Daryl Perkins (5 time Soaring World Champion)
Well, what to say about Daryl that hasn’t already been said? Daryl was born and raised in beautiful Southern California, and currently resides in Northern Virginia, only 10 minutes outside of Washington, DC. He is a multi-engine, instrument, and commercial certificated pilot. That, plus his composites expertise from 30 years of modeling and lightweight composite part manufacture give him tremendous value in the UAS industry. He has found a home working for a small UAS design, engineering and development firm – Vanilla Aircraft.
This will be Daryl’s 12th time representing the United States at a soaring World Championships – 7 times for F3B, and now 5 times F3J. Out of 11 attempts, he has won 5 times – 4 F3B World Championships and 1 F3J World title. He has won multiple national titles, in all disciplines of our sport, from HL to F3B and even slope racing. Most recently, Daryl is the reigning Unlimited National Champion, and also has just locked up his second National US J Tour Championship. As he goes in search of his 6th World Title, he plans on campaigning the NAN Models X3 Explorer outfitted with MKS servos driven by Spektrum DX18 radio system from Horizon Hobbies.
Jeff DuVal (Pilot)
Jeff lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife Lorena. Most of his life Jeff lived by the water. He grew up on Florida’s east coast and later moved to the Gulf (west) Coast. Jeff has been sailing competitively since he was 8 and has won championships such as “The Gold Cup” in Melges 24, One design 14, and MX Ray classes. Jeff picked up flying RC sailplanes after moving to Gainesville – starting with DLGs and moving up to Open class sailplanes when he teamed up with pilots from the Orlando Buzzards. He has been competing (and winning) in the local Florida Soaring Society series for the last three years coming second overall in 2014. Jeff also has competed in F3B at the Gator F3B contest and has won the Phoenix RES contest while attended the F3J in the Desert contest. In the relatively short amount of time that Jeff has cultivated this sport, he has been practicing consistently in different fields across Florida, but mainly in San Felasco State Park (Alachua, FL) and Kenny World (Morriston, FL).
He is grateful to friends across Florida that helped him improve so quickly; John and Dillon Graves, Jody Miller and Gordon Buckland have been certainly instrumental. The key factor that has set Jeff apart with amazingly consistent results is his level head and relentless practicing of the task and landings. He is hard to beat at any contest and will be a force in Slovenia.
Jim Schoon (Pilot)
Jim grew up in Colorado Springs, CO and now lives in Dallas, TX. Jim is a professional pilot, who is now flying King Air and Citation aircraft in the DFW area, and also teaching these planes at CAE Simuflite, located at the DFW airport. He has flown a wide variety of full scale aircraft, and acquired over 7500 hours, but his first flight ever in a Blanik sailplane back 25 years ago drove him towards his career choice. Jim’s Dad and Uncle were both involved in RC, and he used to dig through their balsa scrap heaps to build free flight gliders back when he was about 8. This progressed to a Bob Martin Pussycat that he got for his 9th birthday, which was hand-launched a few times before hitting a fire hydrant, and then an Oly 2 that he got for Christmas when he was 10. Barry Welsh from Colorado Springs came to his school in 4th grade to do a presentation on RC planes, and offered to be his mentor. Jim was hooked.
A love for fast sailplanes has always been a challenge to keep up with. This has led to multiple moulded and bagged planes being designed and built, along with a push in 2008 for faster DLG airfoils, and another push for one piece fuselages with stronger tailbooms. Dynamic soaring is also a big part of the go fast addiction. If the wind is blowing out of the South in Dallas, you can count on some serious DS combat with Widowmakers and JW’s at the area dams and garbage dumps.
The lucky guy has a lot of support from his Mom Donna, Sisters Mikaela and Kathryn, and Aunt Chris in Colorado, as well as his counterpart, Jean, who lets him build and take up space in their house. The good people of SLNT, PPSS, and RMSA have definitely been instrumental in helping Jim become a better pilot. Jim has excellent piloting skills and will certainly represent USA at the Worlds with distinction.
