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Offline Doug Pilcher  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 7:08:53 AM(UTC)
Doug Pilcher

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Ok, back in our 2019 NATS Signup forum we have had a post recently by Chuck Edwards and it should indeed be moved as he suggested as we archive the NATS threads as the next NATS planning begins. So we will "sticky it" here as I agree with him 100%. This is NOT a new discussion. Many members, including myself have discussed this for a few years and at length. Two guys individually and myself had some email discussions. Wayne Mathews and Clark Hymas and I as well as a some long time NATS attendees. (Hope they do not mind me mentioning them by name). We had ideas of a rotating NATS, Eastern, Central and Western Venue. Not a new idea but some of the other things besides the geographical placement that have to be factored in before this works. I had an idea (and still do but with issues to say the least) of a concurrent East / Central / West NATS. Many obvious obstacles there but an idea just the same.

There were also a couple lengthy discussions again in Arizona at IJS with a few groups about just this.
Rumor dispelled there. Myself and Mike were approached at IJS directly, and with great frustration, by a member. He had been told that "The BOD will not ALLOW NATS to be moved". THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH, nor has that comment ever been made by myself or Mike or any of the other BOD members I have worked with since 2014 to my knowledge.

1) "The BOD does not insist this event remain on AMA grounds". This is an AMA event however.

2) The event has remained there for lack of any plan or volunteers that have brought forth to change the venue.

3) AMA begins their NATS planning around September of each year for the following years calendar. Thus for a move to take place, and to be fair to AMA, we must have a solid plan in place and to the BOD by no later than August of current year. So, for 2019 NATS, as we had nothing presented by August of 2018, then the event was planned and scheduled again for Muncie.

4) IF and WITH a solid plan (if moving NATS is the majority consensus) then for 2020, a solid plan would be needed by August of 2019 for the 2020 NATS. If that plan is approved by the BOD, there are NATS funds allocated to the event from the yearly budget to help offset costs of the event.

5) I and others on the BOD and some members I have discussed with individually believe the (on or around) July 4th holiday hurts us with possible lack of attendance that have family obligations for that time frame. AGREED!

6) So for this to happen successfully then a "TEAM" needs to be put together to begin a planning process and procurement of a venue and needed amenities.

As I am currently loading my RV and headed to Muncie today in fact and out of time to continue for now, I will stop here. Below I have copied Chuck E's comment below. But a "Pin Holder" of his point and many's input over the years that I have been directly involved with NATS.

By Chuck Edwards

"The question remains. What needs to happen and or change to spark life back into this event?

Doug,
Feel free to start a new discussion thread for this if that would be better suited. This is not me being negative, but as a group we need to figure this out before next year or there won't be another NATS for IMAC."



PS: Chuck, I indeed DO NOT read this as a Negative Comment in the least! A needed discussion for sure.
Doug Pilcher
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thanks 8 users thanked Doug Pilcher for this useful post.
Adi Kochav on 7/3/2019(UTC), Earle Andrews on 7/3/2019(UTC), r_adical on 7/3/2019(UTC), Toby W. Silhavy on 7/4/2019(UTC), Chuck Edwards on 7/4/2019(UTC), Dangerous Dan on 7/4/2019(UTC), Mark Thurman on 7/4/2019(UTC), Orthobird on 7/6/2019(UTC)
Offline Mitch Johnson  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 5:00:41 PM(UTC)
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I would agree as well in the possible lack of attendance because of how close it is to July 4th. In the past few recent years it has been before July 4th which I did like better. Maybe at least a week before or after the 4th would be better...
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Toby W. Silhavy on 7/4/2019(UTC), Orthobird on 7/6/2019(UTC)
Offline Steve Stanton  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 5:14:17 PM(UTC)
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I know there has been much discussion about moving the Nat's to various locations in order to make it more accessible to those in other areas.
I'm sure this would be effective in making more available to those in the different locals but I
think this would just be a trade off and I don't see how it would improve overall attendance.
You would gain some but just as well loose some.
Based on my own experience at both competing and judging at the Nat's over a number of years.
There are three categories that relate to the attendance.
1. Things and reasons why people would want go. These are things that would compel people to go in spite of things like location, time of year, etc.
2. Things that people don't like about the Nat's (I don't mean things like the distance to travel or the time of year). I'm talking about specific things that are a part of the Nat's that some people don't like. These may be things that override the desire on the part of some who would like to go and otherwise would go.
3. Simple numbers. I can't speak for other regions but in the NE Region, we just don't have to
number of people showing up at our events that we've had in the past. So the potential for attendance at the Nat's has to be directly proportionate to number of active competitors that you have to draw from.
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Offline Tim Hughes  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 7:52:28 PM(UTC)
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Looking at it from as many different perspectives is very important for this discussion. There is rarely one singular cause of the way things turn out.
I also have to wonder how much of an impact last year had on this years attendance. Consider the number of people who were involved in 2018 NATS and Worlds within just a few months of each other. That is a lot to get done in the same year. I have to think it has some impact on this year.
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Offline Chuck Edwards  
#5 Posted : Thursday, July 4, 2019 6:41:44 AM(UTC)
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Doug,

