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Article by John Kauk.
Bonus photos by Jennifer Orebaugh.
Helicopters pilots unite for the largest-ever IRCHA Jamboree.
Full event coverage featured on page 24 in the December 2013 issue.

Imagine throwing an entertaining party that more than a thousand people would want to travel from around the world to attend. Now imagine that the party in question would be restricted to only those people who were interested in flying RC helicopters. That’s exactly what an AMA SIG has been doing for years.

The International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA) hosted its annual Jamboree at the AMA’s International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana. Running from July 31 to August 4, 2013, the event set a new attendance record of 1,132 registered pilots to continue as the largest single-venue RC event in the world.

IRCHA president, Dave Millner, and the hard-working staff and volunteers did a commendable job coordinating this huge event. Pilot registration moved smoothly and efficiently and the events and demonstrations were well organized.

The party mostly ran along a 1/2-mile flightline on the southern end of the facility, and extended to a couple of other sites as well. The north side of the main flightline featured plenty of flying stations and room for pilots to set up canopies and pit areas. The vendor area stretched along the southern side of the flightline, and there was room for parking and camping around the perimeter of the area.

Show Center was near the middle of the long flightline, where the large public-address system thumped out a driving beat for the competitive events and demonstrations. Brett Walker handled much of the public-address duties, keeping the crowds well informed about what was going on throughout each day.

In addition to the flying activities, there were two tents on either side of the IRCHA registration trailer offered educational seminars throughout the day. On an hourly schedule, topics included turbine engine basics, aerial photography using multirotor aircraft, heli tuning and setup, gas engines, and more.

The Jamboree officially ran from 9 until 5 or 6 each day, but the fun didn’t stop at the end of the day’s schedule. Flying continued well into the evening, and when it got too dark for flying regular helicopters, pilots broke out their LED-encrusted night fliers. These helicopters were so well lit and decorated that they could be seen from far away. Some even lit up the ground for yards around as they flew.

In addition to the nearly nonstop flying up and down the flightline, the IRCHA Jamboree hosted a number of competitive events. Pilots from 21 countries came to compete and enjoy the experience, emphasizing the international nature of the organization.

For anyone with an interest in RC helicopters, the IRCHA Jamboree is a must-see event. With such a variety of offerings—from competition to fun-flying to just sitting and watching the amazingly skilled 3-D pilots—there’s something for everyone.

Put August 6-10, 2014, on your calendar and be a part of setting a new record at the next Jamboree!

Read the entire event coverage and see additional photos in the December 2013 issue of Model Aviation.

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