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Offline A.J. Jaffe  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:07:35 AM(UTC)
A.J. Jaffe

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I don't like the term apologist, but I would like to think that I have been a pretty staunch supporter of IMAC since I got into it 5ish years ago.

This past weekend I attended my first pattern contest, using a borrowed 3d plane, competing in advanced. I literally flew the sequence (and the plane) twice the morning of the contest. Below are my thoughts as they relate to IMAC. Hopefully this doesn't devolve into a pooshow.

  • To start with something that's probably a known thing, but this being my first actual hands on experience with it, Peter Vogel's scoring system is freaking amazing, and frankly I have very little desire to use the traditional paper system with or without a scribe (which could be another topic in and of itself) Having the maneuver's directly in your ear was great, there was truly never a reason to take your eyes off the airplane.

    1A. I was lucky enough to meet Peter as he was competing at the contest and was able to discuss some things with him. I know cost has been the big issue for IMAC, but as I understand, he actually takes a loss on the systems, and there are ways to decrease the cost, i.e donations of monitors and printers. He also mentioned that not all regions have multiple systems, it depends on the geographical size and population of the region, which makes sense.

    1B. the live scoring is phenomenal, and the reality it takes a significant burden off of the scorekeeper and runner, not to mention that scribes aren't needed and every contest I've ever been to has issues finding enough scribes. It also provides the contestant with near instantaneous printouts of their score, which for overly competitive folks like me is ideal.

    1C. Dealing with unknowns wouldn't be an issue as you would literally type in what you want the system to say, which can be done fairly quickly once the unknowns are distributed I think

  • In the non FAI class, the maneuvers are much simpler, and the scores reflect that, it's kind of easy to see why they are precision aerobatics and we're scale aerobatics. With simpler maneuvers the focus is truly on doing them perfectly as opposed to just getting through them.

  • Take offs and landings are scored, which I love. Quite frankly watching some people try to take off and land their giant scale planes in even the middle classes is a damned terrifying experience. I think if they were scored in IMAC then people would actually practice them. To fight off the easy argument, crashing is as/more expensive with the composite pattern planes as with giant scale, and frankly if you can't takeoff and land safely chances are that your control of the aircraft is not all there, even during the sequence. The highest class FAI or unlimited in our world don't have takeoffs and landings scored which i think is fine. "But A.J.! takeoff and landing aren't judged in IAC!" Sure but in getting their pilots licence they have proved they can takeoff and land, IMAC pilots have not, and we do figures with elements on them that would be impossible in IAC, so while we are based on IAC we aren't... The downside is that the next pilot has to wait to take off, no holding pattern etc. which leads to my next point.

  • Which is better? 1 19 maneuver sequence including takeoff and landing or 2 10's? For electrics that's probably a pretty obvious answer but for gas probably less so. At this particular contest there were 30ish people, doing the AMA classes, plus classic pattern and edf sequence (classic and edf flew 2 rounds at the beginning of each day and added about an hour and a half to each day) The AMA classes flew 6 rounds or 114 figures each including the scored takeoff and landing. A typical contest in the southwest is 3 double sequence knowns plus an unknown or 70 scored figures each pilot. a smaller contest would fly more rounds, but I imagine the same would be the case in pattern. There has been some discussion in IMAC about a single 15ish maneuver sequence and I think that there is merit to that.

  • The box/centering. At this contest the judges were instructed to ignore the box for intermediate and below, which I thought was kind of cool. I think a 60 degree box is too small for IMAC but a 75 degree box may have some merit. Box argument aside I think the emphasis on centering is great. It forces the pilot to pre-plan maneuvers a little better, and respect the wind etc. or take a deduction. Having a box or at least an emphasis on centering would eliminate the need for the incredibly subjective and often curiously judged airspace control score.

  • Some things that I like better about IMAC, I was put under the impression that wind related bobbles were a deduction in pattern where they are not in IMAC. IMAC wins on that for sure, as I think deducting for something out of the pilots control is big dumb. Our planes look a hell of a lot better in my opinion. I am still pro-unknowns, and not having them was noticeable, although I did like having the ability to fly on Saturday and not having to worry about learning them.

