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. 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. 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). Jeff is grateful to friends across Florida that helped him improve. 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 Slovakia. Jeff fly’s Xplorers from Soaring USA outfitted with MKS servos. Recent wins include; 2019 US Team Selects 1st Place, 2018-2019 US F3J Championship Series 1st Place, 2018 F5J Argentina International 2nd Place, 2017 F3J in the Desert 1st Place, 2016 F3J in the Desert 1st Place, 2015 US Team Selects 1st Place.
Josh Glaab (Pilot)
Josh Glaab R/C soaring for me has been quite an adventure and a part of my life for a very long and wonderful time. It all started in 1970 when I was 7 and lost a balsa glider in a thermal. I started flying R/C in 1973 and in ’75 Dad came home with a beautiful Graupner Cirrus and I thought what the heck is this? Where is the engine, bomb rack and smoke? I 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. It is incredible to compare the Maestro to the Explorers that I fly today. Advances in structures, aerodynamics, and radio control systems have been amazing. In 1979 I won the ESL Jr class and then won Sportsflyer in 1980 and was promoted to Expert class. In ’81 I was 2nd in the ESL (Dwight Holley was 1st in his F3B World Champ year). I was able to win the ESL Expert class 14 times in ’85, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’96, ’03, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16, and now again in 2019 and consider the ESL to be family. There is a lot of NATS “wood” on the wall from ’84 to today. I was able to win overall combined 2M/Unlimited championship in 2011 and in 1993 and the high-score award in 2010 (2M). I was F3J national champion in ’97 and 2012, 2M champion in 2010 and ’93. There have also been many top-3 placings in Unlimited/2M/NOS/RES along the way. My two sons, Josh Jr (20) and Luke (19) also fly R/C and enjoy soaring along with “other” aircraft as needed (EDF Jets, Multi-Rotors, FPV racers, etc). Both Josh Jr and Luke have progressed over the years and are now flying at the Expert level and I am very proud of both of their accomplishments. I started working at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, in 1986 and have been there ever since. In 2000 I got selected to be a jet UAV pilot and probably have 1,000 flights with an array of turbine aircraft ranging from BVM King Cats to BVM F-100 “Hun” and the NASA LaRC Generic Transport Model (GTM). The GTM was a dual-turbine transport model that looked a heck of lot like a B757. It shot the approach at 70 kts and touched down at 55 kts. Awesome project. My current job involves Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and I am the Assistant Branch Head for the Aeronautics Systems Engineering Branch. Designing, assembling and flying NASA research vehicles is part of my job. I am also a full-scale sailplane flight instructor and provide flight training at the Tidewater Soaring Society club, earned the Silver badge from the Soaring Society of America (5 hour thermal flight, 50 km cross-country, 3000 ft altitude gain), and also have an Instrument Rating. I have flown in all but one of the US F3J Team Selection events and have come very close to making the US team several times. I currently hold the record for the most number of “alternates” at 4 (in ’97, ’03, ’09, and ’11). However, preparations for the 2019 US F3J TS took a different tone than prior events. I managed to put in a significant amount of time to train during the 1.5 months leading up the team selection contest. Also, my Spektrum DX-18 provided a significant advantage. I was able to make use of the DX-18’s capability to play sound tracks. I had a 55-second count-down that I could trigger when needed. This provided the benefit of every training flight having a timed landing. This allowed me to put more emphasis on soaring flights and limit exclusive landing practice. Flying late in the day provided great training for weak lift conditions. Deliberately heading to the field to fly in 15-25 mph winds also helped boost soaring skills in varied and challenging conditions. The plan for WC prep will build upon this formula and add-in flight data recording and data analysis..since I work at NASA and it’s what we do. I am super excited about supporting the US team in 2020 as a pilot for the first time.
