Daryl Perkins (5 time Soaring World Champion)
Daryl is a 51 year old professional currently living in Virginia working in the UAV Industry. Daryl was born and raised in Southern California. He pretty much loves anything with wings. He is an accomplished full scale pilot, accumulating over 2300 hours and attaining his multi-engine instrument rating in just 8 short years. His interest in RC began at a very young age, when his father would take him to some of the local power fields to watch the noisy, smelly models go around in circles. He and his father would begin projects together, but never completed one until finally, at the age of 23, Daryl built his first model on his own – a Sig Riser 2M. It turns out it just wasn’t fast enough, as Daryl blew it up on the slope. His quest for faster and faster models is never ending.
Daryl has now been flying RC gliders for about 25 years. He entered into competitive soaring as a successful slope racer winning multiple Hans Weiss Memorial trophies, and the International Slope Race. He is probably best known for his successes in F3B, where he is a 4 time World Champion – ’95, ’97, ’99, ’01. Don’t let his love of speed fool you, Daryl has had great success in thermal duration soaring as well.
At only his second attempt he won the 2010 F3J Worlds in 2010 in France. He is a multiple time Unlimited Class and 2 Meter US National Champion, 5 time Visalia Fall Fest Champion, and multiple Southwest Classic title holder. Other victories include twice winning the International Hand Launch Glider Festival, multiple Rose Bowl Soaring Festival titles, National F3B and F3J championships, National Hand Launch champion, Spring Fling winner – just to name a few. This is Daryl’s 11th time representing the United States as a Soaring Team member, and his forth time on the F3J team.
As he goes after his 6th World Title, he plans on campaigning his beautiful new creation called the Vixen and various NAN models X2 Xplorers.
Brendon Beardsley (Defending Junior World Champion)
Brendon Beardsley is CAD intern at Brooks Running where he uses software such as Rhino 4.0, CAD KEY, Magics, and Objet Studios. Brendon is also studying Business Industrial Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. As a product representative of Sanwa World Wide Electronics Brendon attends national and international AMA and FAI F3X competitions, tests new equipment and reports back to marketing and engineering staff. Brendon also represents Airtronics and is a front man for magazine and internet advertisements completing interviews with local and national news media, print, radio, and TV.
In addition to flying models, Brendon is doing private pilot training. The weather in the Pacific Northwest isn’t conducive to flying year-round. Still, Brendon makes time to practice soaring between the rain drops and girl friends. Brendon started flying radio controlled models when he was 4 years old, but has been around model aviation since he was born. Brendon learned to fly models with help from his dad and step dad, both of whom are active contest pilots in the USA. Since his appearance at the 2008 F3J Worlds in Turkey, where he placed second, his involvement in flying has increased. His abilities have improved alongside the other two USA F3J juniors who share the same interest and soaring club; they often practice with or against each other at the club field.
For the last several years Brendon has been in top form throughout the Northwest contest soaring circuit. He has recently won several regional level events, with year–end average scores of about 98% perfect in Expert Class. He’s won or placed in expert class at many national events; including a third in Denver at F3J in the Rockies, and a win at the Northwest Soaring Society end-of-year tournament. As a member of the Seattle Area Soaring Society, he flies hand-launch at the field where DLG was born. Brendon also flies helicopters, large scale gliders, F5D-400 pylon racers, giant scale IMAC 3D aerobatic aircraft, and is one of the local tow pilots for scale glider events.
At the 2010 World F3J Championships Brendon achieved his ultimate goal of taking Gold in the junior event and helping the US Junior Team also take gold. Brendon will be returning to the Worlds in Sth Africa as the defending Junior World Champion but will be competing as a senior.
Jim Monaco (Team Manager)
Jim has been flying sailplanes since 1995. He is a member of the Rocky Mountain Soaring Association in Denver, Colorado and has done several years as the RMSA president and many more in various officer positions. Jim has been very involved in F3J events in the US and has organized 2 US Team Selection events, as well as taking over as CD for the longest running annual F3J event in the US – F3J in the Rockies that was originally run by Mark Howard. Jim was the team manager for the 2006 US F3J Team where the US senior team won the silver medal and the US junior team won the gold medal and Cody Remington became the Junior World Champion.
