Ben Oliver Memorial SPA Contest
Knoxville, TN

August 12-13, 2023

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots at JCRC
L-R: Bill Dodge (kneeling), Jeong Hur, Ben Spidle, Vic Koenig, Norman Bonnette, CD Jimmy Russell (kneeling), Terry Boston, Jerry Black, Jamie Strong (rear), Warren Oliver, Ellis Newkirk and Dave Phillips. Not shown: Jim Johns

The '23 Ben Oliver Memorial Classic is a wrap. Overall, the contest was a success. As usual some members started showing up as early as Wednesday. This allowed many practice flights along with some good fellowship and stories. Many great practice flights were made on Friday.

Terry Boston delivered Jerry Black’s new Tipo Friday afternoon and Jerry immediately began installing the ESC and receiver. The plane was in the air for its maiden flight soon thereafter.

When Saturday morning rolled in it was a touch foggy, warm and sticky. Here is East TN we have been recording well above average rainfall as of late, making for a damp and muddy field. The turnout was a bit low with 13 registered. Maybe the uncomfortable weather contributed. Right after our group pilot photo, the fog lifted and soon both flight lines were running smoothly.

Some may think with a smaller turnout it would make the contest go smoother. I've found that it complicates judging assignments because you have a much smaller judging pool to pull from. It is worth noting that Phil Spelt and Duane Wilson came out, didn't fly but contributed by judging most of the day Saturday. Volunteers like Bill and Duane really help the CD. Bill Dodge also came out and flew like years past, even winning a round in Advanced. Jim Johns made several practice flight Friday and had planned to fly, but he decided that the combination of the muddy field, rough terrain and his current mobility problems made it impractical for him to fly. Instead, he donated his time to scoring and training a KCRC member on the system.

We had 2 mishaps on Saturday. First was Ben Spidle in basic flaring a bit too high and bonking his Daddy Rabbit on the runway. I argued it was on the center line and didn't bounce, although parts did depart the airframe. The damage wasn't that bad, with the motor mount breaking and the cowl receiving damage from the departing motor. The other was Norm Bonette, when his trusty Phoenix was eaten by one of the ever-growing trees that surround the field.

But the most interesting flight of the day had to be Warren Oliver's. Throughout the day storms were heard rumbling in the distance, even causing a short break at one point. Thunder and lightning appeared to be getting closer during the 4th round of Expert, so I finished my flight and promptly put my plane away. Warren was next up and a couple of folks noted how neat Warren's LED lights looked against the darkening sky. As if on cue the rain and wind arrived during his flight. Unfazed, Warren finished the flight and landed safely. And --- he won the round! At that time, we were all scrambling to get the pop-up canopies down and our gear put away.

Sunday came along and the fog was heavy just didn't want to lift. After much hanger talk. I decided to do the raffle at 10:30am before the contest was “finished”. For grand prizes Duane Wilson had donated a nice Fiberglass/Foam Quick Fli 4 kit, Balsawoodinc donated a Jimmy Russell Designed laser cut RDR (Raddy Rabbit) kit with full wood pack and Bob Smith Industries donated lots of various types of CA glue. After the glue and other odds and ends were handed out, Warren Oliver possessed the winning ticket for the Quick Fli. You guessed it -- Peggy Phillips won the RDR kit.

It was after 11:00 and the fog was still hanging low, so after polling the remaining fliers, we decided to call it a contest. Trophies were handed out, goodbyes were exchanged, and folks got an early start to their drive home. You can see the results below.

Thanks to everyone!
Jimmy Russell, CD

Final Scores
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