Neal Huffman (Pilot)
Neal Huffman has always thrived on competition and is honored to represent the United States at the World Championships this year. From competitive bike racing sponsored by the likes of Trek, Gary Fisher and VW. To r/c soaring, his hallmark has been practice, preparation and persistence. All along the way, Neal has been fascinated by soaring. His first model glider came from plans in RC magazine launched with a high start made with rubber bands from his paper route. Then it was on to an Aquila with Skip Miller’s image on the box and finally soloing in a full-scale Schweizer 2-36 followed by high performance time in ASW and ASK sailplanes. After a string of injuries sidelined his professional riding career, Neal filled that competitive void with r/c soaring. He showed up at an Eastern Soaring League (ESL) competition with an Olympic II and never looked back: 1st Place ESL Expert, Three-Time US F3J National Champion, US Open Champion, 4 top-3 finishes in the US F3J Tour Championship and 2nd place prelims 5th place overall 2018 F3J World Championships Romania. Neal has enjoyed the incredible support of his wife of 17 years, Dawn, and their 8 year old son, Nicholas. It is also safe to say that 5- time world r/c soaring champion, Daryl Perkins, has helped Neal reach this level since they are good friends and flying companions; a potent formula for success. Neal will be flying Xplorers outfitted with Spektrum and MKS gear at the World Championships in Slovakia this year and is looking forward to competing with his teammates Jeff Duval, Josh Glaab and Team Manager Jody Miller at the highest level of F3J.
Jody Miller (Team Manager)
Jodys modeling career started at his local Orlando Buzzards flying field tossing Guillows gliders and shagging chutes while his father Blayne flew RC sailplanes during the late 80’s. He dabbled in indoor and outdoor free flight models, some R/C gliders and had fun aerotowing gliders with his brother Nathan. As a teenager F1A (Tow line glider) became his main focus and his thermal reading skills were developed sufficiently to make the USA junior team in 1992 in Lucenec where he almost made the podium with a 4th place finish. In 1994 he once again represented USA as an F1A junior and attended the Worlds in Kiev. He took a break from the hobby for a few years before being reintroduced to R/C gliders by his brother Nathan in 2007 and he was hooked again.
Initially he dusted off an old Sailaire he had built and began practicing for competition. Flying the Sailaire in Unlimited duration contests, he soon found “the bus” more than a handful to land so he graduated to an Xplorer 3.5 and won his first unlimited sailplane event at the Florida Soaring Society #5 in 2010. This was to be the first of many wins as he was first place sportsman at the Gator F3B in 2011, Mid South Grand Champion in 2011 and 2013, FSS Champion 2011 and 2012 and recently completed his Level V LSF with his 10km cross country. Over the years He has worked hard with local pilots and gained knowledge from pilots across the country landing him places on multiple US teams.
Jody currently works as a production manager at The Concrete Edge (a Curb Machine company) in Orlando Florida. Other interests include Bass guitar, photography, and traveling with his wife Courtney.
Hard work on the practice field is common place for this pilot and he looks forward to representing the US as the Team manager next summer in Slovakia.
Jody is interested in LSF, Cross country, F3B, F3K and encouraging other R/C pilots to become soaring pilots. After representing his country as a junior in the early 90’s he has now represented USA twice as an F3J pilot in Slovakia 2014 and taking the Silver medal at the 2018 Worlds in Brasov Romania. Representing Soaring USA and Graupner Radios – Jody flies X3 Xplorers and fits them out with MKS Servos.
Brayden Chamberlain (Junior Pilot)
Brayden is a 17 year old Junior in High School. At the age of 9 he began flying electric and gas models with is Dad. When he was 13 he was invited by Dillon Graves to visit the Orlando Buzzards field. One afternoon he and his dad decided to venture out to the field where they met Jody Miller and Raed Elazzawi. Although they were packing up for the day they pulled out their models and showed Brayden both a J and K model and explained a little bit about soaring. With the encouragement of many pilots Brayden continued to come out to the Buzzards field. For the first few months he would go to the field to help time and watch those flying J models. A few months later he was invited to come watch the Tangerine TD Contest (2015). With the help of generous pilots and money he had been saving Brayden was able to purchase an Experience Pro, his first J model. Brayden competed in his first soaring contest at San Felasco. He spent many days with fellow pilots teaching him how to thermal and launch. This first contest was both overwhelming and exciting. He has since competed in many soaring contests; F3J and F3K. Since that fall day in 2015 when Brayden was first introduced to F3J soaring he has been committed to learning all he can to be a competitive pilot and is thankful for all the support he has received. In 2017, Brayden competed in Lviv, Ukraine as a junior on the USA F3K team where he came in 7th place in the world. He is very excited to be representing Team USA F3J as a junior pilot in 2020 in Slovakia.
