2021 Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest
May 22-23, 2021

Scores    Photos

The Pilots
L-R: Ellis Newkirk, Warren Oliver, Ed Seigler, Jamie Strong, Blair Halkett, Bryan Adcock, Duane Wilson,
Derek Meacham, CD Jimmy Russell, Bill Dodge, Norman Bonnette, Ben Spidle, Terry Boston,
Jeff Owens, Ken VandenBosch, Dan Jackson, Anthony Blair, Vic Koenig & Dave Phillips

2021 Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest Report

I think this contest opened up the SPA East season with a bang. We were all sick and tired of 2020. Everyone just wanted to get out in the sun and fly some old school pattern. We had plenty of both at Knoxville. The only complaint I received was that it was too “hot”. I asked the weatherman to help us and the best he could do was low wind and no rain, which was just about perfect. SPA’ers started showing up Thursday with more trickling in Friday. We lost a plane in practice with Ellis Newkirk’s Electric Compensator. He lost radio contact during a turnaround and it went into the lake. Warren and some others went down to the water and were able to flag down a boater. They were able to retrieve what was floating. The motor and esc are still at the bottom of the lake.

We opened the contest with a moment of silence in respect for the recent passing of Dr Fred Robertson and Charlie Johns. Several guys shared many happy memories about them throughout the weekend. With 21 pilots, promptness was the name of the game. After the group shot we had wheels up shortly after 9. Thanks to Jamie Strong for spending most of his free time coaching the large Basic class many of whom were at their 1st SPA contest. He has a laid back way of teaching pattern that puts newbies at ease. By noon we had wrapped up 2 rounds in all classes. I was so happy to see most of the day 2 planes were in the air. I knew with 132 actual flights to be flown we had to keep em flying. KCRC member Todd Thomas brought the Chic Fil A lunch and fliers ate when they weren’t flying. Planes continued to fly all afternoon till about 4:15 when we finished 4 rounds in all classes. We lost one plane Saturday. Ben Spidle (1st timer) lost orientation and his plane went down and the dry hard turf didn’t cushion much. Phil Spelt also had a mishap where his Dirty Birdy got tangled up in the fence but the Birdy is repairable and will fly again. A lot of folks met at Calhoun’s for the traditional dinner and storytelling Sat night.

Sunday rolled in and so did the fog. But it cleared right on cue and we were back flying at 9 am. All the classes ticked right along with almost seamless precision. This was due that word (promptness) I asked for in the Pilot’s meeting. Everyone quickly answered the call to judge or fly. All I had to do was ask. Jim Johns did his magic entering scores and giving me round totals to post periodically. All this made my job of CD’ing almost easy. We wrapped up both flight lines almost at the same time with “Hot Rod” Phillips closing us out in Senior Expert just after noon.

We had really nice raffle. Thanks to Scott Anderson at PMA for the Killer Kaos kit and doing the legwork to acquire the grand prize, a JR Propo T8x4 radio system donated by DeeForce (the JR distributor in the states). Also a thank you goes to Mean Joe at Balsa USA for always sending me a nice box of goodies.

As the raffle tickets were being stirred I told everyone if Peggy Phillips wins the grand prize again we are going to open an investigation. Everyone had a good laugh at that. It’s no secret she’s one lucky lady. After the bottles of glue and glue caddies were handed out, I pulled Dan Jackson’s ticket for the PMA Kaos kit. Then after much anticipation Duane Wilson possessed the ticket for the Radio.

This ended up being the largest SPA contest in recent times. With 6 rounds flown in all classes, 4+ in every class, and 5 having their 1st experience in SPA, I have to say this contest was my definition of a success. I’ve heard from a couple of the new guys after the contest and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at other contests this year. I won’t get into the results. You can read them below. But for once at a recent SPA contest not everyone went home with an award. I was happy to give em someone to beat in Expert haha.

Thanks to everyone for an awesome weekend!

Jimmy Russell, CD

Final Scores
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Webmaster's Note: Jimmy thought you might like to know what equipment the competitors used in the contest.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this matrix.
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