1968 was the AMA Nats that almost wasn't. The U.S. Navy, which for
year prior had helped organize and finance the Nationals competitions,
decided it was no longer going to do so. The reason given was that
its primary mission - to promote aviation as a career to boys and
young men who might eventually decide to make the Navy a career
- had suffered due to a continually decreasing percentage of boys
and young men participating in the competition. Thanks to heroic
efforts of members of both the Navy and the AMA, the 1968 Nats went
on to become possibly 'The Greatest Ever." Alas, the victory was
short-lived, because only a couple short years later the Navy forever
canceled its sponsorship.
Nationals Reborn at Olathe
The planning conference for the 1968 National Model Airplane
Championships might never have happened. That it did - and with
a spectacular climax - was due to a dramatic reversal of a seemingly
unalterable trend. The Navy was unable to justify continued spending
money and manpower on an event in which the youngsters of yesteryear
had become adult hobbyists. There was nothing wrong with that in
itself, but the young in heart had done little to seed a follow-on
U. S. Navy photo.
Youngster at Nats planning-conference and AMA Exec. Director
preview Olathe Jr. Program.
Without any real evidence of activity which would suggest that
the situation would do anything but further increase the average
age of Nationals contestants, the Navy at one point last year had
actually canceled the 1968 meet. But, fortunately, some groundwork
laid some months before enabled the program to be reactivated. No
one thing did it - a combination of factors made the difference.
Some good Navy friends played a big part. Those originally assigned
to organize the 1968 effort attended the '67 event in California,
determined to do the best preparation job possible for the meet
to be held at Olathe Naval Air Station in Kansas. By Christmas of
last year when other happenings within the Navy were calling for
cancellation of the Nats, the Olathe people had already done a tremendous
job of planning. The 1968 Nats project officer, Cdr. Al Shiner,
and his assistant, LCdr. Dick Gray, together with the Public Affairs
Officer, Cdr. Mac Bailey, had well organized a new concept of Nats
operation under the leadership of the Olathe Commanding Officer,
Capt. Frank Culley.
Meanwhile, officers of the Academy of Model Aeronautics had brought
to a head various Junior program efforts which had been long simmering
but relatively unnoticed. When the time came to prove that AMA could
produce and operate an effective youth program for model aviation
the evidence was documented (See the Model Aviation section of American
Modeler, April 1968, page 45).
Both the Navy and AMA efforts were detailed in a special meeting
held in Washington last December, attended by representatives from
the civilian and military organizations. Sufficient promise of a
successful future National meet youth program was produced that
pre-planning for the 1968 meet was allowed to continue. But the
threat of cancellation persisted and it was obvious that more vigor
than ever would have to be applied so that by Nats Planning Conference
time at the end of February more evidence of progress would be necessary.
The planning conference, due to exceptional efforts by the Olathe
officers, produced a tremendous community-backed pledge of support.
The proof was in an amazing Kick-Off banquet during the conference
in which over four hundred people representing all interests participated.
Businessmen, representatives of the Exchange Club, Chambers of Commerce,
civic and service groups, members of the Kansas City Aero Club,
Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scouts, and Junior Chambers of Commerce were
on hand - they came from more than a hundred mile radius to join
with AMA and Navy officers from all parts of the country, to learn
about the planning to date and to offer their enthusiastic support.
The banquet was held in the drill hall at Olathe NAS, where twenty
years before a thousand contestants at the first Navy hosted National
meet had been housed in hundreds of double decked bunks. Dozens
of youngsters were on hand. They were shown movies of past Nats,
were given AMA Racer kits by Sig Mfg. Co., and were treated as regal
guests symbolizing the spirit of youth for future Nats programs.
Many were shown how to fly finished models of the kits they received
and some won prizes of more advanced Comet kits donated by the manufacturer.
Special promotional packets, which included literature promoting
youngster model aviation programs and a copy of the April issue
of American Modeler, were distributed to dinner guests representing
all levels of community support. A display, featuring Navy scale
models built by members of the Kansas City RC club, was set up in
the center of the dining area. And during the dinner the Executive
Director of AMA launched a "Fly Navy" version of the Delta Dart
model which is to be the basic trainer for the new Navy junior program.
Vice Admiral S. A. Heyward, Chief of Naval Air Training, then
delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the need for youth and educational
aspects of model aviation. He indicated that if the current planning
for the Nats operation produced reasonable success in these areas
a new beginning for Navy hosted National and regional meet support
could be expected. As proof that Navy thinking went beyond the 1968
Nats at Olathe, it was noted that an officer from NAS Willow Grove,
Penna., was on hand to observe and make basic preparations for the
So a new era of National Model Airplane Championships is underway.
