2017 Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest
KCRC Field - Knoxville, TN
July 15-16, 2017


Another great SPA contest, hosted by the Knox County RC Club is in the books. This contest was originally scheduled in Asheville, NC. KCRC stepped in to host it after it became clear that the contest could not be held in Asheville for numerous reasons. Co-CDs Phil Spelt and Warren Oliver did their usual superb job of making sure everything was done in good order and all ran smoothly. The weather caused a few small problems - fog each morning with fog hovering over the Clinch River which surrounds the field on three sides, as well as possible thunderstorms throughout the day. Gray clouds filled the Saturday morning sky, but a bright blue sky with puffy white clouds returned on Saturday afternoon and Sunday was picture perfect.

A nice turnout of 18 SPA competitors arrived bright and early Saturday morning, assembled their aircraft and tuned their engines. Several even put in test flights. Co-CD Phil Spelt then called a pilots meeting and explained the KCRC specific rules, followed by Co-CD Warren Oliver's explaination of the flight line and judging procedures. Flying was delayed for a bit by the morning fog, but it soon lifted. Competitor Curt Diggs received a phone call during this time informing him that his water heater at home had failed, so he packed up his beautiful Tiger Tail 4 and headed back to Atlanta before flying even began.

Four rounds were completed on Saturday and two on Sunday. Several competitors had problems with orientation Saturday morning due to the very gray skies. Several “lost it” momentarily but all regained control in time to save their aircraft. The only casualty of the weekend was Bruce Underwood’s Dirty Birdy. This was unfortunate because Bruce is flying the best he has in years and had won the 2nd round. See The Rest of the Story below.

The 17 remaining competitors were nicely spread through the five classes - 2 in Novice, 3 in Sportsman, 3 in Advanced, 5 in Expert and 4 in Senior Expert. Competition was keen in all classes. Final scores are posted at the bottom of the page, but here's a quick summary.

  • Jim Strong lived up to his name, taking the first five rounds of Novice competition for the win. David Johnson won the final round for 2nd.
  • KCRCer Jimmy Russell took the win in Sportsman, also winning five rounds. Vic Koenig won a round for 2nd, with Duane Wilson finishing 3rd.
  • Following the trend, fellow KCRCer Bill Dodge also won 5 rounds to secure the Advanced class victory. Jim Johns won Round 5 for 2nd place with Co-CD Phil Spelt finishing 3rd.
  • Expert was the largest class with five entries. Jerry Black took all four rounds Saturday for the victory, then sat out Sunday and helped judge. Jamie Strong finished a strong 2nd, with Texas visitor Ellis Newkirk taking 3rd. Steve Drake and Co-CD Warren Oliver rounded out the class.
  • SPA President Jeff Owens easily scored the win with a dominating performance in Senior Expert - 5 Ks and a 999.38 in his other round. Secretary/Treasurer Keith Watson was 2nd and Russ Chiles 3rd. Bruce Underwood finished 4th after his unfortunate crash in the 3rd round.

Beautiful handmade awards were passed out by KCRC President Rick Thompson early Sunday afternoon. This allowed folks to get on the road home at a decent hour. Bill Dodge and Keith Watson won rolls of Monokote and Neucover in the drawing, while big winner Steve Drake took a fiberglass and foam T2A kit donated by the Ballistic Aircraft Company home to Bowling Green, KY. Congratulations to all.

It was another wonderful weekend of SPA competition and fellowship. We plan to reconvene next month in Chattanooga, TN for more of the same. Please come join us if you can.

Jim Johns, Webmaster

The Rest of the Story

Bruce's Dirty Birdy, purchased last March at Perry, was built with dual elevator servos. Following takeoff in the 3rd round, the right servo mount broke loose from the fuselage causing the plane to be uncontrollable. See arrow in 1st photo. It crashed into the Clinch River off the right end of the field. Bruce was dismayed at losing his plane and especially his engine and radio. KCRC member Roger Kroodsma (Left - 2nd photo) fought his way through the briars and brambles down the steep incline where he found the fuselage floating in the river. After waiting for it to float to shore, Roger retrieved it and returned it to Bruce. Needless to say, Bruce was a very happy camper. Roger's poor leg got the worst of the ordeal - see last photo above.



KCRC Final Scores