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Red Book Review–April

Posted by tl3
Posted on 4/9/2017

The End is nigh, or is it the Beginning?

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Now that Semisonic’s “Closing Time” is planted in your dome like a Dandelion seed, let’s talk a little but about beginnings and ends, of aerobatics figures, that is. It seems like a simple enough exercise to determine when one figure has ended and another has started, but for the Scale Aerobatics newcomer, the topic can be a little more complex than it first appears.

When discussing aerobatics judging intricacies the best place to start is the rulebook. Beginning and ending of figures is covered in the General Principles section, specifically rules 6.1 and 6.2. There are two specific concepts spelled out that apply to the topic at hand: All figures start and end with a “distinctly recognizable” horizontal line (6.1.d), and “a figure is complete the moment the aircraft returns to a wings-level horizontal flight path of one fuselage length” (6.2). There are a few exceptions to the latter, which I will address in detail another time. So, what does all this mean from a judges perspective? Well, let’s start at the beginning (I know, not very punny, oh, I did it again, sorry I can’t help myself) and examine it in a step by step fashion.

As already mentioned, all aerobatics figures begin and end in horizontal flight, and that includes the first figure of the sequence. However, maneuver one is a little different than all the others in that we do not judge the horizontal entry line. Judging begins the moment the aircraft departs the line and begins the actual geometric figure. That un-judged entry line to figure one is the last time until the aircraft completes the sequence that it is not being judged. Now that we’ve established when figure one begins, and when judging begins, we need to talk about how and when it ends. Since repetition aids in retention, “all figures begin and end with a distinctly recognizable horizontal line.” As such, figure one is complete when the aircraft exits the geometric figure by completing a radius to horizontal flight and establishes a clear line. “How long a line?” Well, I am so glad you asked that. A figure is complete once the aircraft flies a line of one fuselage length. [Insert dramatic pause here] Yes, your math is right. With the aircraft we fly, at the speeds we’re flying, that works out to quite literally the blink of an eye. The moment the aircraft completes the one fuselage length, it is now flying the required horizontal entry line to figure two. This is the key the point I want to drive home: There is no such thing as “between figures”! Judges, and pilots alike, must recognize and understand that the horizontal line leading into a figure is in reality a component of that figure and must be judged accordingly. If a pilot has exercised poor wind correction and flies said line at 30 degrees to the x-axis as a line correction, judges must appropriately deduct for that angular error. Similarly, if the aircraft climbs or loses altitude on the horizontal line judges must deduct for the angular change in altitude. Another common error is roll deviation. Any deviation from the wings level attitude must be appropriately downgraded. Each succeeding figure in the sequence is treated the same way.image Scoring of the sequence becomes complete once the final figure is flown and a horizontal exit line established. How long does the exit line need to be? (Just a quick test to see if you’re still paying attention).

The lesson, for pilots and judges alike, is: Do not overlook the horizontal lines, they all count. When you’re wearing your pilot’s hat, don’t forget that those long lines between figures aren’t freebies. A judge on the ball is watching and downgrading those lines with every bit the same attention that he or she is the paying geometric figures. When you’re wearing the judging hat, folks, you can’t pull out the WSJ and dose off just because your pilot is “between” figures, it all counts!

Quick Quiz: What mandatory action must take place prior to every sequence and makes the sequence an official attempt?

March Quick Quiz Answer:

Tail-slides, spins, hammerheads, and snap rolls are not required to be wind corrected during the portion of the maneuver in which the aircraft is stalled or partially stalled.

Upcoming Judging Schools by Region


Online Judging School - in progress.   Contact: Brad Davey


May 13, 2017: Regional Judging School - South, Parkton, MD. Contact: Brad Davey

North Central:

April 22, 2017: Ottawa-Gatineau Judging School - Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Contact: Dave Rees

April 22, 2017: North Central Region IMAC Judging School - Muncie, IN. Contact: Mike Karnes

From The Archives

There are some parallels between the criteria for an 8 pt. roll (family 9) and an 8 sided loop (family 7).  Aside from the obvious fact that they are from different Aresti families, and that family 9 elements are complimentary figures, there are some fundamental differences between the criteria for these figures.  What is / are the differences?
The first correct answer I receive taped to a NIB DA 200L or a carton of NXB8921 servos will earn a batch of Primo's wife's fresh guacamole, and the undying respect of your fellow akro-nerd peers.


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