First off, thank you for starting this discussion and I promise I will not drag it into the gutter! LOL I am only a member for the next 20ish days so this should not be a problem...

All of you have some good input so far on this topic. There are many things that keep people away from the IMAC NATS as stated above. Moving the location around the U.S is a great idea that I support, I just don't know if we will see the desired result. We have done this with Pattern and the results that we have seen are that more people from the closest regions show up, and less from the opposite side of the country. Overall the numbers where about the same. This year they are holding the Pattern NATS in Blythville AR again and are struggling to get the numbers seen in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if they put an end to the rotating schedule. The other thing that needs to be considered is manpower and cost, you might as well start by doubling both.

So what if we change when we have our IMAC National Championships? If nothing is holding us to be apart of it at the AMA site, what if we hold it later in the summer, say end of August? This would allow us to have it before school starts back up for those younger guys that we so desperately need! We could still have it at the AMA site if we chose to right? Maybe it could be an invitational event based on points, say the top 21 pilots in each class. That would be 3 people from each region to include international as well. This is me just spitballing here...
Charles Edwards
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Offline Kevin Garland  
#6 Posted : Friday, July 5, 2019 11:15:56 PM(UTC)
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Hey Alex Dreiling ;)
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Kevin Garland
Offline Daren Hudson  
#7 Posted : Saturday, July 6, 2019 4:42:34 AM(UTC)
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This is a needed and productive discussion so far. Thanks to Chuck, Doug and others for keeping it active.

I offer another perspective that should also be considered. It follows on Chuck’s attention to the competitors with younger families and commitments. I’m fairly new to IMAC (7 years) and have been concentrating on the NE regional contests and entry level promotion and marketing. I’m a member of one of the demographics that keep attendance down at contests requiring travel, like Regional Finals, NATS and Worlds. I travel the world for my day job, as does my wife. We have a 13 yr old daughter in many activities. I’m the only one flying models (my daughter has only dabbled in it). So, time at home and with family takes priority over models- maintenance, repairs, building, flying, practice, involvement in several disciplines, running contests, etc. not unlike many IMAC members and our potential members. Additionally, as an AMA AVP and very interested and involved in outreach programs and events, time to travel to IMAC contests is difficult to find at best.

My dilemma is loving aerobatics (as a former instructor) and the IMAC competition but not being able to be fully immersed in it. Helping others benefit and experience it and competing is a passion. The regional system has allowed me to get a lot out of my membership and keeps me coming back. How many other members are in my situation? I don’t know. How many are finding it tough to even get to regional finals? To attend more than a couple or a few contests per season? I think these questions are also part of the bigger NATS/ Worlds discussion. Although we are seeing a slight increase in Basic class in the NE, overall attendance appears to be 10-18 pilots per contest. That has been the size contests I have experienced since joining.

A NATS or Worlds is an attractive concept for me but attending one, unless very close, is not very likely, given my life and other hobby activity. I love and support IMAC but I’m a “Regional” competitor. How many more members are in that group?

The beauty of this hobby is the versatility it allows. How do we continue to promote and offer scale precision aerobatics competition, both regionally and nationally/ internationally among many interest groups?

I know I’m not the first to offer or ponder these questions. Having the open discussion is definitely a step toward solutions.

One thought concerning “Worlds” and “Nats”. On years when they both run, could that be a combined contest?

Sorry, more questions than possible solutions.

Daren
Reaching out to Outreach!
“Fly good, don’t suck!”