Jim has been instrumental in the growing development of F3J participation in USA with creation of an online scoring software that allows every team to enter their own scores on smart phones. The real kicker with Jim’s software is that the rest of the world can see the scores as they are entered in real time. This has added to the excitement surrounding each F3J event in USA as those that cannot attend can follow along closely with the action. Jim has also been a great proponent of other innovations to grow participation with the promotion of “F3J with winches.” This has seen F3J rise in popularity every year with slots in some contests filling up months before the event.
Jim is very excited to be the Team Manager of the US team for 2012 and has a goal to lead the team to Senior and Junior victories in South Africa this summer.
Cody Remington (Pilot)
Cody Remington 22, is a recent graduate in business management. He is currently working at Skip Miller Models, and is a devoted F3J pilot. Since he can remember Cody always wanted to fly. His earliest memories are of him jumping off tables with plastic bags trying to fly. He took the first opportunity he had to fly, when he was 12 years old, with a Zagi combat wing. Since then he has started flying giant scale IMAC 3D, DS, F3J, TD.
Cody has been competing with RC sailplanes for 10 years. His first contest was 2003 US F3J Team Selections after only 3 months of flying full house sailplanes. In 2005 he made the US F3J Junior Team. That team went on to win the gold medal in Slovakia, and Cody went on to win the individual gold medal. This was the first time a junior outside of Germany had won the Gold medal for either the team or the individual medal. Cody has been on every US F3J team since he made the team in 2005. He has won prestigious events like the 2011 unlimited, and F3J nationals, the South West Classic, and multiple F3J in the Rockies. He still sees many areas of improvement that he is working on perfecting before the World Championships.
Cody is training hard, and is very excited to help out the 2012 US F3J Team in their pursuit of the Gold medal. In the worlds he will be flying Jaro Muller’s new F3J model the Egida, and will be using Airtronics 2.4 radio system the SD-10G with Airtronics 761, and 809s servos.
Tom Kiesling (Pilot)
Tom is a 40 year old Mechanical Engineer from California and has been modeling for over 20 years. He has lived in San Diego for three years with his wife, Betty and their four cats. Tom’s collaboration with Dr. Drela has resulted in one of the most interesting new entries in the F3J sailplane world, the Supra. While competing with his own design planes, Tom has recorded an extraordinary achievement record placing him in the top echelons of soaring in the USA.
Tom was a member of the 2004 and 2006 US F3J teams and has also been a pilot for the 2007, 2009 and 2011 US F3B teams and an alternate for 2001 and 2003 teams. He was the second alternate for the 2011 US F3K team. He has been a multi-time National Champion in F3J, F3B, Unlimited, and Two meter classes. Last but not least he has been a multi-time Eastern Soaring League Season Champion. The Eastern Soaring League is where Tom got his start in competitive soaring and he is most proud of this accomplishment. At the recent F3B Worlds in China, Tom completed the contest in 8th place and was a very significant factor for the USA Teams great 2nd place result with precise and reliable air reading for all the US pilots.
At the recent F3J Team Selects in Florida Tom chose to fly an F3B model in difficult windy conditions and accomplished maxes in every round as a result of this bold decision and his excellent flying skills. Tom is happy to be flying Nan Models Xplorers equipped with ultra reliable and precise MKS servos. He is looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones in South Africa.
Bob McGowan (Pilot)
Bob is a Northern California Native, growing up in Napa and now living in Fremont. His Father Ray McGowan, a lifelong modeler himself, got Bob started in aero modeling early with free flight hand launch gliders, rubber power, and later tow line gliders. The ritual of a chocolate milkshake after flying kept him happy. Next Ray got him into control line, but none of this early activity involved competition. Ray moved on to RC power planes and Bob spectated as his Father learned to solo and built his skills. Bob told his Dad this was kind of boring; “it’s only exciting when the engine’s stop and the guys start yelling DEAD STICK and try to glide it in”. There would often be a lone man flying his RC glider out beyond the power runway; “that’s what we need to do, glide all the time” said 11 year old Bobby.
An Astro Flight ASW-17 was purchased from the ceiling of a hobby shop ready-to-fly as Bob’s first RC sailplane. His Dad was the master of repairs as he put that thing back together after every cartwheel landing. But the learning progress was quick and at age 12 Bob entered his first contest with his Dad’s Soarcraft Centurion placing 2nd in Fledgling class. That was 1974 and from then on Bob has been hooked on competition RC soaring.
