4th Annual East Tennessee SPA Contest
Johnson City, TN

June 24-25, 2023

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots at JCRC
L-R: CD Vic Koenig, Carl Zavalney, Ellis Newkirk, Norman Bonnette (kneeling), Warren Oliver, Terry Boston,
Dave Phillips, Jerry Black, Gordon Talbot, Jimmy Russell, Ben Spidle, Jamie Strong and Derek Meacham.
Not shown: Jim Johns

The 4th Annual East Tennessee SPA Contest presented by the Johnson City Radio Controllers is in the books. Fourteen pilots gathered for the 2023 version of the Johnson City SPA contest - 6 from Tennessee, 4 from Alabama and 1 each from Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. Nine of them flew electric powered models compared to only five glow powered planes.

Many arrived early to get in some pre-contest practice. Friday was the big practice day with numerous flyers making practice flights in between rain showers. There was also lots of hangar flying.

Saturday dawned a little foggy but with otherwise perfect weather. Temperatures stayed in the 70s all day and the winds were light with broken clouds - perfect for a pattern contest. Registration was completed and the pilot’s meeting held at 9 a.m. with wheels up for the first plane shortly thereafter. Five rounds were successfully completed on Saturday, with the 6th Round taking to the air at 9:30 Sunday. With the contest officially complete, the Expert class pilots decided to fly an unofficial 7th round which was completed by 11:00 a.m.

There were several incidents during the weekend.

  • Dave Phillips was flying a 1980’s vintage glow powered model that had been converted to electric power late Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, the wing departed the fuselage during his Outside Loops. The throttle was still at 100% and the fuselage hit the ground with a violent impact. As Dave walked over to retrieve the wreckage, the damaged LiPo battery caught fire and burned. Luckily, the plane landed in wet grass due to the large amount of rain the area had recently received, so the fire did not spread.
  • Jim Johns was scheduled to be the first pilot in the air on Saturday morning, but he passed in Round 1 after 3 takeoff attempts resulted in zero takeoffs. He pulled out his backup plane which also had problems, so he packed up and spent the rest of the weekend behind the scoring computer.
  • CD Vic Koenig was busy all day Saturday and accidentally installed an uncharged battery in his plane for his 5th round flight. He was only able to complete five maneuvers before the battery died causing a crash and destruction of the model.
  • Jimmy Russell and Ben Spidle attempted to occupy the same piece of airspace late Saturday resulting a mid-air. Ben’s plane received no damage, while Jimmy’s only damage was having the right stab half broken off. The broken stab half remained attached by the wiring for his on-board lighting system. The only possible way this could have happened is that Ben's plane overtook Jimmy's and the prop struck Jimmy's stab.

Everyone packed up their equipment and then gathered for the award presentations. Each flyer that placed received a nice trophy and a certificate and a 20 oz. YETI tumbler courtesy of Ed Ritsko of Johnson City Heating and Air.

  • BASIC: Carl Zavalney won 3 rounds to take 1st Place, Norman Bonnette also won three rounds for 2nd, and Ben Spidle took 3rd.
  • SPORTSMAN: Gordon Talbot won all 6 rounds to win Sportsman with Vic Koenig in 2nd Place.
  • ADVANCED: This was a very tight race. Dave Phillips and Terry Boston each won 3 rounds, but Dave was able to edge Terry by a mere 9½ points for 1st Place. Jim Johns finished 3rd.
  • EXPERT: Warren Oliver and Ellis Newkirk each won 3 rounds with Warren taking the win by 13 points! Jimmy Russell finished 3rd and Jamie Strong was 4th.
  • MASTERS: Jerry Black won all 5 rounds flown to take the win with Derek Meacham in 2nd.

After all the awards were presented, it was time for JCRC’s always amazing raffle.

  • Ed Ritsko, JCRC member and owner of Johnson City Heating and Air, donated many great items – lots of 20 & 30 oz YETI tumblers and a 36” Blackstone gas griddle complete with all the trimmings right down to the propane tank.
  • Lucien Miller of Innov8tiveDesigns.com donated two BadAss 3530 motors and 100Amp ESCs, a programmer card, several t-shirts and many BadAss stickers.
  • Anthony Blair’s wife Lynette donated two very nice gift sets of wonderful smelling goodies for the ladies. These were won by Peggy Phillips and Ellis Newkirk.

 Terry Boston and Don Martin each won a Badass Motor, and Anthony Blair won the Blackstone Griddle thanks to his nephew Logan. You can see all the other winners in the photo section.

There is such a wonderful spirit of pitching in and volunteering by JCRC members - everything from registration help to cooking lunch and contributing to the raffle. This spirit starts from the President, continues downward and is infectious. Thanks to everyone who helped for the wonderful way this contest was run. Apologies if I miss anyone, but here are some of the folks who helped out.

  • CD Vic Koenig
  • Dennis Sams and Don Martin both spent the ENTIRE WEEKEND in the judging chairs. I can personally attest to the fact that it’s hard on the eyes to judge one round, but these two guys judged EVERY ROUND. Thank you, men!
  • JCRC President Glenn Ross took the pilot group photo and created all the trophies.
  • JCRC past President David Jones spent the entire weekend at the field making sure everything ran smoothly.
  • Anthony Blair handled registration and raffle ticket sales, and daughter Anastasia pitched in on the raffle drawing.
  • Jim Johns handled the scoring.

It was another wonderful SPA contest enjoyed by all in attendance. JCRC club President Glenn Ross thanked SPA for bringing the only dry and pleasant weather they’d seen in weeks!

Jim Johns, Webmaster

Final Scores
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