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.
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!
Jerry Black, Vice President
from Nashville, I now live in the oldest town in
Tennessee, and have enjoyed it here for over 40
Jonesborough is located in
Northeast Tennessee, next to the Appalachian
I have been married for 36
years, have two beautiful daughters, and one
wonderful grand baby.
Aviation has always
been my passion. I hold a private, instrument and
commercial rating in full scale planes, with a
little over 2500 hours of flight time.
My interest in aviation
began early, and I started building and flying
models with my dad, when I was around 12 years old.
I started flying RC in 1970
at Percy Warner Park , and won my first contest in
Huntsville, Alabama in 1971.
I have always loved
precision aerobatics and joined SPA around 2005,
competing at Knoxville.
have greatly enjoyed the fellowship and competition,
and now look forward to serving as the Vice
I hope I can be an asset to
and appreciate the opportunity.
Watson, Secretary Treasurer
I was interested in airplanes from a very young age.
We lived in Waycross GA from 1945 (the year I was
born) to 1951 and I loved watching and hearing the
prop-driven military planes flying over. My Dad had
flown a Baby Shark (spark ignition-powered) on a
single-wire control line system before WWII. Not
sure if it was Monoline but it was the same
principle - twisting the wire by means of a spool
sliding on a spiral rod would give up and down
control. When I showed interest in modeling, he was
more than willing to get back into it so we had many
great years of flying together.
He served in San Diego with the US Navy in 1943 as a
welder and contracted a serious lung problem
requiring surgery, probably due to the smoke from
the unidentified metals he was welding on. He
recovered and lived to age 78.
We moved from Waycross to Jacksonville FL in 1951
and there was a large enough group of modelers there
to support a hobby shop. We flew at a city park and
there was a track where Dooling-powered tethered
race cars could compete. Very loud and exciting! We
flew U-control - I had a Veco Papoose and a Warrior,
and he built a Smoothie and a Thunderbird. He traded
the Thunderbird in 1956 for a 10-hp Johnson outboard
motor which I still have.
I won a hand-launch glider contest in Albany GA when
I was 13. (Full disclosure: I was the only Junior
competitor!) The prize was an OK Cub .074. I
continued flying control line until high school,
cars, and girls became more interesting!
After a couple of years in college, I started
working for Southern Bell in Albany GA in 1964 and
moved to Atlanta in 1966. Uncle Sam came calling in
July that year. Went to Germany and served as a
field wireman in a Signal Corps company. We had a
good bit of free time so I was back into CL modeling
with a Flite Streak and a Fox 35 in a short time.
I came back Stateside on leave in Oct. 1967 and
married my sweetheart Carol. She went to Germany
with me and we rotated back to the US in Sept. 1968.
Dad sent me a single-channel Ace relay receiver and
an Orbit single channel transmitter in the spring of
1968. I built a Mini Mambo over there, rudder only,
and installed a Cox Golden Bee and a Bonner Varicomp
escapement. The Mambo still lives- I shipped it back
home. Carol and I are still hanging in and she
tolerates the modeling quite well. We'll celebrate
50 years in October this year!
Back in ATL, We moved into an apartment in Smyrna -
I had already scoped out and joined the Cobb County
RC club and from then on, Pattern was and still is
There were so many great modelers in CCRC - Mickey
Walker, Curtis Motes, Ronald Reed, Scott Barland,
Malcolm Rutledge, Joel Harper, Slick Larsen, Jack
Dunn, Neal Kilby, Gail Jacobsen, and many others who
flew with us from the 60's into the 80's. Tom
Atkins, a terrific designer, builder, and pilot,
created the T2A design inspired by the Navy's T2
Buckeye tandem-cockpit jet trainer. He was a 727
Captain with Eastern Airlines.
The biggest blow we suffered happened in July 1975
when Cobb County took our flying field away. I was
practicing to go to the Nationals in Lake Charles LA
that summer and was working in downtown Atlanta. The
nearest field suitable for Pattern was about 25
miles south of where we lived. I went to the Nats
that year and flew in qualifying rounds but didn't
make the cut. In 1976 the Nats was held near Dayton,
Ohio at Wright-Patterson AFB. Didn't make the cut
there either, but I had the privilege to meet Dave
Brown, Mark Radcliff, Tony Bonetti, Don Lowe, and
many other leading Pattern pilots.
My dad and I attended the Pattern World
Championships in Springfield, Ohio in 1977. Rhett
Miller, a single-stick pilot, suffered a problem no
one had ever seen - the aileron centering spring on
his transmitter broke during a qualifying flight. He
continued the flight briefly but he wasn't able to
fly well enough to put up a competitive score for
that round. Kraft reps on hand had it repaired well
before the next round but he seemed to be bothered
by it for the rest of the contest and finished in
5th place. Hanno Prettner of Austria was the winner,
followed by Dave Brown of USA, Wolfgang Matt of
Lichtenstein, Ivan Kristensen of Canada, Rhett
Miller of USA, and Mark Radcliff of USA. When the
awards ceremony was over, Rhett walked away with his
dad and declared that he was "airplaned out".
