20th Annual Cullman SPA Championships
Cullman, AL
 July 21 & 22, 2018

Scores                                                Photos

It was a LUCKY 13 SPA contestants who came and flew in Cullman’s 20th Annual SPA Championships.

The weather bureau apparently frightened many with it’s forecast of almost 100% stormy weather this weekend. As CD Steve Byrum declared just before the awards presentation, “it just didn’t happen”. “I recall counting 15 drops of precipitation all weekend.” Didn’t even open an umbrella. The wind speeds that had been forecast never occurred. Four rounds were flown on Saturday and two on Sunday and folks left for home before 1 PM CDT. Steve did his usual “super job” of directing this annual anticipated event. His Cullman Aeromodellers assisted anywhere he called upon them.

The only negative was the crash of Jim Johns’ Daddy-Rabbit which occurred on Saturday in competition when Jim’s stool sunk into the rather soft turf causing him to fall backward and lose the plane. Steve Drake was one of the judges and attempted to save the model, but it happened just a bit too fast. A photo of the remains are shown in the photo section.

At the outset, Lavelle Thrasher (right), local club member who was the “chief cook” asked for orders for hotdogs with a show of hands, 36 were ordered, all were consumed plus some “extra” that he and his committee prepared with cookies, chips and drinks. He explained, “this prevented such an OVERCOOK of foods as had occurred in the past”.

In the photo section, you’ll see close-ups of Jerry Blacks composite main gear on his Daddy Rabbit. A very neat installation. Pix reveal the gear is mounted to ply both above and below and a removable section sandwiched into the fuselage. The composite gear is by “Graphtec” he says and is their Model 196 shown. He says they are nominally priced about $19.00. Not pictured is his Model 197 which he uses with another size wheel. He uses 4/40 blind nuts inside the fuse for mounting them.

Another neat photo is of Doc Charles Gray’s Quick-Fly II which he constructed for the Vintage division which saw some participation in the early years of the SPA. He flies it in the regular contests simply “because it flies so well”. You’ll note the engine, an OS 50 FSR is tilted “because this is the way Phil Kraft mounted his in the original. Doc built this model from the RCM plans. He said it was kitted in the late 60’s. Doc even mounted his tank hatch with pegs and rubber band because this is the way it was on the original.

Scoring went like this….in NOVICE, Joe Grant won 4 rounds for 1st place, Terry Boston who hails from very near the site of the East-West shootout in Tennessee was 2nd with 3978 and Doc Fred Robertson 3rd with 3579. Jim Strong won SPORTSMAN K’ing 4 rounds followed by Duane Wilson at 3777 and Charles Gray was 3rd with 3462. No one flew in ADVANCED so Bill Dodge elected to fly with the “Old Guys” in Senior Expert which saw Jeff Owens ace ALL the rounds and win handily. Bill Dodge was kind enough to allow your reporter to fly his airplane again, I managed a distant 2nd at 3790, and Bill copped a 3rd with 3368. Jim Johns only completed one round when his mishap claimed his model in Round 2.

Steve and the Cullman Aeromodellers expressed their gratitude at both the opening ceremonies as well as during the award presentation. The opening at Cullman has always been impressive and this year was no exception. Following the brief invocation, Steve played a beautiful recording of the National Anthem delivered a year or so ago by Faith Hill at a gathering in Music City. These small “amenities” have long been a HALLMARK of the SPA pattern gathering in Cullman. We are so grateful to the Aeromodellers in Cullman for the hospitality and Steve for sharing his “expertise” this past weekend. Perhaps he’ll share with us in a future newsletter his talent for garnering perfect weather for a weekend forecast to be anything but!

Bruce Underwood

Final Scores