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mlr53 07-27-2018 07:13 AM

Future Nationals
 
What could we do at the Nationals that would encourage you to attend the event?
Attendance has declined over the years, though it has been fairly steady the last couple of years. Is there anything you can think of that could be done to entice you or your fellow competitors to attend next years event?
Is there currently something that is hindering you from attending the Pattern Nationals?

big_G 07-27-2018 08:56 AM

The obvious one (to me at least) is location. Something within a long days drive. Many have told me the drive is too long to Muncie.
Some know they won't be competitive for the top 3 places, but would go anyways if it was closer. Has anyone plotted the geophysical center of the pattern community to find a central site?

lasers200 07-27-2018 11:08 AM

Same as above. Too far to Muncie. Needs to be center of the pattern community. Dallas? Arkansas?

Also maybe more rounds like 8? If going to take off a week to go have more rounds. Make it a "special event".

Ron Stahl 07-27-2018 12:09 PM

I always dreamed of going to the Nationals when I was young. However once the NATS went from having all the types of models at one location over several days to being held over many weeks with out the ability to see other types of models flying without take a month off , I gave up on that dream

AmericanSpectre505 07-29-2018 09:01 AM

All very good points.

STATE OF MIND: I think it's just the state of mind of the hobby right now, it's falling apart.


VENUE: I've said it a many times....... The hobby has lost the big grand events. Years ago the pilots selected for the TOC were pattern pilots, selected based on the pattern point system (IMAC didn't exist yet, it was eventually blended a bit towards the end). Pattern has no big prize events anymore, other than the FAI/F3A WC and that's uncontested year in and year out in the USA (no disrespect intended), so it's gotten stagnant. At least IMAC has the TAS money event once every two years and they have there own WC. You want to recharge the pattern community, bring back some similarity of the big venues that grew the sport for pattern. Who wants to fly from the west coast to the east coast to compete, I wouldn't. Muncie is a beautiful venue buts it's not convenient for everyone. We actually need two national flying sites that alternates between east and west (or centrally located in the USA that has reasonably good weather year round).

COST: The other issue is cost. No one wants to pay $2-$5K for an air frame the size of a 25% IMAC plane. The IMAC full composites like Krill and Composite ARF aren't even that expensive in comparable size. A 35% air frame is just pushing $2K. Therefore, the value is in flying IMAC or Extreme aerobatics these days, where the planes are multi purpose. Plus, they have a money event (a value add-on). Maybe the Nat's should consider a small purse for the top 5 or 10 pilots, where do the dues go exactly? Me personally, I'm financially limited after I buy a new new air frame and then attempt to save enough money to afford a week somewhere in a hotel or RV for a contest.

SUGGESTIVE: Approximately 1M AMA registered RC pilots in the USA at the annual monetary rate per year, you do the math.
NSRCA pilots and dues, same question.


PURPOSE: Competitive organized sequence flying isn't attractive these days. The majority of the younger generation doesn't have the time for it, it's not kool, it requires discipline, study and lots of practice weekly. No one scores a torque roll from 0-10, gyro's are more fun. Again, no disrespect intended, that's the most common thing I'm told at the field when I approach the youth about pattern or IMAC.


SPONSORSHIP: Sponsorship's are way down from 10 years ago, so unless you can travel and compete your dropped or left out. Those fortunate enough, have sponsors and the financial load is a bit less. Sponsorship comes commitments. So, if you can't travel to fulfill your commitments, you can't keep your sponsors.


THE RC LIFE: It'a a fantastic hobby of family, friends full of relationships and camaraderie's and that's what it should be. What I have written is a combination of my own opinion and what I have been told for the past 20 years by by all age groups. Pattern is to expensive, it's a specialized niche of aircraft. Not all clubs have Pattern members to mentor new pilots into these areas of the hobby. I'm the only one in my club and prior to my arrival there were none.


I personally love it, can't afford it and therefore don't compete currently. I still practice..............

1-Cost
2-The golden egg
3-Location
4-Club experience
5-Change the dynamic
6-Make it attractive
7-Revive the Hobby

Bill H.

flywilly 07-29-2018 02:35 PM

A few observations....
Yes, it would be great if they would move the Nats around each year, but that was a big part of the reason for obtaining the Muncie property. A single, centralized location owned by the AMA. For many years the Nats was hosted by the US Navy at sites around the country. The Navy also provided manpower to support the event. That stopped in the early '70s (if memory serves) and the Nats became a traveling circus for a couple of decades. The USAF hosted 3 Nats at Westover AFB in '83, '85 and '91. I competed there for the first 2 and it was fun to be able to see all the other events (many of which I had participated in during my formative modeling years). Cost and logistics (suitable site) both for the Nats and the AMA headquarters (in DC for many years) motivated the purchase of the Muncie site. Last year the pattern Nats were off-site for the first time in years, but it required a herculean effort on the part of the organizers to achieve the event success.

