These men comprise the Board of Directors of the Senior Pattern Association.
Click a name to email any of them.

You'll find biographical information for these folks below the table.

SPA Board of Directors
effective January 1, 2021
Jeff Owens
SPA L243
President
Jeff Owens
Frank Cox
SPA L651
Vice President
Jerry Black
Jim Johns
SPA L23
Secretary, Treasurer & Webmaster
Jim Johns
Scott Anderson
SPA 239
Elected East District
Chris Berardi
SPA 629
Elected West District
Jamie Strong
SPA 205
Coordinator of Special Projects
Dan Dougherty
Duane Wilson
SPA L22
Newsletter Editor
Duane Wilson
Phil Spelt
SPA L18
Appointed At Large
Phil Spelt
Mickey Walker
SPA L1
Founder Emeritus
Mickey Walker
Bruce Underwood
SPA L15
Past President
Bruce Underwood

BoD Biographies

Jeff Owens, President

Aviation has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started by building plastic models and then balsawood free flight models. Later came U-control models which kindled an interest in precision aerobatics. I started flying RC in 1970. My instructor flew pattern with a bright red Banshee and I knew that one day I wanted to fly like he did.

I moved to Tallahassee in 1976, where I am a Physics Professor at Florida State University. In the late 70s many club members flew pattern and I built a Cutlass Supreme as my first pattern plane. My first contest was the 1979 Kirkland Memorial in Fort Walton Beach. I was hooked! I progressed through the classes and was flying FAI by 1985. I continued through the Turnaround transition and flew contests until 1990. I participated in the 1989 FAI Team Selection competition in Pensacola.

I have many fond memories of flying in pattern contests. This led me to join SPA one year at the Perry, Georgia swap meet. In 2007 I started SPA competition with a new Cutlass Supreme. Since then I have flown a Compensator, a Dirty Birdy, and I now have a Curare. I also have a Kwik Fli III for Antique contests. And I have a plans-built Deception that is nearly complete. Plus I have several other projects in various stages of completion (Daddy Rabbit, another Deception, a Bootlegger, two Compensator kits, a Deception kit, and a Dirty Birdy kit.) When I joined SPA I started in Sportsman, moved to Expert the next year, and now fly Senior Expert. I have enjoyed the high level of camaraderie and friendship that SPA competition provides and I always look forward to the next contest!

Frank Cox, Vice President

My name is Frank Cox and I am a RC hobbyist. I am retired, will soon be 69 years old and I love airplanes.

I started flying model airplanes when a Sterling Ring Master cost $3.95 and a McCoy Red Head cost $8.95. We didn't have CA glue or Epoxy, but we did have Ambroid and Elmer's Wood glue. There was no Monokote, just silk span and dope. There was no internet to get help from, but we did have a neighborhood Hobby Shop that had a wealth of information. The only toy ARF was the Cox .049 plastic P-51 that you did more slinging than flying. However, the .049 made great tether car engines. There were no foamy toys at the hobby shop. We actually had to build an airplane before we crashed it, not assemble one before we flew it. Did you know that there is an ARF on the market that DOES NOT require glue to assemble it? (And I 'm not talking about a foamy toy.)

I am not a great pilot, but I love to fly and I love to build even more. I love going to field and talking about airplanes. I guess the day of going to the field and seeing a large variety of different planes is gone. All you see today is the same ARF and the guys bragging about how many ARFs they have. What happen to the day when guys bragged about how they built their latest creation and the techniques they devised in building it?

I started flying RC in late 1972 and learned to take off and land over the course of one weekend. After that I couldn't wait to get to the field every chance I could to fly my RC Nobler. I bought a Jenson Ugly Stik and it took me about a week to build it and get it into the air.

The club I belonged to, the Fort Worth Thunderbirds, held a pattern event and of course I volunteered to help. It was my first event to attend and I was amazed. Over 60 pilots, three flight lines, and hundreds of airplanes. After looking at all those planes with the double taper wings and sleek fuselages I had to have one. I went to Ed Alexander's Hobby shop and bought a Kaos, the first of many. I flew in A-Novice and progressed up to Sportsman. Then I quit. I got tired of having to go home each night to repair and or build airplanes. I got tired of having to go to the field and practicing. Flying pattern became a third job for me. I already worked full time, and attended college. Every spare minute was dedicated to pattern flying. I decided that I just wanted to enjoy my hobby. After all, I had been building and flying since I was 8. I went back to building fun airplanes, some of which were my own design.

I really enjoy going to a Senior Pattern event. It's a place you can get lost in looking at old airplanes and talking to people that actually know airplanes. It's a great organization with a lot of great guys and a lot of history.

I have a friend and we've been flying together since our early twenties. We were at the field not long ago and I got to thinking of a group of men that came to the field together and flew as a group. They were called, “The Over The Hill Gang”. I looked at my friend, who is exactly the same age as I and asked, “Gary, do you remember back in 73 the Over the Hill Gang?” He looked at me with a smile on his face and said, “Yeah! I remember them” I returned the smile and said, “I think we're the Over the Hill Gang now. “ We both looked around the field at all the younger guys, laughed out loud, then went back to watching the airplanes buzzing around the sky and talking about airplanes.

