Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Model Aviation Staff.
A family reunion with national titles
Featured in the November 2014 issue of
Model Aviation.

The National Aeromodeling Championships is much like a big family reunion. There is food, fun, storytelling, a chance to see people you have missed, and friendly competition. Unlike a family reunion, there are awards and the thrill of being named a national champion!

For many modelers, the Nats is a vacation at their home away from home. They build, design, practice, and study all year for the opportunity to show off their detailed models or teach a friend a new maneuver. When an aircraft breaks or crashes, there is never a shortage of people willing to help with the repairs or share their models. It may be a competition, but the Nats is about camaraderie and working together to keep the hobby alive.

Nats competitors come from all walks of life. Some are young, some are older, some are novices, some are veterans, some are couples, and some are families with three generations of modelers. It doesn’t matter who you are—when you arrive at the Nats, you are family.

“You meet people from all over the country who are competing. They’re your sisters and brothers. It’s like a big social party once a year,” said Wayne Yeager who has been on the Nats management team for 30 years

FF manager Phil Sullivan said that those relationships have been the best aspect of the Nats. He retired this year after more than 10 years of holding that position. His fellow FF modelers gave him a parting gift of a rocking chair that each of them signed.

“What I remember is the people that you meet and you reacquaint with,” he said. “You call them good friends, but you see them once a year. I think that is the greatest thing that you will remember over the years.”

“Competitors come to compete against each other once a year on the big stage,” said Chris Montagino, a longtime CL Speed flier. “We share modeling techniques, agony, and defeat while building everlasting relationships with each other.” Chris has attended the Nats for 28 years and has been a modeler for 50.

Like Wayne and Chris, the Nats has been a part of many partcipants’ lives for as long as they can remember.

“Every AMA member at some point needs to see the facility. It’s just so impressive,” said Jim Quinn who reported on the RC Aerobatics Nats for NatsNews. In 2011, Jim also reported on the FAI F3A World Championships held at the IAC. During that event he said, “I just can’t tell you how many comments I got from pilots from around the world about how great the site is,” he said. “It’s pretty conveniently located. You owe it to yourself as an AMA member to visit the facility.”

See bonus photos

See Nats News back issues

Add new comment