    Obviously I will still be flying IMAC BUT i will say I'm definitely going to start flying some pattern as well, in addition to making me I think a better IMAC pilot, there are for sure some things that I feel pattern currently does better. Apologies for the extremely long post and if you've made it this far thanks! If I think of more things i'll add them to this thread in a fresh post. Hopefully this stays professional and mature, and leads to productive dialogue.

    Respectfully,

    A.J. Jaffe IMAC #7430

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    Offline tl3  
    #2 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:14:03 AM(UTC)
    tl3

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    I'll comment on a couple of these points.
    - scoring system: I'm certainly not against an e-scoring format, nor is anyone, I think. Cost is a significant factor, but as much so is the investment in Score and how interconnected it is to many other operations. Adopting an e system that's not compatible with Score (I don't know that it is or isn't, but I suspect not) is a major obstacle.
    - box: We've been there, done it, and there's a very valid reason why it was done away with. However, stay tuned for some airspace re-conceptualization ideas in the near future.
    - number of figures: Just personal opinion here, I like the 10 figure sequence as the standard. It allows you to fly more scored rounds in front of more judge combinations per day. From a time standpoint, if we went to a 17 - 19 figure sequence you'll very likely lose 2 - 3 known flights per contest.
    t
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    Offline Doug Pilcher  
    #3 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:25:01 AM(UTC)
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    What Ty said.

    And to make clear, as I have investigated this quite a bit, Peter's system is NOT compatible with "Score!" currently. So the results would indeed need to be manually entered into Score! regardless by hand. If this obstacle could be achieved, then you move onto the part of cost. While Pattern does not necessarily need as many units per "region" is more because of the amount of contests conducted. IMAC's regions have significantly more contests and moving within regions and some times to opposite ends quite frequent. So the need for multiple systems per region would be a must, short of shipping the units, I do not see how we move them around effectively. AGAIN, assuming the incorporation of Score! can be achieved.
    Doug Pilcher
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    Offline A.J. Jaffe  
    #4 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:04:17 AM(UTC)
    A.J. Jaffe

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    Originally Posted by: tl3 Go to Quoted Post
    I'll comment on a couple of these points.
    - scoring system: I'm certainly not against an e-scoring format, nor is anyone, I think. Cost is a significant factor, but as much so is the investment in Score and how interconnected it is to many other operations. Adopting an e system that's not compatible with Score (I don't know that it is or isn't, but I suspect not) is a major obstacle.
    - box: We've been there, done it, and there's a very valid reason why it was done away with. However, stay tuned for some airspace re-conceptualization ideas in the near future.
    - number of figures: Just personal opinion here, I like the 10 figure sequence as the standard. It allows you to fly more scored rounds in front of more judge combinations per day. From a time standpoint, if we went to a 17 - 19 figure sequence you'll very likely lose 2 - 3 known flights per contest.
    t

    I'm just quoting Ty's post, as Doug's is very similar, and there are particular bits I want to talk about in Ty's.

    -Obviously I'm not particularly in the know in terms of what is connected or not by Score!, but from the laymans view, i'm not sure I see the fixation on what score! does other than regional points, which NSCRA has their own variation of regional points, so rather that trying to integrate Vogel into Score! perhaps there's a way to accomplish all of the same things that Score! does without Score!. Again i'm only seeing the top level stuff, so take this all as you will.

    -Frankly i'm not as sold on the box as I am on an emphasis of centering.

    -Your point about more flights in front of more judges I disagree with vehemently. As i mentioned in my post (and using SW region contests as the basis) with our typical contests we fly 3 double sequence rounds plus a single sequence unknown. Because the rounds are double sequence you are flying in front of 4 pairs of judges, even if you lost 2 rounds, which I don't think you would, I think at most you would lose one, particularly if we retain a 10 sequence unknown, which I think we should, than you are flying in front of the same amount of judges, but with more scored figures as I pointed out in my post.

