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Old 01-01-2007, 08:55 PM
Anna Wood is offline
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The Scorekeeper
Joined Jan 2006
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2006 Final IMAC Presidential Update From Wally Pitts

As this is my last Presidential Update, I would like to take a look back at
where IMAC was two years ago, the advances made during that time as well as
a look ahead.

One of the ongoing challenges IMAC faces in my view is the constant turnover
of Regional Directors and National Officers. We have been fortunate over the
last two years to have a relatively stable Board with relatively few
personnel changes. This has allowed us to get to know each other, and work
together well. Much of the Boards work is "behind the scenes" with its
efforts being made public only through rules changes, committee structuring
and other day to day administration duties. I'm sure that most IMAC members
would be surprised to find out that the Board meets on a regular basis
through teleconferences to discuss the business of IMAC. If one takes the
time to review my past Presidential updates you can see the results of the
Board's work highlighted. My thanks to the Board members for the way they
conducted themselves over the last two years promoting IMAC at both the
Local and National level.

When I look back I see many positive changes in IMAC during this decade. My
personal involvement started with my first IMAC contest in Mesquite Texas in
the spring of 2000. While I was a former full scale Unlimited aerobatic
flier, I started in Sportsman and was glad I did as precision radio control
aerobatics is a distinct discipline from any other type of flying and
requires one to start at an appropriate level and build from there. Frankly,
we still see to many modelers start at levels too high, get frustrated and
quit, when all they needed to do up front was start at a lower level and
build from there. Fortunately, most new folks get into our sport because of
others at their field already involved in IMAC so the initial transition is
a positive one. All of us currently involved in IMAC should look upon
ourselves as promoters of the hobby and try to get new folks involved. This
is particularly important as the Basic and Sportsman classes remain our
bread and butter, comprise the majority of our competitors and, in most
cases provide the financial justification for allowing host clubs the
financial break even points to put on IMAC events.

As I look back to the beginning of my term and the changes since, the first
thing that comes to mind is finances. When I stared my term as your
President, our membership numbers were down and our bank account was
depleted down to a few thousand dollars. Now to be fair, the bank account
did have a big drain due to the start up of the National Judging school (for
those not around at the time, IMAC flew two instructors from each region to
Dayton Ohio for a weekend certification course taught by Fred Johnson) none
the less, the finances were not where they needed to be. We all worked hard
on both the national and local levels to recruit more members, sold web
advertising and Roy Barrow ran two hugely successful AMA National contests
all which combined to significantly grow the popularity of IMAC to where it
is today.

One of the benefits of this growth has been to increase the stability of our
finances. I am proud to report that under the stewardship of the Board and
our Treasurer Phil Vance, our bank account today is in the $30,000.00 range.
This gives the incoming Board not only financial peace of mind but the
ability to undertake the projects necessary to keep IMAC growing on the
world stage. Also, due to the stability of our finances we have been able to
offer the financial programs to the local regions such as increased regional
financial support, matching funds for regional awards and education, and
increased funding for local judges schools. These financial programs have
enhanced the benefits of IMAC membership as well as directly supporting the
regions day to day activities.

For me personally, one of the most historic changes during the last few
years is the creation, within the AMA, of the Scale Aerobatics Contest
Board. While some may say, so what?, I can tell you from experience that the
creation of this Board within the AMA signaled for the first time that IMAC
had arrived as its own entity in the eyes of the Executive Board at the AMA.

Prior to this point all of our rules proposals went to the Aerobatics
Contest Board which, as many of you know, is comprised of Pattern fliers.
While these were very experienced gentleman, our two aerobatic disciplines
shared little, other than the "conquest of lines and symmetry." This problem
simmered just beneath the surface until, after a NATS a few years back, a
"Rogue" Urgent Rules Making Proposal was sent to the AMA by a member of the
Pattern community's leadership concerning sound. This gent basically
proposed the Pattern sound rules which would, if it had passed, had the net
effect of grounding most of the IMAC planes flying at that time.

Initially this rules change proposal had a good chance of passing with the
strong blessing of some of the members of the AMA Executive Board. IMAC
formed a Sound Task Force during this time, I was made chairman, and through
the hard work of the Task Force, in particular George Hicks who did most of
the engineering studies for us with regards to sound theory and propagation
as well as the "lobbying" done by my self, George, and IMAC President Tom
Wheeler, we were able to find some enlightened members of the Aerobatics
Contest Board (others would not even return my calls letters or emails) as
well as a genuinely interested, engaged and forward thinking AMA Technical
Director in Steve Kaluf, the URP failed.

All of us involved in the leadership of IMAC knew at that exact moment that
the creation of a Scale Aerobatic Contest Board separate from the Pattern
Board was an absolute necessity if IMAC was to grow, prosper and continue to
fly the size of planes we do. That we were able to get our own Board
approved by the AMA was to me the most significant accomplishment of the
decade to date, and one that I am the most proud of.

