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Monday, 03 April 2017 15:37

What's in a name? IMAC or Scale Aerobatics?

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IMAC is the abbreviation for INTERNATIONAL MINIATURE AEROBATIC CLUB. It has also become the term used to describe the type of flying even though the literal term refers to the club which represents this type of flying. It is based in the USA where this style of flying, engines and air frames were developed. See: http://www.mini-iac.org/.

On all IMAC flying sites the term "SCALE AEROBATICS" is used to describe the discipline. This distinguishes it from "Pattern flying" which refers to itself as "precision aerobatics" and has its own set of rules.

In Australia the highest representative organization of aeromodellers is the MAAA. It is a federation of state associations and individuals are represented statewide by their own local club. In any club there are members with a variety of interests - jets, gliders, helicopters etc. Each of these is recognised as a "discipline" called an NSIG - National Special Interest Group. Scale Aerobatics is one such special interest group.

The MAAA is a member of the world-wide sport aviation organisation - the FAI (). The FAI has individual commissions that represent each type of flying. For aeromodelling this is the FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM).

Aeromodeling subdisciplines are represented by a shorthand code - F3A for pattern flying, F3F for gliders and F3M for Scale Aerobatics/Large Scale Aerobatics amongst others. The IMAC scale aerobatics judging criteria  have been adopted from the USA into F3M regulations. The competition procedures and details of routines are different to accommodate the FAI framework.

The FAI holds the World Air Games regularly and this could involve aeromodelling. Drone racing is recognised by the FAI. The secretary of the MAAA Kevin Dodd is secretary of this organisation. So Australia is well placed within FAI to advance aeromodelling.

There are discussions on bulletin boards about the differences between IMAC and F3M as well as how the world can be united in a single discipline of scale aerobatics. The IMAC (USA) is to hold the second World IMAC event in 2018 to be held in Muncie Illinois.

Monday, 03 April 2017 13:25

Where do I start flying IMAC?

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So where do I start in Scale Aerobatics?

You can use any plane you like while competing in the basic class of IMAC. This can be a small petrol or glow powered plane, it can be electric and it doesn't have to be scale either. There is no size requirement either - it can be small or large.

There are however a few aspects of your plane that you should take into consideration. The first is to have a plane which runs reliably. There's nothing worse than stuggling to get your plane started, or having repeated engine or other failures. Sometimes this is simply from using cheaper products. The next aspect is whether the aircraft can do hammerheads (stall turns) and rolls. Your plane should be able to fly a vertical up line without dramatic loss of power, so make sure you don't try to fly IMAC with an under-powered plane.

Your expectations and abilities will change slowly but progressively as you begin to apply the discipline of aerobatic flying. If you are already flying at a club where someone flies IMAC then you are lucky. I'v never encountered and IMAC pilot who is not willing to help or give advice on how to get your plane IMAC-ready. Look at the competitions schedule to see where the closest one is to you so you can enter. Download the "BASIC Schedule and follow its sequence. Read the competition judging criteria. Who reads a manual? Very few initially, but you need to know what judges are looking for to downgrade your flying.

There's nothing wrong with feeling stressed about a competition and having people judge how you fly (they probably do anyway!). In IMAC everyone is pleased to help you improve your flying. So what better way to learn than by being judged? An adage we quote is that "experiencing one competition is like practicing for 6 weeks".

Finally establish a routine and stick to it during setting up your plane. Don't let others around you disturb your concentration during plane setup. Even the most experienced pilots have stories to tell about missing a wing bolt or not doing a pre-flight check. Always do a pre-flight check, and know your engine for startup. Having a routine will reduce the stress that exists at a competition. Experienced pilots might look relaxed, but they too are stressed and can miss out vital element of flight safety or checkups. Keep to a routine in preparing for landing.

How do I set my plane up the best to start?

This is a very simple process but is better rewarded with the more work and time you put into it. Getting a plane to perform predictably is the goal. Having a guide as to how much movement is ideal for different styles of flying. You can't imagine how complex it can get to make the complex manoeuvres look effortless and like you meant it. This will all be revealed as you gleam information from your fellow pilots and experts of all persuasions.

Every plane and how people like them is quite different but the following settings should be a reasonable benchmark as to not have a plane that is hard to control.

 Start with:-

  Elevator Rudder Aileron
Low Rate: 8-10 degrees 25 degrees 16 degrees
High Rate: 14 degrees 35 degrees 18 degrees
Exponential Rate: 30% 40% 30%


Once you have set your plane up to a manageable amount you can begin the trimming process. Trimming is ALL about reducing pilot load by making a plane fly straighter.

Peter Goldsmith who is a well-known and highly skilled Australian RC Aerobatic pilot wrote a detailed article on how to trim your plane. This information was then tabled and put into a trimming chart for ease of printing and taking to the field.

Trim your plane one step at a time from step 1 through to 10 to complete the trimming process. You can download this trim chart as well as an article explaining Peter's process in the "Downloads" section under "Self Help".  There is also another, similar article in there by Rich Fletcher.

written by Dan Carroll and Peter Bryner

Saturday, 01 January 2011 10:00

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