    I would say that a typical double sequence round takes an average of 11 minutes (more for unlimited less for the lower classes obviously) that's 20 figures for an average of 33 seconds per figure. Dropping to 15 plus take off and landing would reduce time by at least a minute and half per pilot. Mandating a maximum number of trim passes (a slight tangent but a relevant one Y think; I didn't see a single pilot take an extra at the pattern contest, and if I needed to trim, I trimmed after takeoff and on the downwind, with our planes and servos etc. there is no reason to take an extra trim pass, take off turn twice and enter the box) An easy way to shorten the sequences more was alluded to in my post as well, and that's to make the figures simpler and force pilots to fly them better, Pattern guys are averaging under 8 minutes for their 19 figures including takeoff and landing. BUT assuming you save only a minute and a half per pilot per round, and assuming 30 pilots, that's 135 minutes over the 3 known rounds. I don't think it would be a stretch to have 3 17 figure sequences (including takeoff and landing) flights on day one, and a known (17 figure) and an unknown (10 or 12 figure) on day two. This gives you 78-80 judged figures in front of 5 panels, as opposed to 50 in front of 4.

    A.J.

    Edited by user Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:19:53 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

    Offline Adi Kochav  
    #5 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 12:15:06 PM(UTC)
    Adi Kochav

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    Hi all

    Just as a side note, we have an electronic scoring system that works with Score! Program, it’s the Nuotomatic.
    In Italy they do all their contest with it for two years now, it’s still on a beta test trial system but it works.

    As for how much expensive our planes we are all flying, it’s a matter of perspective.

    Number of figures/maneuvers, the pattern F3A planes fly their sequence ver fast, no pause between elements, bouncing them and making the entire sequence squeezed because of the Box method.
    So my answer basically gives an answer for both Box and number of maneuvers, flying big planes like we do, and with the rules and criteria we fly IMAC,
    A. Will make the 17 maneuvers sequence very long.
    (Our sequence is now with 12, ASC and sound are part of it)
    B. Will force us to fly these IMAC birds not the way the IMAC criteria allow us to fly, the box will force us to fly very different especially with 40% planes, judges will lose their patience.
    C. Take off and landings, although will force us to fly them properly, with the current 2 lines and starting and taking off on the 7th maneuver while the other pilot is still flying so we will be able to fly more, I can’t see it happening.

    Just my opinion.
    Cheers
    Offline Matt Komar  
    #6 Posted : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:38:55 PM(UTC)
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    I might as well pile on BigGrin

    Everything that AJ is bringing up would obviously only work if we (IMAC) is willing to change, and change will only come if its truly the right move for our SIG. I feel there is a lot of merit to his points and hopefully they can be looked at with open eyes to see if there is a positive way that we could incorporate them to better IMAC.

    - Electronic Scoring - I know various people are currently working on finding a way to integrate this into IMAC and I hope they find a simple and economic solution that will allow us to benefit from it like the NSRCA has.

    - Sequence difficulty - I don't fly unlimited so no comment, but I can appreciate the idea.

    - Score take offs and landing - ABSOLUTELY, for every reason AJ listed. I've never been a fan of the holding pattern.

    - More maneuvers per Known (single sequence rounds) - Yup, all about it. I feel it would add multiple levels of benefits to our sport. It would be more inclusive to electric pilots in every class. You should see more of the available class maneuvers in the aresti catalog. You could tame the current sequences down a bit (see above point), by not cramming an 8 point roll into an immelmann but make one maneuver an 8 point roll and then the next an immelmann. It would put you in front of more judging combos, not less. IMO, it would make it feel like you are flying more per contest. It could be tiered as they do in pattern, with the Basic Known having the least amount of maneuvers (say 10 plus judged take offs and landing) and Unlimited having the most (say 17) with other classes mixed between. Keep the unknown to 10 maneuvers.

    - Centering/Box - Centering, YES! Box, not sure, I would have to try it first hand. I have had a big problem with the subjective scores (ACS and Sound) that we see on every score sheet. If there is anyway possible to remove them with a more structured process, I'm all on board.

    - IMAC benefits - Agree here as well. I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

    As AJ has asked, I hope this can continue down a path of discussion and not something negative. Our current leadership has shown that they are willing to work for the benefit of our entire group, shown by their efforts with the Novice class and Annual Meeting. I hope that some of these points are held high enough for some serious discussion or modification to continue making IMAC a stronger SIG.

    #IAmIMAC

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    Offline Adi Kochav  
    #7 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 8:21:20 AM(UTC)
    Adi Kochav

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    No fuel to the fire here just common sense...

