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Written by Mark Fadely
As featured on page 18 in the December 2011 issue.
Online exclusive photos and abridged article.

It has been more than 20 years since the first IRCHA Jamboree. It originated in the eastern United States then moved to Hebron, Ohio, for nearly a decade. This year marked the 10-year anniversary for IRCHA on the AMA property.

Dave Millner, IRCHA president, addresses the pilots during the morning orientation meeting. Dave and his many volunteers work hard to make sure every pilot has a good experience during the five-day event.

Dave Millner is the current president. Dave and his staff run an amazingly smooth, efficient operation for an event of this size. The vendors all commented on how well-organized everything was this year. Many full-service hobby shops were on-site, with much inventory to sell during the five-day event.

Mike Swift has attended all 20 years of the Jamboree. It is much a bigger event than it used to be, but Mike fits right in and can show the younger modelers a thing or two about flying 3-D helis.

Some dedicated pilots have attended nearly every Jamboree. Mike Swift is one of those people. He is 57 years old and can still fly 3-D with the best of them. Mike has helicopter flying in his blood, and here is what he has to say about the big event in Muncie:

“Back in 1992 when I first attended the IRCHA Jamboree it was much less commercial, much like a hometown event with no real advertising like we see today. There were no banners with corporate names everywhere like there are now. There also were no electric helis; everything was nitro powered. I’ve seen it grow from a couple of hundred pilots, to breaking 500, to now nearing 1,000. I enjoyed the event back then and I also enjoy it today, even though it’s totally different. I love to be around the people and I love to fly helis.”

The Jamboree is a perfect place to explore whatever heli-related interest you have. The friendly atmosphere invites conversation and social connections. There are so many flight stations along the nearly ½-mile flightline that anyone can fly at any time. Being too crowded is never a problem at the massive AMA flying site.

There are many good food vendors offering all the greatest snacks, treats, and meals for overworked pilots. Flying and socializing all day brings on an appetite!

There are too many influential and special people who help out in profound ways to make IRCHA a success. To list them all would be impossible. This is one event that every helicopter pilot should make it to at least once. See you there next August.

Read the entire article on page 18 in the December 2011 issue of Model Aviation

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