You may have noticed that next year's LSF/AMA NATS are scheduled earlier in the summer than our usual times. Yes, if you attend and fly UNL, you'll be flying your sailplane on the 4th of July. Earlier in the the year, the Executive Council of the AMA moved the whole NATS schedule back to accommodate the IRHC Helicopter Jamboree, a commercial, non-competition event that apparently brings a large number of people to the AMA site. The AMA Executive Board did not involve any of the AMA SIGS in this decision and the AMA's NATS Manager was simply instructed to "make it work". The LSF leadership was not made aware of the situation until this year's NATS and we worked with the NATS manager to make the best of the situation. The schedule just published is the result. If you wish to register a complaint about this situation, the proper person to contact is your AMA District VP whose e-mail address can be found on the AMA web site or in Model Aviation. This topic was opened to get your comments and/or suggestions for next year's NATS not not as a grille upon which to roast those responsible for the time change.
A side note: at the recent NATS planning meeting, a number of other AMA SIG representatives (along with me) registered their displeasure at the manner in which the Executive Council made this decision. The Executive Board member present (The District VI VP) at the meeting did not provide much satisfaction with his answers.
All that being said, it's my hope we can press on and make next year's NATS another great chapter in the "glider camp" saga.
What would be the possibility of doing a modified F3J landing zone for TD. Still 100" tape, but further away (not quite as far as F3J, since tape is not as long) and use the same rules of pilot and timer only. It makes a lot of sense and is very well proven. Keeps the others on the flight line much safer.
I have 1 issue with the F3J that we ran this year that I would definitely like to see addressed for future F3J events. I would like to see a safety line implemented, somewhere between the winch and the area where popups are setup. The teams would not be allowed to stretch their launch back beyond that safety line, into the area where people/popups are. This was done on several occasions and I feel that there is a potential safety issue, particularly as a judge, where we have to be in close proximity for the launch. Actually, it would be a lot safer if there were 2 safety lines, 1 that was the rearmost limit for the launch stretch, and a 2nd line that would be the closest proximity for popups/tents/loose equipment, etc.
Since the launch lines have limits themselves, it would be better to move the stuff back a bit and not impose another arbitrary safety line. The guys that overstretched the lines (Big John : ) sometimes broke them. Everyone stretches the lines a bit differently. You can leave adequate space for tents and then pace off the rear point for setting up the landing zone. The pilots at this level seem to know what they are doing. I myself didn't see a problem, since the stuff next to where each launched was their stuff and team. Wouldn't the Judges have a choice of where they stood anyway?
The idea that a "line" somehow makes things "safe" from an out of control plane is still a mystery to me. The idea of keeping the landing zone a bit further away and only let pilot and timer back, does make sense.
I've never been to an F3J event except the Nats. Is it normal to have tents and stuff between the launch area and landing zone? It is very convenient.
For those of us in the northern climes, the 4th of July holiday often coincides with a major family event because the weather allows us to celebrate outside ... my house isn't big enough for all the nieces' kids and attendant paraphernalia and I don't want them in the shop.
From a purely selfish viewpoint, these dates hit both my wedding anniversary and the family 4th (traditionally @ my house) so I am out, no if's, and's or but's.
The disregard shown to the NATS by the Executive Council is disheartening and I intend to write all of the DVPs to express my displeasure at their reckless disregard of the premier competition event put on by their own organization. The fact it was done without SIG input is further fuel for the fire.
Bob Brown was not yet President when these decisions were made, we were led to believe at the planning meeting that the EC acted as one body ... I can only assume money was their primary interest but we don't (and probably can't) know that for sure.
I wonder how many of the IRCHA partiers are actual AMA members? Not many, I'd wager!
That would be fine with me. The idea is to prevent them from stretching the lines so that the both the lines and planes are kept clear of the area between the winch and "tent city". I really feel that it's unsafe, with crew, spectators (usually spouses of crew), officials, etc back there. If a plane should "get away" from someone, I can just imagine the destruction/harm it could potentially cause.
the week of 4th of July wouldn't be my first choice either. Like TK said a lot of us have family stuff we do. In my case we like to go to campground and have a family reunion which we'll be doing again this year.
That said, assuming this is a done deal when will the individual contest dates be announced? I hunted around here and on RCgroups and couldn't find the specifics.