    Hi Matt

    I haven’t thought about it but If we will make the maneuvers we fly today less complex like you’ve mentioned, an 8 point roll will be 8 point roll and then the Immelmann or something else, so basically what we need to do is disassemble the maneuvers we have today and that what will give us a less complex maneuvers with high number of maneuvers, isn’t it ?

    As for the unknown, I do think there is a common sense in what Matt and AJ wrote about making the maneuvers less complex and stretched, the reason why I think it is, is that when we fly Unknowns, even as experience pilots /judges we are, the complexity of the maneuvers doesn’t always allow us to judge the maneuvers in a proper way, being said, although we have a caller on the judges line for the unknown we need to be so concentrated understanding the maneuvers and then implement the judging criteria on them eventually, the fast the maneuvers are being flown doesn’t help us more, causes our judging to be more evaluated score than deductive one, statistically, I see the unknown scores higher than the known scores, and you can’t compare the two with the flying hours the pilot gained before the contests, the known should be a much higher scored sequence.
    What we can do, make the Known with more stretched less complex maneuvers, 13-15 and the unknown we can keep with 10 but with less complex maneuvers as well.
    If we always judge the maneuvers to perfection, it will be much easier for us.
    Again, it’s only because of the human factor judging the sequence.
    ( I know Judging is a hard task, but why not maybe make it easier if we can)
    Centering, I do think we should center at list some maneuvers, I can only guess that the reason full scale are not centering their maneuvers is that because they can’t from up there in the sky.
    Also the pilot is moving while the judges are static.
    Also the G forces doesn’t always let them do that.
    With RC planes we don’t have that problem, no G forces on the pilot, both pilot and judges are static, although we do want to copy the way full scale planes fly.

    Again, just thinking out load here.
    Not saying that what we do today is not good, just thinking we can approach it different.

    Cheers


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    Offline Matt Komar  
    #8 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:47:41 AM(UTC)
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    Good insight Adi, definitely some good take aways.

    I know we (IMAC) will always strive to be a replica of full scale aerobatics competitions and I will always appreciate that, but I think that we should keep an open mind to making exceptions to the rule if it's in the benefit of our group as a whole. As long as we keep in the spirit of IAC, we will retain everything that we have built so far.
    Offline A.J. Jaffe  
    #9 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 1:27:12 PM(UTC)
    A.J. Jaffe

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    Adi,
    YES! That is exactly what I mean, it focuses on perfection, agreeing of course that judging is not perfect.

    One other Pattern specific thing that I can't believe I forgot to mention:

    In pattern, figures are not directional, as long as you exit correctly, and I LOVE that. For example, if you have a crossbox humpty, you can choose to push or pull the top. I also like that they have figures with options, in other words you can do a humpty with (2 )1/4 rolls in order to change your line, or with (1) 1/2 roll to keep the same line.

    A.J.
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    Offline Earle Andrews  
    #10 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:32:15 PM(UTC)
    Earle Andrews

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    Originally Posted by: Adi Kochav Go to Quoted Post

    <SNIP>
    Centering, I do think we should center at list some maneuvers, I can only guess that the reason full scale are not centering their maneuvers is that because they can’t from up there in the sky.
    Also the pilot is moving while the judges are static.
    Also the G forces doesn’t always let them do that.
    With RC planes we don’t have that problem, no G forces on the pilot, both pilot and judges are static, although we do want to copy the way full scale planes fly.
    Again, just thinking out load here.
    Not saying that what we do today is not good, just thinking we can approach it different.
    Cheers

    Hi Adi....I agree that we can and should use a centering criteria, which would also require sequences to be developed that have clearly defined center-box maneuvers.
    As far a full scale goes....centering is usually a no-brainer for the pilot, as a center-box maneuver always follows an end-box maneuver with another end-box following it. With a well-defined (and almost always very well-marked) box, the pilot doesn't have much time to relax between the ends if there is a center maneuver. 1000 meters goes by quickly at 180 mph (or more!) . G forces really don't play much of a part in centering.

    As for complexity....yes IMAC unlimited sequences are very complex, although in many cases not much more than many full scale knowns or unknowns. As an example this is one of the Unknowns from the IAC 2018 US Nats. Figures 1, 3, 5,and 8 range from 45 to 68 K and would be challenging for IMAC as well.

