1. How were you introduced to RC? My father had been an avid modeler all his life. So I came by the "sickness" honestly. Dad was a control line guy, but had ventured into escapement RC as well as pulse stuff. I started with control line around 5. Dad built and I crashed. We were riding through a small town in Iowa (my native home) when I saw a big yellow cub flying in a pasture. We pulled in to check it out. The guy's name was Paul. He was flying an RC airplane and actually had control of the thing! Paul asked if I would like to give it a try. He got the bird 30 mistakes high and handed the transmitter over to me. Boom! I was hooked. Paul, don't know your last name or where you are now. But thanks my friend!
2. Have you competed in the hobby? If so, how? Man yes! I first competed in racing back when formula 1 was boss hog. Started out with K&B rear exhaust .40's then switched to the Super Tiger X-40's Terry Prather worked over. What a rush! Also raced quarter midgets. Then competed with sail planes for a spell, then pattern. Tried my hand at boat racing, but the whole turning right just didn't work for me. I really enjoyed it.
3. How long have you known Mr. Pat from Triple Tree and how did you meet? Oh my gosh, I've know Mr. Pat for close to 30 years. I met him the first time I flew at his home on Smith road.
4. When did you become the MC of Triple Tree and how did it come about? Wow, I started announcing there the year I met Mr. Pat. A Loooong time ago. Mike Gregory was one of my flying buddies at Blue Ridge RC club. We flew all the time. Mike asked me to come to Mr. Pat's place on Wednesday after Mother's day. Said he had a job for me at the Joe Nall. Honestly, I thought I'd be parking cars on row Z. Right after the pilot's meeting, the first hour I had ever attended the Joe Nall, Mike ended the meeting by saying "And now ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce our new announcer, Bob Sadler." First time I'd ever announced anything was the Joe Nall.
5. Where did the cowboy hat come from and how old is the current one? The cowboy hat was a last minute idea. I'd baked my brains in the sun that Wednesday, so on the way for my try at a second day of announcing, I stopped at a feed and seed store looking for a straw hat. I saw the Resistol on the rack as I walked in and figured that was the coolest cut hat I'd ever seen. The back side of that is something I'll never forget. Ron David, the baritone announcer for Wings on the Discovery channel (think "And now we return to Wings on the Discovery channel") was at the Nall for my first attempt at public prattle. Ron walked right up to me and offered the kindest words I could have ever asked for. "Bob, you have a flair for this. You know every person here and you don't waste air time on what everyone here know's. You understand the demographic. Just talk about what is interesting to you and have fun. Also, you should wear the cowboy hat every time you announce. It'll be a great trade mark." So a tip of the hat, so to speak, to Ron David. A real gentleman. Instead of being intimidating, he offered encouragement. I've kept in touch with him through the years and think him the high water mark in the field. The first hat is still in rotation, hat #2 is a young 17 years old.
6. What is the most spectacular crash that you have seen at the Joe Nall event? As an ambassador of the hobby, let me first state that I never like to see a crash. It saddens me for the modeler. Let me also state I wish for world peace and an end to all turmoil. As a guy who's been on the flight line for a billion years and a thrill seeker let me state I LOVE A GOOD CRASH!!!! Boy I've seen some whoppers! I'd have to put crashes into categories. The saddest of all are crashes that require a major rebuild, but lack the X factor of a sweet, parts flying off, dirt and dust 30 feet in the air and sirens. Those are truly tragic as they're expensive for the pilot and no biggie for the crash aficionado. The great ones. I mean the spinner to spinner at mach 9, head on epics are my favorite. Top three of all time; #1 A gentleman we'll call Fire Ball. When the event was held at Mr. Pat's, he got low and bonked his Extra (with carbon fiber wing tube!) into the high voltage lines. Carbon fiber wing tube shorted two legs together. Knocked power out for a BUNCH of folks. It was perfect. #2 Frank Noll jr. The crash wasn't all that great but the cause was! Frank was flying with Warren Thomas, Jerry Neel and one other guys who escapes me. They were all flying pink one designs. So flying formation, with EXACTLY the same planes and EXACTLY the same color schemes, they got low for a pass. Pulled up and were knife edge across the road. Frank started hollering AIN'T GOT IT!!!! AIN'T GOT IT!!!!! I walked over and told Frank he hadn't had it for two minutes. His plane had crashed into a tree! And # 3 Jason Shulman while playing stump the chump crashed ON TAKE OFF. The guy can fly anything and I'd never been able to call something he couldn't do perfectly. Someone in the crowd asked fora deep snap on take off. Jason kept pushing a little down elevator to get the speed way up before he dumped the sticks. The gear hit something on the runway (really Jason? You hit something on a putting green runway?) and the big biplane turned turtle. God, that was a fine moment!
7. Is there one experience that happened at Joe Nall that really stands out for you? Wow, that's really a tough one. So many things that are life long memories. So many flying buddies, so many acts of kindness, so many laughs, so many fantastic practical jokes, to write about only one would diminish the countless. The honest answer is every single year there are 10 to 20 things that really stand out. I simply couldn't point to one thing in almost 30 years of Joe Nalls.
8. Is there a favorite thing for you at Joe Nall? Without doubt my favorite thing is seeing people who have never been to the Nall or Triple Tree react. I just love to take a minute and speak to first time guests. The wild eye'd look, the lack of adjectives meaning huger than huge. It's just priceless!
9. Is there anything we need to get excited about for Joe Nall 2015? Yup.
10. What would you tell someone that was going to Triple Tree for the first time? Well, I'll give it my best shot. My answer is based on asking lots and lots and lots of people who came for the first time. It's not me trying to guild the lillie. Here goes nothing! Read all the articles in every magazine. Read the reports in all of the web sites. Look at all the videos on all the web sites. Look at all the videos on YouTube. Read the back of Model Aviation where our AMA guys write their thoughts. Talk to as many people as you can who have attended. Look at the list of demo pilots. Look at the vendor list in attendance. Look at the Triple Tree Aerodrome web site. Then ask yourself this; is all this hype or is the whole experience worth all the fuss? What I hear every single time I ask this simple question is the same. My question; Does the Joe Nall and Triple Tree live up to it's reputation? Answer every time; IT'S SO MUCH BETTER! I promise you'll be treated as a dear friend and you'll fly until you have a belly full and then some. Fun, Fellowship and hospitality. It's not just a catchy sales mantra. It's in our DNA.
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