Will there be another off-site pattern Nats? Possibly, but I doubt it will be on a regular basis (it had been discussed some years back to alternate between Muncie and different locations around the country; it is just much easier to have them at the AMA site). I don't think moving the venue around will have much impact on participation. This year the Nats had 71 pilots in attendance: Intermediate - 6; Advanced - 11; Masters - 22; FAI - 32. This was a team selection year for FAI which always provides a little bump in numbers. New Nats locations may improve the numbers in the lower classes depending on location, but the numbers reflect the direction that pattern participation has been heading for the past decade (or longer). As an aside, I have been informed that IMAC participation has been declining as well, but I have no numbers to support that contention.

There are few 'major' events from a competitive perspective in the modeling community. More popular are the fly-in type events like Joe Nall (barring rain-outs). Probably the largest competitive R/C events are Frank Tiano's scale events in Florida. There is some prize money available, but the TOC was a very special event thanks to the generosity of Bill Bennett who funded most or all of the TOC events as he was a modeling enthusiast. The industry can't afford to provide prize money at the scale of the TOC events not to mention the location and event 'perks'.

Lastly, pattern has become a very elitist event as cost and level of difficulty have increased significantly in the past 15 years or so. Not only has the flying become much more challenging, but, by default, so has the judging. From a personal perspective, I started flying R/C in '69 and flew in my first pattern competition in '72 or '73. Back then the initiation into R/C was a bit more daunting. Radio reliability had improved significantly, but was still a regular issue as was radio interference. The first airplane I flew in competition was a 3 channel Andrews S-Ray. Novice pattern back then had no inverted maneuvers and (from memory) looked like: take-off, straight flight out, procedure turn, straight flight back, immelmann turn, 3 loops, 1 roll, landing pattern, landing perfection and spot (touching down inside a 50 foot circle). A couple of years later I competed in the New England regional contest at Fitchburg (Mass.) airport and there were 41 competitors in Novice (I placed 6th with an Aeromaster) and almost 100 total pattern contestants. More than at this years Nats. We can't go back to the 'good old days', but I think that finding a way to make pattern more appealing is essential to longevity. Classic pattern seems to be generating a good deal of enthusiasm (smaller, cheaper models, easier schedules, easier to run contests) perhaps because of simplicity. I enjoy pattern at all levels, but I suspect that a simple '60 sized' model is less intimidating to a pattern newcomer than a Pandora or Galactic.

-Will

lasers200 07-30-2018 05:41 AM

My advice, do something, anything. The current path is not sustainable.

big_G 07-30-2018 06:02 AM


Originally Posted by lasers200 (Post 12451079)
My advice, do something, anything. The current path is not sustainable.

Agreed.

flywilly 07-30-2018 01:34 PM

According to the latest K-Factor, the NSRCA board is looking at alternative Nats pattern sites for 2019 and 2021. 2020 will be at Muncie (FAI F3A team selection year). No word yet on where the sites being considered are located...
OK, California for 2019. 3 possible sites have rejected holding the Nats there but at least one more is being investigated.

KC8QPU 07-31-2018 05:22 PM

Monty,
First of all I did not attend NATS this year. That being said thank you for running a great flight line the year before in Arkansas. Now in light of all the stuff going on with the drone mess. There is not doubt more of an uncertainty of the future of our hobby as we currently know it. This year I personally got some what screwed by AMA. Long story and won't get into details here. So not knowing what is going on with the hobby, plus the extreme high costs of airframes, and of course the expense of traveling to just about any event, seems pretty simple to me why there is such a huge decline in attendance. I honestly don't think anything can be done to increase attendance at this point.

big_G 07-31-2018 06:07 PM


Originally Posted by KC8QPU (Post 12451532)
Monty,
First of all I did not attend NATS this year. That being said thank you for running a great flight line the year before in Arkansas. Now in light of all the stuff going on with the drone mess. There is not doubt more of an uncertainty of the future of our hobby as we currently know it. This year I personally got some what screwed by AMA. Long story and won't get into details here. So not knowing what is going on with the hobby, plus the extreme high costs of airframes, and of course the expense of traveling to just about any event, seems pretty simple to me why there is such a huge decline in attendance. I honestly don't think anything can be done to increase attendance at this point.