Our Navy friends have reopened the door to future hosting. But we
still have to prove that we're doing more than just talking about
getting more youngsters into model aviation. Both for 1968 and long
range, more youngsters - especially in the eight to eighteen range
- will have to be in greater evidence. And they will be, due to
fast developing special programs being put into effect now - both
in the Kansas City area and across the country. It is fitting, therefore,
that twenty years after the Navy began its Nationals hosting a rebirth
of the program is taking place. AMA members and clubs can help by
helping to get more youngsters to the Nats.
Best Nats Ever?
U. S. Navy photo.
February Nats planning conference was on Kansas City
TV. Shown are Earl Wilt; Capt. F. Culley, CO., Olathe NAS;
J. Worth; TV photog.
It's shaping up that way! Despite restrictions imposed by the
current military mission Navy support for the Nats at Olathe is
enthusiastic and substantial. From one standpoint alone this year's
Nats will be the best ever: The site itself. Free Flighters should
drool over the wide-open spaces - an unobstructed runway 7500 feet
long with many thousands of empty acres beyond the downwind end
of the field. The Olathe Naval Air Station is bigger than it was
during the last Nats there in 1949, mostly in land acquired for
longer runways and approach zones. Advance observers rate it the
finest free flight site in all of Nats history.
Radio Control and Control Line sites are also excellent, each
able to operate on a completely independent basis from the other.
And, barring freak wind shifts in case of abnormal weather, there
should be no cases of free flight models dropping into the other
The tight housing situation of other stations in recent years
does not apply to Olathe. At least a thousand bunks are available.
And trailer camping on the station is also available, convenient
to the drill hall for access to showers and lavatories, for males
and females. Eating on station is also simpler - pay-as-you-go,
meal by meal, rather than by advance commitment.
And even though a whole day has been chopped from the competition
schedule, the total hours needed to permit as many events as last
year have been maintained. Instead of the usual 8 AM to 5 PM outdoor
contest day, the '68 hours are 7 AM to 7 PM. And housing is available
earlier - on the Friday before the contest starts.
If ever there was a Nats worth attending, the '68 event rates
highest. The "inside" advice to AMA members is "Don't miss this
one - and bring a Junior."
Nats Entry Details
To enter in advance, by mail, entry forms must be postmarked
no later than July 7. After that date, entry forms must be presented
at the Nats, in person, and will be subject to late fees.
Advance Basic Entry Fee: Junior and Senior AMA members - $2.00,
includes two events; Open members - $10.00. Additional events (all
age categories) are $1 per event, except RC which are $5 per event.
Late Basic Entry Fee: Same as advance fee for Juniors and Seniors,
$15 for Open members. Additional events (all age categories) are
$2 per event, except RC which are $5 per event.
Event Additions at Nats for either late or advance entries: $2
per event, except $5 for RC events. Note: no event additions after
11 am Sunday, Aug. 4. No changes or substitutions of events may
be made, nor will any refunds be made for any events not flown.
Mechanics fee, advance or late is $2. Provides identification
and field access privileges equivalent to contestants. Available
to AMA members only.
Note: Nats entry forms available upon request from AMA, 1239
Vermont Ave., N. W., Wash., D. C. 20005. Send stamped, self-addressed
envelope for priority return.
Nats Housing, Meals. Ample housing appears to be available aboard
NAS Olathe in barracks and drill hall, for males only. No charge
for housing, but no linens can be supplied - users must provide
own sheets, blankets, towels, toilet articles, etc. Some locker
space may be available, but probably not enough for all.
Meals are available to all contestants and mechanics, male and
female, on a pay-as-you-go basis: pay at dining hall for each meal.
Costs: breakfast - 27c, lunch - 60c, supper - 45c.
Camping trailer area available, on station, adjacent to drill
hall - no charge. Trailer units must be self-contained; no electricity
or water on site. However, drill hall lavatories and showers (both
male and female) are close by.
Nats Entry and Competition Schedule
Friday (Aug. 2). Registration (including housing) for all those
pre-entered by mail - noon to 9 pm. Late Entries accepted from 2
pm to 9 pm. RC processing from noon to 9 pm.
