Modeling thought for the month:
"A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man
perfected without trials."
- Chinese proverb
The Northwest Control-Line Regionals in Eugene has had some
great moments and some great competitors. In 1977 the Jive Combat Team won
19 trophies, and their prizes included five engines. Phil Granderson (center)
won first place in Stunt (no PAMPA classes then), AMA Combat and Northwest
Sport Race. Other team members (left to right): Dan Rutherford, Larry Driskill,
Ron Scoones and Gary Stevens. Photo provided by Phil Granderson.
I can still remember my first trip to the Northwest Regional Controline
The trip from Astoria, Ore., that May of 1977 wasn't just a contest trip,
it was a pilgrimage. We weren't just going to a contest, we were going to
I remember as we turned off Interstate 5 onto Eugene's Belt Line Road,
following the signs to the Eugene Airport. My heart rate increased a bit
as the anticipation sent adrenaline through my veins. Just a little ways
to go to the airport, The Regionals.
Pulling up to the site, seeing all the circles staked out in colorful
flags, the flying going on on five circles at once, dozens of airplanes
of all types scattered around on the ground.
I can still remember the planes! Phil Granderson's colorful Ringmaster
sport racer. Marty Phillips' V-tail stunter. Combat planes covered in flowered
shelf paper. Orin Humphries' twin-engine scale bomber. There was speed flier
Sam Snyder's Rolls Royce to add an element of class to the meet. Oba St.
Clair's incredibly sophisticated control-line simulator!
My first actual competition was piloting my green Ringmaster in Northwest
Sport Race. Fellow CLAMS member, then a teenager, Jim Cameron,won NWSR in
the senior division.
It was the kickoff of a fascinating "career" in model aviation
competition that for me has led to racing, combat, stunt, even a little
speed and carrier over the years.
All because of that fabulous experience I had on the first pilgrimage
There was a Regionals before Eugene, held in Seattle at Sand Point Naval
Air Station, now Magnuson Park. When I was a teenager growing up in Port
Angeles, Wash., some of my buddies went to that contest and came back with
lots of tall tales and some wild new technology (a Voodoo with a Fox .36X
was pretty impressive the first time a guy brought one home!).
But like many Northwest fliers, my first Regionals memories are of the
Eugene regionals, which started in 1971, a couple of years after the Sand
Point show ended.
The original Eugene contest venue was a dedicated CL flying site provided
by the city of Eugene at the municipal airport across from the passenger
terminal. When I moved to Eugene in the fall of 1977, it became my home
The Regionals was held there through 1987, when the flying site was swallowed
up in a terminal remodeling project. You can still see where it is by finding
the small beacon tower that stood at its northeast corner, but the site
is now covered with rental cars.
The airport revamping included construction of an overflow parking lot
across the main road from the terminal complex. CL "insiders"
in the design staff saw to it that the overflow parking lot also was designed
to accommodate model flying. It's perfectly laid out for seven CL circles,
four on grass and three on asphalt, with space left over for parking and
other support facilities.
The Regionals moved there in 1988, and continued on that site until 1995.
That's when the airport management got queasy about reserving the parking
lot for the contest - they wanted to keep it clear for parking if needed
on the holiday weekend. The contest moved to Roseburg, and later to Albany.
The era of the Eugene Regionals, it seemed, had ended.
Years have gone by, the airport has not needed the lot for parking on
that particular weekend - and parking near the terminal has been expanded.
The airport administration's outlook on the reservation of the parking lot
as mellowed - and the go-ahead has been given for return of the Regionals
My local club, the Eugene Prop Spinners, have flown on this perfect model
flying field, almost every weekend. I can't be there without envisioning
the Regionals. What's now just a vast expanse of asphalt and grass is, in
mind's eye, an ideal layout of circles for stunt, racing, combat, carrier
and speed. It's all there waiting for the contest. Finally, it's going to
The Northwest's contest showcase, you might say, is coming home!
This page was upated April