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thanks 4 users thanked Daren Hudson for this useful post.
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Offline Chuck Edwards  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 11:30:39 PM(UTC)
Chuck Edwards

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Great perspective Daren! This is definitely one of the contributing factors that are affecting this event. I would like to see some feedback on changing the date entirely for the Nats to a middle to late August time frame. It seems like there are a fair amount of people that do not attend due to it being so close to the July 4th holiday.
Charles Edwards
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I’m just here for the party!
Offline Alex Dreiling  
#9 Posted : Thursday, July 11, 2019 12:05:48 PM(UTC)
Alex Dreiling

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Originally Posted by: Kevin Garland Go to Quoted Post
Hey Alex Dreiling ;)

HAHA! Well might as well tell the whole story. Kevin and I are currently looking for venues to host the event somewhere in the SW region. This goes all the way back to January when I asked if we could move it around and was told go for it. We were hoping to do something for 2019 but it didn't work out. Fingers crossed for next year :)


Alex Dreiling
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Silver Fox on 7/11/2019(UTC), Adi Kochav on 7/11/2019(UTC), Doug Pilcher on 7/11/2019(UTC), Kevin Garland on 7/12/2019(UTC), Chuck Edwards on 7/12/2019(UTC), Howard Pilcher on 7/12/2019(UTC), Vicente Bortone on 7/12/2019(UTC), r_adical on 7/14/2019(UTC)
Offline Chuck Edwards  
#10 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 4:44:26 AM(UTC)
Chuck Edwards

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I vote for Las Vegas!
Charles Edwards
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I’m just here for the party!
Offline Kevin Wilson  
#11 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 7:19:58 AM(UTC)
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Somewhere close to a major airport would be nice in order to keep airfare reasonable.
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Chuck Edwards on 7/12/2019(UTC)
Offline Chuck Edwards  
#12 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 7:45:54 AM(UTC)
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Close to an airport and a major city so that you have an opportunity to roll it into a family vacation. The one thing I can say about the Pattern NATS in Blythville is that it is a very depressed area with nothing for the family to do...
Charles Edwards
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I’m just here for the party!
Offline Steve Stanton  
#13 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 10:15:56 AM(UTC)
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There was a time when we had 35 entries in the Unlimited class alone and the field was cut down to 7 for the last two days (I think it was 2 days) of the competition.
This was a time when we had a number of major vendors in the hobby and many of their sponsored pilots (some that were also employees) competed at the Nat's.
The atmosphere at the Nat's was one of Pageantry where you could compete with the best of the top competitors throughout the country. A veritable circus of the stars.
We're now down to a couple of major players in the hobby and they are not exactly motivated to spend much of their limited resources on the Nat's and for that matter, anything else in the field of giant scale competition.
It seems that any negatives relative to the location or the time of year for the Nat's were over come by the attraction
that the event provided.
So one of the things we need to take a serious look at, is, what do the Nat's offer us today that would motivate us to want to attend .
We've heard about the negatives that effect some for not wanting to attend but how can we provide something that
would out way those negatives like it did in the past and get people there to compete.
We can work all year at changing the location and the dates but when your finished doing all of that, what will you do to make the Nat's an event that people want to come to? Also what will you do about any of the things about the Nat's (not location or dates) that people don't like about it?
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Chuck Edwards on 7/12/2019(UTC)
Offline Vicente Bortone  
#14 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 10:22:53 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Chuck Edwards Go to Quoted Post
Close to an airport and a major city so that you have an opportunity to roll it into a family vacation. The one thing I can say about the Pattern NATS in Blythville is that it is a very depressed area with nothing for the family to do...


However, it is very convenient for R/C aerobatics competition. Here some advantages: no two lines per flight line. There is zero chance of mid-airs. There are practice sites open all time during the event. The town is willing to do it because is revenue for them. Yes, it requires for the CD's to have very good relations with all organizations in town. It is time consuming and difficult to get all the conditions in a single place.
Offline Chuck Edwards  
#15 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 10:26:39 AM(UTC)
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Steve,

Very good points! Location and time of year are only contributing factors to the larger problem. I also remember the days when you had all the big players at the Nats. It really was something to see a large group of world class pilots battling it out in Unlimited. Guys in lower classes would stick around for the finals so they could see the exhibition! IMO, the turning point happened around the same time that we started pushing ACS and Sound scores. Not saying that these are the issues, I just remember a lot of grumbling about how it was judged and how subjective it was. I know a lot of Pattern guys have no interest in IMAC due to the lack of centering and end box maneuvers. I really think we have reached the point where we need to consider joining forces with the other Precision Aerobatic communities for the Nats events. This will allow us to spread out the workload and financial burdens.
Charles Edwards
TEAM FUTABA
Professional UAS pilot.
I’m just here for the party!
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