Again in this case, Steve Kaluf was instrumental in his efforts on our
behalf as was a majority of the AMA Executive Board. Superior lobbying
efforts in this case go to Roy Barrow for many hours of behind the scenes
efforts on IMAC's behalf. Having our own Contest Board gives the scale
aerobatic community another level of oversight to our rulebook. This Scale
Aerobatic Contest Board (unlike the Pattern Board) is comprised of folks who
are active and involved in the scale aerobatic community, they know the
rules well and are intimately familiar with how changes will affect the IMAC
community. The existence of this Board also gives IMAC members another voice
in rules changes as the Scale Aerobatic Contest Board members serve at the
pleasure of their respective regional AMA Vice President. Therefore, they
represent the best interests of the scale aerobatic community in their
regions when voting on rules proposals. During the next rules cycle I hope
individual IMAC members will take the opportunity to contact their Board
representatives both at the IMAC and AMA levels with their thoughts
concerning changes.

Each individual IMAC member does have the opportunity to have a direct voice
in the direction of IMAC, but only if you choose to exercise it. The system
works; illustrated this rules cycle by the IMAC Board voting for a deletion
of the so called "Pilot/Panel" rule, but during the AMA rules period the
Scale Aerobatics Contest Board voted against the change. This of course can
be viewed a couple of different ways, but the system worked, members voices
were heard at the regional level by the Contest Board members and the
measure failed. For the record as I have been asked, I voted for deletion of
the Pilot/Panel rule at both the IMAC Board level as well as the AMA Scale
Aerobatic Contest Board level.


We all know how much the excellent work of the Sequence Committee has
enhanced our IMAC contests. We now have a level of standardization and
continuity between the classes that heretofore never existed. Andy Kane came
up with the original idea for a National Unknown Program and the Sequence
Committee ran with it. The original core of the committee was Andy along
with Chairman Wayne Matthews, Tom Wheeler, Mike Stoner, Kurt Koelling, Barry
Wegman, Larry Lutton, and Doug Cronkite. We all owe these gentlemen our
gratitude. The second year of the committee saw some personnel changes along
with Duane Cox taking over the Chairmanship. Now as we head into the third
season Duane has resigned - my thanks to Duane for all he did to keep the
committee running, on schedule and up to date - Wayne has reassumed the
Chairmanship duties and we now have the second "generation" if you will of
sequence writers coming online with the committee to help shoulder the load.
IMAC provides software support, but the individual members provide the drive
and desire for excellence.

One of the most experienced yet underused committee remains the IMAC Rules
and Standards Committee. IMAC provides a vehicle for individuals to submit
questions to this group for final determinations on any rules or judging
disputes, yet they are little used. I see much debate on the various on line
forums where questions arise concerning rules and judging criteria, yet I
know that even when the debate rages on folks do not take advantage of the
Rules and Standards Committee, I hope as we go forward this will change and
we see material from the Rules and Standards Committee posted on the

As a reminder, this committee acts as the "Supreme Court" for all disputes
that may arise concerning the rules or the Flying and Judging guide. As
such, their determinations are considered final. If you have a dispute or a
question concerning the rules submit them through the website or to your
Regional Director, we will then get the issue in front of the Rules
Committee for consideration and we will post their rulings on the IMAC
website. I hope folks will take advantage of this committee going forward
rather than debating issues for days and weeks on line or at the field. My
thanks to Bill Malvey (Chairman), Peter Goldsmith, Anna Wood, and Will
Berninger, Brian Howard, and Mike McConville for their continued service on
this committee.


We have undertaken a number of initiatives to create a consistent contest
experience. Things such as the newly approved and updated AMA rules, the
"new and improved" Flying and Judging Guide (available for download on the
IMAC website), the National Unknown Program, Known patterns created by the
Sequence Committee and the Official IMAC Contest Standards Guide have all
contributed to a more consistent IMAC contest experience no matter what
region one flies in.

IMAC President's Award

This is an award of significance, not often given out, recognizing superior
volunteerism to IMAC. The award, by design, is given to folks who give much
of their time to IMAC and ask nothing in return. It recognizes the volunteer
spirit, one that in many cases goes on behind the scenes and out of the
public eye. The first award was given a few years back at the NATS to John
Schroder from the South East Region.

This year IMAC recognized Anna Wood who received her award at the Tucson
Shootout. She is a member of the IMAC Rules and Standards Committee, has
been the bedrock of the leadership structure of the Southwest Region,
volunteering countless hours to IMAC in that area, and is our new webmaster.
I can tell you that without Anna's long hours spent at a computer, we would
not have been able to complete the "white glove" inspection of our rule book
during the AMA rules cycle change period. We found many minor errors that
required numerous housekeeping changes to update the rulebook to the one we
have today. Anna and Roy Barrow worked well together on this project and
they have my thanks. Anna is a valued asset to IMAC and my hope is that she
continues in IMAC's leadership for years to come. Thank You Anna for all you

Membership Meeting

With the change over in webmasters, this meeting has been put off until
after the first of the year. There will be two issues to vote on. One, a
bylaws change, housekeeping in nature, to reflect the name change of the
IMAC Standards Guide. Two, a change in the term of office for members of the
Board from two years to one. The Board voted in favor of forwarding this
change on to the membership. I am not in favor of the President's term being
changed to one year, and recommend that the incoming Board separate out the
terms and consider the Presidents term individually from the other Board

Looking Forward

The two major challenges I see going forward are: Education/Judging and the
International growth of scale aerobatic flying.