Bob has been a past winner, multiple times in most cases, of the various two-day contests which are reachable by his signature dilapidated RV with an exhaust manifold leak so loud everyone knows when he has arrived. These include the SVSS Spring Fling, SBSS Sumer Classic, FSS Fresno Classic, MRCC Western States Soaring Champs, and SSS Gambler’s Gala. He has held multiple National Championship titles for the AMA, LSF, and NSS. Bob is a two-time winner of the invitational Thousand Oaks Soaring Society “Masters of Soaring” competition and won it a third time in 2008 after it moved to Muncie as the “World Soaring Masters”. He is a two-time overall winner of the prestigious Visalia Fall Soaring Festival and was the 2011 winner of the South West Classic. Besides TD & F3J, Bob is deep into F3K (Discus Launch Gliders). He will be one of the last to still love the 2-meter class. His favorite big sailplanes through the years have been his Windfree, Paragon, the “Dorkess”, Falcon 800, Psycho, and Supra. Currently Bob campaigns the Icon 2 with Airtronics SD-10G radio.
Bob’s Grandfather and Grandmother also flew models a bit with their boys, but that was before RC. Bob and his father are the only father/son League of Silent Flight (LSF) Level V pair. Now another generation of McGowan’s are flying RC sailplanes. His Daughter Robin has been quite successful winning RES class in several major 2-day events. Bob’s Son AJ flew as a Junior on the 2008, silver medal, USA F3J team in Turkey and placed 3rd individually. Bob’s youngest daughter Trisha can fly too, but it is said she is more of a Mama’s girl. A current member of the South Bay Soaring Society and the Diablo Valley Soaring Society, Bob has held various officer positions and has directed many local contests. Besides flying, Bob’s other loves include fishing, camping, and his wife and family. Bob works for Sony Electronics as a Manager, but started his career as an electronics technician.
Josh Glaab (Alternate Pilot)
R/C soaring has been quite an adventure and a part of Josh’s life for a very long and wonderful time. It began when he was 7 and he lost a balsa glider in a thermal. He had no idea what had happened – just that his glider was gone and he was shocked. A few years later in 1973 when he was 10 years old, his Dad decided to buy some used R/C power aircraft to complement the free-flight and U-control stuff Josh was messing around with. His Dad flew with him and his sister (Anna) for a couple of seasons and then stopped flying and became their crew-chief. Josh and Anna burned a lot of glow-fuel during those years flying Pylon Racing, Pattern, etc.
In ’75 Josh’s Dad came home with a beautiful Graupner Cirrus and Josh thought “What the heck is this? Where is the engine, bomb rack and smoke?” Josh started flying the Cirrus off a high start without any real lift and then WOW he hit the first big one and it was a very exciting moment. In 1976 sailplane contests were just getting off the ground and Josh entered one. He got totally trounced in the 10-minute task part, but managed to get a 3rd in 2-minute precision duration which was an event back then. During this time-frame he was also active in full-scale soaring and earned his commercial rating along with a Silver badge from the Soaring Society of America (5 hour thermal flight, 50 km cross-country, 3000 ft altitude gain). Josh worked a paper route for a year to earn enough money to buy a Dodgson Maestro Mk-III and joined the Eastern Soaring League in ’78 when it was first created. By this time his power planes were parked. It is incredible to compare the Maestro to the Supras that he flies today. Advances in structures, aerodynamics, and radio control systems have been amazing. In 1979 Josh won the ESL Jr class and then won Sports-flyer in 1980 and was promoted to Expert class. In ’81 he was 2nd in the ESL (Dwight Holley was 1st in his F3B World Champ year). Josh was able to win the ESL Expert class 9 times in ’85, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’96, ’03. His wife (Trish) and his sister continued to fly in ESL events also during the early 90s.
There is a lot of NATS ‘wood’ on Josh’s wall covering the years from ’84 to 2011. He was able to win overall combined 2M/Unlimited championship in 2011 and in 1993 and the high-score award in 2010 (2M). He was F3J national champion in ’97, 2M champion in 2010 and ’93. There have also been many top-3 placings in Unlimited/2M along the way. Josh’s life changed significantly in 1999 with the arrival of his first son (Josh Jr) and again in 2000 with the arrival of his second son (Luke). As a result, R/C Sailplanes needed to be toned-down, but he was still able to find some time to stay in it. Eventually, after a lot of patience and micro-warbirds, both Josh Jr and Luke have become interested in R/C. The boys enjoy “other planes” and the Glaab’s have a collection of EDF jets, micros, park-flyers, planes with bomb-racks, etc, anything to keep them interested and coming out. Both boys accompany Josh to many Soaring events, which has lead to the current chapter of his R/C Soaring life. The Boys enjoy going to the NATS, driving the golf carts and flying in the events. Josh Jr was very interested this year and competed in several ESL events and placed 3rd in Sports-flyer for the year-end awards. He also flew in the F3J TS and was close to making the US Jr team. Josh is very proud of both of their accomplishments.
