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Mar 19, 2021, 07:42 PM
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Thread OP

Why so little love for IMAC?

I'm new/old to the forum and hobby in general. I have 23 years of experience in the hobby, but am fresh off a 20-year break

So I own 48" EF Edge and a 60" EF Laser and decided I want to give IMAC a try this year. I know my Laser will probably be the smallest plane there but that's OK, I'm just going to learn. I went ahead and entered Sportsman because I don't want to be the 1 person in Basic and the maneuvers are more challenging.

I am surprised, however, at how unpopular IMAC seems to be. I signed up for one contest near me and there are like 11 people registered, and it seems to be the same small group of guys who always do it all over the Northeast where I live. There is no dedicated IMAC forum topic here, yet the pattern forum is very active, and the forums over at Flyinggiants and the IMAC official website are pretty much dead. Same goes for the IMAC FB groups. Seems like pattern is a much more active community, at least in terms of finding info online. Most people at my local club have never even heard of IMAC, but everyone seems to have heard of pattern.

I am wondering why that is. It does seem like just about everyone in IMAC is flying a $3000+ plane, which is kind of a big barrier to entry. Pattern has a size limit, which is some way keeps it from becoming an arm's race of who buys the biggest plane. But I just think the scale aerobatic planes are sooooo much sexier. Pattern planes just look so cartoonish to me, even though they fly beautifully.

I am wondering if IMAC is considering creating rules about size - not limiting size, but maybe creating size classes by wingspan or something? IE have a 60" and under class, a 61"-85", an 86-105", and a 106"+ class or something? Kind of like weight classes in boxing.

If I am wrong and IMAC is indeed vibrant and thriving and I am just looking in the wrong place, please disregard. I just wanted to get a discussion started.
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Mar 19, 2021, 10:12 PM
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gobigdave's Avatar
Hi! Iím the RD for IMAC NE. Most events in the NE end up with 12-14 flyers. Numbers may be down a bit, but itís great bunch of flyers, always extremely helpful.

The dedicated IMAC topics are over on, and there is a fb group IMAC - Northeast Region.

I havenít heard much discussion about size classes for IMAC. Yes, a 40% plane may be an advantage because it presents better and is easier in the wind, but plenty do very well with smaller planes. I ended up flying a 74Ē Laser at last yearís regional finals, and my scores werenít that much different than with my larger plane (very little wind certainly helped).

I wouldnít say that pattern planes are much cheaper because there is a size limit. Many pattern kits are more than a 120cc ARF. In both pattern and IMAC, the way to get better scores is not the best plane. The best scores come with stick time.

Reach out to me anytime. Happy to answer any questions.

Mar 19, 2021, 10:32 PM
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koppterX's Avatar
IMAC has been having the same discussions on and off for the last thirty years. There is zero evidence that placing arbitrary limits will have any positive impact on attendance.
Last edited by koppterX; Mar 20, 2021 at 12:03 AM.
Mar 20, 2021, 06:06 AM
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Thread OP
Thanks guys - yeah, I am just surprised that, given the massive popularity of scale aerobatic planes, that there is not more interest in IMAC.
Mar 20, 2021, 02:18 PM
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koppterX's Avatar
the surge occurred about twenty some years ago when scale aerobatic planes were the new hit and we started seeing gs ARFs. The numbers have declined since. Unfortunately, the current mfrs have no interest in supporting IMAC but are instead focused on 3D and XFS.
Also, IMAC lost some of its more visible and influential designers and competitors with the loss of the TOC and changes at Horizon. Our last local contest was in the mid twenties and although all classes were represented, it was a far cry from the 40 plus competitions we had years ago with strong sponsorship support.

IMAC has never had a national strategy and has been saddled with weak leadership for as long as I can remember. Moreover, many of the current pilots like it the way it is - they don't want to wait in long flight lines or have to judge more than a few contestants. Anyway, the current problems are way beyond simply creating a size or wingspan limit.
Mar 20, 2021, 02:28 PM
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Thread OP
Interesting you say the surge was 20 years ago - that was when I first flew as a kid in the late 90s-early 2000s (then I walked away from it until this past year). I remember IMAC seemed like a really big thing back then. I never flew it because my Hobbico Avistar and Starfire wouldn't have exactly qualified, but I still remember dreaming of getting a giant IMAC plane someday.

