2021 Mac Hodges SPA Contest
September 18-19
, 2021

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots
L-R: Terry Boston, Dave Phillips, Jeff Owens, Norman Bonnette, Bob Lane, Bruce Underwood, Duane Wilson, Jamie Strong, John Wolfe, Ken VandenBosch, Greg Hoke, Gordon Talbot

Mac Hodges Contest September 18-19, 2021

The drama started Wednesday afternoon with a call from CD Dave Phillips letting me know that the weekend weather forecast was for 60% chance of rain for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! I suggested – and others soon concurred – that we should just go ahead and fly anyway! And so the faithful started arriving Thursday at Mac Hodges’ beautiful flying site. Lori and I joined the group on Friday afternoon. The weather was beautiful – slightly overcast with a bit of a breeze so the temperature wasn’t too high and the gnats were being blown on their merry way. I got in four practice flights with my electric Curare and then it was time for some sport flying. Greg Hoke had brought a U-control airplane which he proceeded to fly, demonstrating that he has pattern ability of more than one type. I then tried my hand at it – my last control line flight was about 45 years ago. I asked for a half tank of fuel just in case I got too dizzy! The flight was fun and I did a few loops, wingovers, and inverted passes. Dave Phillips then tried his hand at it – also with half a tank. The airplane survived these flights and it was on to the next activity – flying a foam delta wing float plane off Mac’s pond! We did this last year, too, and it sure is fun doing touch and goes off the water! This continued until Greg tried a pass by the flight line (about 50 yards behind us) and tangled with the big ultra light weather vane, with the foamy being stranded on the roof of the pavilion. With the aid of a ladder the plane was recovered and it will fly again next time (after some liberal use of foam-safe CA!) For additional entertainment Mac Hodges flew a sunset flight in one of his ultralight airplanes doing low passes along the runway.

The competition was good in all the classes. Gordon Talbot and Norm Bonnette battled it out in Basic once again. These two look to be ready for Sportsman next year and that will make for even better competition in that class. Bob Lane from Savannah joined SPA this year and competed with Duane Wilson in Sportsman. Bob flew pattern back in the late 70s and through the 80s at various venues around the Southeast. It is great to have him active in SPA! In Advanced Dave Phillips, Ken VandenBosch, and Terry Boston battled it out with the lead changing throughout the afternoon. Expert saw a classic four-way battle between Greg Hoke, Jamie Strong, Joe Ryan, and John Wolfe. Greg led the way through all four rounds, with the other three close behind. In Senior Expert Bruce Underwood and I duked it out through all four rounds with some very close scores. As a side note, it sure was great seeing Bruce and his wife Jane back on the contest trail!
With the close of flying activities for the day it was time for some to practice some more and others to gather around to socialize and have a cook out. Lori and I joined Dave, Peggy, and Norm Bonnette for some steaks, grilled corn, salad, and potatoes. Norm entertained us with stories of his time serving on a nuclear submarine!

Saturday night the rain moved in and we had a good dose of rain. Perfect for sleeping! In the morning one could see that there had been a lot of water deposited on the field, but it drained off quickly.

Sunday dawned with a low overcast – the ceiling was 300 feet at the local airport! Norm Bonnette started his fifth round but briefly lost sight of his airplane on the turnaround and decided to land. Later, Greg Hoke probed the low hanging clouds and demonstrated that rolls were fine, but Figure M’s were a bit dicey. After waiting until 11:00 for the clouds to lift, it was decided to call the contest at four rounds. The winners in each class were Gordon Talbot – Basic, Bob Lane – Sportsman, Dave Phillips – Advanced, Greg Hoke – Expert, and Jeff Owens – Senior Expert. The full results are available elsewhere on the web site.

The next item of business was a drawing for a Phoenix 7 ARF and a Rossi 57. The combo was donated by Dave Phillips who had bought them for his son but who had decided that with raising his family he had no time for pattern competition. The plane and engine were awarded separately with Bob Lane getting the engine and Duane Wilson the plane. At that point it was time to pack up and head home. Another great contest at Mac Hodges’ wonderful flying site was entered into the books. Thanks for everyone who came and participated and also to those who helped make the contest such an enjoyable event.

Jeff Owens

Webmaster's Note: The upper half  of some of the included photos looks very "fuzzy or grainy" while the lower half looks fine. These were taken Sunday morning when there was a very low ceiling that precluded flying. Dave Phillips and I scratched our heads for a while and finally decided it's actually a low cloud that messed up the images. Sorry about that.

Final Scores
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