Noah Myers (Junior Pilot)
Noah is proud to be representing his country for the fifth time in FAI World Championship competition at the FAI F3J World Championships in Slovakia in the 2020 summer. Noah is a junior at West Ashley High School in Charleston, SC where he currently is a member of the track and field team. He is also in the Navy JROTC detachment and a participant of the greater Charleston Youth Apprentice program enrolling in evening classes at our local technical college and working part time for Rick Hendrick BMW.
Noah is an extremely talented pilot and has excelled in F3K as well as F3J during his short career. This is his last time as a junior and he is ready for the big time in Slovakia. During the 2020 World Championship Noah is looking forward to bringing his past experiences to bear while fully supporting his fellow Team USA members in bringing home the Gold!
Charleston Thomas (Junior Pilot)
Charleston is 14 years old and has been flying sailplanes for 4 years. His Dad Charles has taken him to the LSF Nats in Muncie IN twice where he has competed successfully in F3K and TD winning the National Championship for Junior F3K twice. Charleston was introduced to F3J soaring only in the last few weeks before the 2018 Worlds in Romania. With two trips to Florida for a total of 5 days training with Gordon and Jody and some afternoons with Jim McCarthy in Knoxville TN Charleston learned enough new skills to perform with distinction in Brasov finishing well up the field and helping the US Junior Team with great scores. He is an excellent pilot, loves beating his Dad Charles in contests and as his landings improves he will score well for USA in Slovakia. Charleston is flying 4M Xplorers. We are very proud to have Charleston representing USA at this Worlds. He has a great future in soaring.
Gordon Buckland (Team 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 immigrating to USA.
After 9 years in USA his long forgotten passion for RC soaring was re-ignited when he came across the flying field of the Orlando Buzzards. 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, TM at the F3B worlds in Germany 2013 and assistant TM for the F3B worlds in the Czech Republic in 2017. Gordon also was Junior Team manager for Team USA F3J in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and USA Team Manager in Brasov, Romania in 2018. Gordon has been 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 and recently finished 2nd in Unlimited at the 2019 NATS. Gordon flies Xplorers in F3J and F5J, an 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 and one great grandchild in Australia and two sons in Florida – Nathan and Jamie with two Grandchildren Lorelei and Kiegan.
Kelly Johnson (Tower Captain)
Kel has been playing this F3J game since 1994, where he competed with a small group at a 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. He joined the USA Team in Slovenia in 2016 as the Tow Captain.
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 Romania in 2018!
Dave Kalamen (Tower)
Dave Kalamen is a very experienced Tower who has represented USA on multiple occasions at the World Championships and has served those teams well. We are grateful he is once again volunteering to launch our models in 2018.
Dave Bradley (Tower)
Dave Bradley has toured with the F3J team as a Junior to Sth Africa and is an accomplished full size Soaring Pilot also. He is young, strong and is a great new addition to the USA F3J Team.
Dave is 23 and has been flying full scale sailplanes and remote-control sailplanes since he was 14. Currently, Dave holds a private pilot sailplane license with over 150 hours logged. On the Radio control side, he earned the National Senior Champion title in 2011 for both Unlimited & F3J classes. As a Junior team F3J alternate in 2012, he traveled with the team to South Africa. Locally, Dave travels and flys in the Eastern Soaring League. A competitive league, the ESL group has an extensive list of top competitors. Dave’s continuous top ten ranking the past couple of years is a notable accomplishment. Last year, the summer of 2017, Dave assisted the F3B team as a helper in the Czech Republic and worked tirelessly returning the chute for all the USA pilots. Dave has a degree in Applied Sciences with a focus on Mechanical Engineering Technology.