has ever entered a PPG into a scale competition? I imagine they would do well in the realism category.
Oct 25, 2017, 04:39 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapor Trails
Thanks for the article!

I'm no crackstick pilot, but have always wanted to try my hand at a scale competition.
My cub can impress, though I was not the original builder.

I wonder if anyone has ever entered a PPG into a scale competition? I imagine they would do well in the realism category.
If you have given it any thought at all you should definitely go for it! I had so much fun! And guys are literally out there competing with foamies!
Latest blog entry: Building Season
Oct 25, 2017, 05:01 PM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
Vapor Trails's Avatar
I should cross it off the bucket list Thanks for the poke!

I'll keep my eye on that website you posted. No events are on the calendar yet for 2018, but I will keep checking it to see when it is updated for the new year.

Does Mac host any NASA events?
Oct 25, 2017, 05:04 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapor Trails
I should cross it off the bucket list Thanks for the poke!

I'll keep my eye on that website you posted. No events are on the calendar yet for 2018, but I will keep checking it to see when it is updated for the new year.

Does Mac host any NASA events?
As soon as the new schedule comes out I will make sure I post it here. Another option is to head over to their site now and join up! This will make sure you don't miss anything! To compete you will need to join anyway so may as well get er did. I joined up at the classic and it cost me $40 bucks for the whole year!
Latest blog entry: Building Season
Oct 26, 2017, 02:12 PM
Registered User
Tseres's Avatar
Great Job on the Article Joe. I may have to try fun scale next year.


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion 2017 West Coast Classic Event Calendar-updated 7/6/2017 Vertigo II Classic Pattern Flying 15 Sep 19, 2017 01:23 AM
Competition NASA Northeast Scale Qualifier wrench4alivin Fuel Power Events 3 Jul 16, 2017 08:28 PM
Discussion 2017 NASA Astronaut Class Zaurak3 Life, The Universe, and Politics 0 Jun 07, 2017 11:59 AM
Discussion NASA Scale Classic airborne Scale Kit/Scratch Built 5 Oct 22, 2014 02:36 PM
NASA Scale Classic Contest - October 3-5 Jason Cole RC Flight Events 0 Aug 13, 2014 11:57 AM