2022 Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest

Knoxville, TN
May 21, 2022

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots
L-R: Terry Boston, Charles & Carl Zavalney, Todd Thomas, Ken Vanden Bosch, Jim Johns, CD Jimmy Russell,
Ellis Newkirk, Ben Spidle, Norman Bonnette, Jerry Black, Jamie Strong, Joe Ryan, Dave Phillips, Bill Dodge,
Vic Koenig, Warren Oliver, Victor  McIntyre, Duane Wilson & Eric Knieper

2022 Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest Report
May 21-22, 2022

The Ben Oliver Memorial Classic contest went very well.  We had guys showing up as early as Wednesday.  Dave “Hotrod” Phillips was busy impressing us with his slick electric Bootlegger sporting trike retracts and an eye catching yellow and black scheme. As more people showed up Thursday and Friday most were heard saying “he was the last guy I expected to go Electric”.  Dave has been a long time gearhead and glow flier but recently is in the process of converting his planes to elec.  He’s enjoying the benefits of a clean airplane, ample power, and reliability.. (more on that later)

As Saturday morning rolled in, the weather was looking decent. KCRC members Todd Thomas and Jim Whalen helped with signups and scoring throughout the weekend.  We had a large Basic class of 7 and 5 of them were 1st timers.  It is worth noting that 3 of these travelled in for their 1st SPA contest.  I feel that being more inclusive and advertising a fly what you bring Basic class has helped. 

We ended up having 20 sign up with 19 participating - 7 in basic, 3 in Sportsman, 2 in Advanced, 4 in Expert and 3 in Senior Expert.  When we have a turnout like that it really helps the CD to arrange for judges. Most of the weekend went smooth with two planes in the air. 

The trees here at KCRC continue to grow and they actually caught 2 airplanes. First was Bill Dodge’s after his engine quit mid-flight and he landed in the trees at the left end of the runway. The second was Joe Ryan, whose engine quit and the trees on the right end caught his Curare.  He emerged from the trees with an almost fully intact airplane.  After some 5min epoxy to glue the wing blocks in we all thought he was back in business.  As he taxied out a few of us noticed that the drooped stab was shaking a bit more than usual and drooping more toward one side.  Jamie and Warren yelled, alerting him to check it. Joe walked over and grabbed the stab and found it was loose and barely hanging on. If not caught that would have likely been a spectacular stab departure mid-flight.

Seeing those dead sticks, a couple of us E guys were heard praising our “fool proof” systems. Warren’s flight was cut short with an E-dead stick from trying to fly a spent pack.  Several of us double checked our packs after that and Jerry noticed he hadn’t changed his pack either.  Later in the day the same gremlin bit Dave as he too had an E-dead stick from a non-charged pack. Dave wasn’t so lucky - on final his Bootlegger landed short and caught the last bush which cracked the fuse.  Dave will get it fixed up soon but the damage needs to be repaired in his shop and not the RV dining table. During a hectic contest where we are called on to judge or call right after a flight, we can slip out of our normal battery changing routine.  I’m going to try to remember to double check that the pack in my airplane is fully charged before each round.

 Saturday around 3 p.m. the clouds started to look ominous.  When I went to fly my 4th round I felt a few rain drops and the wind was picking up.  I called the flight off before the 1st maneuver.  While packing my gear up, I noticed those basic guys were flying through the wind and sprinkles.  They were tougher competitors than me.

 Sunday rolled in and rain was forecasted later in the day.  So we pushed thru the remaining rounds and were finished by 11am.

 We had a decent raffle, including a fiberglass and foam UFO kit Ellis Newkirk was kind enough to donate. It was the same kit he won in a raffle a few years ago. Jim Johns pulled the ticket for the UFO and is already thinking of ways to electrify it. The contest was a great success with lots of smiles, laughs and good flying. Results are below.

 Thanks everyone,
Jimmy Russell, CD

Final Scores
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