Flying turbine jets became part of Josh’s job at NASA in ’03. This was great in that there was a lot of very challenging flying and associated training involved leading up to flying a twin-engine generic transport jet, similar to a B-757. Overall, all research objectives were met during 58 research flights that were conducted without a scratch to the research model, which was quite an accomplishment given the 70 kt approach speed. Josh has flown in all the F3J Team Selection events and has come very close to making the US team several times. He currently holds the record for the most number of ‘alternates’ with 4 (in ’97, ’03, ’09, and ’11). Given a 6th place in ’07 and two alternates in a row, Josh is optimistic for an imminent breakthrough in the next selection cycle.
Gordon Buckland (Junior Team Manager)
Gordon Buckland has loved all aspects of flying since flying rubber powered stick models and paper planes in Grade 1 at Primary school. Growing up in rural Australia, he began building and flying free flight and control-line models and graduated to RC at 15 YO with a Cox .049 powered Honker. Having also flown full size gliders and developing a love of soaring, Gordon built an 80″ AeroFlyte Trident and a 60″ Silent Squire sailplane from RCM plans and a life long love of thermals ensued. A Dodgson Maestro Mk III soon followed and at 22 YO Gordon entered in his first thermal duration contest – the Central Queensland Championships and placed 3rd. This instant success saw him join the Brisbane Model Soaring Club and enjoying the thrill of competition, Gordon was active in RC F3B sailplane competition from 1982 through 1987, winning a Qld F3B Championship along the way. As his 2 sons were born and parental responsibilities grew, model aircraft took a back seat for 23 years though Gordon pursued his love of aviation in Australia, obtaining his Private Pilots License in 1999 before moving to USA as President of Kwik Kerb USA Inc.
In November 2008 he and his son Jamie noticed the Orlando Buzzards “Soaring Contest” sign beside a road in Oviedo FL and the long forgotten passion for RC soaring was re-ignited. Since Feb 2009 Gordon has returned to TD soaring with a purpose. Continuing with the LSF program he began in 1982, Gordon completed his LSF V in May of 2010 with a final Level V win at the Midsouth MoM event in Tullahoma TN. He has since started the LSF program again and is currently working on the Level V tasks for the 2nd time around. Since his return to soaring Gordon has been a very active contributor to the RC Soaring community with a passion for writing including the Nats News in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Gordon has also written for Model Aviation with a recent piece published about the World Soaring Masters. He maintains a number of soaring websites e.g. Orlando Buzzards, the Gator F3B contest site, the US F3B Team website and this US F3J Team Website. Gordon also publishes an in depth report on RCGroups after every contest he attends.
Gordon attended the F3B Worlds in China Sep 2011 as a Team USA helper and assisted in conducting the 2011 US F3J Team Selects event in Cocoa Florida. Gordon is very active in TD soaring in Florida, encouraging others to fly in events and LSF participation and can be seen at all the Florida Soaring Society events. He has won many TD events including the FSS Series and Grand Champion awards at the Tangerine in 2010 and 2011. Gordon has been flying various Xplorers during 2010 and 11 and currently flys 3.5M ST Xplorers. He also campaigns a Target in F3B, a Super Ava in RES and for 2M a “Lawicki” Duck.
Gordon’s wife Sheralyn supports him in his soaring endeavors attending many contests and they have a daughter Tanya in Australia and two sons in Florida – Jamie and Nathan.
Tristan Sherman (Junior Pilot)
Tristan (14), is a home-schooling student currently living in Wrightwood, Southern California. He has been home-schooled his whole life with his favorite subjects being math and science. Inspired by his dad, Tristan is planning to study and become an aerospace engineer. His other hobbies include playing music, Pickleball, and board gaming. He plays in a local bluegrass band with Violin, Banjo, and vocals. When Tristan says board games he doesn’t mean Monopoly or Risk. He plays Settlers of Catan, Stone Age, and Dominion to name some of his favorites.