    BTW - for the pilots flying this sequence, Figures 5 and 7, with down pull-humptys following neg G entries or elements are sometimes difficult and often referred to as sleepers for a reason. IAC 2018 Unknown.jpg (203kb) downloaded 8 time(s).

    Cheers,
    Earle




    Offline Adi Kochav  
    #11 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:53:21 PM(UTC)
    Adi Kochav

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    Hi Earl

    Thank you for your reply.
    What I see in that Unlimited sequence is exactly what some of the things this thread is mentioning.
    13-15 non complex maneuvers that are stretched and are being performed in a very smooth and open way.
    Simple to perform simple to judge.

    So we have 4-6 high K factor maneuvers and in between relativity low K factor maneuvers.
    Are the less K factor maneuvers in between the high K factor are to give the pilot and the judges more time to prepare mentally and physically for the more complex ones ?
    Offline Earle Andrews  
    #12 Posted : Thursday, April 18, 2019 4:37:15 PM(UTC)
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    I would say that the 4 more complex ones are just as hard to judge as any others I've seen in IMAC unlimited. Can't answer your question about the last few being easier.....although for the pilot it certainly provides a bit of breathing room. BigGrin

    As far as I'm concerned judges SHOULD be able to judge all of them according to the criteria, regardless of how many are in the sequence.....or they should NOT be in the chair.

    As we all know ANY sport/endeavor that is subject to human judging will always be subject to ridicule/bias/fairness/griping, etc. Full scale certainly has it and they have a much more rigorous judge's training and apprenticeship than IMAC.....but there's MUCH more on the line and they don't get to fly anywhere near the amount of sequences we do. Also, no drops. They do utilize statistical programs in the scoring that helps to minimize bias.
    Offline Chuck Edwards  
    #13 Posted : Friday, April 19, 2019 5:01:36 PM(UTC)
    Chuck Edwards

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    AJ,

    Congratulations on experiencing the dark side of precision aerobatics! I really enjoy when my fellow IMAC brothers comment on how IMAC could benefit from other disciplines. As you all know I have beat this dead horse to death in the past and have no desire to do it again, however... If IMAC is to survive it needs to evolve and somewhat detach from IAC in some respects. Until those that make the decisions here elect to do this we will not move forward. Implementing the “BOX” will drive the sequence committee to re-evaluate how our sequences will look moving forward. Making the sequences less complex will force pilots to actually focus on geometry of the figures, this in my opinion is the single biggest difference between Pattern and IMAC. The fact that the BOD had no issues spending 14k for a judging school but squawks over the cost of a scoring system is diabolical! I know it needs to be compatible with score, maybe this could be researched with Mr. Vogal. To stay relevant we must evolve!
    Charles Edwards
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    I’m just here for the party!
    Offline Mooney 78865  
    #14 Posted : Sunday, May 26, 2019 9:17:15 PM(UTC)
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    First off, being a new IMAC member and having not competed as of yet, I would like to say what I have read in the thread sounds eerily familiar.
    I am one of the pilots AJ flew against in F3A at Bear Mountain. I returned to Pattern flying last year after a 25 year hiatus. I fly Advanced this year after winning the District 7 championship in Intermediate last year.
    I am going to be trying IMAC next month at Walnut Grove, starting in Intermediate (I think).and flying a Pilot RC 35% Extra 330. There are a number of folks who fly "IMAC" size planes where I fly, but only a couple ever competed when I met them last year. Now there are 6 who have at least one contest under their belt. As far as I know I'm the only Pattern flier who competes, in a 100 mile radius.
    Pattern, as well as IMAC, (at least what I read) are struggling for attendance, new pilots and a host of other issues. I for one struggle with the combining of "classic pattern", EDF jets and F3A all flying the same contest. Maybe it will draw more attendance, maybe not. Time will tell. But right now, there are 14 rounds squeezed in to a two day event. The same pilots fly, just some fly 14 rounds.
    F3A is where my heart was at the beginning of the season. I'm not so sure it's there now. I'm hoping that IMAC will provide the competition experience I returned to RC aviation for.
    But I digress, It was great to meet AJ and a few other IMAC pilots at Bear Mountain last month. Without trying, and not even knowing it, it convinced me to try IMAC.
    At the end of the day, I figure it's basically the same, only different!
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