Sun Lakes Model Airplane Club Hosts IMAC Aerobatic Competition

Typical airplane flown at the Cactus Classic at the Southwest Regional Competition

Typical airplane flown at the Cactus Classic at the Southwest Regional Competition

Ron Wasko, Secretary

On March 27 and 28, 2021, the Sun Lakes Model Airplane Club (SLMAC) hosted the Cactus Classic at Felix Ranch. This is a Southwest Region competition for the International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC), and pilots from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas participated in this two-day competition.

IMAC airplanes are models of full-size airplanes scaled down to 42% of the full-size airplane. Wingspans are generally over 10 feet, and airplanes can weigh up to 55 pounds. The aircraft are powered by two- or four-cylinder gasoline engines, developing up to 18 horsepower. Their top speed is over 130 m.p.h., with competition flying speeds in the 60 to 100 m.p.h. range. Airplane and radio costs can reach $13,000 for these large model aircraft.

Pilots fly specified sets of maneuvers in their skill category and are judged. Pilots fly three rounds of “known” sequences and one round of an “unknown” sequence—“unknown” because pilots are given the sequence at the end of the first day of competition and cannot practice the sequence prior to flying the sequence the following morning. Usually, two airplanes are flying at the same time with one plane farther out from the runway and two judges scoring each pilot’s performance.

Pilots are judged not only by how well they perform their aerobatic maneuvers, but also by how well they stay oriented to the runway. Both horizontal and vertical accuracy in relation to flying parallel to the runway factored into their scores. The competition is sanctioned by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Sun Lakes Model Airplane field is a sanctioned AMA field which allows national competition at the flying field.

The regional IMAC competitions will continue throughout the year, and top pilots in each region have the ability to participate in Muncie, Ind., for the national championship. The Sun Lakes Club is very fortunate to host these competing pilots from multiple states to help enhance their piloting skills.

The Sun Lakes Club invites all to come and see what radio-controlled flying is all about. There are airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and drones.

For additional information about the Sun Lakes Model Airplane Club, visit the club website at or Facebook at Sun Lakes RC Club (SLRCC).