Classy Classic?

Would a two-class option increase participation?

By John Thompson

Last year I proposed this in Flying Lines newsletter and talked it up at contests. It seemed as if I had some folks convinced that this was worth an experiment in some 2006 contests. Here's the idea:

As a local contest option, Classic Stunt would be divided into sportsman and expert classes in the same way as we do now in P-40. This would not involve a rules change; it would simply be something offered by the organizers of the particular contest.

The class split would be the same as in P-40:
-- Anyone could fly in the expert class.
-- PAMPA experts would not be allowed in the sportsman class.

It should be possible to run contests without much extra burden on the contest management. At local option, the classes could be flown either separately, before separate judges, or all together before the same judges. In the latter scenario, the only extra chore for the contest management would be to figure out who the top three sportsman fliers are, and to provide an extra set of trophies.

The rationale for this idea is that, in terms of competition, Classic is now an experts-only event. Adding a sportsman class would provide an opportunity for the non-expert fliers to compete for something. Hopefully, the division would increase participation by making Classic a real competition for non-expert fliers, in the same way as skill classes helped PA.

Initial reactions to my proposal last year were somewhat predictable: The response from expert flyers was lukewarm: Why go to the extra trouble; who needs it? From advanced fliers, the response was considerably more enthusiastic. After a bit of explanation -- and emphasis on the fact that the split could be done with minimal extra work for the CD, most of the experts I talked to came around to the conclusion that it would be at least worth a try. This was definitely an unscientific survey.

I'm proposing the two-class Classic for the Fall Follies this year, and am hoping that some other contests try that, too.

There's an informal poll running on the NW Message Boards to see how fliers feel about the idea. Ultimately, it will happen only if most people favor it. Step over to the message boards and cast your vote; you can also post your thoughts about the proposal there. I'll be glad to post any major editorial on the subject here in the FL Aerobatics section as well.


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This page was upated April 13, 2006