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  #1  
Old 05-07-2018, 07:13 PM
1flyingyogi 1flyingyogi is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 380
Default IAC Contest - Impressions of a first time competitor

I just got back yesterday from the Duel in the Desert Contest in Apple Valley, CA. Thursday was registration day and we got one 15 minute slot for practice. There were 28 competitors, and a bunch of awesome aircraft. I felt like a kid in a toy store. There were over half a dozen Extras, an Edge 540, 4-5 Pitts S1 and S2s, a Super D, 2 Eagles, a Great Lakes, and a very humble 160hp, FP prop RV4. Am I in the wrong place?? Haha. I wasted some precious minutes of my practice slot b/c I was not prepared. (I didn't realize I needed fuel, forgot to buckle the rear belts, etc.) Newbie mistakes, which only left me with about 8 minutes to check out the box and do one sequence. Next time I need to get prepared instead of gawking at the cool planes and chatting with their owners.

Friday, we started nice and early with the pilots meeting at 7am and Intermediate starting right after that. Afterwards was everyone else. I did ok, I thought, with a 77.xx% score, but felt I could do better and felt that I normally fly better than that. The density altitude caught me off guard and I learned that I should have started higher and carried more speed to start the maneuvers.

Second round I felt was better, but the judges didn't think so and I got a 76.xx%. I read the comments, but couldn't really understand what some of the comments meant. And the others, I kinda didn't know what to do about them. It would have been nice to have a mentor/ coach at this time. Any volunteers??

Saturday comes and again we had to wake up early, drive 20-25 minutes to the airport from the hotel and we all looked really tired. It was smoking hot.
I had my best flight that day with a score of 78.xx% and an overall finish of 3rd place.

First and second were Pitts S2s flown by a young kid who's obviously very talented and even at only twenty-something years old was a CFII and was flying with an aerobatic flight school in Utah. He has aspirations to become a Red Bull Air Race pilot. Second was a lovely young gal who flies for a collegiate aerobatics team in Colorado. By the end of the contest we were all friends and joking around with each other about who's gonna win the next contest.

AJ Wilder (he flies for the US National Aerobatic Team), who has been helping me out at my practice days, told me to go get the score and comments at the end of the contest so he could go over them with me and tell me what I need to work on for the next contest. They were really helpful tips, but why didn't he tell me this BETWEEN rounds instead of at the END of the contest?? Haha.
That would have been so helpful! I had a great time and learned a bunch and met a lot of really amazing people.

And as icing on the cake, I met and was hanging out with Max, the owner of a gorgeous Extra 330 the whole weekend. After the contest was finished on Saturday, we had some time and he asked me if I wanted to fly his plane from the front seat. Uhm... Of course!! YES!! The stick was so light that it felt like I just needed to BREATH on it and it moves! It's almost telepathic. It took a few minutes to get used to, but after I had a blast! Super nice guy and great pilot. He ended up with Second in Sportsman.

The best speech I heard at the banquet/ award ceremony was given by Howard Kirker, a 70-something legend in the sport. He said that the best measure of success in this sport is if you can grow old. That's much more important than trophies or titles. The goal is to be able to enjoy this sport until you grow old like him. So safety is of utmost importance. He has been flying since 16 years old and competed for 30 years up to Unlimited. He's now dialed back, but still kicking butt in Intermediate. He won first place this weekend. And the other guys say he always does - in a Great Lakes!!

Thanks to IAC 49 for taking me into their chapter and showing me the ropes. Before about a month and half ago, I never even had flown in an aerobatic box or gotten any ground critiquing or coaching and didn't know what the heck I was doing. Without them, I definitely would not have been here to compete. And thanks to Ron, Bill (willyeyeball), Jerry and all the guys on the IAC RV Yahoogroup for their guidance. You guys are a great inspiration for what an RV can do! And of course thanks to VAF and all the members for the incredible resource that it is. I would not even own an RV if it wasn't for this group. And lastly thanks to EAA 96 for coming "straight outta Compton" to support me! Haha. A lot of the following photos are courtesy of my buddies from EAA 96.