Tristan was born and raised in Michigan where his dad would always take him flying, yet he wasn’t completely interested in flying. Then when he was 10, his whole family moved to California where they stopped flying for 2 years. When he was 13 Tristan was introduced to Thermal Duration by his dad who taught him all he could in a short period of time. After about 2 months of flying (in addition to some experience with a DLG and Realflight), Tristan went to the 2010 Southwest Classic taking 1st place in the junior category. Tristan also went to the 2011 Visalia Soaring Fest with a year of practice flying F3J planes, and again took first place as a junior.
With a new excitement about soaring, he practiced furiously with his dad – only having a month between then and the F3J Team Selects in Florida. It was in Florida where Tristan’s true talent shone through as he placed first against a large group of talented juniors in really tough conditions. Tristan is very excited to be on the US Team, and is looking forward to meeting everyone. He is practicing really hard to help the team bring home the gold from South Africa!
Dominick Lewis (Junior Pilot)
Dominick, (13) was born and raised in Illinois. Dominick has great support from his mother, Brandi and his step-dad, Robert. He was the first born of five kids and the first son. Dominick was taught how to fly by his grandpa, Richard Burnoski. He started flying when he was 5 years old, on the Central Sod Farms of Plainfield, Illinois. Dominick has been taken under many pilot’s wings, such as: Karl Miller, Pat Crosby, Steve Store, Hogan Nguyen, Uncle Ben Roberto, and the most important Grandpa Burnoski. He looks up to his grandpa with a delightful eye and true amazement of his accomplishments. Dominick has a lot to be grateful for.
Dominick faced some true tests with flying this year. He was entered into many contest and had his first NATS. Throughout the year he has placed anywhere from first, second to fifth place. At the NATS, he placed 21 out of 60 Senior pilot’s, but the great thing about it is that he was not even considered an Expert, he was a Sportsman. He has always been a determined flyer but this year he had more at stake. Dominick practiced every weekend to get ready for the F3J Team Selects. It didn’t matter if it rained or was scorching hot. There were times that he just went out and practiced landings only. Sometimes, just launching was a main focus. He and his grandpa would set up the winches exactly how they would be at the contest to get the true feel.
At the Team Selects event in Florida Dominick’s efforts were rewarded with a solid performance earning him a place on the US team. He is very excited about going to South Africa and is determined to practice a lot to be his very best in August 2012.
Dillon Graves (Junior Pilot)
Dillon Graves is a seventh grader at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Titusville, Florida. He is an honor student in the Cambridge Program, has been a student government representative and is also a mentor in the JUMP Program. Dillon is first chair playing tuba in his first year studying music. He comes from an RC family as his Grandfather is the founder of Graves RC Hobbies in Orlando Florida. Dillon’s father John started him flying in at the age of 9 and he immediately took to aerobatics and 3D flying. Currently he represents the Graves Hobbies store flying in local air shows and indoor competitions flying any aircraft he has the opportunity to get his hands on. During his down time from practicing for the USA team he enjoys showing Sebarts’ 3D vectoring Mig, his 33% electric TOC Yak and his “Fancy Foams” Bruckman Yak with a VPP system that allows the plane to fly backwards.
In April of 2011 Mike Verzuh (former F3J Team Manager) was at Dillon’s home field in Cocoa Florida for a Thermal Duration event when local sailplane enthusiast Kris Van Nostran told Mike of Dillon’s flying abilities. Mike asked Dillon if he had any interest in flying sailplanes and Dillon said he was up for the challenge. He was fortunate enough to get the attention of Orlando Buzzards pilots Jody Miller and Gordon Buckland who made it their mission along with Kris to teach Dillon the dynamics of flying sailplanes.
Thanks to all of their support, Dillon attended his first sailplane competition three months later at the AMA Nationals in Muncie, competing in F3J and Unlimited Thermal Duration and taking first place in both events to become the 2011 Junior National Champion.
Dillon is currently working hard to practice with his coaches so that he can represent the USA Team at a high level. He has come a long way in less than a year flying sailplanes but he is committed to learning the craft and wants to learn new things every flying session.
