Jerry Eichten flies his Python in Expert Profile Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

2023 Jim Walker Memorial

April 21-23, 2022, Jim Walker Memorial Control-Line Field, East Delta Park, Portland, Ore.

By Barbara White

The Northwest Fireballs held their season-opening Jim Walker Memorial Spring Tune-Up on a wet third weekend of a wet month of a wet winter.  Friday and Saturday were damp, while Sunday was substantially wetter.  We welcomed the 18 flyers who braved the weather and joined us in flying 52 events.  

Contest Director was Jim Cameron; Assistant CD was Dave Royer (involved in planning, but unable to attend due to family concerns).  Event managers were Doug Powers, Racing; Mike Hazel, Speed; Gary Harris, Combat; Tim Wescott, Stunt; and the team of Chris Nicholls and Mike Potter, Carrier.

Coffee and morning sweets were very appreciated every (cool and damp) day.  Robert Ladd provided food on Saturday (thanks!), but no lunch on Sunday due to poor weather and much reduced turnout. 

Thanks to all of those mentioned above and to all of the other volunteers who made this a successful contest.

Racing Report, by ED Doug Powers

Racing was the first event on Friday morning. The weather was perfect for Racing, Overcast, cool, no wind or rain.  Only four contestants were entered for the three events.

First up was Sportsman Clown. Mike Hazel and John Thompson each entered a plane; Leighton Mangels and I also each entered a plane. We flew two races of 10 minutes each. Leighton flew for me so he raced against John and then against Mike.

The most laps,155, went to Mike Hazel for first place, John Thompson was second with 139, Leighton third with 132, and that left fourth for me with 116.

Next up was Sport Race. There were only three entries, John Thompson, Mike Hazel, and Leighton Mangels.  We decided that each team would fly one at a time for the 140-lap race. Mike had the fastest time at 9 minutes 15 seconds for first place. Leighton came in second with a time of 11 minutes 27 seconds. John went 47 laps and then wasn't able to restart his engine; he didn't finish the race for third place.

The last Racing event was Super Sport Race. This time there was only two entries, Mike Hazel and Leighton Mangels.  We again decided to do only the one 140-lap race. Mike had the fastest time, 8 minutes 26 seconds for the win. Leighton's time was 9 minutes 1 second for second place.

Thank you to Jim Cameron for running the Racing. Thanks to Darrin Bishop and Don Curry for being the lap counter/timers.  And thanks to Mike and John. Without them there wouldn't have been any Racing this year.

Speed Report, by ED Mike Hazel

It was a very light turnout for Speed, with only four entries in Northwest record ratio and only one in AMA record ratio.  Mike Hazel flew an ancient rat racer in Formula 40 to take the first in the AMA class.  All of the NW event entries were in the NW B Proto event.  Unfortunately, everyone seemed to have serious problems getting off the ground.  Two entries came in on takeoff, and damage to the landing gear was the result there.  One entry did a quick torque roll and was seriously damaged.  Mike Hazel's entry barely made it off the tarmac but was able to do a full flight.  Part of the problem may have been the rough surface on part of the circle.  Hopefully we will have better luck next time! 

Stunt Report, by ED Tim Wescott

We successfully pulled off another Stunt event at the Tune-Up.

Saturday featured nine competitors in four events.  The weather turned out fine, with low winds and high clouds.

Jim Cameron flew in Old Time again this year, placing second between John Thompson and Mike Hazel; I believe we have someone to watch in this event.

Competition on Saturday was uneventful, with no crashes or other drama.  The worst that happened to anyone was folks having problems with engine runs.

A highlight for me was that Bob Parker came down from Seattle to spectate; I half-jokingly asked if he'd like to judge Profile and he gave me an emphatic "yes"! We had some Nats-level judging for the second half of Saturday.  Jim Cameron managed to end up scribing for him, and so got a bit of a judging education in the process.  Somehow I shall overcome my feelings of envy.

Sunday ended up being kind of a wash -- both figuratively and literally, given the rain.  The day started with drizzle, and turned into a steady but low-wind rain halfway through the morning.

Our flying contingent on Sunday was one each of Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert, so we made the decision to lump them all into Expert for the day.

Randy Ling provided us with some drama by putting in the best flight of the first round.  For a while, it was looking like the Intermediate guy would take the gold. John Thompson put in a much-improved second flight and took care of that concern, taking first in PA.

Judging was provided by:

Tim Wescott -- all events
Jerry Eichten -- Old Time
Jim Cameron -- Classic on Saturday, PA on Sunday
Bob Parker -- Profile on Saturday, with Jim Cameron as scribe
Robin Gearn -- Standby judge for PA on Sunday

I want to thank all of the people who stepped up to judge -- especially Robin Gearn, who thought she was just going to shadow-judge PA, but suddenly got promoted to a substitute judge in the second round when Jim Cameron was called away for an emergency in the Combat circle.

Combat Report, by ED Gary Harris

NW .15 Fast Combat; Double elimination; four entrants

A HUGE thank you to Terence Bardue and Niels Madsen for helping with the officiating during the two days of Combat.

