2022 Mac Hodges SPA Contest
Andersonville, GA
August 20-21, 2022

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots and Helpers
L-R: Eric Knieper, Dave Phillips, Norman Bonnette, Jeff Owens, Paul Higginbotham, Joe Ryan, Ken VandenBosch, Gordon Talbot, Greg Hoke, Vic Koenig, Jerry Black, Ray Kunert, Joe Grant, Jamie Strong, Jimmy Russell, Jim Oliver, Dr Charles Gray, Clint Higdon, Terry Boston, Jim Johns & Bob Lane.  Not shown: Duane Wilson

Wow! Where do I start? There is so much to talk about that it’s going to be hard for me to cover it all and keep this from being too long.

The field was in great shape. However, the grass was a little high for our small wheels, so Mac’s handy man Doug gave us a runway cut which made things better. The weather was outstanding for practice and the contest with temps in the mid-80s and light winds. We also had cloud cover much of the time that helped with the sun.

The contest had one of our larger recent turnouts with 21 pilots competing. We had several come in Wednesday for some early practice. The flying increased on Thursday and Friday with 3 and sometimes 4 airplanes in the air almost all day. It reminded me of the old days when that was the norm. One participant said it looked like a contest was already in progress when he arrived on Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning came and Peggy Phillips handled registration with her normal aplomb. We then gathered everyone for the pilots meeting to cover the rules. Mr. Vic Koenig then gave the invocation, asking the good Lord to bless our event.

Eric Knieper, a professional photographer, arranged the 21 pilots for the group photo shoot, and the ladies then took the picture! A great job by all involved. One thing of note we had 10 ladies in attendance, the most we’ve had in a long time. I was judging on line one and could hear a lot of laughter behind me - they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The first round got underway about 10:30 with everyone eager to show their stuff. I was given a handheld aircraft radio and told to monitor 122.8 for any aircraft that was wanting to land as one of Mac’s friends was flying in to visit - now I’m CD and Air Traffic Control! LOL! We did have a kit Fox, a two seat ultra-light, and a Cessna 182 drop in, which caused us a short delay but it all worked out. Things were getting a little busy for me - 11:30 arrived with Round 1 still incomplete. Ugh! However, after we got everything squared away, the guys kept things moving and we finished four rounds before 5 p.m. A quick check of the scores at the end of Saturday showed that we had some very tight races in several classes that could go either way. The two rounds on Sunday would decide the winners.

Shortly after the final flight of the day, Norman Bonnette decided to take his UFO up for a test flight. It was flying so well he kept flying even when a light rain began to fall. Unfortunately, the light rain soon became a full-blown deluge with Norm's UFO still airborne! Norm landed quickly, but he came in hot and landed very long. He grabbed his "airplane leash" and ran to retrieve his plane in the pouring rain! That's real dedication!

Sunday morning's Round 5 started off with a BANG as Greg Hoke and Gordon Talbot met in a mid-air at show center - parts and pieces went flying! Needless to say, both planes were total losses. Gordon got out his backup plane, finished the round and wonit! Greg and Gordon both flew backup planes for Round 6 and both went on to win their respective classes. We had one other mishap when Ken VandenBosch lost his bird due to a loss of orientation during the down line on a Top Hat.

Scorekeeper Jim Johns tallied the scores when Round 6 was complete, which allowed most folks time to pack their vehicles for the drive home. We then presented the beautiful awards from Bruce and Jane Underwood's TnT Trophies - the scores and places are shown below. Basic was the most closely contested class, with Joe Grant edging out Eric Knieper by a mere 1.52 points out of 3995 for the win. That's only a 0.0038% difference!

We then gave out the giveaway prizes. Terry Boston donated the prizes he'd received for the cancelled Memphis contest and these were distributed to the registered contestants only. These included a $50 store credit from RCBearings.com, along with a set of Standard and Metric Screw Gauges and a 6-32 fastener assortment courtesy of Kathy Bechtel at MicroFasteners.com. CD Dave Phillips donated three new 60-size 2-stroke engines and a T2A Mk II Deluxe kit. Dr. Charles Gray donated two brand new ARF Kits - a Tower Kaos 60 and a Great Planes Dirty Birdy. Lucien Miller from Innov8tiveDesigns.com donated a complete BadAss electric motor system - a 3530-570 Kv motor, an 80A ESC with programming card and 2 APC props!

A special thanks to my wife Peggy and Debbie Hoke for all their help distributing trophies, giveaway prizes and food as well as all of the other help that kept things running smoothly! A big thank you to Bobbie Johns who took the vast majority of the photos you'll see on the photo page, and to Jim Oliver who spent the entire weekend running score sheets from the judging tents to Jim Johns at the scoring computer. There were so many other people who helped I would hate to try and name them all for risk of leaving someone out.

Last but not least, a giant Thank You to all who made the trip. What a great bunch of people we have involved in SPA.

Dave Phillips, CD

Final Scores
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