There was a contest I entered in Ft. Walton Beach FL
in the middle to late 70's which featured the most
accurate judging I had ever encountered. Jim
Kirkland, Rhett Miller, Jim Whitley, Ron Chidgey,
Steve Helms, and Don Coleman competed there. I never
saw Kirkland fly - he suffered a heart attack and
passed away in 1973. I did meet him in 1965 at a
party held by Bill Johnston in Prattville. Bill was
a Kraft distributor in those years.
In 1974 the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas was
introduced and our style of Pattern gradually fell
out of favor. The AMA leadership was moving toward
an International tournament, including large cash
awards, under FAI rules and the style we had flown
wasn't able to survive. Those of us who had flown
center-judged Pattern for many years were still
interested but the FAI-style pattern was out of our
reach and was the only game in town by the early
80's. AMA pattern was still being flown at contests
but by and large only the manufacturer-sponsored
teams had the equipment and the time to practice and
Mickey Walker came to our rescue in 1991 with his
own idea of a separate association dedicated to the
patterns we flew in the days when almost all Pattern
flying was done by individuals who paid their own
way, and it was affordable to anyone. He called a
meeting to kick the idea around and about 15 of the
Cobb County pattern flyers showed up. When he passed
the clipboard around I was in the 10th chair, hence
my SPA number 10. I was able to win a good many
contests in Expert for the first 4-5 years until
Bruce Underwood showed up! When he got his act
together he won pretty much every contest for the
next 15 years. Hats off to you Coach!
Duane Wilson, Newsletter Editor
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".
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
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
Jim Johns, 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
My first experience with R/C came
in 1970 when I was
stationed at Tachikawa AB, Japan with the U. S. Air
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
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.
that time I met and married the love of my life, my
sweet and wonderful wife Bobbie.
supported me throughout out 35 year marriage in all
my work and hobbies, and she still goes to every
contest with me. Last year she even started being my
"call girl" for the first time ever. She is the
light of my life and I have no idea how I'd get
along without her.
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
I flew a series of great airplanes during those
years, beginning with a 40 powered Underdog in
Novice and ending with a Bully 120 powered 2-meter
OMS in Masters and F3A. I won my first Sportsman
contest at the end of the 1983 season flying the
orange and white Bridi Deception seen in
the first photo
that was powered by a piped OS 61VF. When we cleaned out our Wichita home
after 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.
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,
I'm currently flying the red and yellow Daddy Rabbit
shown in the Advanced class and I'm building a new
Dirty birdy for 2017.
I love SPA because of all the friendships I've
developed. SPA members are some of the most
friendly, 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.
Bernie Olson, Elected West Region
many SPA members I’ve been obsessed with flight for
as long as I can remember.
As a ten year old I
stumbled into a stack of Model Airplane News in the
library of my Elementary School and from that point
aviation has been at the center of my life.
The first attempts
were with rubber-powered stick and tissue models
built from magazine plans.
They didn’t look
very good and didn’t fly worth a flip but they were
fun and the education was underway.
By Junior High
School I was building free-flight planes and
designing my own control line models.
The planes were now
starting to look and fly better and I was learning
about aerodynamics and pride of workmanship.
In Minnesota the
flying season was short and the rest of the year was
During these early years I spent a decade actively
involved in Civil Air Patrol which allowed
opportunities with full-scale aircraft.
I was fortunate to
solo before getting a driver’s license but the pilot
license would have to wait until funds were
available later in life.
completing a Mechanical Engineering degree I found
myself working for Beech Aircraft in Wichita where I
met Jim Johns and his wife Bobbie.
I was actively
competing with R/C sailplanes while Jim was chasing
the Pattern circuit.
learned more about aerodynamics from designing and
building sailplanes than I picked up in Engineering
Career opportunities had me moving to California and
Texas to work on the designs of some very
interesting missiles, spacecraft and aircraft.
Models had to be
put on hold while I built a full-scale biplane – an
Acro Sport II.
There just weren’t
enough hours in the day to do both along with career
airplane was completed and in 2007 I was sitting in
the cockpit poised to take the machine up for the
That’s quite an
It’ll either be one
of the most thrilling moments of your life or one of
Fortunately, it was
the former and the plane flew great.
I’ve flown it to
Airventure in Oshkosh a couple times and was
thrilled to pick up an award for Outstanding
Workmanship for a Plans-Built Aircraft.
Eventually, the models needed to fly again and
thanks to Ken Knotts and Gary Alphin I finally
entered my first Pattern contest.
Pattern still didn’t
hit me right away but has slowly taken a strong hold.
The more I fly it,
the more I like it.
I still enjoy
building as much as flying and the SPA fleet hanging
in the garage currently sits at an even ten
planes. Seems like whenever I finish one I just have
to start another. Thankfully, through all this my
wife and daughters have tolerated a life-long
addiction to aviation.
Webmaster's Note: Bernie
is one of the finest and most prolific builders I've
ever met. He was vacuum bagging sailplane wings when
we first met in the early 80's. He isn't
exaggerating about airplanes in his garage. I took
these photos in Oct, 2016, and I dare you to count all
the airplanes hanging from the ceiling. There are more behind
the camera in the first
picture, too. It is an honor to call Bernie my