Rain, rain go away, come again another day.  Of course, we need rain.  It's necessary for life.  We just don't like it to be coming down on us from the sky while we are flying our model airplanes.  We've been fairly lucky dodging the rain clouds over these last several years of holding the spring opener event here in Portland that has traditionally been called the Jim Walker Memorial contest.  Most of the contests have occurred on or about the third weekend of April.  Easter weekend would not be a good time to have a control line event so we steer clear of that time of the month.  April showers bring May flowers.  Having our contest in May would put us close to the Northwest Regionals Memorial Day weekend time frame.

To the point:  Friday was nice and dry for Racing and Speed.  Saturday was the same.  We had the hope of more competitors showing up Saturday for the NW .15 Fast event but we were happy that Greg Machen, Jim Green, Gene Pape and Robert Smith came to town to engage in the air-to-air dogfight.

We are glad to have a venue in Portland to play with our toy airplanes and we're on fairly good terms with the city of Portland Parks and Recreation personnel.  The down side is that right next to where we fly our models is a baseball field that can become inhabited by a bunch of people who want to use a club to attack an innocent white object and force it to fly through the air.  Saturday, the day of our contest, the baseball/softball teams flooded E. Delta Park for their first spring tournament.  What a coincidence!  Last year we heard some complaining from one of the coaches who didn't like us doing our thing near their ballfield.  This year, no complaints. 

Not having a large field of competitors gave us the freedom of being somewhat laid back so far as feeling pressed for time.  It is good to note that while each entrant shows up with an attitude of competitiveness wanting to win, we help each other compete.  Pilots will trade off pitting chores with other pilots throughout the contest.

We got started; Matches were flown, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  The plus side of officiating is that those judging get to watch some very skilled pilots put on entertaining matches.  Wows and Ahhhs were heard.

Robert flew against Greg for a win, then against Jim for a second win.  His third match pitted him against Gene who got the win, and then again in the final against Gene with Robert winning and taking first place.

Gene flew against Jim who pulled off a win, then Gene duked it out with Greg and Gene scored a victory.  Next, Robert suffered a loss to Gene.  Jim then lost a match to Gene.  With three wins and one loss Gene met Robert in the final and Robert took the win.  This gave Gene second place.

Jim flew his first match against Gene and scored a win.  Then Jim's second match was with Robert who took the victory.  Flying against Gene again and this time losing knocked him out of the event and placed him third.

Greg's first match resulted in a loss to Robert.  Unfortunately, his second match resulted in a loss against Gene, eliminating him.

I should mention that in the middle of the day we got to be served Bar-B-Q dogs cooked up by Northwest Fireballs member Robert Ladd.

See full results in the scoreboard below.

NW 80mph Combat; seven entrants

Jim Green, Mike Hazel, Gene Pape, Robert Smith, John Thompson, Russel Hester and Greg Machen.

Sunday was a different story.  It was misty enough to be called rain and it settled in.  We had seven entries signed up to fly but one didn't show.  Can't blame anyone for not wanting to fly in the wet stuff.  But we had six who were willing to get after it and they did.  The Stunt flyers didn't have much of a turnout. Three were there to put up Stunt flights and after they did; two of those came over to fly Combat!  Later in the day the weather did change for the better and the moisture quit falling from above.

Greg first flew against Russ for a loss.  It looked like Greg's bad luck followed him from the day before.  Next match brought a ray of hope when he took the win over experienced pilot John.  Next match for Greg was with cagey Gene.  Again a win for Greg.  Next Greg was pitted against Russ again and now this time the tide changed with Greg pulling off another win.  In fact, Greg had done so well that now he found himself in a final match with Russ.  They both flew really well and put on a show for those watching.  Greg came out victorious and had earned first place.

Russ began the day hot with three wins in a row.  Down went Greg, then Mike, then John with losses.  By this time Russ and Greg found themselves in a semifinal match.  Russ had no losses and Greg had one.  Greg took a win so now each had a loss.  Since this contest was based on a double elimination format and the other pilots were out of the running, Russ and Greg needed to fly once more to determine the winner of the event.  So, they went up in the air one more time and in the end Greg came away with the win.  So, second place for Russ.

John started the day with a loss to Greg.  Next match found him pitted against his flying buddy Gene.  John got a win.  Next he had to fly against Russ.  This unfortunately was the spectacular midair of the day with a jaw-dropping splatter of white foam particles snowing down on the grass.  There were no cuts or kills but Russ was launched ahead of John meaning he was in the air first.  Russ got the win.  Third place for John.

Gene, a solid stalwart of the combat community with a long history of CL flying started his day off with a win against Mike.  Then followed with a loss to John and a second loss to Greg which now put him out of the running and a placing of fouth.

Mike, who had already flown in Racing, Speed and Stunt came to the Combat circle to chase some streamers.  First match was against Gene who got the win.  Next match found Mike pitted with Russ who took the win.  Mike was now eliminated.