I agree on your point that the planes are getting expensive. Having $3,000 composite airframes in Sportsman and Intermediate really can intimidate a new pilot. He or she gets stomped a few times and they never show up again. I think a retail price limit, which I really don't want to see, may help. Also, perhaps reduced entry fees for first time pilots or all pilots in Sportsman. One day contests if the head count is low can help keep costs down. Lastly, we seasoned pilots need to groom guys in our local clubs to participate. I still think we can stop the bleeding, and revive activity. It's up to us.

KC8QPU 08-04-2018 05:48 AM

Your still not going to get many to travel any distance more than 100 miles at the most. Iím sure there just are not enough contests anymore that a person can easily go to with out making some sort of mini vacation out of. Last year I heard a lot of guys from D6 stating how glad they were that NATS were close that year. And how Muncie was just to far to drive. I guess the pint is most people are just not willing to spend their time and money to travel to these type of things.

kenh3497 08-10-2018 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by big_G (Post 12451546)
I agree on your point that the planes are getting expensive. Having $3,000 composite airframes in Sportsman and Intermediate really can intimidate a new pilot. He or she gets stomped a few times and they never show up again. I think a retail price limit, which I really don't want to see, may help. Also, perhaps reduced entry fees for first time pilots or all pilots in Sportsman. One day contests if the head count is low can help keep costs down. Lastly, we seasoned pilots need to groom guys in our local clubs to participate. I still think we can stop the bleeding, and revive activity. It's up to us.


Originally Posted by KC8QPU (Post 12452355)
Your still not going to get many to travel any distance more than 100 miles at the most. Iím sure there just are not enough contests anymore that a person can easily go to with out making some sort of mini vacation out of. Last year I heard a lot of guys from D6 stating how glad they were that NATS were close that year. And how Muncie was just to far to drive. I guess the pint is most people are just not willing to spend their time and money to travel to these type of things.


Maybe we need a "spec" plane in sportsman and or intermediate.???? Something that is competitive, maybe not necessarily light in weight but will take a bit of a beating that a new pilot will give it. World Models has a few "pattern " planes. They seem to have relatively good reviews. Price seems reasonable also. Or just maybe limit the wing span and or engine size???? I think one day contests are an excellent idea! Personally I can stand the travel costs and don't mind getting up early to drive 150 miles. The overnight stay costs are pretty much a deal breaker for me. IMO one day contests are easier to sell to a local club as it doesn't tie up the field for the whole weekend.

So here are a couple opinions on how possibly change and increase pattern participation. Now go on out and get it done.

Ken

RACE 66 08-11-2018 05:10 AM

West Coast Site Selection
 

Originally Posted by AmericanSpectre505 (Post 12450874)
All very good points.

STATE OF MIND: I think it's just the state of mind of the hobby right now, it's falling apart.


VENUE: I've said it a many times....... The hobby has lost the big grand events. Years ago the pilots selected for the TOC were pattern pilots, selected based on the pattern point system (IMAC didn't exist yet, it was eventually blended a bit towards the end). Pattern has no big prize events anymore, other than the FAI/F3A WC and that's uncontested year in and year out in the USA (no disrespect intended), so it's gotten stagnant. At least IMAC has the TAS money event once every two years and they have there own WC. You want to recharge the pattern community, bring back some similarity of the big venues that grew the sport for pattern. Who wants to fly from the west coast to the east coast to compete, I wouldn't. Muncie is a beautiful venue buts it's not convenient for everyone. We actually need two national flying sites that alternates between east and west (or centrally located in the USA that has reasonably good weather year round).

COST: The other issue is cost. No one wants to pay $2-$5K for an air frame the size of a 25% IMAC plane. The IMAC full composites like Krill and Composite ARF aren't even that expensive in comparable size. A 35% air frame is just pushing $2K. Therefore, the value is in flying IMAC or Extreme aerobatics these days, where the planes are multi purpose. Plus, they have a money event (a value add-on). Maybe the Nat's should consider a small purse for the top 5 or 10 pilots, where do the dues go exactly? Me personally, I'm financially limited after I buy a new new air frame and then attempt to save enough money to afford a week somewhere in a hotel or RV for a contest.

SUGGESTIVE: Approximately 1M AMA registered RC pilots in the USA at the annual monetary rate per year, you do the math.
NSRCA pilots and dues, same question.