Saturday (Aug. 3). Test flying, where and if facilities permit,
and Goodyear qualifications (both only for those registered) - 7
am to noon. Goodyear qualifications have air priority - other RC
testing on a non-interference basis. Registration (including housing)
- 8 am to 5 pm. Late entry - 8 am to 11 am. RC processing - 4 pm
to 9 pm. Navy Blue Angels Air Show- 1 pm to 3 pm. Note: due to traffic
problems in connection with the afternoon air show, all contestants
are warned that they may have to park in general public spectator
areas if arriving on station between 10 am and 3 pm.
Sunday (Aug. 4). Test flying and RC Goodyear qualifications,
under same conditions as for Saturday (see above) - 7 am to noon.
Final Late Entry period - 8 am to 11 am (no late entries accepted
after 11 am). Registration (including housing) for those pre-entered
by mail - 8 am to 5 pm. RC processing - 4 pm to 9 pm Navy Blue Angels
Air Show, with same traffic problems as Saturday (see above) - 1
pm to 3 pm. Official Indoor flying, Kansas City Municipal Auditorium
- 9 am to 9 pm. Events are HL Glider, Stick, Paper Stick, and Cabin,
with separate time periods to be assigned for glider and rubber
power. The auditorium has a 96-ft. ceiling.
Monday (Aug. 5). FF Scale (models must be flown before being
judged, - 7 am to noon (1/2 day only). FF Outdoor HL Glider - 1
pm to 7 pm (1/2 day only). FF C Gas and Nordic - 7 am to 7pm*. Control
Line: FAI Speed. A Speed, Rat Race (Open only), Stunt (Sr. only),
and Combat (Jr. only) - 7 am to 7 pm*, Radio Control: FAI (abbreviated
pattern). - 7 am to 3:30 pm*. RC Scale (models must be flown before
being judged, all flights are official) - 3:30 pm to 7 pm,
Tuesday (Aug. 6). FF B Gas, Rocket, and Wakefield - 7 am to 7
pm*, CL B Speed, Rat Race (Jr. only), Stunt (Open only), and Combat
(Sr. only) - 7 am to 7 pm*, RC Pattern and RC Scale - same as Monday.
Wednesday (Aug. 7). FF A Gas and FAI Gas - 7 am to 7 pm*. Helicopter
- 7 am to noon (1/2 day only). CL C Speed, Jet Speed, B Proto, Rat
Race (Sr. only), Stunt (Jr. only), and Combat (Open only) - 7 am
to 7 pm*. Radio Control Pattern Finals (full FAI maneuver schedule)
- 7 am to 4 pm*, RC Goodyear Finals - 4 pm to 7 pm. Note: CL Stunt
J. Walker Champs after Jr. flying.
Thursday (Aug. 8). FF 1/2A Gas and Unlimited Rubber - 7 am to
7 pm*. CL 1/2A Speed, 1/2A Proto, FAI Team Race, Scale, Carrier
- 7 am to 7 pm*. RC Pattern and Goodyear - same as Wednesday.
*Note: Model flying will be shut down Mon. thru Thurs. from noon
to 1 pm.
Special Nats RC Notes
Pattern event will be conducted in two stages. Top fifteen winners
of the first stage will be eligible to compete in the second. First
stage (Mon. & Tues., Aug. 5 & 6) will be flown with an abbreviated
FAI maneuver schedule, as follows:
Unassisted ROG, FAI Top Hat, FAI Rolling Circle, FAI Double Stall
Turn, FAI Horizontal Eight, Cuban 8, Slow Roll (5 secs.), Tail Slide,
Traffic Pattern Approach, and Landing Perfection.
Separate awards will be presented to winners of first stage in
all age categories and for Novice and Expert classes of Class C
entrants. Best two flights will be totalled. Number of flights will
be limited only by time available. After initial flight line balancing
no attempt will be made to maintain equal rounds in first stage.
Second stage (Finals) contestants will consist of top fifteen winners
from first stage, plus fifteen pre-qualified winners of FAI-approved
regional meets, plus three 1967 FAI RC team members. The highest
placing second stage winners, who have previously paid FAI program
entry and stamp fees, will comprise the 1969 US RC team. They need
not be the three top winners of the second stage, if any of the
latter did not pay FAI fees - Nats second stage RC pattern awards
will be presented to top finalists regardless of FAI status.
Note: pre-qualified Finals contestants are also eligible, but
are not required, to compete in first stage - they may win first
stage awards for their class of entry but will not be included when
top fifteen first stage qualifiers for second stage are determined.
