Soon after the contest was over I had a call from my good friend Steve Dionne in Rimuski Quebec asking me about the contest. I was on the road at the time so I told him that I would get back to him later.
Frazer Briggs of New Zealand waives to the crowd after a great free style flight!
It is now Friday evening the week following the end of the contest so I have had quite a bit of time to gather my thoughts.
First of all I want to say "hats off" to Dave Johnson of Desert Aircraft, without his drive and financial support this contest wouldn't be here at all. He and his team of staffers and volunteers put on a first class event. For the IMAC competitor the Tucson Aerobatic Shootout(TAS)represents the best contest on the calendar anywhere in the world. This year there were in upwards of $100,000.00 in Cash and prises. The only contest of this magnitude was the TOC which ended in 2002.
In addition to Dave Johnson there were, of course, many other contributors to the cash purse and the prize table. In fact the list of contributors is way too long to list here besides I wouldn't be able to remember them all, suffice it to say that it was impressive indeed, the list read as the who's who of the R/C modeling industry.
Bill Hempel readies his 50% Extra 260.
A contest of this size with some 60 contestants in 5 classes does not come off without some serious organization. There are many volunteers to help run this contest and I couldn't name them all here but two of the them need special recognition.
Michael Marcellin was the CD for the event and as far as I know he has been the CD since the beginning, I think this is the 6th annual. Michael runs a fantastic event and is to be congratulated for his efforts, he has a special knack for putting the right people in the right places so the result is a contest that runs like clockwork.
Anna Wood most certainly need special recognition as well. Anna is the webmaster and score keeper and anyone who has been to the website will agree what a great job she does there. The scoring program is one she wrote her self and it works great. As a competitor you are able to walk into a tent adjacent to the scoring trailer where two monitors are set up and see you score only minutes after your flight. Also the original score sheets used on the line are made available to you so this makes for a much more transparent contest than what we are accustomed to from other local and national events.
The picture here is of some of the Canadians attending the event.
I won't comment here on the results of the contest as it gets way too political except I will say that I feel the right person won the invitational class. Congratulation to Mark Leseburg for his third win in a row at this event, it was well deserved. Also I would like to state that my 13th place does not reflect my efforts or my ability and yes I am disappointed with my results. I have no one to blame but my self but that would be for discussion at another time.
The free style portion of this event is always popular with the spectators and this year would not disappoint. Gernot Bruckmann of Austria put in a fantastic performance and easily won it with some very well choreographed flights. From my perspective the down low to the ground razzle dazzle stuff is no longer what it takes, while it has good spectator appeal the smooth well planned and flown, choreographed to the music is going to be the way of the future in free style.
Gernot Bruckmann, only 15 years old and winner of the Free Style
From a competitors point of view the venue is fantastic, The runway is a 700'x70' paved strip with a paved pit area and grass infield. The Ramada is probably 150' long with lots of tables and electricity. The center area is semi enclosed and has a telephone, fridge and a pop machine. 200' away there are his and hers as well as handicapped flush toilets so as you can see this facility has all the amenities.
If this place has a down side it would be that distance to town. Although there are a couple of gas stations and convenience stores about 20 minutes away, to get to hotels, restaurants and shopping takes at least 45 minutes. another problem is with high winds the sand and dust can be really nasty as we found out the Friday of the contest.
Mark Leseburg celebrating with a bottle of Champagne
In conclusion let me say that this event is the best of it's kind and one that is not to me missed. I for one will be planning to attend the '08 addition and so will many others I know.