Inaugural Starter Scale Event 12/2012

First Starter Scale Contest a success in Arizona

On Saturday, December 1, 2012 the Sun Valley Fliers of Phoenix, AZ hosted the first Starter Scale contest at their Cave Buttes flying site. This event was advertised as a teaching event only for newcomers to scale competition, and it featured the new US Scale Masters entry level Pro/Am Sportsman class. Contestants were eligible to enter Pro/Am Sportsman provided they have not previously competed at any level other than USSMA Pro/Am Sportsman, AMA Fun Scale Novice, or any other scale R/C contest above the novice level. To obtain a “static” score the contestant needed to provide a picture, artist’s rendition, or box top artwork proving that his/her entry is a model of a full size man carrying aircraft. This documentation automatically scored 25 points for static without any further judging of the model aircraft. If there was no documentation, the static score would have been zero. Any scale or semi-scale model aircraft was eligible for competition including ARF’s, ARC’s, & built-up models, with glow, gas, electric, or turbine engines.

Flight judging was performed under the same 100 point per round criteria as any other scale contest, with a few exceptions designed to make the newcomers more comfortable.

The 5 mandatory flight maneuvers consisted of

Each contestant also had to select and perform 5 optional flight maneuvers of their choice.

Other exceptions to flight judging included

These exceptions and variances are only applicable to Starter Scale events; USSMA qualifier and Championship contests will continue to operate the Pro/Am classes under customary flight judging rules in the Scale Masters Guide.

Starter Scale contests are also designed to make it easy for clubs and contest directors to operate such events. The contest is a one-day event and there are no trophies to be awarded. The Sun Valley Fliers chose to sanction their Starter Scale contest with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, as they do for any contest held at their field. The entry fee was a modest $20 per pilot/model and the entry fees, after deducting contest expenses, were returned as cash prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

We were delighted to have eight newcomers register for the Sun Valley Fliers Starter Scale contest, and there was a very wide variety of model airplanes competing.

John Deacon Glow fuel powered
Dragon Rapide twin

David Zorria Gas powered
Balsa USA
¼ scale Fokker D-VII
Ron Peteric Glow powered
World Models
T-34 Mentor

Jason Stanley Electric
F7F Tigercat twin
Derek Micko Electric
Me-262 twin

Rusty Fried Gas powered
Top Flight P-47 Thunderbolt
Jim McEwen Turbine powered

Mike Dolan Electric powered Dynam
Me-262 twin

John Deacon entered a glow fuel powered scratch-built Dragon Rapide twin. Ron Peteric had a glow powered World Models T-34 Mentor. Derek Micko flew an electric Dynam Me-262 twin. Jim McEwen flew a turbine powered Skymaster JAS-39C Gripen. David Zorria brought his gas powered Balsa USA ¼ scale Fokker D-VII. Jason Stanley entered an electric ASM F7F Tigercat twin. Rusty Fried brought his gas powered Top Flight P-47 Thunderbolt. Mike Dolan flew his electric powered Dynam Me-262 twin. We ran one flight line with two very qualified judges, Kent Walters and Eric Stevens and flew a total of two rounds for the day.

What made this event a true success in the eyes of our contestants and the club was the amount of personalized contest experienced help we were able to provide to each newcomer pilot. Each contestant had assistance in selecting the five optional maneuvers they would perform based on their type of model and their own comfort level with each maneuver. They had help in filling out the round flight sheets and caller card, and the caller cards already had all the mandatory maneuvers printed on them. Bob Frey talked with each pilot and his caller before starting their round about how to describe their maneuvers to the judges, how the caller would inform the pilot of the next maneuver to fly, how to set-up the maneuver entry and when to call the maneuver start & completion, as well as the importance of prototypical smooth flight and power management between maneuvers for flight realism scoring. Each contestant was provided with an experienced caller if they wanted or needed one. At the end of each round, the flight judges provided feedback to the contestant group on what they noted as the most common general errors that were made most often during the round. All the contestants were complimentary of the assistance they had received and many commented that this helped them to understand how and why things were done in a contest setting, making it much less stressful and more enjoyable to participate.

We used a 100 point normalized scoring methodology for the flight scores, but the actual raw scores of the judges ranged between 74.5 and 91.5, with the majority in the mid-80’s. The contest results are shown below:

Place/Prize Name Model Flown Static Score
2 Rounds Avg
1st / $53
Derek Micko
Me-262 25 99.714 124.714
2nd / $30 Rusty Fried P-47 25 97.214 112.214
3rd / $20 John Deacon Dragon Rapide 25 94.900 119.900
4th Jim McEwen JAS-39C Gripen 25 94.764 119.764
5th Mike Dolan Me-262 25
6th Ron Petterec T-34 Mentor 25
David Zarria Fokker D-Vl 25
Jason Stanley
F7F Tigercat

We began registration at 8:00 AM and started flying the first round at 9:30. By 2:30 PM both rounds were concluded and the awards had been presented. At the conclusion of the contest, we asked the contestants if they would be interested in participating in another Starter Scale contest if there was one held in the Phoenix area in the near future. All eight contestants enthusiastically responded yes. Four days later the Sun Valley Fliers Board of Directors just as enthusiastically approved another Starter Scale contest for January 20, 2013, and this time we plan to run both the Pro/Am Sportsman and the Pro/Am Pro classes.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not mention all the helpers that truly made this a successful and exciting event. In addition to Eric, Kent, and Bob previously recognized, many thanks go to Bernie Boland, Autumn Boland, John Geyer, Howard Kennedy, Austin Goodwin, Jay Steward, Gene Peterson, Charlie Beverson, and Frank Moskowitz the President of the Sun Valley Fliers.

Michael Peck
Arizona Area Director

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