2020 East Masters
Prattville, AL
October 17-18, 2020


The Pilots
L-R: Terry Boston, Greg Hoke, Jerry Black, Norman Bonnette, Dave Phillips,
Jamie Strong, Jeff Owens, Joe Ryan, Ken Blackwell, Vic Koenig & Ken VandenBosch

Last week with the East “Masters” approaching, everyone was watching the weather forecasts. The predictions were fantastic with expected temperatures in the low 70’s with winds at 5-10mph. However, even in these days of detailed computer models, the “science” is sometimes a little off. A strong cold front was plunging south with rain showers as we were on our way to Prattville, meaning the cooler temps and resulting high winds weren’t far behind.

Friday afternoon was pleasant with temps in the low 70s, but a robust 90-degree crosswind was challenging the pilots for Friday practice. The sun is another problem at Prattville in the early part of the day making “sundots” desirable. You think you can avoid the “small blinding circle”, but it’s amazing how the plane seems to seek it out more often than not. This was painfully demonstrated when Ken Blackwell flew through the sun in his first round flight. Seeing spots, nobody knew where the plane was until it crashed way behind the flight line on the other side of the highway!

Saturday began cool, with the wind steadily building up. By “wheels up”, the steady cross wind with gusts was back which of course tested the metal of the competing twelve pilots.

Starting with NOVICE, Norm Bonnette was in a class by himself, and put in increasingly better performances with each flight on Saturday. SPORTSMAN had Vic Koenig and Ken VandenBosch dueling it out. Unfortunately, after a good third round flight, Vic experienced a freak accident when he attempted to taxi his Phantom back. The plane suddenly veered off to the right (with what proved to be a buckled tail wheel), and hit a post, damaging both the wing and fuselage. The damage wasn’t severe, but it was bad enough to put his yellow/black/and white Phantom out of commission. Vic passed on his fourth round, but Jerry Black offered him his scratch-built Kaos to fly for the last two rounds, (see below). Meanwhile, Ken was putting in consistent flights with the Killer Kaos he won at an event last season. Terry Boston built the plane for him.

In ADVANCED, Ken Blackwell was out early as described above, and Jim Strong wasn’t able to compete due to a sudden stomach illness, so Terry Boston stood unopposed, but put in four flights on Saturday to make things official.

The real competition was in EXPERT and SENIOR EXPERT where there were more entrants. There were a total of six EXPERTS and SR. EXPERTs including Joe Ryan who is an AMA competition buddy of Greg Hoke. This was his second event. I think he may become a regular next season. Availability of retracts is a plus to attract AMA newcomers. He told me our smaller vintage planes are more of a challenge to fly—-and challenge is good.

Late Saturday afternoon the wind died down, and there was a lot of practice after-hours going on. After some coaxing, Vic decided to accept Jerry’s offer to use his Kaos and had a practice flight. He took to the Kaos like a duck to water doing the maneuvers as well if not better than with his own plane. The only problem was adjusting to the 2-stroke after years of instantaneous electric torque, but all who were watching were happy at how well he did right out of the box with an unfamiliar plane.

Sunday we were looking forward to more gentle winds as the effects of the cold front subsided—it didn’t happen. Winds that were supposed to be 7-8 mph were as strong or stronger than the day before with the American flags at each end of the flight line flapping straight out in the breeze. Norm in NOVICE elected not to fly because it wasn’t necessary (and it wasn’t enjoyable, plus it saved time.) Ken VandenBosch in SPORTSMAN felt the same until he learned that Vic wanted to make up ground with Jerry’s plane. However, the borrowed plane, strong cross-wind, and flying at an angle to the runway (due to the wind), was too much to overcome. Round five didn’t go well, and round 6 was scrubbed.

EXPERTs aren’t called “experts” for nothing, and handled the variable crosswinds with relative ease. Greg Hoke told me that they “...just enjoyed flying before the judges,” and flew all six rounds. Greg emerged at the top of the pile in EXPERT, while Jerry Black, (who didn’t fly rounds 5 & 6) took SENIOR EXPERT.

The raffle winner, (she did it again), was Peggy Phillips who won the very pretty Phoenix 7 (see her posing at right.) Points winners Norm Bonnette, Ken VandenBosch, Terry Boston, Greg Hoke, and Jerry Black received their award plaques, and Jerry Black took the Memorial Trophy based on his season points without a fly-off.

Jamie, as usual, ran a very well organized “no nonsense” contest. Without the usual scorer, they tabulated the “raw” scores (with only a calculator, paper and a pen), using even numbers from the judges, (no half-points.)

This Masters wouldn’t have happened without Gary Singleton’s tremendous support acting as scorer, plus he provided nearly all the pictures you will see here and on the website. We also can’t thank people like Jamie, Jerry Black, and Dave Phillips enough for all they did to make the 2020 East season a reality. The truth is it simply would have been a total “bust”, a lost season without these key people, and the member support from their clubs. They deserve a resounding virtual “huzzah” from the SPA membership.

Thank you all from the bottom of our “SPA hearts”.

Duane Wilson

Had most of the contestants showing uo showing up Friday to warm up. Had another good showing of campers. Don’t know whats more fun, the flying or camping, he he he We had 2 folks loose an airplane over the weekend, one repairable and the other one not repairable. The weather was delightful, high of 70 on Saturday and 76 on Sunday. I always have fun CDing a contest, but generally I’ll take a few days to decompress.

Garry S. Should have the pics he took on the Fcflyers.com in the next Few days. When he post them i’ll let everyone know. If it weren’t for Garry and Ray.

Heres how Sunday ended up.

1st place Norm Bonnette

1st place Ken VandenBosch
2nd place Vic Koenig


1st Place Terry Boston
2nd Place Ken Blackwell

1st Place Greg Hoke
2nd Place Joe Ryan
3rd Place Jamie Strong

Senior Expert
1st Place Jerry Black
2nd Place Jeff Owens
3rd Place Dave Phillips

Jamie Strong, CD

Final Scores
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