On the Education/Judging front, the two most consistent complaints I hear
are related to contest judging and non-standard IMAC weekend events. Now
that we have an IMAC Contest Standards Guide in effect our hope is that CD's
will all follow the guidelines spelled out in the guide and that all of you
have a more consistent contest experience in 2007.

That being said, judging remains the number one complaint I receive. There
are two facts I feel all of us need to fully grasp. One - a working
knowledge of the Flying and Judging Guide should be gained by of all IMAC
competitors, additionally a solid knowledge of this same guide and its
application is required of all Intermediate and above flyers. Two, we ALL
have to judge, so the more familiar you are with the Judging Guide the
better you will be. Every IMAC competitor should arrive at a contest capable
of judging at least one class above the one they compete in. Upper class
competitors should be willing to judge every class below them. The problem
with judging and judges has been around before I flew my first IMAC contest
and will most likely be around for some time to come.

The only way for this problem is to be solved is for each of us who competes
to study the Flying & Judging Guide and to willingly judge when asked by a
CD and do it to the best of our ability. Contestant judging is a fact of
life in IMAC and one of the reasons why we don't give out Unknowns the day
they are to be flown as it creates unfair advantages. My hope is that each
of you make as a New Year's resolution to gain a better knowledge of the
Flying & Judging Guide and seek out answers to your questions.

As previously mentioned, IMAC has a large group of knowledgeable folks to
help in this regard. Now if the members take up this challenge what can IMAC
do? In my view we need a top to bottom examination of the way we currently
train judges and see if we are getting the most bang for the buck invested.
IMAC has money to spend, and has invested much to date on education, we need
to see if there are better ways of doing it. I challenge the incoming IMAC
Board to create a committee specifically to study the technologies available
to increase membership knowledge of our rules and our judging criteria. Once
this committee reports back to the Board, my hope is that the Board will act
upon the recommendations given to IMAC's education process.

The second major challenge facing IMAC is the growth of scale aerobatics
worldwide and IMAC's place in it. We have successfully kicked off the IMAC
International Affiliate Program and have our first nation member. There will
be more countries coming on line in the future as the word spreads of our
program. In fact, we've already had a number of inquiries from other
countries expressing interest in our program.

One of the reasons Pattern has gained so much prominence (besides the fact
that for so many years it was the only game in town) was the existence of
the FAI World Championships and the USA's participation in the event. As the
popularity of scale aerobatics continues to grow worldwide, there is
increasing interest of constructing a set of FAI rules to govern it. There
have been some initial proposals from abroad and the process is quite
complicated as I am sure you can imagine. The U.S FAI committee must be a
major player in this process else we get a set of rules quite onerous to the
way we currently fly. I see this as an upcoming challenge with the same
seriousness as I saw the attack on sound by the rouge URP previously

And Finally

On a personal note, and in some ways most importantly, my sincere and thanks
to Roy Barrow. Without Roy many of the things I've discussed in this update
would not have come to fruition. His total rewrite of our website as well as
the continued hosting of the site, free of charge, saved IMAC more money
than I care to imagine. To say his efforts on this regard were "priceless"
would not be an understatement. The two NATS he managed put IMAC back on
positive footing with the AMA and set the standard by which all future NATS
will be judged. I could go on and on but suffice to say that Roy was
involved in just about everything "IMAC" in the last few years. Roy truly
was my "Right Hand Man" during the last few years and took on every task he
was asked to do without reservation, no matter how much time the project
required. Roy, you have my personal thanks and respect for the contributions
you have made to IMAC. It is an honor and a privilege to call you my friend.

Finally before I sign off I would be remiss if I did not mention two
gentlemen. First is Fred Johnson. Fred retires from active IMAC service in a
few days as well. From SE RD to IMAC VP, Fred has dedicated his efforts to
the education process of our Rules, and Flying and Judging Guide. He has
been a solid force on the Board and has served the IMAC community well.
Thanks Fred! Also I must say "thanks" to Tom Wheeler for getting me into
this political process to begin with! Tom led IMAC through some pretty lean
times, survived much political turmoil and still is actively involved today.
Tom left his "stamp" on IMAC more than most realize and we are a better
organization today because of his efforts. Thank you Tom for inviting me
along for the ride, I've enjoyed "most" all of it!

Well that's it, Daniel, you have the CONN... Captain's off the Bridge.
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