2nd Annual Johnson City RC SPA Contest
July 10-11, 2021

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots
L-R: CD Vic Koenig, Dan Jackson,Terry Boston, Jim Johns, Jerry Black, Norman Bonnette,
Jimmy Russell, Bryan Adcock, Warren Oliver, Doug Lindauer, Ken VandenBosch,
Bill Dodge and Karl Gerth. Not shown: Duane Wilson

The Johnson City Radio Controllers (JCRC) held their second annual SPA contest on July 10-11.  Both our Tennessee contest locations and hosting clubs are fast becoming a hotbed of SPA activity and a source for new pilots.  Both Johnson City/Kingsport and Knoxville are doing something right, and much of it has to do with their positive attitude and enthusiasm for SPA. It’s cool to experience our own introduction to SPA again through these new pilots, most flying whatever they have. As we’ll see in a minute, new planes brought by first-time competitors add an interesting twist to the competition.

On the other end of the spectrum, it was a pleasure to have Karl Gerth from Knoxville fly with us again. Karl was previously a regular on the contest circuit who has been taking a hiatus from competing. Karl stepped right back into things and flew well in an increasingly competitive BASIC class.

The forecast called for a good chance of thunderstorms and the associated funky winds that they generate, but overall we were very fortunate and didn’t experience any weather delays. Temperatures were moderate for mid-July and a manageable, variable crosswind provided some cooling on Saturday. Sunday morning conditions were about as good as it gets with a very light breeze. The increased heat and rains arrived after the contest was over.

More people signed up, but on contest day we had 14 contestants from seven states – Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. We missed Dave Phillips who was unable to attend due to medical treatment and Jeff Owens who chose to stay home due to the hurricane, as well as those unable to travel to the far northern edge of SPA country. Check the score sheets in BASIC, SPORTSMAN, and ADVANCED and you’ll see a scrappy competition between several contestants with the point spread very close until the end. ADVANCED in particular was hotly contested with the lead changing hands several times. In the end, 2nd place was decided by less than 4 points!

BASIC class was interesting for a number of reasons.  Whatever electric delta “screamer” Doug Lindauer was flying looked GREAT in the air doing HUGE Reverse Cuban Eights and loops.  A couple more quick points about Doug: 1) he is a local club member and the official scorekeeper, (being tutored and assisted by Jim Johns), in addition to being a participant, and 2) as the contest progressed, even a casual observer could see he was getting into flying this “precision pattern” thing.  After a few rounds, he announced his intention to get something a bit more suitable for pattern. As cool as it was, Doug’s high-pitched entry had a hard time doing a Stall Turn even though it had two little rudders. It’s hard to coax these small electrics to perform aerobatics, but he did pretty well.  Eventually, people started watching to see how the Stall Turn would go, and to see if Doug could land without parts flying off his plane on contact with the grass. A cheer went out when he landed in one piece after a later round.

Bryan Adcock from Miamisburg, Ohio liked his first contest experience in Knoxville enough to make the trek to Kingsport for this event. He fit right in like a veteran. He’s obviously a quick learner, and the improvement in his flying since the Knoxville contest was evident.

CD Vic Koenig worked so hard to make things go smoothly that you wouldn’t have thought it was his first time CDing a contest. When needed, Vic got a lot of help from several CDs among the contestants, particularly JCRC's own Jerry Black. 

There was a great atmosphere of cooperation from both club members and contestants. Judging assignments were pre-planned, but Vic was able to ad-lib when necessary. His work allowed five rounds to be completed by 3:00 p.m. on Saturday as proceedings moved right along with a group effort to keep the flight lines moving. Two more rounds were flown on Sunday morning. Raffle prizes were distributed by Anthony and Anastasia Blair while the final scores were tallied. The raffle included two $50 gas money prizes, one of which was won by the pilot with the longest drive, Ken VandenBosch from Ocala, FL. Trophies were awarded, vehicles were loaded and everyone was on the road by noon.

One thing that stood out this year as well as in 2020 was the extraordinary involvement and team effort by many JCRC club members. Each person did their part while seeming to enjoy being involved. It was easy to see that the club was really on-board and involved in the contest. From President David Jones on down, the hospitality displayed by the host club was truly impressive, making it was a “fun” contest. David even aided in the effort to fix Duane's sluggish 4-stroke engine. (The help was greatly appreciated, but in the end it was evident that this engine has seen better days—DW).

This was an uneventful contest in terms of casualties and mishaps—it’s wonderful not to have to report “crashes”. Things went smoothly other than a few broken props and at least two dead stick landings. Duane’s muffler was hanging by the exhaust tubing after a JB Weld repair gave way. It didn’t depart the plane until he “bounced” the landing but the muffler was recovered. There also weren’t any mishaps during Friday’s practice sessions as contestants trickled in and flew practice rounds.

Thanks to all who attended and all who helped make the contest a reality. JCRC member helpers were plentiful throughout the weekend. My apologies to anyone I may have missed.

  • JCRC President - David Jones
  • Photography - Glenn Ross
  • Scorekeeping - Doug Lindauer
  • Cooking - Tim Edwards, his brother and Skip Weller
  • Raffle - Anthony and Anastasia Blair
  • Volunteer Judge - Dennis Sams.  Dennis hasn't competed for several years and did not fly in this contest, but he spent almost the entire weekend in the judging chair for the upper classes. This is not an easy job because looking at the sky for that long is very hard on the eyes. Thank you, sir!

Vic won’t praise himself, but I can.  It was obvious from the start that Vic put a lot of planning into this contest. It’s quite a “stimulating” experience to hear your name being called out from all directions at the same time all day long.  Vic also managed to fly and judge while keeping it all going.

Finally, mention should be made that there were three class winners from the two East Tennessee clubs - Warren Oliver and Bill Dodge from KCRC in Knoxville and Jerry Black from JCRC. I am hoping this trend continues with even more participation from those clubs.

Everyone told CD Vic that they had a great time, and isn’t that the point of it all anyway? We hope to see everyone back here October 9 & 10 for the SPA East Masters!

Vic Koenig, Duane Wilson, and Jim Johns


BASIC - Bryan Adcock
SPORTSMAN - Bill Dodge
ADVANCED - Jim Johns
EXPERT - Warren Oliver

webcam picture of the pilot stations and the flight line from the right side
View of the JCRC Field Monday after the contest from one of their field cameras.

Final Scores
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