Jim's first match was one of those that didn't happen.  Accidents that cause the blood to gush out are painful to see and of course hurtful to the recipient.  Somehow Jim's left hand, while starting the plane's engine at the beginning of the match, got just a little too close to the rotating propeller and flesh got gashed.  Off to the hospital he went with helpful Sam Baird in Sam's Maserati to get patched up.  No more flying for Jim today.  He returned in a couple of hours all taped up and in good spirits.

Robert Smith was entered but did not show for 80mph Combat.

Carrier Report, by ED Mike Potter

Well guys, it was bust! The famous Delta Park airplane-eating tree scored more points than we did. Jim Schneider totaled both his profile and his Northwest Sport 40 models. Mike Hazel posted the only complete scores; all other contestants either got eaten by the tree or failed to get a complete score. Engine failure on low speed being the most common reason.  (Note … we’ll locate the deck farther from the tree next year.)

2023 Jim Walker Memorial Results

Compiled by Barbara White
(Pts. column indicates Northwest Standings points)

Click on chart for larger display

Jim Walker Memorial photo gallery

Mike Hazel shows his B Proto Speed plane to Mark Crouse (left) and Darrin Bishop on Friday. Flying Lines photo.

Lineup of Profile Stunt plane on Saturday. Flying Lines photo.

Gene Pape (left) and Robert Smith battle in 15 Fast Combat on Saturday. Robert took first place, Gene second. Flying Lines photo.

Saturday Stunt judges Jim Cameron (left) and Tim Wescott. Flying Lines photo.

Jerry Eichten signals Profile Stunt judges that he's ready to push the "start" button on his electric Python, as Randy Ling holds. Flying Lines photo.

The Python in flight. Flying Lines photo.

Dane Covey flies his Nobler in Classic Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Jim Schneider prepares his ARF Nobler for a Classic Stunt flight. Flying Lines photo.

Mike Hazel captured first place in Profile Carrier with his Cro Magnon Air Force plane, which is approaching 50 years old. Flying Lines photo.

Jim Green launches a 15 Fast Combat plane. Flying Lines photo.

The Tom Kopriva-built Lieutenant rolls to a stop after Mike Hazel piloted it in Classic Stunt. The interesting history of the Lieutenant is told in the 2022 Favorite Planes gallery. Flying Lines photo.

Combat Event Director Gary Harris prepares to start a match, assisted by judges Terrence Bardue (left) and Niels Madsen. Flying Lines photo.

Navy Carrier planes filled their pit area. Unfortunately, a tree near the circle caused some casualties. Pictured from left are Kris Millard, Chris Nicholls, Randy Ling and Mike Potter. Flying Lines photo.

Leighton Mangels launches Jim Cameron's Firecat for an Old-Time Stunt flight. Flying Lines photo.

Classic Stunt pit area. Flying Lines photo.

Jerry Eichten (left) and Tim Wescott judge a Stunt flight. Flying Lines photo.

Doug Powers fuels his B Proto Speed plane as Leighton Mangels holds and Niels Madsen watches. Fling Lines photo.

Leighton Mangels (left) and John Thompson pilot in Northwest Super Sport Race. Barbara White photo.

Weather conditions were not bad on Friday and Saturday but they turned wet on Sunday. Photo catches the Beaver State Combat Team bundled up against the rain in the Combat pits (from left): Gene Pape, Russ Hester and John Thompson. Steve Lindstedt photo.

Gene Pape (left) and Greg Machen fly in 15 Fast Combat. Flying Lines photo.

Airplane gallery

Lieutenant, flown by Mike Hazel in Classic Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

John Thompson's Gypsy for Classic Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Jerry Eichten's Oriental, for Classic Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Dane Covey's Nobler for Classic Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

John Thompson's Scrub J, flown in Profile Stunt and Precision Aerobatics. Flying Lines photo.

Jerry Eichten's Python for Profile Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Dane Covey's Profile Nobler for profile Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Fred Underwood's Genesis2 for Profile Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Randy Ling's Profile Stunt plane, also flown in Precision Aerobatics. Flying Lines photo.

Nelson .36 on the (serious) business end of a Profile Carrier MO-1. Flying Lines photo.

Classic warbird for Northwest Sport 40 Carrier. Flying Lines photo.

A biplane for Northwest Sport 40 Carrier. Flying Lines photo.

Jim Schneider's MO-1 for Profile Carrier. Flying Lines photo.

Mike Hazel flew this Barnstormer built by Floyd Carter in Old-Time Stunt. Flying Lines photo.

Another Barnstormer for Old-Time Stunt, this one by John Thompson. Flying Lines photo.

Mike Hazel's B Proto Speed plane. Flying Lines photo.

Gene Pape flew this 1980s vintage Dogfighter in 80mph Combat. Steve Lindstedt photo.

Mike Hazel services his 80mph Combat plane; attempts to keep from kneeling in the soggy grass caused some awkward positions. Steve Lindstedt photo.

Greg Machen's F2D Combat plane, used in both 15 Fast and 80mph Combat. Steve Lindstedt photo.

John Thompson's 80mph Combat plane, powered by a de-tuned 1980s vintage Fox Combat Special. Steve Lindstedt photo.

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This page was upated April 28, 2023