Stefano Costantini (Team Manager)
Stefano Costantini started flying sailplanes in 1990 while living in Chicago. He often recounts the story of joining the S.O.A.R. north side contingent and his first flight with a newly built Riser 100 under the expert tutelage of Jim McCarthy. Since returning to his adopted home town of Houston in 1994 (he came to the US from Italy in 1979), he has been involved with the Houston Hawks as a pilot and past president. In Texas, he expanded his soaring experience by actively participating in the competitive rivalry between Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas (The Lonestar Soaring Series). He was co-champion of The Lone Star Soaring Series and won the TNT (Texas National Tournament) in 2012. Thomas Cooke introduced Stefano to F3J and they often practice together and team up for JTour events sporting their MKS gear, Stefano is an MKS Team pilot. He is on the Board of the US F3J Championship with Daryl, Mike Verzuh, Jim Monaco and Mike Smith and organizes the F3J in the Deep South.
Stefano brings to the Team a wealth of F3J experience but his extensive business experience and skills will be extremely valuable to the Team as we prepare to take on the World in Vipava. The Team is very fortunate to have such a talented guy at the helm.
Rich Burnoski (Alternate Pilot)
Rich Burnoski’s Bio is also under construction
Dillon Graves (Junior Pilot)
Dillon is an 11th grader at Titusville High School Florida and is taking AP and honors classes. He enjoys being a member of the National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society and the German Honor Society. He also performs with the Terrier Sound Marching Band and Wind Symphonic Orchestra and the Creative Young Artists Organization in the Philharmonic Orchestra outside of school. He comes from an RC family as his grandfather is the founder of Graves RC Hobbies in Orlando Florida. At the age of 9 he was introduced to RC flying and he has represented Graves RC in many local air shows and indoor competition flying aerobatic and 3D planes like his 111cc 35% Extra 300. Early in 2011 Dillon began his career as a sailplane pilot. Spending many weekends, school holidays and after school practices with the guidance of his coaches Gordon Buckland and Jody Miller, he has become an accomplished pilot and teammate. He has accumulated many honors including: two time Junior National Champion F3J and Unlimited Thermal Duration in 2011 & 2013, National Champion Open Class F3J Thermal Soaring 2013, Overall Florida Soaring Society Champion as an Expert in Unlimited 3rd 2012 and 1st in 2013. 1st Sportsman Gator F3B World Cup 2013 and is now working on his League of Silent Flight level 5 just to name a few. He also flys in many contests sponsored by local clubs. Some of the bigger highlights in his young career were being a part of the USA F3J Junior Team’s competing in South Africa in 2012 and Slovakia in 2014 placing 3rd as a team. This summer he competed at the Worlds as a junior member of the USA F3K Team and became World Junior F3K Champion in Croatia. His team also earned a Team Bronze medal. Dillon also competed at the F3B Worlds in The Netherlands bringing home a 3rd place Bronze medal. The experiences have made him push harder than ever before to become the best pilot he can be. With the support of his parents, John and Kim, he is looking forward to compete in Slovenia helping his team bring home the GOLD!
Stoil Avramov (Junior Pilot)
Stoil is 14 years old and is a high school student, living in Maryland. He began flying free flight gliders and R/C models at age of 8. He remembers his first hand launch flights with an Omega 1.5 R/C model. That was the time when he got basic lessons from his father Dimitre Avramov on how to control a plane in the air.
His earliest active competitions started in 2010 with model rockets. In 2011 at the US Space-modeling team selections, he competed in class S8D (R/C rocket glider) and was eligible to join the USA junior team. Since then, he attended many domestic, national and international competitions.
Stoil was introduced to F3J flying when he received his first Xplorer 1 (3.5 m) from NAN models at the fall of 2013. He became very interested in flying larger models and in spring of 2014 he entered his first ESL (Eastern Soaring League) contest.
His achievements are an FAI Silver medal (13sec behind the Gold) at WCSM-2014, and set a US National Record in class “A” rocket glider in June of 2014. Stoil took 4th place in Sportsman, Unlimited TD at ESL-2014 (overall). In 2015 he attended the USA team selection event and was very happy to be selected and proud to represent the US juniors at FAI World Championships 2016 in F3J.
Stoil is grateful for his parents and the soaring community’s support, the chance to meet, fly, and learn from some of the best pilots in the country. I is also thankful to his team and friends in Texas where without all of their phenomenal effort he could not have reached this success. Stoil says this means a lot to him as it helps him to grow and become a better pilot.
