Jon Finch – Pilot
Jon was introduced to RC flight in the early 2000s when he came across a group of guys flying electric powered foam combat planes at a local park. He quickly became immersed in many aspects of RC model aviation. He was very active in both glow and electric powered pylon racing even designing and building his own composite planes.
His pylon racing friends introduced him to soaring, both slope and thermal, and it was there that he found his true passion. Jon is an avid glider pilot participating in mainly F3K, and occasionally F3F and TD contests. He qualified for a spot on the 2015 USA F3K team and will compete in the World Championships in Croatia in the summer of 2015. Jon loves competing with his planes but even more than the competition he really enjoys the social aspects of the hobby and loves talking and getting to know people at RC events.
When he isn’t flying planes he enjoys spending time with his wife, Charisse and their three children. He works at the Big West Oil refinery located in North Salt Lake, Utah.
Charles Morris – Pilot
2011 Silver Medalist George Morris (GMo)’s younger brother Charlie tried flying models with George back in the late 60’s and early 70’s but did not seem to have the “knack” and was constantly destroying them… So his interest turned to full size sailplanes when his father introduced flying them to George and Charlie in 1976.
Over the next 7 years both brothers put a lot of hours into crewing for their father and flying sailplanes whenever the opportunity came along. Charlie eventually competed in the sports class and won the 1982 Arizona Soaring Association season.
It wasn’t until 2004 that George talked Charlie into trying r/c modeling again and this time Charlie found that he had somehow found the “knack” and was no longer crashing every model he flew. When George started flying DLG’s in 2008, he made sure that Charlie was right there with him and tried to teach him everything he knew. Charlie went to Sweden with George as his helper and teammate and was very happy with George snatching up the silver medal.
Now it’s Charlie’s turn to go for a medal in Ludbreg, Croatia in 2015!
Jon Padilla – Pilot
Jon started flying RC gliders in 1987 with the Rocky Mountain Soaring Association. This competitive club exposed him to many soaring disciplines such as TD, F3B, F3J, F5J, Cross Country, and most recently F3K. He pretty much enjoys anything that soars. Having attended many F3J and F3K events, He has accumulated many honors including 2009 US National F3J Champion, 2013 Blue Skies Colorado F3J/F3K Grand Champion, 2013 F3J in New Mexico Champion, and many top finishes in the Blue Skies F3K series. Jon is a Team Horizon pilot that currently campaigns Snipe DLG’s guided by Spektrum products.
When not flying, Jon works as an Electrical Engineering consultant in Golden, Colorado. Other interests include drumming, coaching soccer, and traveling with his wife Kelly and their three daughters Grace, Madelyn, and Caroline.
He is looking forward to representing the US in Croatia with his teammates.
Doug Cronkhite – Team Manager
Born into a flying family, Doug began flying R/C shortly after his 6th birthday. Instructed by his father Bruce, himself a life-long modeler, Doug quickly grasped the basic flying skills necessary and soloed just a month later. Hardly a weekend went by when Doug wasn’t out at the flying field with his father. This would continue with both heading to the flying field at least once a week over the next 30 years, until Bruce’s passing in 2005.
Over 40+ years of flying, Doug has been involved in many different disciplines from Free Flight to Turbine Jets and everything in between. In the early years, he flew sailplanes such as the Gentle Lady, and Olympic 2, primarily at San Diego’s Hourglass Field, and world famous Torrey Pines Gliderport. In his teens, he discovered aerobatics, and though he always kept slope sailplanes around, aerobatics would dominate his focus in R/C.
When his daughter was born in 2005, R/C took a back seat as his priorities shifted to focus upon her. Then one day when she was about 6 years old, his daughter asked him about the airplanes hanging up in the garage, and why he never flew them? Not having a good answer, he returned to flying in late 2011, again flying aerobatic airplanes.
Then in early 2014, by pure chance, he was driving past the Torrey Pines Gulls field in Poway, and noticed someone flying a DLG there one Saturday afternoon. A quick search on the internet found they were having a small contest there the following week. It was at this small contest that Doug purchased his first DLG, a used Fr3aK from Matt Nelson. Within 3 weeks, he had purchased another used airplane, ironically from 2015 Team USA member, Jon Finch, and had ordered 3 others. He was hooked! As he says, “I’ve had more fun flying sailplanes in the past 8 months, than anything else in the previous 30 years”
When not flying R/C, Doug has also been an avid full-scale pilot, and works for Sony Online Entertainment, where he gets to make video games for a living. He also plays guitar, and has ridden, and raced motorcycles in the past.
Doug feels being selected as the Team Manager for the 2015 F3K Team is both an incredible honor, and huge responsibility. He looks forward to getting the team to Croatia as easily and smoothly as possible, so they can focus on the flying and bringing gold home to the USA!
Dillon Graves – Junior Pilot
Dillon Graves comes from an RC family as his grandfather is the founder of Graves RC Hobbies in Orlando Florida. He has represented Graves RC in many local air shows and indoor competition flying aerobatic and 3D planes like his 111cc 35% Extra 300. At the age of 9 he was introduced to flying. 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. Although relatively new to discus gliders he practices hard and will be ready for the world contest in July. He has accumulated many honors the past three years 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 fly’s in many contests sponsored by local clubs. Two of the biggest highlights in his young career was being a part of the USA F3J Junior Team’s competing in South Africa in 2012 and in Slovakia this past summer. 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 competing in Croatia and helping his team bring home the GOLD!
When not flying R/C, Dillon is a 10th grader at Titusville High School taking advanced placement and honors classes. Enjoys being a member of the German Club and German Honor Society, playing the sousaphone with the Terrier Sound Marching band and is 1st chair tuba with the Wind Symphonic orchestra. Performs with the Creative Young Artists (Harmony Music Productions) in the Philharmonic Orchestra outside of school.
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. He is committed to training every week by flying the various F3K tasks as well as developing his physical strength and endurance to prepare for the worlds in Croatia.
Alex Trussell – Junior Pilot
Alex has been interested in planes since he was old enough to try to take the controller away from his dad. What started as tagging along on the weekends quickly became developing his style as a pilot in his own right. Alex loves flying, and can often be found in the backyard after football practice or boy scout meetings trying to fit one more flight into the few minutes of light that are left in the day. He is always happy to show off his cool planes to other kids (and adults) in the neighborhood. It is not uncommon to see father and son discussing the sport with neighbors that have walked over to see what they are doing, and just how big the planes really are.
There have been many pilots besides his dad that have helped him to develop his flying skills. The list is long but Bruce Davidson and Tom Siler stand out. Alex was thrilled to be able to talk to another lefty pilot and Bruce was more than happy to help. Alex has also learned a lot listening to Tom and his dad discuss the merits of different building styles and also shared many a notable road trip with the other Central Ohio pilot.
Alex represented the USA well in Denmark in 2013, and is extremely excited to represent the United States again in Croatia in 2015!
Gavin Trussell – Junior Team Manager
He can always be reached on RC Groups under(Gavin Trussell) and at his email address: Gatrussell@aol.com