Nats 2012

Written by Jay Smith As featured on page 23 the November 2012 issue of Model Aviation. As featured in the Model Aviation tablet app.

The Nats is the world’s largest model airplane gathering, comprising more than 1,000 competitors and a largely volunteer workforce of several hundred.

The Indoor Free Flight Nats was held May 23 to 27 in its longtime venue at the Eastern Tennessee State University’s Mini-Dome in Johnson City, Tennessee. Roughly 50 competitors and a contingent of Flying Aces Club (FAC) members and 20 youth members battled it out in AMA, FAI, FAC, and National Free Flight Society events.

During the summer, the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana, hosts the outdoor portion of the National Aeromodeling Championships, which typically draws more than 1,000 pilots and lasts roughly six weeks.

The 2012 Outdoor Nats took place July 9 through August 15 and offered a wide range of weather conditions. This seemed to be the number-one topic discussed among competitors. Severe drought conditions left the site scorched and dead looking. Several weeks of 90° to 100° heat switched abruptly to temperatures in the low 70s!

This year’s highlights included the first female competitor in International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC) competition, Dub Jett’s 50th Nats, and longtime Nats Manager Ron Morgan and his wife, Jane, announcing their retirement from the event. The newly appointed Nats manager, Dave Guerin, received some on-the-job training and oversaw the final weeks of the Nats competitions.

It would be impossible to bring you all of the details of this year’s events within the confines of MA, so we will focus on some of the best pictures turned in by reporters for NatsNews, the daily newsletter that covers the activities. Read an overview of each day’s events in the NatsNews and enjoy a wealth of additional photos posted online. Please see the “Sources” listing for extra Nats coverage.

Free Flight

RC Electric

RC Combat

CL Navy Carrier

CL Combat

RC Soaring

CL Stunt

CL Speed

CL Scale and RC Scale

Precision Aerobatics

Scale, RC Pylong Racing, RC Combat

Scale Aerobatics/IMAC


RC Helicopters

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