Inaugural SPA East-West Nationals
Arlington, TN
August 7-8, 2021

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots
L-R: CD Terry Boston, Jeff Owens, Ellis Newkirk, Warren Oliver, Jerry Black, Norm Bonnette,
Dave Dingman, CD Jim Johns, Clint Higdon, Dave Phillips, Richard Tibbitts, Jamie Strong,
Ken Knotts, Alan Schreiber, Gordon Talbot & Danny Jackson

The Memphis Prop Busters (MPB) hosted the inaugural SPA East-West Nationals on August 7-8. It was the first SPA event hosted by this large, Memphis area club. MPB member Terry Boston and Jim Johns CD'd the event. Jim handled the paperwork, registration, finances and scorekeeping, while Terry did the hard work of keeping everything running as smoothly as possible - aka "herding cats".

Pilots began arriving at MPB's Bragg Field in Arlington, TN on Thursday. All were greeted by a beautifully prepared facility ready for the event. The pits and runway grass were immaculately manicured to about 1/4" long, the  permanent shelters featured lots of electrical outlets and lights, and there is a nice club house. Several folks with campers arrived on Thursday with most of the others filtering in throughout the day on Friday and a few Saturday morning. Numerous practice rounds were flown by all, thanks to the light and variable winds and cloudy skies on Friday along with mild temperatures for August in the lower 80s. Here are the folks who came from SEVEN STATES to compete just a few miles east of the Mississippi River dividing line between SPA districts.

  • East District
    • Alabama - Jim Johns, Dave Phillips, Jamie Strong & Gordon Talbot
    • Florida - Jeff Owens
    • Kentucky - Norman Bonnette
    • Mississippi - Terry Boston & Clint Higdon
    • Tennessee - Jerry Black & Warren Oliver
  • West District
    • Arkansas - Richard Tibbitts
    • Texas - Dave Dingman, Danny Jackson, Ken Knotts, Ellis Newkirk & Alan Schreiber

Saturday dawned with a light fog (left) followed by brilliant sunshine, HOT temperatures and plenty of humidity! Competitors began arriving at the field at 7 a.m., prepared their pattern weapons of choice and flew many practice flights.

The field was WET the from morning dew, as attested by the bottom of Ken Knotts's plane following an early morning flight.

 Registration began at 8 a.m., the pilots meeting was held at 9, and competition began at 10 to allow the bright sun to get up out of the way. We  flew two lines - Advanced and Expert on the left line and Basic and Senior Expert on the right. Plenty of ice cold water was available to help folks stay hydrated as there was plenty of sweat generated throughout the weekend.

There were 4 pilots in Basic, 5 in Advanced, 2 in Expert and 5 in Senior Expert. There was a lot of great flying during the weekend. Of particular note, Dave Phillips returned to competition with a vengeance following chemotherapy. We're very happy to see you back, Dave.

Four rounds of competition were completed by 5 p.m. Saturday and everyone was ready to retreat from the hot, muggy weather. Sunday offered a light overcast which aided both visibility and comfort. The first plane was in the air shortly after 9 and the last two rounds were completed by noon. There was only one incident. Richard Tibbitts, who returned to his first contest after a long layoff, collapsed and damaged the nose gear of his plane during a hard landing. Thanks for joining us, Richard. It was nice to finally put a face to the name.

Trophies  were presented to the top finishers in each class - see final scores at bottom. Raffle prizes, including two new, never mounted engines donated by Tom Stennis, were distributed. Ellis Newkirk took home an original Bridi Killer Chaos kit and OS 60FP engine, Warren Oliver won an OS FS-70 Surpass engine and the first of two $100 discount certificates from Models by Terry (Boston). The second certificate went to Jeff Owens. Basic class winner Gordon Talbot of Montgomery, AL received the $50 gas money prize. Vehicles were loaded, goodbyes were exchanged and most everyone was safely on their way home about 12:30.

Terry and I would like to thank all of the fliers who came to compete, the others who came to encourage and assist, and the lovely ladies - Bobbie Johns, Peggy Phillips, Lori Bush & Frankie Higdon (not shown) - who braved the heat to support their favorite pilots. Bruce & Jane Underwood's Top Notch Trophies created the nice plaques for our contest. Please see their ad in every SPA Newsletter if you need trophies for your contest

We also extend our appreciation to the many MPB club members who helped out - mowing the field to an immaculate surface, preparing Saturday lunch, and generally pitching in where needed. We would be remiss not to mention the incredible contribution of MPB Safety Officer Rick Pellicciotti. Rick spent BOTH FULL DAYS carrying the score sheets from the judging tents to the scorekeeper. He definitely got his steps in this weekend! Thank you, Rick.

It was our pleasure to put on this contest. We hope to do this again, so please come back and see us.

Jim Johns & Terry Boston, CDs

Trophies presented by CD Terry Boston

BASIC - Gordon Talbot
ADVANCED - Clint Higdon

EXPERT - Jamie Strong



Final Scores
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