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Written by Jennifer Orebaugh.
Despite scheduling changes, the 87th Nats focused on friendly competition
Featured in the November 2013 issue of
Model Aviation.

The 2013 Outdoor National Aeromodeling Championships, held in Muncie, Indiana, at the International Aeromodeling Center (IAC) June 25 through July 30, and the 2013 Indoor National Aeromodeling Championships, held at the University of Illinois Armory in Champaign, Illinois, August 7-13, brought the winds of change.

The schedule for Outdoor events started on June 25 with RC Scale Aerobatics. Events that followed didn’t adhere to the normal sequence that Nats participants are accustomed to. Soaring was held during the Fourth of July weekend, and FF, which generally wraps up the contest, was held early in July.

One of the biggest changes was in the Indoor FF contest. Normally held over Memorial Day weekend, in Johnson City, Tennessee, Indoor was held this year at the beginning of August, in the University of Illinois Armory in Champaign, Illinois. Along with the new dates and location, Indoor also welcomed new event directors and revamped schedules.

The weather in Muncie impacted many of the events. RC Scale Aerobatics suffered wall clouds, high winds, and fast-moving afternoon storms, while Soaring endured fog and chilly mornings.

FF had a few showers, but enjoyed mostly beautiful days, however the CL participants had to tolerate 90° temperatures and high humidity. Many of the participants in RC Aerobatics and RC Helicopters wished they had brought jackets and long pants because of the 50° mornings!

Families were an important part of competition. Several generations shared in the love of the hobby whether it was by participating, volunteering, or cheering for and supporting their loved ones.

International pilots also took part in some of the disciplines. Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Jamaica were represented. One participant in RC Scale Aerobatics, Adi Kochev, came from Israel to learn about International Miniature Airplane Club (IMAC) competition in hopes of building a team for the 2014 IMAC World Championships.

Attendance was slightly down this year. Many world championships were held overseas during or nearly the same time as the Nats. US and Canadian team pilots were notably absent during RC Pylon Racing, RC Aerobatics, and RC Helicopters. Many of the modelers who came to Muncie to compete mentioned that the decline in attendance might have also been relative to the economy and changes to the event schedule.

Despite missing those participants, several competitors were welcomed back after long absences. Some competitors who are no longer with us were remembered through thoughts, memories, and special tributes.

The friendly competition and the camaraderie of those who share the love of this hobby bring many modelers back, but the Nats couldn’t happen without the sponsors and many volunteers who serve as event managers, contest directors, scorekeepers, those who deliver scores, or even the “Turnaround Trolls” who manage the winch lines during the Soaring competitions.

NatsNews, the daily newsletter delivered onsite and posted online during the Nats, reported on each contest. This was possible through the help of reporters and the photographers who captured the daily essence of what it means to be a part of the National Aeromodeling Championships.

If you were unable to attend this year’s event and would like a glimpse of what you missed, read the NatsNews coverage and view photos online through the AMA website and AMA Flickr page.

—Jennifer Orebaugh


First-time competitor Matt Stringer is the 2013 RC Aerobatics Masters champion. Matt also
won as best-placing Junior and the highest-placing National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics member. Photo by Jim Quinn.

RC Scale competitor and MA ad representative Mark Lanterman, flew an Airborne Models Tucano in the Fun Scale category. Mark’s wife, Lisa, and son, Spencer, attended the Nats to provide support Photo by Stan Alexander.

Caller AJ Seaholm launches for his teammate, Scott Causey, during a round of Q500. AJ, who is MA’s “RC Pylon Racing” columnist, won Pylon Q500 and became the Overall National Champion, with Scott as his caller. Inset photo by Scott Causey.

Bob Mears and Andrew Nadien do their center circle dance during the CL F2D Combat. Once the pirouettes, loops, and passes ended, Andrew was deemed the winner. Photo by Phil Cartier.

Alex Trussel (L) and his father, Gavin, show off their awards from F3K Soaring Junior and Senior categories. The duo is thought to be the first father-son team to win a national-level F3K contest. Photo by Gavin Trussel.