As Vice-President I want to continue in being an asset in it's growth and spread in popularity of SPA. I think we can make Old Time pattern flying Great Again. I got tired of spending lots of money trying to keep up with the big boys of pattern years ago. I am sure there are many guys flying AMA pattern right now that feel the same way. Like I said, I am in this hobby to have a good time, not spend a lot of money trying to keep up

Jim Johns - Secretary, Treasurer & Webmaster

I messed with control line a bit in high school, but never really got hooked. Much of that can be blamed on a miserable McCoy 35 that simply refused to cooperate with me. My mother yelled at me more than once about the smell of AeroGloss dope rising from our basement as well as on my clothes.

My first experience with R/C came in 1970 when I was stationed at Tachikawa AB, Japan with the U. S. Air Force. I assembled a Pilot ARF trainer with an Enya 19 and a 4-channel Futaba radio. Back in those days, Futaba radios were unknown in the States, as they were sold under the MRC brand. Unfortunately, the plane only made one flight due to my not asking for help from an experienced modeler. It made very firm contact with Mother Earth and was never rebuilt. All of my equipment was lost during the return move from Japan, so I didn't do any more with R/C until I arrived at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC, in 1973 and joined a local club. I flew a lot during the next few years, progressing from trainers to low wing sport ships.

After competing my service in the USAF, I attended Kansas State University and then moved to Wichita, KS for work at Beech Aircraft. I didn't fly RC much at first because I was spending a lot of time and money learning to fly full scale aircraft. I eventually completed my training with commercial, instrument and flight instructor ratings in single and multi engine aircraft. I worked full time as a flight instructor for about a year. I loved teaching others the joy of flight, and it was one of the best times of my life. Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - the low pay led me to a job at Boeing Aircraft. That job turned into a 26-year career and I spent my final 13 years as a Computer Systems Analyst doing database, web and PC programming.

During that time I met and married the love of my life, my sweet and wonderful wife Bobbie. She has always supported me in all my work and hobby endeavors and she still goes to every contest with me. In 2016 she even started being my "call girl" for the first time ever. She is the light of my life and I have absolutely no idea how I'd get along without her.

Wichita local Ken Krehbiel got me interested in pattern in the early 1980s, and I began competing in 1982. My first go round in pattern started in the "ballistic pattern" days and ended in the turnaround era. I competed in local contests throughout Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and I flew in the 1987 AMA Nats in Lincoln, NE, finishing 14th in Advanced. I CD'd the Wichita, KS, pattern contest for many years during the ‘80s and '90s, officiated at several AMA Nats, judged at the 1997 Masters F3A Team Selection Tournament contest and worked at the 1999 FAI F3A World Championships in Pensacola, FL, with Dennis Hunt.

I flew a series of great airplanes during those years, beginning in Novice with a OS 40FSR powered Underdog and ending in Masters and F3A with a Bully 120LS powered 2-meter OMS. I won my first Sportsman contest at the end of the 1983 season flying the orange and white Bridi Deception in the photo which was powered by a piped OS 61VF ABC. When we cleaned out our Wichita home for our move to Alabama, I got rid of most of my old trophies. I did, however, keep that one and a few others that have special significance to me.

Life got in the way of R/C after the 2000 season and I quit flying completely. We moved to Alabama in 2011 following our retirement. Bruce Underwood got me started on my SPA journey in 2013 with a wonderful Daddy Rabbit 1. I joined the SPA and competed for the first time in ages at Knoxville only 3 days after picking up the DR1 from Bruce. My thumbs were very rusty, but I was hooked on pattern all over again. I flew Novice and Sportsman in 2013 and was fortunate enough to capture the East Points Championship in Sportsman class that year. I wrote an instruction manual for the PACSS scoring program used at SPA contests after the 2013 season, and I was appointed to be the SPA Webmaster in January, 2015. I will have two new weapons for 2019 - another yellow and red Daddy Rabbit, along with a new Deception.

I love SPA because of all the friendships I've developed. SPA members are some of the friendliest, most helpful folks you'll ever meet. I look forward to seeing my old friends and making many new ones in the coming years. Stop by an SPA contest and say Hi. I'm usually easy to find due to my petite build, plus the fact that I am often sitting at or around the scoring computer.

Chris Berardi, Elected West District

Phil Spelt, Appointed At Large

I built my first model airplane in 1942 or ‘43. I was five years old, had a dime in my pocket, and walked over the hill to downtown Staunton, VA, to the “dime store”. I bought a 10-cent stick-and-tissue model. I already had an Xacto knife (yes, at age 5!!). I was already a “true man” – tossed the plans and instructions aside and built a box fuselage with flat flying surfaces. After covering them with tissue and putting a glob of clay on the nose, I went into the back yard and threw the “plane” up into the air. It “soared” up about 30 feet, flipped over through a perfect uncontrolled stall turn, and came straight down, shearing a “wing” off on the wire clothesline. Of course, I was devastated, so my father bought another kit, this time of the P-40. We built it together, and covered the fuse with silver tissue and the wings with Olive Drab. It actually looked like a P-40, and I was off on a lifetime of aircraft modeling.

