U.S. Scale Masters

USSMA General Discussions => SM Qualifier CD's Info Exchange => Hosting a Qualifier How-To => Topic started by: j_whitney on Wed, 10/20/10, 08:43 PM

Title: Hosting a Qualifier
Post by: j_whitney on Wed, 10/20/10, 08:43 PM
Mitch got a request from someone who was interested in hosting a Qualifier - he had approached his club and was asked "How much does it cost?  And what does it take?"

Mitch put out a plea for help on this, and I wrote the following over my lunch period (and it kinda shows, too).  Take it FWIW, feel free to ask questions.

So you want to host a USSMA Qualifier?  Be prepared for a ride.  It is both rewarding and frustrating.

Hosting a qualifier is pretty much like hosting any other contests, with a few differences.  You SHOULD use USSMA certified judges – that way you are assured that the judges – both static and flight – are familiar with the USSMA rules.  It is advisable to have a “calibration” flight as close to the actual flying as practicable.  The CD should also be up to date on the USSMA rules, and it would not be a bad idea to become a certified judge yourself.  Find and appoint a chief judge.  Your main job as CD is overseer – delegate as much as you can; just make sure that the people you delegate to know what they are doing and what is expected of them.

You will need judges – 2 flight judges per flight line, 3 static judges.  If certified, static judges can also flight judge.  You should appoint one of them chief judge – most judging questions should be handled by him.  You should have someone to handle registration.  You should have someone to handle radio impound.  If you have more than 2 flight lines you should have an Air Boss – a sort of Air Traffic Controller who is aware of where each airplane is and gives clearance for landing and take-off.  You should have a “runner” – someone to pick up the scores after each flight or static and take them to the scorekeeper.  Yeah – it really does take a lot of people to run a contest smoothly.  The Scorekeeper can also be the runner – but usually not until after the first round has flown – he/she will be too busy inputting scores until then.

Some of what happens at the contest is dependent on the field layout – can you have 3 or 4 flight lines?  If only two, it can make for a long day.  If possible, get the non-static pilots up while static judging is still going on – this will shorten the day.  Your Impound person can also be responsible for setting up the flight order – much easier now with 2.4 GHz radios.  It helps to know who the pilot buddies are, often one pilot will call and pit for another, but sometimes it will be a non-pilot.

By far the biggest/hardest task is finding and training judges.  Most everything else after that is pretty perfunctory.

Cost: Usually the biggest cost is trophies.  If you have a skilled woodworker in the club (or someone in a member’s family or friends) you can cut that cost down.  Sometimes the nicest and most unique trophies are pretty inexpensive – but not always.  Trophies usually go to to 3rd place, but once you get to know your “clientele” you may be able to adjust that.  The next largest cost is merchandise.  Get your AMA sanction in early and write to all the manufacturer’s as early as you can – they have budgets and are often spent by early summer.  Raffles are great money makers – if there is a large enough turnout they can return a lot of the expense of the entire contest.  Food – you gotta serve lunch!  The usual fee is $5 for a hamburger or hot dog, chips and soda – do what feels good to you there.  Advertising and printing of forms and fliers can add up, unless you are willing to do it yourself and just absorb the cost.  You can create a PDF of your flier and email it to other clubs in the area for inclusion in their newsletters, and post it on the websites that cater to scale and some that don’t.  A notice to your local hometown paper in the form of an article is often free - but you or someone in your club will have to write it.  Approach local businesses about sponsorships (AKA donations) - it does not have to be an aviation related business - a hardware store, maybe food donations from the grocery store - that sort of thing.  All in exchange for a "Sponsored by " message on a poster at the field.

My club allocates $300 currently for each contest.  We usually use that as “front money” and wind up returning everything we spent and then some.  We used to allocate $500, but never had a loss greater than about $100 (it does happen – bad weather, poor turnout, whatever) so we lowered it to $300 and made balancing the club budget easier.

So that is just a quick rundown on what I have encountered.  If we can figure out a way to upload a file, there is a nice write-up by Roy Vallaincourt that is much more in depth than this, and possibly the spread sheet that Gary Norton (Financial Advisor) uses for the Championships - although it is VERY detailed it gives you a lot to think about.

Title: Re: Hosting a Qualifier
Post by: j_whitney on Wed, 10/20/10, 08:56 PM
Found out how to upload files, so here are Roy's document and the Championship Task List, both in PDF
Title: Re: Hosting a Qualifier
Post by: Roly on Tue, 03/01/11, 01:55 PM
Hello Jeff,

Good information for CD's and clubs considering hosting a Scale event/S.M. Qualifier.

My experience is that financially the event can support itself with just the flyers and utilizing 50/50 draws.

Thanks, Roly :)
Title: Re: Hosting a Qualifier
Post by: j_whitney on Sat, 11/12/11, 07:56 PM
I have thought some more about this stuff, most of it still pertains.  It is never too early to begin planning for your event.  Here in Northern California we have the NCRCS - Northern California Radio Control Society.  Not really an organization, we used to meet once a year in early January to plan events for the year - clubs would send representatives or if they were too far away a letter with the dates and types of events.  With the number and type of events that are proliferating this can be quite a chore.  Nowadays we just email our information to the organizer and he puts out a list of the events.  Bring some pictures from past events with you.  See if you can get the local boy scout troop to help, or a CAP squadron.

Getting outsiders to come helps your club and helps the event (food and raffle sales) - a small article in your local newspaper can bring out a lot of folks - maybe even speaking at the local high schools.  If you get kids to come, do a noon-time fly-off with the small gliders you can get at the craft or hardware stores.  AMA Delta Darts would be good, but probably take too long and take too much manpower to oversee.

Think outside the box!