Time to say thanks!

By Don McClave

As 2010 nears its end, I think it's time to reflect on the thanks that's due our colleagues who have devoted their time and energy to make it possible for control line flying, especially stunt, to thrive in the Northwest (and nationally in some cases). Without their efforts, we'd be in a much different situation.

In 1971, Mike Hazel and the Eugene Prop Spinners started the Northwest Regional Championships and have continued to put on what has become the west's largest control line contest, with entries from up and down the west coast, the mountain states and western Canada.The total number of stunt flyers at the Regionals today is about 50, compared to fewer than the first Regionals I attended in1980 where there were fewer than a dozen flyers.

In the late 1970's John Thompson joined Mike in producing the Regionals and developed the Flying Lines newsletter that has become one of the best read control line websites in the country and attracted flyers to contests throughout the Northwest.

In 1975, Dave Gardner got his CD license and has been a fixture in this capacity ever since, finally announcing his retirement a short time ago, along with stepping down as PAMPA treasurer. Dave is going to be hard to replace in both capacities and will be missed.

In 1980, a recent college graduate named Paul Walker moved to Kent, Washington and soon was to become one of the best stunt flyers in the world. Along the way, however, he pulled a lot of us along with him and has been an irreplaceable resource to northwest flyers in need of advice or assistance. His total of 10 national championships is an all time record of which we are all proud.

Bruce Hunt came to Oregon twenty years ago and has been a contributor in many ways. As most of you know, Bruce is an accomplished pilot and has become an excellent judge who has judged at several Nats and just about every contest in the northwest. He has been our district representative in PAMPA for the past decade and the source of all the photos and contest reports that we read about in Stunt News.

There are many others who have been leaders in the northwest control line community for many years, but who have retired, otherwise passed from the scene, or are no longer able to be as active as they once were. A few friends who come to mind are Bob Emmett, Joe Dill, Gary Letsinger, Bob Parker and Don Schultz; they and many others also deserve to be remembered.

While there's a great deal for us to be proud of about the state of control line in the Northwest, there continues to be a need for volunteers to enable our hobby to continue to thrive. The 2012 Northwest Regionals needs a volunteer to serve as stunt event director (by far the largest event in the contest); Bruce Hunt has made no secret of his interest in stepping aside as our district representative to PAMPA and his current term will end in 2113. Please help if you can; all of the individuals that I mentioned above are at least 50 years old (some of us are considerably farther along), and we need those who can help to step forward. We'll get out of our hobby just what we put into it.

Happy New Year!

-- Don McClave

Flying Lines home page

This page was upated Dec. 26, 2011