2021 SPA East Masters
Johnson City, TN
9-10, 2021

Scores                                                    Photos

The Pilots
L-R: Bruce Underwood, Ellis Newkirk, Norman Bonnette, Jim Johns, Warren Oliver, Dave Phillips, Derek Meacham,
Jerry Black, Terry Boston, Scott Anderson, Vic Koenig, Bill Dodge, Jimmy Russell, Jamie Strong, Dan Jackson,
Doug Lindauer, Charles Gray, Ben Spidle & Phil Swihart. Not shown: Don Szczur
Photo by Glenn Ross

The 2021 Senior Pattern Assn. East Masters was the culmination of the competition year for the SPA East. It was hosted by the Johnson City Radio Controllers (JCRC) on October 9 & 10. As usual, it was once again a special time for all and a great contest. Contestants converged on the JCRC field from SEVEN states - Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. A few folks showed up on Thursday, with many more arriving to cloudy skies with occasional rain on Friday. Dave Phillips, Jerry Black and Bill Dodge brought their RVs to the field for the weekend. Lots of good practice was completed on Friday between rain showers. You can see the leaden skies in the photo at left of Dave Phillips practicing with wife Peggy calling. There was plenty of hangar flying, too. The day was topped off by a delicious supper of grilled hot dogs, chips, potato salad, beans, brownies, sponge cake with blueberry topping  for dessert and drinks courtesy of the Johnson City Radio Controllers (right). A huge rain shower came through shortly after the food was served, but thanks to the wonderful shelter at the Tri-City Model Airport all were able to stay dry and enjoy their meal. Folks retreated to the campers and motels for the evening soon after eating.

Saturday dawned gray, chilly and foggy. Coffee and doughnuts were provided by JCRC to warm the early arrivals. Sun shelters were erected for later in the day which was forecast to be sunny and near 80°.

Registration was managed expertly by Anthony Blair and Skip Weller with 20 intrepid pilots registering to compete - 4 in Basic, 5 in Sportsman, 4 in Advanced, 4 in Expert and 3 in Senior Expert. Several locals joined in the Basic class and represented JCRC well. JCRC club member and scorekeeper Doug Lindauer flew an incredibly fast little electric pusher jet and an EDF Avanti in Basic. Both planes were great fun to watch.

A nice surprise was having well known AMA pattern pilot Don Szczur join us from Virginia. Don is one of the AMA’s Top FAI class pilots (4th this year at the AMA NATS). He was passing through and decided to "come to the SPA party" and he put on a "how to fly pattern" clinic in the Expert class all weekend. He is one of those guys that represents the pattern hobby in a humble way everywhere he goes and is a real treasure chest of pattern championship information dating from the 70’s to the present day.

 CD Jerry Black conducted the pilots meeting to welcome everyone and explain the local rules. JCRC member Vic Koenig provided the invocation, then the pilots were assembled in front of the JCRC T-33 jet fighter for a photo. As you can clearly see up top, it was still pretty foggy when this photo was taken. Flying was delayed for about an hour to allow the fog to lift. On a positive note, the fog gave plenty of time for preflight inspections, engine tuning and chatting with old friends.

The fog finally lifted enough for the first aircraft to hit the skies about 10 a.m. Four rounds were flown Saturday under increasingly clear skies and warming temperatures. The wind was light and variable all weekend which allowed pilots to choose their direction of flight. The 3rd and 4th rounds were impacted by the sun on the left end of the flight line due to the almost due west facing orientation of the JCRC field. This made left end turnarounds a challenge to say the least, particularly for me.

Sunday once again began with morning fog, but it lifted to reveal a spectacularly beautiful day allowing us to have wheels up by 10 a.m. Two more rounds of excellent flying were completed shortly after noon.

There were three unplanned occurrences during the weekend.

  • On Saturday, Terry Boston allowed his beautiful red, white and blue Deception to get too slow on final approach and it stalled. The plane cartwheeled and broke the fuselage just forward of the horizontal stab. Luckily, Terry had brought his old reliable Dirty Birdy along for backup, and he flew it skillfully enough to win the final round on Sunday.
  •  Scott Anderson had a transmitter malfunction late in the day Saturday, so Jerry Black loaned Scott his backup transmitter and receiver on Sunday. Despite flying a barely trimmed plane, Scott flew well enough to win the Sportsman class.
  • Ben Spidle lost orientation of his Kaos on Sunday. Let's just say there were many anxious moments for a number of folks.

Everyone loaded their vehicles while the final results were tabulated and then assembled for the trophy presentations and raffle. The club had assembled SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS in wonderful prizes to give away. The photo shows only a small sample. There was so much stuff that literally everyone went home with at least one prize. Here's a list of the donors and some of the larger prizes.

  • Mitch Robbins at Aero Composites - Dirty Birdy Kit, 2 hats, 2 t-shirts and a golf shirt
  • Ed & Kelly Ritsko of Johnson City Heating and Air/FACE Amusements - two 45 qt Yeti coolers, a 4-burner Monument gas grill, twelve 30z Yeti tumblers and six 10 oz Yeti tumblers
  • (ROMCO Mfg./TruTurn Spinners - 1 electric spinner, 4 hats, 2 t-shirts, 8 drink koozies
  • HRP Distributing/Savox servos - six 30% off certificates
  • RTL Fasteners - 10 bags of servo screws
  • APC Props - three certificates for 2 free props
  • Bob Smith Industries - assortment of 9 CA glue packages
  • Jerry Black - Tactic 4-channel radio
  • Scott Anderson - Make Pattern Great Again tumnler
  • Norman Bonnette - Plane restraint

Thanks to all who attended and all who helped make the contest a reality. JCRC members were plentiful throughout the weekend. My apologies to anyone I may have missed.

  • JCRC President - David Jones
  • Photography - Glenn Ross
  • Scorekeeping - Doug Lindauer
  • Cooking - Tim Edwards and Skip Weller
  • Raffle - Anthony Blair
  • Volunteer Judge - Dennis Sams.  Dennis hasn't competed for several years and did not fly in this contest, but he once again spent most of the weekend in the judging chair. Thanks, Dennis!

Jim Johns and Jamie Strong

Awards courtesy of Glenn Ross

BASIC - Phil Swihart
SPORTSMAN - Scott Anderson
ADVANCED - Jim Johns
EXPERT - Jamie Strong

SPA East District Annual Points Champions 
Trophies created by Bruce and Jane Underwood of Top Notch Trophies
BASIC - Norman Bonnette
SPORTSMAN - Bill Dodge
ADVANCED - Terry Boston
EXPERT - Jamie Strong

Final Scores
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