When I was in 8th grade, I assembled an OK Cub 049, and got it to run. I put it in the nose of a lime green Minnow racer – screwed (not bolted) directly to balsa. Needless to say, it never flew. Then, later on in high school, in Gary, IN, I built a control line Baby Barnstormer, with that same OK Cub 049 up front. I flew that plane for a couple of years. In college, a friend and I flew several of the Sterling Models profile control-liners. At that time, we were using McCoy and K & B 19’s and 29’s. I managed to build another Sterling C/L plane (a Flyin’ Fool bipe) while overseas in the Army, but never got to fly it.

My first successful R/C plane (in 1977) was called a Paper Cub. It was white with red trim Mylar bonded to corrugated cardboard, looking a bit like a Tri-Pacer. I had built several standard trainers in ’77, but they never lasted more than a few seconds in the air. The great thing about the Paper Cub was that, after a crash, I could just push the cardboard back in place and tape it up as needed. The engine was a Fox .45. In the late winter of 1976-77, I had built a 3-channel Heathkit single-stick R/C system – the first of 3 Heathkit’s I eventually built. Since many of the Heathkit parts came from Kraft, I graduated to Kraft after that. Through the summer of 1977, I taught myself to fly, with no instructor and no simulator. Thank heavens for that durable Paper Cub!

I still have 3 Kraft systems, one of which is his Signature Series, 1983 vintage. I had gotten it narrow-banded in the late 1980’s, I believe; then in 2016, I sent it to Cal Orr to have it converted to 2.4GHz. It is now a Kraft (Spektrum) 7-channel spread spectrum system. My first real pattern plane was a 40-sized ship (forgotten the name) which used an OS 40 or 46. It had Kraft retracts in tail-dragger configuration, and used that 1983 Kraft radio. I now have one of Dennis Hunt’s Capri 40 kits, which is a shrunken version of the Compensator. I will use the Kraft SS system in that plane, along with the Kraft retracts, to recreate my first pattern plane. In addition to pattern, my R/C interests are scale, giant scale, and float planes. The Good Lord put me on this earth to build a certain number of airplanes. Right now, I have so many that I will live forever…

Duane Wilson, Newsletter Editor

As newsletter editor I am honored to be a member of your SPA Board of Directors. Feel free to contact me anytime about anything.

As a bit of background into my R/C modeling "career", my family moved close to the site of the Radio Control Club of Detroit, (RCCD) when I was a teenager. My Dad joined the club and we both got involved. The RCCD held a "Tournament of Champions"--type event each year called the Great Lakes Invitational that drew the very best in pattern pilots. This was the mid 60's when pattern was just coming in to its own. As an impressionable kid, I saw all the pioneering greats of RC compete, and it left a lasting impression.

Later in the mid-80s when I flew AMA NOVICE, all of the planes I flew eventually turned out to be "vintage" pattern planes, (designed before 1-1-76). I had a mentor, and he'd serve as my teacher. Eventually we'd travel to contests in the Michigan/Chicago area. I finally won a single NOVICE contest before relocating to Asheville, NC in 1986. I had a baby son back then, and ended up dropping out of modeling for 17 years, until I eventually "rediscovered" R/C through a friend. I naturally gravitated back to the same planes I enjoyed flying earlier. As I mentioned earlier, by now these planes were all vintage "classics". SPA was exactly what I was looking for--a low-key, yet competitive outlet, (that was fun with great guys flying), where I could fly with like-minded people. Each time I flew I would work on the maneuvers, (giving purpose to each flight), and I really enjoyed the spirit of camaraderie I found in SPA.

To me there is nothing more beautiful to watch than a well executed aerobatic maneuver. I can't even fly a trainer without wanting to do aerobatics, so I guess I'm in the right R/C niche. I've been a part of SPA since my first contest flying a Taurus back in 2005. After five years in NOVICE, I moved on to SPORTSMAN, which is where I feel comfortable, and where I'll most likely stay. I don't have the greatest hand to eye coordination in the world, nor am I the greatest pilot, (nor am I ever likely to be), but I enjoy the "SPA Experience".

When I joined SPA I wanted to tell others about the great time I was having, so I wrote an article for Model Aviation magazine which appeared in May 2006. Since then I've written four more for MA, most dealing with SPA or some other facet of vintage R/C, and the planes and people that made vintage R/C modeling what it is now. One such article was on Ed Kazmirski's Simla. Click here to read it.

I was also instrumental in the re-introduction of the World Models "Intruder" ARF--a couple of us in SPA worked with the manufacturer over a period of several months to produce a "new and improved" Intruder--still a very good and reasonably priced entry into vintage pattern that is a quick alternative to building. Since then there have been several other SPA-legal ARFs introduced, so things have never been easier for the new SPA pilot.

As newsletter editor I try to bring to the membership (six times a year), the best newsletter I can produce, and something that will hopefully be both entertaining and informative. I am always looking for articles and ideas from the membership, so feel free to suggest a topic or write an article--I would be more than happy to work with you.