Noah Myers (Junior Pilot)
Noah has been flying RC aircraft since his eighth birthday after he received a Hobby Zone Champ as a gift. He immediately fell in love with the hobby and quickly progressed to larger and faster aircraft. At the 2012 Joe Nall Noah drew a lot of attention at the electric flight line when he flew his Radian for 45 mins in booming lift to the limits of sight after a :20 sec motor run. After this he was hooked on soaring and began flying DLG’s with a third hand Taboo GT.
His first competition was the 2013 Mid South and soon after he began competing in every DLG contest he can get a ride to. Noah is a sixth grader at the Charleston County School of the Arts where he plays saxophone in the band and guitar everywhere else. His other interests include lacrosse, Boy Scouts, Hunting and Fishing. Noah made the USA F3K Team in 2015 and represented his country very well at the Worlds in Croatia. This experience has given him a thirst for more soaring.
He is very committed to training every week by flying with his Dad – Scott Myers. The pair travel regularly to Orlando Florida from their home in Georgia to practice with the experienced Florida team. He is very excited about traveling to Slovenia to represent his country at the highest level.
Dominick Lewis (Junior Pilot – Retired)
Dominick earned his place in the 2016 USA F3J Team but has since accepted the responsibility of serving his country and will not be able to travel to Slovenia in July. Dominick will be sorely missed by the US Team as he is extremely talented and very experienced – benefiting from some of the best coaching in the country at the Chicago SOAR club. We wish him well in the future and thank him for his service to the country. Here is Dominick’s bio.
“Dominick, (17) 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.
Dominick has represented USA in two previous World Championships in 2012 in St Africa and 2014 in Slovakia where he put in an outstanding performance to place 4th in the World.
At the 2015 Dallas Team Selects event Dominick’s efforts were rewarded with a solid performance earning him a place on the US team.”
Gordon Buckland (Junior Manager)
Gordon has loved all aspects of flying since building rubber powered stick models and paper planes in Grade 1 at his 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.
In November 2008 his 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 completed the LSF program again and is currently working on the Level V tasks for the 3rd 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, 2011 and 2013. Gordon is the Model Aviation Soaring Columnist and also maintains many soaring websites e.g. Orlando Buzzards, the Gator F3B contest site, the USA F3B Team website and this USA F3J Team Website.
Gordon attended the F3B Worlds in China 2011 as a helper and organized the 2011 US F3J Team Selects event in Cocoa Florida. He was Junior Team manager for Team USA in 2012 and 2014 and F3B Team Manager in Germany for the 2013 Worlds. Gordon is very active in TD soaring in Florida, encouraging juniors and others to fly in events and LSF participation. He has won Grand Champion awards at the Tangerine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Gordon flies Xplorers in F3j and also a Super Ava in RES and “Lawicki” Ducks in 2M.
Gordon’s wife Sheralyn supports him in his soaring endeavors attending many contests and they have a daughter Tanya and 3 grandchildren in Australia and two sons in Florida – Nathan and Jamie with one Grandchild Lorelei.
Kelly Johnson (Tower Captain)
Kel has been playing this F3J game since 1994, where he competed with a small group at small event known as the World Soaring Jamboree! Being new to the sport and finding out how unprepared the team was, Kel helped pull this small group together like never before, as pulleys failed, lines snapped, and the twisty dog stakes broke off in the ground an hour before the start of round one. From then on, Kel chose to never be unprepared for flying or helping in an F3J event. Since his little bit of tragic fun in ‘94, Kel has teamed up with the Canadian F3J Team at the World Championship’s in Greece as tow man and in Finland as field Capitan and tow man. A few years later, Kel joined the USA F3J team as junior team tow man at the World’s in Turkey. At the same time he and tow man counterpart Dave Kalamen joined the New Zealand team to pull a great finish for both the USA juniors and Team New Zealand. After Turkey, Kel continued on with Team New Zealand at the South Africa and Slovakia World Championships as a full time Kiwi.
When not flying and supporting F3J events, Kel trains and competes in IRONMAN events including finishing IRONMAN Texas in 2015. Cycling, Karate, and F3J flying are just a few of Kel’s passions. Combining all of this with a busy Engineering career makes for an interesting life.
Kel is looking forward to being a member of Team USA, to see what this amazing group can do in Slovenia in 2016!
Chris Keller (Tower)
Chris Keller, 50, 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 and 2012 U.S. Teams. 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 2016.