JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?

PW: Model aviation led me to college, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering. I worked on the design teams for the F-18, 757, B-2, C-17, and my last 20 years were on the F-22. My specialty was in structural analysis/life analysis. I retired from Boeing as an associate technical fellow.

Part of our event requires that the pilot must be the builder of the model. I tried to build one competition airplane each year. Often, I would come home from work frustrated with events that had happened there. I used the building process to relieve that stress because I had to focus on building instead of issues at work. Thank you, model aviation!

JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?

PW: I currently fly CL Precision Aerobatics (Stunt). My first competition in that event was in 1970 and I have been flying Stunt ever since. I have flown in 42 US Nats and 13 world championships along my journey. Before that, I flew some Free Flight and CL Combat.

JS: What other hobbies do you participate in?

PW: I am currently restoring an old car. That has been an ongoing project for several years. I fit that in when I can. My wife and I also travel the country in our RV. We spend between two and three months a year on the road.

JS: Who or what has influenced you the most?

PW: I’m influenced by the simple beauty of the pattern being performed by a skilled pilot. In my youth, I saw some of the then-current "masters" flying and was taken hook, line, and sinker. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult it was to execute the pattern to the rules, combining smooth, flowing, round maneuvers with hard corners in the square maneuvers.

It becomes a matter of creating a model design and trim adjustments, with the physical ability to execute that. I grew up watching Bob Whitely, Jim Armour, Bart Klapinski, and Ted Fancher do incredible patterns with absolutely beautiful models and wanted to be on that level. I believe their encouragement helped me reach the top in 1992 when I won the World Championship.

JS: What advice would you give someone wanting to get started in CL Stunt?

PW: I would suggest finding an experienced Stunt pilot nearby. They can find such people through the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilots Association (PAMPA) on Facebook, or in the CL forum, Stunthangar.com. There are many helpful people there who can help get through the learning curve that everyone goes through. If they are close enough, you can get together for some "hands-on" help. This is by far the most effective way to move up the learning curve.