How to Host a Judges School

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The quality of judging in competition aerobatics is a topic that is frequently debated in our sport. One of the ways we can cultivate high quality judging is through better training. Improvements in Judges School curriculum and presentation are the responsibility of Judges School Program Chairman.  Supporting the Chairman are a number of volunteer Judges School Instructors spread across IAC's regions.  The web page for requesting the scheduling of a Judges School has a drop down list of these volunteers.  Many of these volunteers donate their time to travel to present Judges Schools at multiple locations, so that no chapter need have a shortage of Judges for their contest(s). Every IAC Chapter is encouraged to consider hosting a Judges School each year if practical, and at least a school every two years.

There are several IAC Chapters across the country and even internationally that routinely organize annual Judges Schools.   If your chapter is not able to host a school, you should be able to find a school not far away.

Most schools are scheduled in the late winter or spring so that attendees are ready for the contest season.  This is not a requirement and a school may be scheduled at any time of the year that a chapter has enough interest.  Typically a school needs to have 10 individuals commit to attend in order to cover the costs of the instructor travel and lodging, classroom, etc.


The following is intended to serve as a guideline on IAC Judge School Program policy to help your chapter's Judges School Coordinator host a successful Judges School:


There are currently three curriculums available, two for judges and one for competition pilots:

  • Introduction to Aerobatic Judging: This course is aimed at training new judges. However, previously certified judges may attend this course or the Advanced course (see below) as a method to meeting the currency requirements defined in the IAC Rule 2.6.3.

  • Advanced Aerobatic Judging: This course is aimed at current or former judges or those who’ve already attended the Introduction to Aerobatic Judging course and while virtually identical to the latter part of the Introductory course, the familiarity of the students with the material often allows a more in-depth "discussion" of the finer points of aerobatic judging than can be achieved in an introductory course. Chapters may consider hosting this course in addition to the "Intro" course, particularly if there are large numbers of current or former judges needing to attend a course in order to satisfy the currency requirements of IAC Rule 2.6.3.

  • Judging Criteria for Pilots: This course is not aimed at training judges but rather for providing competition pilots insight into judging criteria and strategies to apply to their flying to obtain better scores.


  1. Start planning early. For early planners, the earliest the Judges School should be placed on the schedule is the last weekend in February or first weekend in March. Generally the availability of the new year's Official IAC Contest Rules determines the earliest date that schools may be scheduled.  The production and publication schedule of the IAC Official Contest Rules book, which is integral to the course, and then subsequent production of course materials, generally begins January 1. Additionally, while your school will be added to the online Judge School calendar on the IAC website, Sport Aerobatics magazine needs at least a two-month leadtime to advertise your school. So for a February school, the basic details must be completed by November for your school to appear in the January issue’s calendar of events.
  2. Discuss the following items at a chapter meeting:
    • Contact name, telephone number and email address. You’ll need a local coordinator to arrange for a room, equipment, supplies, etc. (see checklist below).
    • Proposed location of school. For preliminary planning this can be just what city and state it will be held in, which is enough information to advertise in Sport Aerobatics.
    • Proposed dates for school. Come up with at least two alternate dates. This will make it easier to find an instructor(s) for your school.
    • A chapter can contact a Judges School Instructor directly when planning school dates.  The list of Instructors may be seen on the IAC Leadership, IAC Directors, Officers, and Committees web page.  If the chapter has previously hosted a Judges School, the Instructor who presented that school may be contacted again.  If that individual is not available, there are Instructors who are willing to travel when their expenses are covered by the chapter.  The Chair of the Judges Program can help recruit an Instructor if a chapter is unable to immediately obtain a volunteer.   Please bear in mind that IAC HQ policy requires that instructor’s travel expenses be reimbursed directly by the host Chapter.  IAC itself charges no fee and does not coordinate the finances of a chapter's Judges School.  As part of the chapter's school planning process, the chapter and the instructor should calculate an initial estimate of travel expenses to aid in planning the fee that you charge school attendees. 
  3. To formally schedule a school, fill out the online Judges School Request Form. Complete the required information and then click “Submit Request” and your school will then be officially scheduled by notifying the Judges Program Chairman by email. You will also receive an email confirmation of your School.
  4. The Judge Program Chair will then:
    • ​Coordinate the delivery of the presentation materials to the chapter coordinator and the instructor for your school.
    • Once the chapter, and an instructor have agreed on the school date(s), and the school is enterred onto the IAC web site, IAC members will be able to find your school on the Judges School Calendar.   Your school should also be listed in the calendar in the next publication of Sport Aerobatics magazine.