Dave Bradley (Alternate Junior Pilot)
Dave (17) lives at the Beltzville Airport in more ways than one. His house is at the end of the runway and his days are spent there. Flying RC sailplanes independent of a club, he developed his skills with mentors overseeing the standard trial, crash and rebuild method. Chris Saunders, Richard Beltz, Randy Teel all pointed him towards RC sailplanes. A full scale sailplane pilot, Dave would fly RC when the conditions didn’t warrant a full scale tow.
He entered an ESL contest with a Spirit Elite. Dale Hart let him fly a modern competitive ship, giving Dave the taste of performance. Full scale friend Randy Teel sold him a Tsunami. Winning became the new mission, a used $600 Pike Superior gave him the edge he needed to win. In the tough ESL league the key to victory was to launch strong, never leave an inch on the tape and whatever you do, don’t choke. Dave did not disappoint, his passion to win is shadowed only by his quiet demeanor and superior sportsmanship. A perfect score for the 2011 ESL Sportsman season and an AMA Senior class National win gave him the passion to make his dream a reality.
Dave’s dream is to design and build an US made competition sailplane allowing a first generation pilot like himself to economically enter the arena competitively. This dream became a reality with the ValT XG (pictured). Engineered by Saunders and Dr. Maughmer, Dave built the prototype. As an alternate pilot he plans to fly the ValT XG at the Pre worlds. He is grateful for the support of Chris, his ESL friends and the companies that helped him obtain his dream.
Phil Barnes (Tower)
Phil began flying model rockets at age 12 in 1969 after his brother gave him a kit for his birthday. He flew sport model rocketry for three years before discovering competitions. For six years Phil flew domestic model rocket contests. In 1978 he won the US National Championship and was asked to join the US spacemodeling team. Spacemodeling is the international version of model rocketry and is organized by the FAI as aeromodeling class S. He was a member of almost every spacemodeling team from 1978 through 1996 and flew on his last US team in 2002. Phil traveled all over Eastern Europe which was a hotbed for spacemodeling competitions.
He had always wanted to try RC soaring but had never had the money or the space to be building large models. In 1994 that changed as he moved into a house with a full basement and joined the Capital Area Soaring Association. After some research he decided that the Weston Aerodesign (WACO) Merlin would be the perfect sailplane to build and this was a fortuitous choice since it would be instrumental in getting him started in composite construction methods. The instructions that came with that kit, the WACO newsletter, an Acu-Vac kit and a Feather Cut foam cutting setup were his start in the world of vacuum bagging. The Merlin, a WACO two meter and a couple rocket gliders turned out well enough that when Frank Weston started looking for people to bag wings and tails for his kits, Phil was accepted as one of his trainees. He and a few others paid a $1,000 training deposit for a one week training course on how to bag wings and tails for the Weston kits. The deposit was to be refunded after a trainee supplied a certain minimum amount of product at agreed upon prices. Phil was likely the only person who ever produced enough product to get the training deposit back. By 1996 he was also bagging wings and tails for almost every bagged wing plane that Sal at Northeast Sailplane Products sold. For a period of time in the 1990s and early 2000s, if you bought a bagged sailplane model in the US, Phil probably bagged the wings for it.
Phil has been very active in the Eastern Soaring League since 1994. Through about the year 2000 he flew most of the Thermal Duration contests and would occasionally fly a Hand Launch event. Then the DLG revolution happened. Phil became very involved in Hand Launch contests and almost completely stopped flying the larger models. His RC soaring is now almost entirely focused on DLG or F3K contests traveling all over the US and has traveled to fly in the German Open F3k contest four times.
Phil’s connection to F3J came about as a result of towing for the ESL F3J team. He has towed for Team ESL at all of the team selection contests from 2001 on Long Island, NY through Denver, CO in 2009. He has also competed in the last few F3J team selection contests and although he modestly admits he is not competitive in F3J, he enjoys flying the event as part of a team. Phil sees it as a great chance to fly with and learn from some of the best pilots in the country. When Tom Kiesling made the F3J team for the 2004 cycle, he asked Phil to be part of the tow team for the World Championships in Canada. He has towed for every World Champs US F3J team since then.
Chris Keller (Tower)
Chris Keller, 46, is originally from a small town near Toledo, OH but now calls Colorado Springs, CO home. Chris’ love for flying began when he was just 4 years old when his uncle gave him a U.S. Air Force pilot’s suit. Soon after, Chris began building all types of plastic model aircraft but wished for more. He then moved to model rockets but the excitement was over much too quickly. At 14 years old, Chris met a neighbor who was into r/c flying. That neighbor took Chris under his wing and introduced him to the wonderful world of r/c flying and Toledo’s Weak Signals R/C Club. After school, real life got in the way.