John Schroder (fifth from the left) and Team Clover Creek. John and his wife, Tina, open their home at Clover Creek Aerodrome in Toone TN every summer to run a camp for kids who are focusing on aerobatic competition. Three national champions—Kal Riefsnyder, Corey Ford, and Avery Poole—have participated in the camp. Photo by Curtis Cozier

More than streamers were cut during this round of RC Combat, when William Drumm and Tom Neff clipped each other’s airplanes. Photo by Don Grissom.

Family participation in FF is a long-standing tradition. William Wicks (L) and Aiden Johnson, both 5, represent the newest generation of modelers by participating for the first time in the Junior Catapult event. Photo by Elizabeth Johnson.

MA Editor-in-Chief Jay Smith and Managing Editor Liz Helms participated in the Limited Pennyplane Pro-Am contest during the Indoor Nats. Guided by Brett Sanborn and John Kagan, Jay placed first and Liz took second place. Photo by Jim Buxton.

A temporary pond was erected at Site 3 for the rise-off-water (ROW) FF event. Several modelers participated and Dan Berry set two national records in A ROW Gas and C ROW Gas.

The FF flightline moved according to the wind direction. CD Joe Mekina decided each day where the launching pad would be.

Allen Goff’s CL Scale rendition of John Gosney’s Ryan STA 200 Special looked great on the ground and in the air. Allen, from Muncie IN, won the F4B CL Scale class with a score of 5,293.

Advanced, Expert, and Open CL classes were flown at Site 1 on the pavement, while Beginner and Intermediate classes and the unofficial Old-Time Stunt and Classic events were flown on grass circles.

In Navy Carrier, slow flight in a descent for landing and catching the arresting cables requires knowledge and experience.

Dwight Schilling prepares for his FAI maneuvers in front of the RC Helicopter judges.

The 2013 RC Scale Helicopter Nats participants (L-R): Paul Holland flying an OH-6A Cayuse; Jon Martin with his UH-1K; Stan Kopreski campaigning a Cobra; and the 2013 National Champion, Eric Babineaux and his Cobra.

Adi Kochev came from Israel to fly in the Nats and learn about IMAC competition. Adi said, “We have a lot to learn from the community here in the United States. The main reason I came here to the US is because this is the cradle of IMAC if you want to learn.”

Approximately 15 Science Olympiad kids from Smyrna TN, led by Tim Lavender, participated in the Indoor Nats. Several modelers contributed to a fund to help defray the costs of traveling to the event. Abram VanDover presented the group with a check. Photo by Jim Buxton.

Bill Lee (R) shows off his record-setting CL Racing Quickie Rat heat race time with Bill Bischoff. Photo by Melvin Schuette.

Bonus Flickr Photos

See additional photos on our Flickr page at

2013 NatsNews Columnists and Contributors

Thank you to all of our NatsNews columnists and contributors who provided daily reports and photographs during the 2013 Nats. Without their hard work and dedication to bringing the Nats alive in words and photos, it would not be possible.

Click here to access back issues of NatsNews.

NatsNews Columnists
RC Scale—Stan Alexander
CL Precision Aerobatics—Allen Brickhaus
RC Soaring—Gordon Buckland Tim Gess
Indoor FF—Jim Buxton
CL Combat—Phil Cartier
RC Pylon Racing—Scott Causey
RC Scale Aerobatics—Curtis Cozier
CL Scale/CL Navy Carrier—Steve Cuthbert
CL Speed—Warren Gregory
RC Combat—Don Grissom
Outdoor FF—Elizabeth Johnson
RC Helicopter—Santiago Panzardi
RC Aerobatics—Jim Quinn
CL Racing—Melvin Schuette

NatsNews Contributors
David Beach
Caleb Gess
John Kagan
Skye Malcolm
Joe Mekina
Jennifer Orebaugh
Chris Savage
Brenda Schuette
AJ Seaholm
Michelle Seaholm

2013 National Aeromodeling Championship Sponsors

2013 National Aeromodeling Championship Sponsors
ACP Composites
APC Propellers
Balsa USA
Hudson Rentals
Jett Engineering, Inc.
Ritch’s Brew



Nats scores

2013 Nats photos on Flickr

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