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.

SPA Board of Directors
effective January 1, 2017
Jeff Owens
President
Jeff Owens
Jerry Black
Vice President
Jerry Black
Keith Watson
Secretary Treasurer
Keith Watson
Dan Dougherty
Coordinator of
Special Projects
Dan Dougherty
Duane Wilson
Newsletter Editor
Duane Wilson
Jim Johns
Webmaster

Jim Johns
Phil Spelt
Appointed At Large
Phil Spelt
Scott Sappington
Elected
East Region
Bernie Olson
Elected
West Region
Mickey Walker
Founder Emeritus
Mickey Walker
Bruce Underwood
Past President
Bruce Underwood

BoD Biographies

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

Originally from Nashville, I now live in the oldest town in Tennessee, and have enjoyed it here for over 40 years.  Jonesborough is located in Northeast Tennessee, next to the Appalachian Mountains.  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.

 I have greatly enjoyed the fellowship and competition, and now look forward to serving as the Vice President.  I hope I can be an asset to the organization, and appreciate the opportunity.

Keith 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 my passion.

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 be competitive.

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

As 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".

When 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 Kazmirski's Simla. Click 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 you.

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 basement.

My first experience with R/C came in 1970 when I was stationed at Tachikawa AB, Japan with the U. S. Air Force. I 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 local club. 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.

During that time I met and married the love of my life, my sweet and wonderful wife Bobbie. She has 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.

Wichita local 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 Hunt.

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.

Life 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, 2015. 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

Like 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 for building.

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.

After 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.  Interestingly, I learned more about aerodynamics from designing and building sailplanes than I picked up in Engineering school.

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 and family.  Eventually, the airplane was completed and in 2007 I was sitting in the cockpit poised to take the machine up for the first time.  That’s quite an experience.  It’ll either be one of the most thrilling moments of your life or one of the worst.  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 friend.