The event is a week long and attracts pilots from all over the USA and also the world! The event is hosted at the 1000 acre AMA Flying field in Muncie, Indiana. The main flight line is about 3/4 of a mile long (over 1km!), and there is additional flight lines for Scale Flying, Small Electric Flying, and Speed Cup Flying.
The Ircha Jamboree is packed constantly with Sponsor Demonstrations, Contests, Sponsor Parties and much more! It also appeals to multiple aspects of the R/C Helicopter discipline. There is the main flight (site 4) which is for 3D and sport flying only. Then off to the West side there is another flight line for Scale helicopters. Then on Site 3 there is the speed cup flight line. Then in-between the 2 there is a small field for small electric helis.
In its peak in 2015 Ircha attracted over 1200+ pilots from around the world. However with the decline of the hobby over the last few years Ircha attendance was also down quite dramatically. However I am very happy to report that this year was the first year which attendance was HIGHER then it was the year before! And not just by a little, there were several hundred more pilots in attendance this year then there were in 2018. This is a very positive thing and a good indication of the recovery and status of our hobby!
On Thursday of the event one of the main attractions was the “Try it before you buy it” event. On the main flight line all day long there were manufactures present with model set up on buddy box systems. Attendees could then go up and try a model they were interested in, to get a feel for it. This was a great way to get people interested in a manufactures product!
On Friday in addition to the standard sponsor demos, there was also the main event in the afternoon, which was the Ircha Auto Limbo Contest!!! This was a contest where the pilot had to start high in a autorotation. Then fly down quickly to gain rpm, go under limbo streamer about 5ft off the ground, and then land on a spot! But it wasn’t just this, the point of the competition was who could do all of that, in addition to doing the most entertaining 3d maneuver while going under the limbo!! The final contestants ended up being myself, Scorpion Pilot Mitch Marozas, and 10 year old Rhys Wyatt from Australia! The auto I was trying to do was come inverted under the limbo, then push up and back over the limbo then come through a 2nd time right side up. However I hit the streamer and ended up crashing. Mitch Marozas was trying to fly under the limbo inverted with pirouettes, and then land on a table! However he also hit the PVC pole and damaged his helicopter. The only one to survive was Rhys who cam in an inverted auto under the limbo, then successfully flipped his Heli over and landed on the spot! The crowd overwhelmingly cheered for him and voted him the champion of the 2019 Ircha Auto Limbo Contest!
After this at 5pm there was the Scorpion Pizza Party which offered free food and beverages for all! The tent was full of people wanting some food and drink after a long day! Then after this there was a beer garden on site served by waitresses from Outback Steak House!
Saturday the main day of the event, was when the principle sponsors had their demos the in the evening there would be the Battle of the Brands Contest. The day started off with the Scorpion Power Hour Demos. Scorpion had their best pilots flying such as, Nick Maxwell, Bobby Watts, Jesse Kavros, Chris Diamante, Travis Reyes, Brendan Hire, and Rasmus Jakobson! Scorpion gave away several thousands of dollars worth of Motors and ESC’s to the watching crowd. So they enjoyed the worlds best flying demonstrations, as well as free stuff! Doesn’t get much better then this! Immediately following the Scorpion Demo was the Mikado Demo, which also had great Scorpion Pilots such as Myself, Jesse Kavros, Lucas Hatz and Simon Hatz!
Right after these 2 demos which ended at noon then I had arranged for a hour of a new “fun” competition. The name of the competition was the Kyle Dahl 50/50 Challenge. This competition took 6 pilots, Myself, Lucas Hatz, Rasumus Jacobson, Lukas Biblich, Ben Storick, and Aaron Cole, and put them against each other in a crowed judged,Man on Man competition format. However the kicker was that there was 3 rounds of flying, all 45 seconds long. In the first round the pilots had 45 seconds to do a freestyle routine, where the model could NOT go inverted! So all maneuvers had to be done right side up! Then the winners of this round, Ben Storick, Myself, Lucas Hatz, and Lukas Biblich advance to the next, where again we had 45 seconds, but we could only fly inverted!! After this round there was just 2 pilots remaining, myself, and Lucas Hatz. In this final round we had 45 seconds to do a no restrictions freestyle flight! At the end the crowd judged that Lucas Hatz was the winner!
After this there were many more demos from other sponsors until 5:30 when a huge dinner started served by outback steak house, then at 6pm when everyone got their food and got settled down started the Ircha Battle of the Brands contest! The battle of the brands format is as follows. Each of the Sponsors are able to nominate one pilot to fly for them in a single flight music freestyle competition. The winner of this contest is determined by the crowd, who votes through the Ircha App which they would have downloaded prior to the competition or through the Ircha Website. For Team Scorpion there was long time Team Pilot Bobby Watts who flew a high charged flight to heavy metal music with his Goblin 700 with Scorpion Motor and ESC! In the end the winner was Kan Poonoi, with 2nd place being Kyle Stacy, and in 3rd Place myself flying My Logo 700 with Scorpion Motor and ESC.
The competition was a huge success with nearly the entirety of the attendees showing up to watch it!
After this there was again the beer garden along with the HUGE Ircha Raffle! The Ircha Raffle had prizes from all the sponsors as well as many big ticket items such as a Goblin Kraken and new Diablo Nitro helicopter, Mikado Logo Helicopter, and of course MANY donations from Scorpion Power Systems!
This went on into the night, and then once the sun set the Ircha Night Flying competition started! There was 2 categories. The first Category was the traditional Night Flying where pilots had elaborate lights on the helicopter choreographed to music routines. The winner was Ben Storick who had one of the craziest light routines I have ever seen! Check out the video here.
After this then the construction lights came on, and started the “King of the midnight sun” Contest where pilots flew standard helicopters under the ambient light of the construction lights. There were many pilots flying such as Lucas Hatz, Simon Hatz, Rasums Jakobson, Ben Storick, Kan Poonoi, and many more along with many crashes from pilots egged on by the crowd!
All in all this was one of the BEST IRCHAS EVER! There was a new energy from the event that I have not felt in some years and this is due to the new growth and excitement surrounding our hobby once again! I already can’t wait for Ircha 2020!!!