July 2012

Summer has been flying by it feels like! Over the past month I have traveled through 5 different states! We celebrated the 4th of July at Jackson Lake that is located in Jackson, GA. My family and I are members of a boat club where we bring our motor home and boat and stay for a week. We had a blast, but I couldn’t stay and watch fireworks due to I had to get home so I could leave the next day to Dayton, OH to start my trip for the 2012 Aerobatic Nationals.

I woke up around 8 AM to begin my trip to Dayton, Ohio. The 2012 Aerobatic Nationals took place July 9th thru 12th in Muncie, IN. but I ended up leaving on the 5th to go up and practice where one of my main sponsors are located. Ohio Model Planes is one of my main sponsors that supply the airplanes I fly in competition. They are located just outside of Dayton, Ohio. Luckily the flying field to practice at was just a few miles down the road and we had the field to ourselves! Only one problem…IT WAS HOT!!! The average temperature during the time we practice was above 100 degrees! Yes we were crazy!

After practicing for two days and spending time with my sponsors I loaded up and headed to Muncie, IN, where the 2012 Aerobatic Nationals was taken place. The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) is the host of this event. AMA is the main organization of R/C Flying. The site was just an hour and half away from Dayton. When I arrived to the field on July 8, I was lucky enough to get one practice flight in before it started raining. After the flight I loaded up and headed off to the hotel where I was staying with other friends from the Southeast Region.

On July 9th it’s rough waking up at 5:30 AM to get ready for the start of the event! The flying started at 8 AM sharp and my class was the first to go! I was competing against 15 other competitors in the unlimited class and it was difficult! I am going against the best of the best! At the end of day 1 and 2 I maintained 10th place, which is not bad considering it was my first Nationals. At the end of the third day I jumped to 9th place!

At the end of the third day the annual banquet took place at the AMA headquarters building. We had an outstanding dinner! At the end of the dinner the President of the International Miniature Aerobatic Club gave his speech. In his speech he announced a new event that will happen in 2014. The 2014 Aerobatic Worlds. The Worlds will consist of different pilots representing their countries. As of now the qualification process to be apart of Team USA has not been announced, but I hope to have a shot to represent the USA in the 2014 Aerobatic Worlds!

On the 4th and last day of the competition I had some bad luck. Up to this point we have only completed 40% of our final score. The final day consisted of 60% of your score. We had to fly 4 times and on my first flight my engine quit during the sequence causing me to zero out most of the round! I flew outstanding the next two flights, but my final flight my nerves got me and ended up messing up the sequence. I was a little upset I did this, but I had a blast competing against the best! I ended up finishing back in 11th place. I also finished in 4th place for the freestyle portion, which is a separate event within the contest.

Overall I had an outstanding time at my first national event. I hope to make it back next year! The end of July we have the Youth Masters coming up in Woodruff, SC. This event is for 16 and younger boys and girls to come fly competition R/C flying. The airplanes are provided for the kids. This is how I got into competition flying through the Youth Masters back in 2005 and 2006. It teaches you a lot about competition and how to be a good competitor in the sport. I go every year to help out in anyway I can! Kids are our future and without them there won’t be a future in R/C flying. Many of them dream one day to have a career in the field of aviation. The owner of the field owns several real planes and gives the kids a ride when the competition is over. This is a great event for anyone and it teaches the kids a lot of life long lessons!

Well other than flying I have been busy doing online classes over the summer to complete my degree at Embry-Riddle. I am currently taking two classes. The classes end the first of August and after that I will then have a four-year degree from Embry-Riddle! After completing the degree I hope to be selected in October for the first hiring panel for Air Traffic Control. My goal is to get a job in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

That is all for this month! Hope you all are doing well and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email!

Kevin Garland