  1. When the school instructor and dates are agreed to, the chapter and the instructor(s) coordinate the following:
    • ​Airport Recommendation: If the instructor will be traveling to the school location by air and there are multiple choices for the arrival airport, advise the instructor on which airport would be most appropriate.
    • Accommodations: Coordinate with the instructor to determine the most cost effective accommodations near the course site (hotel or private home of a chapter member two common options). Hosting the instructor in the home of a chapter member is one way to reduce the costs of your Judges School and ultimately the amount you charge each person that attends. Of course, a hotel is equally acceptable and if the instructor will be staying in a hotel, request the instructor’s room preference (smoking, not smoking, etc.), make a reservation, and then provide the instructor with the location, telephone number, and reservation number.
    • Transportation In/Around the Course Location: Determine the most cost effective means of transport in/around the school location (rental car, taxi, shuttle, local chapter member, etc.). If at all possible, arrange for private transportation as this also helps minimize the cost of your Judge School and ultimately the cost to each person that attends.
    • Class Start/Stop Times: Coordinate class start/stop times with the instructor(s).
    • Special Equipment Requirements: See below for required classroom equipments but coordinate with the instructor(s) for any additional requirements.
  2. As soon as possible after the school is scheduled, start advertizing your school in Chapter Newsletters, email distribution lists, etc. to ensure the largest awareness and participation possible. Encourage preregistration and advanced payment to better project the number of registrants. A Registration Sheet will be provided to help you with registrations.
  3. The chapter's Judges School Coordinator needs to make the detailed arrangements for the school:
    • ​​Arranging for the classroom itself is one of the most important tasks. Please note room and equipment rental costs should be planned for when determining the total course fees (see below). Some things to consider in selecting your exact location:
      1. How many students do you expect at your school? Although the average seems to be about 15 to 20, some schools have attracted over 40 students. Of course, the expected expenses will set the minimum size for your school, usually around 12-14 students. Does the building you plan to use have a room large enough to accommodate the number of students you expect?
      2. Does the room you have chosen have adequate lighting? Since the class is given primarily using an LCD projector, the front of the room needs to be dark enough to make the presentation visible, yet the students need enough light to reference the course notes, rule book, Aresti Aerobatic catalogue, etc.
      3. Does the room have adequate temperature controls? Although a hangar may provide plenty of room to set up student chairs and tables, it may not be heated or cooled well enough for people to be comfortable for attending a class all day long.

        Suggestion: Your local flight school might have a classroom you could use for the weekend and most are already equipped with suitable computer projection equipment.
    • Arrange for tables and chairs for each student, if these are not already in the classroom. The students will be spending most of the day in a classroom and deserve a comfortable learning environment. The instructor also needs a podium or table to work from and a chair, preferably a high one. You will also need a table and chairs for class registration.
    • All courses are taught via MS PowerPoint presentations. While not absolutely mandatory, if computer projection equipment is not possible, alternative presentation methods need to be arranged with your instructor. Instructors may be using their own laptop computer but if the room is already equipped with a computer, ensure computer security issues are resolved before planning on using it, Check with your instructor and arrange for any of the following classroom equipment:
      • Name tags
      • Overhead projector (optional but rarely needed)
      • White (or black) board on wall or easel (one or the other)
      • White board markers (or chalk)