It's also interesting you mentioned the manufacturers not supporting it. I must say I was surprised this past summer when I got back into it and saw that there was this awesome "new" company called Extreme Flight that makes tons and tons of high-quality scale aerobatic ARFs (not something that was widely available back in the bad old days), yet they and most of their customers do not seem terribly interested in IMAC. Of course I don't think EF is a "new" company, but they weren't around when I was a kid, so they were new to me when I learned of them recently.

Anyways, just my Rip Van Winkle observations
Mar 20, 2021, 04:26 PM
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koppterX's Avatar
actually in the basic class you can literally fly anything...there is no scale requirement, only in the upper classes.

EF airplanes are perfectly suited for IMAC, but that's not where they are marketed as its just too small of a market. And....the current crop of upper class IMAC pilots sort of look down on ARFs. IMAC really doesn't do much to attract new blood, despite as you said, the vast number of people flying IMAC capable airplanes and that brings us to the current low attendance numbers.
Mar 21, 2021, 09:06 AM
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exf3bguy's Avatar
Pattern has the same issues except that there are fewer pattern airplane manufacturers. I also see a drop in attendance at sailplane contests. IMO it boils down to is guys simply don't want to compete. Heck just finding someone who has taken the time to properly set up and trim out their airplane is a rare occurrence. I do agree that there are many IMAC capable airplanes out there but being geared more towards 3D they are far from optimal. Typically the control surfaces are too large, they are short coupled and the designs lack the refinement required to eliminate control cross coupling. I was recently given an Aeroworks 35% Edge ARC kit. Luckily the elevators and ailerons hadn't been cut out yet. This allowed me to cut them at a more IMAC appropriate size. I have also raised the turtle deck 1" and moved the tail surfaces back 2". The last big mod was to remove 3" from each wing st the root. Should prove to be a great IMAC airplane that I can fly in our local contest each August.
Jul 29, 2021, 01:12 AM
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I have to put my 2 cents in on this topic. From my location, Elizabeth City NC, IMAC has the most going on for event contests in all of the R/C world! I am a scale guy at heart and have been competing in R/C scale since the 70's. From where I live it is 800 miles down to Top Gun in Lakeland Fla, or I can drive 727 miles to Muncie for the NAT's. There are a couple of scale contests up in Ohio that are a bit closer than Muncie but thats it for "close" scale contests!
I have 5 IMAC contests that are all under 300 miles from me, Mocksville NC, and four other very nice well attended events.
At least here in the Mid Atlantic area IMAC is alive and well, Just my 2 cents worth
I am finishing up a new scale/IMAC model and still flying my modified PAU Edge 540T in IMAC, yea I like the Red Bull scheme!
Larry B
Last edited by balsaglass; Jul 29, 2021 at 01:21 AM.
Sep 16, 2021, 08:24 PM
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Maybe it’s the leadership or lack there of…. They have no vision and are completely inept when it comes to changing with the times…
Sep 24, 2021, 09:28 PM
Dave Yost's Avatar
The airplanes are too big. They are expensive and you need a trailer to haul them. I have always wondered why they don't have a restricted 60" e-class. I showed up at an IMAC contest ten years ago with a 48" e powered Extra.......when the wind came up, I could not finish the round as my battery pack did not have enough capacity LOL. Great people, had a good time, did not finish last (somehow). But I had the only airplane there under 31%, and most were 35 or 40.

Even a 29% requires removing the rudder to put it in a 6' pickup bed.

Neat airplanes, great people, had a blast. But stuck with Pylon and Gliders because I can haul them in the car, and mo gas smells.

Sep 26, 2021, 03:29 PM
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koppterX's Avatar
IMAC has discussed limiting classes for decades. whether it's x inches of wingspan in basic, or engine displacement, or electric, they all fail for a lack of interest. there is nothing stopping anyone from hosting a so called imac event and designating class limitation such as electric only. you could even rewrite sequences to shorten up the time aloft.

i have a ford f 150 with a 6 ft bed. with the tailgate down I can haul 35% and 40% planes, no trailer required.
Oct 15, 2021, 11:45 AM
Registered User
Interesting discussion.

I have been involved in similar debates during the last +30 years in both RC-gliding and general aeromodelling competition classes. From my point of wiev it is almost always the same hardcore group year after year. With the added newcomer og newcomer group. Sometimes the group grows. Sometimes it declines.

From my observation the single most important thing to either keep pilots or gain interest is ....


Have fun, be helpfull, take intererest in persons, laugh, be more than competitors, have a ball, pad friends back, havea cup of cofee, etc.

Erik Dahl Christensen

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