PURPOSE: Competitive organized sequence flying isn't attractive these days. The majority of the younger generation doesn't have the time for it, it's not kool, it requires discipline, study and lots of practice weekly. No one scores a torque roll from 0-10, gyro's are more fun. Again, no disrespect intended, that's the most common thing I'm told at the field when I approach the youth about pattern or IMAC.


SPONSORSHIP: Sponsorship's are way down from 10 years ago, so unless you can travel and compete your dropped or left out. Those fortunate enough, have sponsors and the financial load is a bit less. Sponsorship comes commitments. So, if you can't travel to fulfill your commitments, you can't keep your sponsors.


THE RC LIFE: It'a a fantastic hobby of family, friends full of relationships and camaraderie's and that's what it should be. What I have written is a combination of my own opinion and what I have been told for the past 20 years by by all age groups. Pattern is to expensive, it's a specialized niche of aircraft. Not all clubs have Pattern members to mentor new pilots into these areas of the hobby. I'm the only one in my club and prior to my arrival there were none.


I personally love it, can't afford it and therefore don't compete currently. I still practice..............

1-Cost
2-The golden egg
3-Location
4-Club experience
5-Change the dynamic
6-Make it attractive
7-Revive the Hobby

Bill H.

Pulling from your note regarding a West coast site. Many years ago (you may be aware) that AMA had listed a 'West Coast' site in the Central Valley of California.
That site was located approximately in the Visalia California area right off of Highway 99 and Highway 198. They were going to build a 'very small version' of our current Muncie application. Primarily a flying site itself and not much more as I understand. This I would assume would be a ' middle point' of a location between So.Cal and No. Cal and all other points that would attend.
Unfortunately, I won't be attending/participating in the Nats, due to expense of getting there and back. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel for my District in the Northwest, as our district AMA coordinator and others have chipped in to establish a " Jamboree of Flight" come June of 2019, where by it will encompass many facets of the hobby we enjoy so much. I anticipate I will be attending to FLY and smooge with all the pilots and others. It will be a fun event to. Check it out on the District 10's webpage.

Mike

maustin 08-11-2018 09:54 AM

Jamboree of Flight !!! Sounds cool, so is this a giant fly in of sorts or a competition event? Either way someone is thinking outside the box to generate interest in model aviation. I remember here in Texas back in the 80's we had the Southwestern Championships held in Dallas where several RC events including pattern was held. We setup our canopies right as pylon was completing and it was fun watching these guys tear up the sky. Ahhh the good old days LOL.

RACE 66 08-11-2018 11:32 AM

Get ready.... It's coming.......
 
As far as I know at this time, it will be a very,very large fly in, they hope to have all the venues of model aviation, ie: control line flying, possible free flight, UPV's, giant, pylon and other applications of flight. Along with that they are working on VENDORS, to participate, an early e mail that was sent out, that some established businesses of model aviation will be there. It's early in the game right now, just set aside that time line for June 2019. Again, check on Dist.11 blog.....https://amablog.modelaircraft.org/am...istrict-event/

Mike

Freddy 08-12-2018 02:20 PM

Though I have not competed in a couple of years I still practice F3A P19 regularly. I will speak to the upper two classes as I am not sure if my comments apply below Masters though they may to pattern as a whole.I believe F3A F schedule has become too hard for the average hobbyist even if you are into pattern and grew to the classes through the years. In the pacific NW we used to solve that by only flying the P though I am not sure if they still do that.The airframes themselves have become too complicated with T cannalizers and biplanes and sometimes additional aerodynamic surfaces. With their fat fuselages they look like overblown indoor 3D foamies. I still fly a Valiant and personally see it as the sweet spot between the classic pattern airplanes and the current designs. Maybe outlaw biplanes and T cannalizers? So all compete with the same basic monoplane set-up.The RC hobby as a whole has suffered. Youth has way less interest these days then when I grew up (I am 56). Add to that the drone invasion, computer games, an iPhones, by making it harder airframe-wise in pattern we may be making it prohibitive for youth to want to get into the game. Remember when pattern airplanes were sleek and sexy? Like the Mach 1, Blue Angel, and Troublemaker? I used to stare at the pictures in RC Modeler and Model Airplane News.I do not think cost is the main problem, as IMAC is alive and well. Maybe a few more invitational events like the TOC as others mentioned. Just to spike more interest and market pattern. My thoughts are for the youth and new blood we need. Though I tried none of my 3 kids (2 boys and 1 girl) had an interest in RC.And pattern will always be a small % of the RC population. It is the way it is.


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