Goodyear Event. Contestants eligible for finals must be qualified
in either of two ways: by performance at Tulsa Tahlequah, Okla.
meet on Aug. 3-4, or by performance at qualification trials at NAS
Olathe on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Aug. 3-4 (7 am to noon).
Scale. In order to provide more hours (and flight opportunities)
for this event, and a more suitable time period than has been available
in past Nats, it is necessary this year that flying precede judging.
All flights will be considered official, and as many flights as
possible within the time period may be made. Possibility of damage
during flying, and such effect on scale judging score, is at contestant's
Special Nats Youth Program launched
A new Nats feature this year will be a special AMA directed four
day competition operating side-by-side with the usual type event
program. The competition will be open to non-AMA members and no
entry fees or other charges will be involved. Special age groups
will be set up, to provide several separate competition categories
for kindergarden through teenage contestants.
Kits for a "Fly Navy" version of the AMA-designed Delta Dart
(AMA Racer) rubber powered model are being donated by various sponsors
in the Kansas City area - several thousand have already been assured.
RC Team Regional Sites and Nats Finals Details
Selection of the 1969 RC team to represent the US in the World
RC Championship will take place at this year's National Championship,
Olathe, Kan. Prior to the Nats there will be 15 regional contests,
which may use either the FAI pattern or the AMA Class C Expert pattern:
27-28 Phoenix, Ariz., Arizona RC Society.
1-2 Atlanta, Ga., Greater Atlanta 4th Annual.
8-9 Los Angeles, Calif., Valley Flyers.
8-9 Rochester, N. Y., N.Y. State RC Champs.
22-23 Wallops Isl., Va., M. A. R. K. S.
22-23 Decatur, Ala., Decatur M. A. C.
22-23 Dayton, O. Wright Bros. Memorial.
28-29 Denver, Colo., Mile Hi RC Club.
29-30 Bridgeton, Mo., Spirits of St. Louis.
18-19 Los Angeles, Calif., LAMHA
18-19 Port Arthur, Tex., The Oily Birds.
25-26 Fresno, Calif., Fresno Radio Modelers.
6-7 Chicago, Ill., Chicagoland RC Modelers.
13-14 Turlock, Calif., Pioneers.
13-14 Minneapolis, Minn., Twin City RC.
On Monday and Tuesday of the Nationals contest there will be
additional qualifying trials using the FAI maneuvers.
The winners of each of the 15 regional trials will be eligible
to compete in the Team Finals as will all those among the top 15
qualifiers at the Nats who have registered for the FAI team program.
Thus, up to 30 qualifiers, plus the 1967 team (automatically qualified)
will then vie for the three team spots in the Team Finals to be
staged on Wednesday and Thursday of the Nats.
Flyers trying for the team must pre-register by sending a $5
FAI RC entry fee to AMA Headquarters, postmarked by midnight prior
to the regional qualifying meet being entered. Advance registration
will also be applicable for the Nats qualifying trials; however,
program entry fees will be accepted at Nats AMA HQ but only up to
the deadline time of regular Nats registration cutoff, which is
11 am Sunday.
Although the 15 regional finalists will not have to pay the program
entry fee again, they will have to enter the Nats and pay the normal
Nats entry fees (applies also to 1967 team members). In addition,
Nats finalists in the team program will be required to pay an additional
$10 FAI Finals fee. It should be noted, however, that these FAI
entry and finals fees all go into the RC team fund, to help pay
New Navy Regional Program Developing Fast
Prompt and extensive cooperation by AMA, HIAA (Hobby Industry) and
Navy officials has kicked off a big, new and special model competition
program a year earlier than originally anticipated. The program,
aimed at encouraging the sending of youngsters to the Nats and producing
many new elementary and high school age model flyers, features a
commitment of well over $5,000 in prizes from the hobby industry,
use of naval air stations all across the country, free AMA sanctions
and contest direction by AMA clubs and leader members.
Official AMA monoline construction instructions.
At press time, meetings between local AMA and Navy people were
being held to determine dates and contest events which might be
accommodated by the various stations. Contest timing in most cases
is expected to be in June or July, although some were being planned
to May and the annual Armed Forces Day observance.
A key element is the seeking of local community support for sending
one or more young meet winners to the Nationals. Such male winners
as could get to the Nats were also to receive berths on an aircraft
carrier cruise out of Pensacola, Florida; with transportation to
and from the Nats being furnished by the Navy.
Further details are currently being developed and advertised
by the model industry and press. More information is also available
from AMA Headquarters, 1239 Vermont Ave. N. W., Wash., D. C. 20005.