Here are the photos: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1y8...ifgG5TK5LxR7Rw

Now I gotta get some rest to recover. It was great fun, but sure takes a lot out of ya! Can't wait till the next one!

Cheers!
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2018, 12:35 AM
dhmoose dhmoose is offline
 
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Location: Portland, OR
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Thanks for the first impressions. I?ve never been to an event like that and your story gave me a good feel for what it was like. Glad you enjoyed it and congrats on your accomplishment.
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2018, 06:23 AM
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WillyEyeBall WillyEyeBall is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Daleville, AL
Posts: 354
Thumbs up great write up and pictures

Brian,
Congratulations on your first contest and detailed fun report. The real challenge is getting the scores higher with, of course, lots of practice and feed back from more experienced competitors. I usually try to arrive a day early at contests to have a little more time in the box. I'm sure you are looking forward to the next one.
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Bill McLean
RV-4 slider
lower AL
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2018, 09:39 PM
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RV8Squaz RV8Squaz is offline
 
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Location: Senoia, Georgia
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Hey Brian,

Congratulations!!! That is awesome! I?m vey glad to hear you had such a wonderful experience. You are absolutely correct about the people. It sounds like you?re fired up. I bet you can?t wait until the next contest. Hopefully you?ve met some people that can help you with the ground coaching/critiquing and possibly find a more suitable practice area than over the ocean! In any case it seems to work for you. Great job.
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2018, 12:37 AM
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Gash Gash is offline
 
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Location: Goodyear, Arizona
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Thanks for the excellent write up Brian! I'm sorry that I didn't see you there...I have a cracked exhaust on my Extra and was waiting on parts. I'll be at Coalinga though, so I hope to see you there. We need more RV pilots at IAC contests, so I'm glad that you took the plunge!
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2018, 01:36 AM
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ronschreck ronschreck is offline
 
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Excellent write-up Brian. I'll be posting your score as soon as I get back from Scotland. (Any RV pilots over here?)
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2018, 01:18 PM
1flyingyogi 1flyingyogi is offline
 
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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Thanks guys! You guys were a great motivation to get me started - a very tough act to follow though. I'm not a retired F-16 pilot, expecting to win every contest I enter like some of you guys. Haha.

The girl who took second place in Primary is named Vibeke from Norway and now flies for the State University of Denver Aerobatics Team. Man, why didn't they have an aerobatics team when I went to college?? How cool is that! Well, that's probably a good thing because if my school had an aviation major and an aerobatics team, my life might have turned out very differently.

Here's a link to the results: https://iaccdb.iac.org/contests/622

Karl, looking forward to seeing you at the next contest. I won't be able to make Coalinga though, but planning to be at Santa Maria. You wanna be my coach or at least give me some pointers between rounds?
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2018, 12:13 PM
sandifer sandifer is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1flyingyogi View Post
I'm not a retired F-16 pilot, expecting to win every contest I enter like some of you guys. Haha.
Hey Brian, trust me - the ex fighter jocks have ZERO advantage over anyone else. And contests are more fun when you don't have high expectations anyway. It can be a humbling sport. Most fun flight I ever had was on my 2nd flight ever in a Giles 202, diving into the box for the Advanced Known. Low expectations, high fun.
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2018, 06:21 PM
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Gash Gash is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1flyingyogi View Post
...at least give me some pointers between rounds?
Absolutely! We RV dawgs gotta stick together. See you at Santa Maria!
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2018, 11:16 AM
1flyingyogi 1flyingyogi is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandifer View Post
Hey Brian, trust me - the ex fighter jocks have ZERO advantage over anyone else. And contests are more fun when you don't have high expectations anyway. It can be a humbling sport. Most fun flight I ever had was on my 2nd flight ever in a Giles 202, diving into the box for the Advanced Known. Low expectations, high fun.
Yeah, I know Eric. I guess the ex-fighter jocks on this forum just have a natural talent for aerobatics then. Very cool you have a G202 - not a whole lot of them around.
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