        Suggestion: Consider having aerobatic related videos projected during breaks, lunch, etc.
    • Arrange for morning coffee and lunch on each day of the course. Since time is limited, the best arrangement is usually to have sandwiches, pizza, or some other box lunch brought in. If this isn’t possible, make a reservation at a local restaurant so they can seat the group and serve you quick enough to get everyone back in the classroom in an hour. If you want to simplify arrangements, you can add a lunch price to the student registration fee to cover any food you have brought in.
    • Consider arranging for social dinner on Saturday night. This gives everyone a chance to discuss what he or she learned in class in a more informal setting. This is also a great opportunity for a chapter social event, where other members not attending the school can also join in. It’s also possibly a chance to recruit new members.
    • Find out the names, telephone numbers, and approximate room rates at nearby hotels. Prospective students will ask where they can stay.
    • Consider making arrangements for a chapter member to offer transportation to any students who fly in for the school.
  4. Approximately two weeks before the scheduled school (possibly less for the first schools scheduled the last weekend of February or first weekend in March), contact the Judges School Chairman to obtain  detailed instructions and PDF files of course materials that will need to be produced locally (costs associated with production of these materials may be recouped via the chapter’s registration fee).​
  5. Consider the following opportunity for fundraising for the Chapter: Since the IAC Official Contest Rules are distributed electronically in a PDF file, Chapters can take advantage of the fundraising potential by soliciting orders for hardcopies of the rulebook, which may be produced at reduced cost in bulk at Kinko’s, Office Depot, Staples, etc., and can then be sold to the registrants and other members of the chapter. There are probably other opportunities for this type of fundraising for your chapter!
  6. The night before your school is scheduled to start, meet the instructor and, if feasible, show him/her the classroom facilities.
  7. On the day of class (if not done the night before):
    • ​​Verify that all equipment and supplies are in place.
    • Verify computer and projection equipment are functional.
    • Set up a registration table and have each student fill out a registration form as they arrive. All registration and material costs are listed in the initial letter from the IAC Judge School Program Chair. Collect payment and distribute materials. Please have all checks made payable to your Chapter.
    • Tell the instructor what time lunch is planned so an appropriate break can be arranged.
    • If available, play aerobatic videos during breaks and lunch. It breaks up the day and provides a focus for what is being taught.
  8. At the end of each course, ask the students to fill out the school analysis (critique) forms and return them to you before they leave. Then, in the afternoon, you can hold any of these optional activities:
    • The daily course schedule is pretty full but if possible, and there is an hour or more available at the end of the course, arrange for a live demonstration of judging aerobatic figures. This can be accomplished with either full-scale or RC model aircraft. This is the best way to help students apply what they’ve learned but is not always feasible. Let them work in teams, one calling the figures and the other grading. After a few figures, the instructor should describe how he/she would grade the figures and why. Of course, this requires advance planning, especially if an aerobatic box is not already established.
    • If time allows, give the students a chance to begin working on the Regional Judge Exam.  More students tend to finish the exam if they begin right away. Working on the exam in class is encouraged and gives students a chance to ask questions of the instructor.  The exam is online and can be done in the classroom if internet is available and the students bring their personal computers.  Alternately, the class organizer can provided printed copies of the exam for the students.  When the exam is first done on paper the students  should go to the IAC website and quickly complete the exam online to receive immediate feedback.
  9. At the end of your course:
    • ​​Total all money received and reconcile with your Judges School Registration Sheet.
    • Submit all student payments to your chapter and then the Chapter must issue one check, payable to the Instructor, for the total amount of his or her travel expenses. No Judge School fees will be due to IAC HQ!
    • Go to the IAC web site, to your Judges School Schedule record and enter the names of all of your attendees.  You can also scan in and send an electronic copy of the Judge School Registration Sheet to: ​​, and also to This should be done as soon as possible after the end of the school in all cases, but attendance records are past due after 10 days of the date of your school.
    • Scan in and e-mail the Judge School Analysis (course critique) forms to the Judge Program Chair at: Weston Liu, 105 Mason Road, Brookline, NH 03033.
  10. When all of the above is completed, congratulate yourselves on a job well done! Your Chapter has done the sport a great service because without judges there can be no competitions!