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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Re: IAC rules amok?? -- just another re ...


Thread: [Acro] Re: IAC rules amok?? -- just another re ...

Message: [Acro] Re: IAC rules amok?? -- just another real world solution

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: "William Wade" <chipmunk at>

Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 13:41:05 UTC


  Virginia has stated what I believe to be true: most people are unlikely to risk the embarrassment of a poor performance by competing unprepared. I have had some training but I'm a long way from even Basic (Primary?) level competition.
  Regarding the lack of a spin, I'd suggest looking at the 10- and 5- hour aerobatic courses in Basic Aerobatics. Spin training is near the end. Skimming through the book (If Things Go Wrong sections), the reasoning seems to be that a competent student is unlikely to get into a spin from any of the preceding maneuvers. This is in the context of a structured environment and it might be that a student wouldn't be allowed to solo until the entire course was completed. Duane Cole puts spins in the first hour of his syllabus.
 My point is that there is a difference of opinion even among the best pilots. I personally feel that spins should be learned early and I took training while I was still renting 172's. (That doesn't mean that I feel competent).  Also consider that Stearmans and T-6's were used for primary aerobatic training. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the maneuvers selected for the Primary category were influenced by their Operator's Manuals. As Virginia points out you can't regulate common sense. It's a tough issue and I don't know what would be best.
  I see the Primary category as an attempt to increase membership in a way that's compatible with the way IAC is structured, and at a minimal cost. IAC is focused on competition. It's something members enjoy, Chapters know how to organize and can charge for. There's nothing wrong with that but it appeals to a limited number of people and there are those like myself who haven't learned enough to even consider competition. How many hours did each of you practice before your first contest? Over what period of time?
  Based on my own situation I wonder if the typical new member joins IAC to find out about aerobatics, discovers that it is devoted to competition for which that person is not ready, and then decides to leave. Perhaps to rejoin after some training in order to compete, perhaps not. Has anyone traced individual memberships to see how long the average member stays and how often they compete?
  The Primary category may bring in some new blood by allowing additional aircraft to participate but seems unlikely to increase membership greatly over the long term. As was pointed out these planes may be unsuited for Sportsman so that creates a dead end. Plus types such as Stearmans and T-6's could be competing against Pitts, Yaks, and Extras. It seems to me that these planes have completely different "styles" and it would be difficult to compare them during judging. 
  There's also a reluctance to push such planes too hard. As the owner of a 50 year old Chipmunk I would be hesitant to try a snap roll, for example. That's unknown territory for my unreinforced plane. It might be easy and safe but I'm not sure I want to find out. Assuming I didn't lose something major an overstress might be difficult if not impossible to repair. Parts are hard to find.
   If IAC wants to pursue "grassroots aerobatics" (which seems to be defined as competitively challenged aircraft rather than informal flying) perhaps there should be a category based somewhat subjectively on aircraft perfomance. Perhaps speed and ROC could be criteria. Pitts and above not allowed.
  I support the intent behind the Primary Category, which I see as a desire to include more people in IAC activities. Despite the flak I've received I still think the Recreational Aerobatics program has the best chance of increasing membership long term, which is really what this rule change is all about. Perhaps local flight schools, aircraft and parachute manufacturers would provide funding as a way to develop their markets. There was a parachute maker displaying at a warbird clinic that I attended. I'd think a Rec Aero rally would be a greater draw.   -Bill

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Virginia M. Jacobson 
  Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 9:02 PM
  Subject: [Acro] Re: IAC rules amok?? -- just another real world solution

  I've sat quietly reading the threads about the new Primary category and now feel I have to add my two cents.

  First off I agree there is a possible safety concern regarding a first time competitor who wishes to fly in the Primary category. It is possible that someone might show up and want to compete who has never received spin training or may not of ever even done a spin let alone recovered from one.  However OUR Sport, as is still true with most of aviation (at least I would like to think so) is governed greatly by the HONOR system. This is one of the things I cherish about aviation in general. Pilots for the most part are people who possess the follow core values.
    a.. Men and Women whose word and honesty mean something 
    b.. People who do what they say they will 
    c.. People who are very safety minded in all aspects of their life not just aviation 
    d.. People who understand the value of proper training
  Grant you there are always exceptions and some people do not posses these values but I believe they are the lesser not the greater of the masses.

  We have not regulated training requirements in the past because one, there was really no acceptable method by which to do so which was feasible and fair to all, but mostly because the people who are drawn to this sport are drawn because they have flown aerobatics and received some level of training before wanting to compete. Most people have gone and either taken some form of spin training or at least have gone out at altitude and practice spins before ever even thinking of competing and not because someone has told them they have to but out of common sense and self preservation. 

  I believe it's a good idea for the CD and the Safety Officer to sit down with ALL first time competitors and inquire about the amount of training and/or level of practice they have received before competing for the first time. They do so not with the intent of prohibiting someone from competing but rather with the intent of coaching and aiding the first time competitor to make sure that their first competition is fun and safe not only for them but the contest as well. This is the approach the IAC has taken and thus far and it's worked because the membership as a whole believe in the values stated above.  Lets not create more rules and impose greater restrictions on beginners but rather foster safer attitudes and behavior by mentoring and coaching people who want to begin enjoying this sport the same way we did.

  There will always be the few people who will try to do something just because the rules say they can even if it doesn't make good sense. However these people are the minority not the majority and imposing more requirements only penalizes the rest of us who because of our values would meet these requirements first anyway. I'm far less worried about the new aerobatic pilot just entering the sport than I am with the cocky pilot who wants to show off to their buddy's. I've gone to contests where so called experienced pilots have flown unsafely just to bolster their ego and impress their friends. These are the people we should be worried about. They are the ones who are more likely to get hurt or killed. They're the ones that will destroy our sport with their arrogant attitudes and behavior.  

  If the IAC is to consider any new proposals I for one wish they would come up with some means of monitoring rouge pilots. I've seen arrogant pilots set poor examples and promote negative attitudes towards our sport. These people usually get counseled about their actions by some contest official, they promise never to behave in that manner again then go off to another contest the next weekend and do it all over once more. How about coming up with a way of monitor these people and imposing sanctions? I suggest prohibiting them from competition for a given period of time until they straighten up their act? CD's could inform HQ about people who have exhibited either unsafe or undesirable behavior at a contest, HQ could keep a master list and if someone gets X number of complaints filed against them then a notice could be sent out to all CD's of up and coming contest informing them not to allow this individual to register.  How about a discussion and constructive comments on this topic?

  One last word, anyone who has hung in and read what I've had to say thus far, poor grammar and all, deserves a break. ;-)

  Mr. Parks made a statement about the IAC BOD pushing things down the memberships throats. Unless I'm mistaken I do believe this is how the process works a) someone(s) have proposed a change that they feel they would like to see implemented b) that proposal goes through a comment period in which all the membership has ample opportunity to voice their opinion before the BOD votes on it. The proposed rule changes are always posted on the IAC web site and are open for anyone in the membership to comment on and an email is even posted to the exploder telling the membership that the proposed changes are available for comment.  

  If this isn't how the process works than I'm sure I'll be corrected very quickly. 

  Nuff said...........

  Virginia Jacobson
  IAC# 18076
  VP IAC Ch-88
  National Judge

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