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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Moving Up

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Moving Up


Thread: Moving Up

Message: Moving Up

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

From: Damon Wack <71034.2200 at CompuServe.COM>

Date: Sat, 27 Apr 1996 15:09:50 UTC


  >> One of the basic problems we 
have is that some pilots who are capable of moving up refrain from doing so
because their 
aircraft would not be competitive in the higher category.<<

Dennis, I don't agree.  As has been said before, a good pilot can be competitive
in nearly any category in any aircraft, but it demands dedication and practice.
There are many examples of this, from Robert Armstrong on down.

I believe most people don't move up from Intermediate to Advanced because they
don't want to fly outside, or don't want to practice enough to keep up thier "g"
tolerance.  Same goes for folks moving from Advanced to Unlimited.  Tommy Adams
and Dan McGarry have been flying Advanced for nearly as long as the IAC has been
in existence.  Tom has won the Advanced Nationals 5 times.  If he doesn't want
to beat up himself or his airplane in Unlimited, I see no fault in that. I
looked *forward* to flying against these guys, they are among the best, and if
you manage to fly a little better at one contest, it's really a thrill!

IMHO The *biggest* reason equipment prevents someone from moving up is when you
don't have an inverted system.  Although Don Peterson does an absolutely
*magnificent* job with his Stampe in Intermediate.  His problem is the judges
are not used to seeing it (and of course going downhill on the top part of a
square loop!<G>) I bet if he keeps flying it as well as he does, the judges will
come around sooner or later.

>> This is damaging to one's incentive, 
and does not even provide a proper ranking of pilot skills. Did someone who wins
Sportsman really 
fly better than a low-standing pilot flying the same type of aircraft in the

How is this damaging to one's incentive?  You mean you don't want to fly against
the best?  Or are you discouraged because you think you can't move up?  And what
do you mean by "proper ranking"?  I'm confused, are you ranking all the pilots
at a contest with each other, regardless of what category they are in?  Are you
saying all the Intermediate pilots are somehow better than all Sportsman pilots
because they are in a different class?  It seems to me that the guy who wins
Sportsman beat all the other Sportsman pilots, period.  How can you compare him
to an Intermediate pilot just because they are flying the same aircraft?  He or
she is not any better or worse than someone in a different class.  If you put a
good pilot in a lower performance plane, he is still a good pilot, and the
scores will show it.  If you put a less capable pilot in a more capable
airplane, he or she is still not going to fly any better.

I watched a young lady win the Nationals in Sportsman in 1994 in a TAYLORCRAFT!
It was, by far, the least capable aircraft there. (Except for Don's Stampe!<BG>)
She just flew the wheelpants off of it, and beat some seasoned competitors like
George Stock in an S1 Pitts!  IMHO the Extras and Sukhois in Sportsman are
actually at a disadvantage, because they are so fast, and with all those 45's,
they can't keep them in the box!<G>  If she wants to stay in Sportsman, fine.
If she really wants to move up, I don't imagine it to be that difficult or even
expensive, to find an aircraft *at least* as capable as Don's Stampe! (Sorry,
Don, you are just too good an example not to keep using!<G>)

I think people should move up when they are ready to.  I noticed another pilot
suggest one should move up after you win three contests.  I disagree, we should
*not* force people to move just because they are winning contests.  Good natured
kidding is fine, and expected, but forcing people would be a very grave error,
and could easily be a compromise in safety.  The jump between Intermediate and
Advanced was a big one for me, and the gulf between Unlimited and Advanced is
even larger.  I have attended many contests over the last three years, and I
have yet to see one person dominating *any* category with a high priced
super-bird, much less to collect that expensive piece of wood to hang on their
wall.  If you fly well, the guys who seem to dominate a category will be just as
nervous about flying against you, when you show up at a contest, as you are
about flying against them.  But it makes the competition all the more sweet!
(Half the people in Advanced who come to Sebring do so just for the chance to
beat Mike Mays!<BG>)  

Sorry for my long-windedness.  I guess I just don't believe that differences in
equipment are so grave that we need to change rules, or categories, or handicap
each other.  I think running fuel through the carb will do more to equalize the
inequities than changing the rules.

I absolutely love this sport, and I fly because it is the nearest thing to total
freedom I have ever experienced.  I go to contests to live, eat, breathe, and
fly airplanes with other folks who feel the same way.  I do my best to become
part of the machine and the sky and fly the perfect sequence, and it's great if
I manage to win, but I am not dissapointed if I fly well and lose, I am only
disappointed when I make a dumb mistake (like leave out two lines of my free!
Arrggghhhh!<G>) or win the Bozo award!  Or both!<G>




© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn