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 26 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, 6 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 fourth time on the F3J team.
As he goes after his 6th World Title, he plans on campaigning his beautiful new creation the Vixen, the Royale and various NAN models X2 Xplorers.
Jody Miller (Pilot)
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 flightmodels, 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 is currently working on his Level V LSF tasks. Over the years He has worked hard with local pilots and gained knowledge from pilots across the country landing him a spot on the US team.
Jody currently works as a production manager at a helicopter repair facility in Sanford Florida. Other interest 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 next summer in Slovakia. He has practiced landings for three years to the point where he is one of the most accurate in the country rarely scoring less than 99.
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 set a goal to make the senior team one day and has now accomplished that goal. Representing Soaring USA – Jody flies X2 Xplorers and fits them out with MKS Servos
Chris Lee (Pilot)
Chris started in radio control with RC helicopters before discovering gliders in 2006. He joined the Mississippi Valley Soaring Association (St. Louis) and was immediately intrigued by a contest format that didn’t rely on judges but rather measurable performance criteria. MVSA members shared a wealth of knowledge and experience to help accelerate his learning curve and he started competing on the regional level with the Ohio Valley Soaring Series in 2008. He finished second overall his first year on the Series and has won the OVSS season championship four consecutive years. Also during that time, Chris completed LSF Level V (#131), won the US Nationals Unlimited Championship in 2012 and was runner-up in 2013.
Chris has been flying Lubos Pazderka’s Aspires for the last four years. After changing models every half-year, he finally realized perpetually chasing the latest and greatest plane could be offset by zigging instead of zagging on a single flight. He has yet to fly beyond the model’s capabilities and prefers to spend the time practicing instead of learning a new model’s tendencies. Chris recently accepted an offer to join Team Horizon, reaffirming his choice to use JR and Spektrum products.
Chris is often out practicing amongst the “retired guys” in the middle of the work day because of his unusual work schedule. He works full-time as a professional sports photographer covering NFL, MLB and NHL games for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. His shift starts when everyone else is getting off work, lots of nights and weekends, leaving daytime hours free for flying! He has covered two Super Bowls, three World Series, two Final Fours and the 2002 Winter Olympics in addition to a lot of innings of baseball where nothing happens.
He is looking forward to working with and learning from his US F3J senior and junior teammates on the long trek to the World Championships.
Blayne Chastain (Alternate Pilot)
Blayne Chastain has been flying RC for about 30 years now – starting with trips to the local flying field in Southern California (Sepulveda Basin) with father Roger Chastain at age 6. His passion for soaring developed during Jr. High as the school he attended overlooked the field that was once home to the Pasadena Soaring Society. He and his father made quite the team – Blayne flying every moment he could (often keeping his sailplane in the Principal’s office for after school flights) and Roger designing and building new and innovative airframes.
This was during the time that many were moving from “nostalgic” designs to “full-house” composite models. Roger, being an industrial engineer and product designer by trade, recognized the need for a better/more accurate foam cutter for cutting wing cores and developed the Feather/Cut which many in the hobby fondly remember and still use! The two would later design and produce the Shadow 2 meter & 3 meter full house competition sailplanes which were distributed widely. During this time and throughout high school, Blayne won 9 national championships, with his final vitory at age 17 being the overall win in unlimited at the 1993 AMA Nationals.
Blayne, pursuing his career in music, then took a good many years off from flying competitively. Boston, where he went to college (Berklee College of Music) was a challenging place to fly at best, though sometimes he would head down to Provincetown, Rhode Island for some slope soaring. It was after finally settling in Colorado that he reentered the hobby and became an active member of the Rocky Mountain Soaring Society.
Recent achievements include:
4th place: 2013 US F3J Team Selections
1st place: 2012 F3J in the Rockies
2nd place: 2011 F3J in the Rockies
2nd place: 2008 AMA Nationals (Unlimited)
Tom Siler (Team Manager)
Tom has been flying sailplanes since 1985. He has been a member and officer of several soaring clubs over the years in the Ohio / Indiana / Michigan area. Tom’s roots in soaring come from Cross Country, where he competed with the LOFT and BOSS clubs in the Great Races of the late eighties and later transitioned into thermal duration, F3J, and F3K. He has been a top competitor in the past two cycles of the USA F3K team selection contests. Tom has been heavily involved in organizing regional events as well, performing contest director duties for many large TD and DLG contests in Ohio and Indiana. He is a fixture at DLG contests all over the Eastern USA, regardless of distance, collecting many wins and friends along the way.
Though his day job is as an IT consultant, he has found time to become highly proficient at sailplane design, CAD / CAM, and composite structures manufacturing. He finished building a CNC machine in 2009 and has used that to produce several molded DLG designs including one that is in current production in the USA. His airplanes are top performers on the F3K circuit because of his obsession with driving performance higher. Tom continues to share his building and repair techniques, design philosophies, and modeling knowledge freely with the F3J and F3K communities.
Tom is a full scale pilot as well with time in over 40 types of airplanes and gliders since becoming certificated in 1991. Most of his time in full scale aviation is spent ferrying older aircraft to restoration facilities on the weekends when he’s not flying or building model sailplanes. You’ll never find him too far from an airport or flying field… and if you do, his eyes are scanning the sky.
While not devoting a large portion of his competition time to F3J until very recently, Tom is a solid competitor with top notch near and far air reading skills and the ability to be a caller at the highest level of competition. He has been team manager for several successful XC and F3J teams at the national level since the 1990s. Tom is very excited to be the Team Manager of the US team for 2014 and will spend every ounce of energy making sure that Team USA finds the center of the podium in Slovakia.
Gordon Buckland (Junior 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 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 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 Soaring Columnist and has also written full articles 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 many reports on RCGroups after attending contests.
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. He was Junior Team manager in Sth Africa for the F3J worlds in 2012 and F3B team Manager in Germany for the 2013 Worlds. 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, 2011 and 2012. Gordon flies X2 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 and one Grandchild Lorelie.
Tristan Sherman (Junior Pilot)
Tristan was introduced to flying at a young age when His Father (Paul) bought Real-Flight. With that program and a discus launch “Photon” Tristan was taught the basics of flying. He remembers the frequent visits to flying fields and the rush of excitement that came when he caught a thermal for the first time. Yet it was not until after His family moved to California that Tristan started to fly competitively. Since 2010, He has been competing in various F3J, and thermal duration contests including the “Southwest Classic” and “F3J in the desert”. With the help and support of many in the soaring community Tristan has improved immensely through the years and is proud to have taken first place at the 2013 Junior F3J Team Selects.
Tristan continually works hard to be the best he can be, focusing on refining his piloting skills by observing the best in the game and working on strategies to improve upon his skills. It was at the South Africa worlds in 2012 that Tristan realized how much His hard work paid off. With two 3.5 Meter Explorer 2’s (which he only had for three months previously) Tristan was able to take first place in the four day preliminary contest. Now that Tristan has had more time with his explorers, they have become second nature to fly and he absolutely loves them. With those planes and another chance at the world title, Tristan is more determined than ever to train and become the world’s best junior pilot. Tristan is very thankful for the soaring community who pour out their support and to all the great pilots who have brought the sport of soaring to the level that it now enjoys. Tristan hopes to one day add his accomplishments to the list of notables and is thankful to those who have helped him , such as Tom, Keisling, who has dedicated a great deal of time working with him in preparation for the last worlds.
Dillon Graves (Junior Pilot)
Dillon at the age of 15 is the youngest member of the team and is a 9th grader at Titusville High School taking honors classes. He is a member of Student Government (SGA) and is part of the Terrier Concert / Marching band playing the tuba. He comes from an RC family as his grandfather is the founder of Graves RC Hobbies in Orlando Florida. Starting around the age of 9 he was introduced to flying. Dillon 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 when Mike Verzuh visited Florida and planted the seed with Gordon Buckland and Jody Miller to coach him to fly sailplanes. Spending many weekends, school holidays and after school practices with the guidance of his coaches, he has become an accomplished pilot and teammate. He has accumulated many honors the past two years including: two time Junior National Champion F3J and Unlimited Thermal Duration in 2011 & 2013, National Champion Open Class F3J Thermal Soaring 2013, 3rd Place Florida Soaring Society Champion as an Expert in Unlimited 2012, 1st place Sportsman Gator F3B World Cup 2013 and is currently one contest away from completing his League of Silent Flight level 4. He also fly’s in many contests sponsored by local clubs, The Orlando Buzzards and IRKS in Cocoa Florida. One of the biggest highlights in his young career was being a part of the USA F3J Junior Team competing in South Africa last year. The experience has 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 competing in Slovakia and helping his team bring home the GOLD!
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 Dominick’s efforts were rewarded with a solid performance earning him a place on the US team. He is very excited about going to Slovakia and is determined to practice a lot to be his very best in July 2014.
Jason Friedman (Alternate Junior Pilot)
Jason Friedman is a sophomore at Boulder High School. He has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 2010. He first got into the R/C world when he bought a Traxxas radio control car. He was into cars until saw a few people flying 4 meter planes just up the street from his house at a park. A few days later, his dad met Skip Miller at the park and they realized that Jason would be very interested in the hobby. Within a week Jason and his twin brother, Ryan, bought a Sky Surfer from Skip even though he had never flown a plane. Skip and Alex Kenyon taught him to fly in a few lessons. Jason would walk to field all the time and just go fly. Later that summer, he saw Alex flying a discus launch glider. Jason thought this was really cool. He got his first discus launch glider that December, a Topsky 1c. Alex Kenyon kindly helped him build his first plane. It turned out well and it was in the air by spring. Alex helped him with his launch and thermal reading. His first contest was in April in Berthoud, Colorado. The morning of the contest, Jason figured out how to launch and fly his plane simultaneously. He did well and went home with the plane in one piece. After that he was hooked. He was out flying all the time that summer. He still has his Topsky in one piece and has acquired a Vandal. Other activities Jason enjoys are mountain biking on the Boulder high mountain bike team and playing French horn with Denver Young Artist Orchestra. Jason competed at the 2012 F3K World Championships in Denmark and is proud to be the Alternate Junior pilot for F3J in 2014.