|What is Control Line Precision Aerobatics (Stunt)?|
An excerpt from the PAMPA pamphlet with editorial license taken by Bill Huang
Stunt is considered by many to be the premier control line event and one of the most fascinating and spectacular shows in all of aeromodeling. Perhaps you've wanted to get involved, but of course, have a lot of questions. The answers are here, and it's not as difficult to get started as you might think. All across the country are experienced modelers who are willing to help you. That's one of Stunt's greatest assets. The people are the friendliest and most helpful in all of modeling. Read on and join in...
Stunt, or as it's known by its proper name, Control Line Precision Aerobatics (CLPA), has a rich and colorful history. Debuting as a national competition in 1941, it grew rapidly after the Second World War. We now honor our beginnings in two special events. Old Time Stunt (OTS) is reserved for models designed before 1953. Classic Stunt chronicles the planes designed before 1969. Some OTS ships will even sport vintage gasoline burning spark ignition engines and the best Classic ships still remain competitive with more modern designs. In both these events, competition is more low-key and much emphasis is placed on building and finishing models in a fashion consistent with the era being celebrated. An annual springtime gathering of OTS and Classic enthusiasts in Arizona has become the most widely attended Stunt contest in the world.
The modern CLPA pattern is a series of flight maneuvers that are scored according to geometric perfection. Loops must be circles, not eggs. Squares must be square, not rectangles. When the pattern calls for a repeated maneuver, the repetitions must all be in exactly the same place. The bottoms of maneuvers must be at shoulder height (4' - 6') and the loops positioned so that the lines make a 45 degree angle with the ground. If the maneuver is a tall one, like a vertical figure eight, the plane must pass directly over the pilot's head when at the top of the maneuver. The flying should be smooth and the whole pattern should flow together. Each of the 14 maneuvers can receive a score from 10 to 40 points. In addition, a pilot who builds his own airplane can receive up to 20 points for the appearance of the model.
Not everyone who flies Stunt has to be a competitor. With a little care, courtesy, and common sense (not to mention a good muffler on the engine) many CL sport fliers get together at the local athletic field for a little "Sunday Flying." Control Line Stunt can be approached at a variety of levels, from a hobby to an Olympic level sport. Olympics ? You Bet! Every other year, our top competitors vie for three positions on the team that represents the USA at the Control Line World Championships. Although the atmosphere at a contest can be charged with competitive energy, you will always find the fliers willing to help you and each other. At local and regional meets, fliers are separated into skill classes to ensure a fair and even competition. The four skill classes are Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. A pilot's ability and contest record determines how he or she moves up through the classes.
Stunt flyers are tied together by the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilot's Association or "PAMPA." PAMPA represents CLPA enthusiasts on a national and international basis. You do not have to be a serious competitor to benefit from PAMPA. In fact, about 35% of PAMPA's members are non-competing sport flyers. PAMPA's magazine "Stunt News" is packed with all sorts of information relevant to the various aspects of participating in the hobby. PAMPA is an officially recognized special interest group of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a 200,000 member national organization of modelers who's charter is to promote and improve the hobby and sport of aeromodeling.
Like any worthwhile activity, what you get out of it depends on how much you are willing to put into it. Designing, building, painting, engine tuning and flying all play an important role. Best of all, few hobby / sport activities can offer more freedom to express your personal creativity. Join US ! Fly Stunt !