He spent the next 24 years with the U.S. Air Force where his interest in all things with wings led him to work on everything from F-15 fighters to “flying” GPS spacecraft. His interest in r/c flying took a back seat to other interests such as photography and cycling until he moved to Colorado Springs. Things changed when on a whim, he and his wife decided to drive out to see a Pikes Peak Soaring Society (PPSS) model glider contest. Chris instantly fell in love with soaring, joined the club, sold all of his powered r/c equipment and bought a Airtronics Aquila glider.
The wonderful members of PPSS taught him the how to trim, launch, find thermals and the enjoyment of relaxed soaring in the Rockies. Chris discovered another aspect of r/c soaring just a short drive north to Denver, CO. He joined Rocky Mountain Soaring Association (RMSA) where he was introduced to competition and hi-tech soaring machines. Chris soon found himself flying with some of the country’s best pilots. Some RMSA members noticed Chris’ other love of cycling (strong legs) and with the introduction of F3J in the U.S., Chris began towing for them in RMSA’s annual F3J in the Rockies. His talents as a strong, quick towman and his close attention to line quality and handling led him to be chosen for the U.S. F3J Team in 2006 where the Senior Team took Silver, the Junior Team won Gold and Cody Remington won the Junior Championship. Chris’ team mentality and hard work led to his selection for the hugely successful 2010 U.S. Team. He also readily volunteered to assist the Senior New Zealand Team when they ran short on towmen. Chris is very excited and is greatly honored to represent the U.S. again in 2012.
Mark Browning (Tower)
Being able to represent your country in a World Championship is a amazing feat and experience. Mark knows this because he has had the fortune to represent the United States of America before, in BMX racing and twice for Team USA F3J as a Tower in Finland 2002 and Canada 2004.
Mark is a glider pilot and loves flying RC. He worked at the Visalia contest for 3 yeas at the winches before being able to fly and compete in RC soaring. He competes at many of the west coast contests and feels he has done pretty well. He has also towed in 3 F3J trials and at two previous World Champs. Make has been flying Gliders since 1999 and he has raced Bicycles for the the past 30+ years in many disciplines such as BMX, Downhill, Road and Track. Mark has excelled at BMX and has achieved many successes including winning 5 World Cup titles and a World Championship in 2005.
Mark feels his speed and strength is his strong point in F3J towing. His power is extremely good but even though he does not weigh over 180lbs on a good day, when he is teamed up with another power person they are deadly strong and fast.mark also feels that he really excels in the no wind or the dreaded downwind tow.
He is persistent with clearing the lines and taking care of his pilots so they never need to worry about getting their launch, no matter if long or short. He is always checking the lines and taking care of the towing equipment. He is a team player and will do whatever needs to be done for the team to give each and every pilot a great launch and a great chance to win the worlds.
“The ultimate goal is to have #1 team and top five pilots. I don’t think that has been done by a single Team before – but why not? You must first believe and then do! I have been there and know what it takes to do the job!” quipped Mark. “Many things have changed in my life since the Canada Worlds in 2004 and I am ready to get this team to the top! It is a great honor to be representing USA again.”
Frankie Burnoski (Tower)
Frank Burnoski is from Downers Grove, Illinois and is the 30 year old son of Richard Burnoski (last cycle US Team member.) Frankie is also Uncle to Dominick Lewis who of course is one of the US Team Juniors this year.
Frank is an experienced F3J pilot also and although he doesn’t compete often he does have considerable flying and air reading skills taught to him by his Dad. Frank has a powerful stocky physique which lends itself perfectly to towing and he has an immense amount of experience helping his father Rich make previous US Teams. Frank has had the pleasure of towing for the USA Team in the past three World Championships cycles. He worked fluently together with the other Towers and pilots as team mates to contribute to many Worlds podium appearances. Frank has really enjoyed his position as an ambassador to all the other countries teams.
He recently attended the US F3J Team practice in Denver CO (at the F3J in the Rockies contest) and demonstrated his “grunt” with some great tows matched up with Towing captain Phil Barnes. Frankie has a lot of fun but is absolutely serious when it comes to towing for the US Team. His goal is a team goal which means helping to put all the USA pilots on the podium!