What's he smiling about?
This picture was taken after the 5th round at the 1993 AMA Nationals. I finished 1st in Masters Class. The plane is a Dick Hanson Runaround, built by Ronnie Weaver. It was powered by an OS 1.20 Surpass II with a standard muffler and a 15x10 APC prop. I finished the plane in pre-WWII US colors since I prefer planes that look like real ones. I added the blue bands at the wingtips to improve visibility. The 5th round was the best round I think I have ever flown (that explains the smile on my face). Earlier in the year, the plane struck the top of a tree but survived without much damage. The next year, it was damaged in a midair collision while being flown by my close friend, Ed Bailey. Ed built me a new wing (he is still my friend). I still have this plane, though I don't plan to fly it anymore.
Two years later I returned to the Nats flying in the FAI class. I was a middle-of-the-pack finisher that year.
In 1991 and 1992, I flew a Cap 21 scale plane in pattern, flying in the Advanced and Masters classes. I won the NSRCA District 2 Masters class points championship in 1992. I had a lot of fun flying that Cap 21 in pattern. Lots of people said that I would not be able to get good scores with it. That made me practice just that much more. In 1992 I think I burned over 40 gallons of fuel. I may have won the Nats with the Runaround, but I think it was all the hard work and determination flying the Cap 21 that prepared me the most for the Nats.
I haven't flown much in recent years, though I hope to start back soon. My son, Matt, is 6 years old now and has a real interest in flying. I have a Kadet Senior that is partially built, and I hope to finish it soon so I can start teaching him how to fly. Perhaps the next time I go to the Nats I will be a mechanic for my son.