New Control Line Speed Rules Proposal
1968 CL Speed Proposal CL-68-A-1 has passed preliminary vote.
This is an outgrowth of the '67 proposal which failed to pass a
final vote of the Board, with some new additions. The basic proposal
is divided into five parts so that the failure of one part will
not eliminate the entire proposal.
Members concerned should make views known to their district CL
CB representative prior to this year's Nats when an initial vote
will be taken on this proposal. Additionally, any AMA member who
wishes to modify any part of the proposal under consideration should
submit a cross proposal prior to the Nats (to the district rep.,
with copy to AMA HQ). The proposal:
Part a: New Classifications. Add following new paragraphs after
6.2.1 Classification for contestants: Age will not be used to
classify contestants in control line speed as outlined below.
Expert Class: Anyone who can attain 92% (.92) or more of the
existing Expert Class record for a particular engine classification
is automatically placed in the Expert competition class. The record
speed used for classification is that which is currently recognized
by AMA Headquarters for the applicable engine size.
Advanced Class: Anyone who can attain a speed which is greater
than 82% (.82) but Jess than 92% (.92) of the existing Expert Class
record for the particular engine size is automatically placed in
the Advanced competition class. The record speed used for classification
is that which is currently recognized by AMA Headquarters for the
Expert Class of the applicable engine size.
Novice Class: Anyone who attains a speed which is less than 82%
(.82) of the existing Expert Class record for the particular engine
size is automatically placed in the Novice competition class. The
record speed used for classification is that which is currently
recognized by AMA Headquarters for the Expert Class of the applicable
The performance of an entrant in a particular engine class shall
only determine his competition level in that displacement class.
A competitor may only compete in one skill level for each engine
6.2.2 Contest Entry: The contestant or team shall at the time
of entry in each contest declare the skill classification in which
he will compete. For the duration of the contest the entrant cannot
compete in a lower achievement level than he has previously declared.
Contestant skill level classification shall not be carried through
to subsequent contests. The participant shall declare competition
skill level at each individual contest.
6.2.3 Reclassification Due to Actual Performance:
If a participant exceeds the level of performance permitted for
his skill classification, one of the following actions will be taken
by the officials: 1. The contestant will be reclassified in the
skill level dictated by his performance. 2. The contestant will
be eliminated from competition. In general, if a contestant exceeds
the performance level for his declared skill classification he shall
be moved up to the level indicated by his performance if the contest
includes this higher skill classification. If not, he shall be eliminated
from this competition. In either case, his previous or subsequent
speed will not count in the lower or initial declared skill classification.
Note: Corresponding changes will be made to Jet speed to reflect
Part b: Line size Revision. Revise "size and construction of
control lines" Para. 6.4 to following:
6.4 Size and Construction of Control Lines: All lines used to
control flight shall be steel music wire or metal of equivalent
strength, in good condition, and free of kinks and rust. Lines of
braided or stranded construction will not be allowed. Line connections
to handle and aircraft must have a strength equal to or greater
than that of the flying lines. No swivels are to be used as part
of the control system of control line speed models. Control lines
shall be of uniform diameter from the leadout connection to the
handle. No more than two (2) connectors may be used per line.
Line Sizes: The following wire diameters shall be used for each
class of model regardless of model's weight:
*for 2 or more lines
Note: As cross proposal -2, consideration will be given to increase
1/2A to .014, A to .020.
Line Construction: Line construction shall be
per the two methods described below (Figures 1, 1A and 2). The contest
director may allow alternate line terminations if he can satisfy
himself that they are at least as strong and safe as those shown.
Note: Corresponding changes will be made to Jet Speed Para. 7.3
to reflect the above.
Part c : Pull Test Revision. Revise the pull test in Para. 6.5
and 7.4 to be 40 times the weight of the model.
Part d: Whipping. Add to Para's. 6.9 and 7.8 the following: Any
attempt to whip the model more than is necessary to get it airborne
during the first lap shall constitute a foul, disqualifying the
flight as well as previous flights. This shall apply to all classes.
Part c: Tuned Exhaust. Three cross proposals are being considered
concerning tuned exhaust systems, they are: 1. A special "tuned
exhaust" division for each engine size will be established for competition
purposes, i.e., a "nontuned" division and a "tuned" division. 2.
They will not be allowed in normal competition at all. 3. A proper
handicap will be established (20 to 25 %).
Posted September 20, 2014