Unfortunately, Jun has obligations which have forced him to give up his spot on the team. Mike Seid won the first alternate position by placing 4th at the Team Selects and will be replacing Jun as the third pilot on the senior team.
- Pilot: Michael Smith
Mike was born in 1964 in Anchorage, Alaska. His Dad was an avid modeler even back then, and is the sole reason Mike is so devoted to RC Soaring today. Mike has been soaring since 1976, and soaring competitively since about 1978. He is interested in all aspects of RC soaring. Thermal duration and the challenge that flat land soaring offers was what originally hooked him. His first foray into F3B came in 1982 when he attended the 1983 team select in Joliet, Illinois with his mentor and good friend Mark Smith of Marks Models fame. After that middle of the pack performance and teaming with Mark when he made it on that year’s team, F3B became his single favorite event of all of RC soaring. Mike has been fairly successful in competition. He has won his fair share of TD contests local to southern California. While traveling to various contests in and around southern California, he identified with another RC soaring star. He began watching Daryl Perkins to see what he could learn to help string more good rounds together. After crossing paths with Daryl for a few months to a few years, they started talking about full scale flying, and a friendship was formed. Mike learned quite a bit from Daryl, and owes much of his success to the friendly competitions that he and Daryl had through the course of their contest adventures. It’s amazing what adding a dollar to the landing task will do to motivate a pilot. Mike got involved in hand launch gliders just about the time launching style switched from javelin style to side arm or discus style. His first competitive DLG model was an XP-3 from Denny Maize, and that was quickly followed by an XP-4 and an XP-5. Mike had a bit of success with these models placing in the top 10 at a few IHLGF’s in Poway. Along came his first molded DLG. The Aspirin changed the game. Shortly after the Aspirin, Mike acquired a highly sought after TUD model, the SALpeter. It was with this glider that Mike learned to launch and found the sheer joy in flying high performance DLG’s. He says they are like flying tiny F3B models. Today, Mike lives in Scripps Ranch, California. With the support of his wife Jeannie, daughter Carly, and his little boy Torrey, he enjoys competing with the Rowing Concept CX2, and CX3. Roland Sommer produces a top quality DLG that really suits his flying style. He has tried many top models to date, and while they are all competitive, his personal preference is the Concept. Controlling the Concept models is handled by the new Spektrum DX18 radio. This is his go to radio for all things RC soaring related. Mike is super excited to have this opportunity to represent the USA in the pilot’s box at Herning, Denmark in 2013. He is very happy about his team and expects that they will all do very well.
- Pilot: George Morris
George Morris finished third in the 2013 Team Selection contest, and wants you to know that even though he is over 50, he is still spanking plenty of the younger guys in this sport. Both he and his brother Charlie have come to be very familiar faces to other US hand launch pilots. George has been flying since he was dragged around to free flight contests by his father as child. He describes himself as his dads one man pit crew . George and his dad began flying formula one with proportional radios in 1974. From 1976 to 1984 the Morris’s quit RC and focused on flying full sized sailplanes. George returned to RC racing in the expert class with quickie 500′s until 1989. It wasn’t until 2008 that George saw a person flying DLG in a park, and was hooked. George’s first contest was in 2009, at the Tucson blue skies contest. He’s been very difficult to beat since and represented USA at the first F3K Worlds in Sweden in 2011 finishing 2nd in the world to the legendary Joe Wurts. He is sure to represent USA with a solid performance and is one of the most consistent pilots we could have in the team.
- Pilot: Mike Seid.
Michael Seid is a native of Southern California who started flying RC at the age of 12. Working in a San Fernando valley bike shop fixing flat tires for the owner, Michael saved up a few dollars to buy his first glider-The Wanderer. During that summer, he took his plane up into the hills around Muhlolland drive in search of a good slope to fly. Later, as a student at the University of California, San Diego, Michael had the good fortune of living at a campus that sits atop on the worlds best soaring sites, The Torrey Pines Glider Port. Michael joined the Torrey Pines Gulls during college. After building many slope gliders in the early 1990s, Michael moved away from the hobby for more than 10 years. During that hiatus, Michael met his wife Theresa, and did not pick the hobby back up until 2006. Michael started flying handlaunch gliders after dabbling again with slope soaring, and coming across a new handlaunched glider called The Blaster. In December of 2006, he hooked his first thermal with it, or it hooked him. Since then, Michael has been very active in the handlaunch community. Michael took over the organizational duties of the International Handlaunch Glider Festival in 2007, and has been instrumental in fostering grass roots development of local and regional contests. Michael was the USA team manager for the first ever F3K world championships held in Arboga, Sweden in 2010. Michael has placed very high in many of the contests he attends. Having won many local contests, and several top 3s in national competition, Michael finished as the alternate in 2012 F3K National Team Select Competition to choose the USA National Team to compete in Denmark in 2013. With Jun unable to compete in Denmark Mike is the 3rd member of this very strong US Team. Michael lives in San Diego California with his wife Theresa, and two children, Zach (9mos) and Ellie (6 yrs.). Michael is the founder and president of MK Capital Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor, and founder and managing director of Axxcess Healthcare Group, a boutique investment bank focused on investment in technology for healthcare.
- Junior Pilot: Alex Parkyn
Alex Parkyn is a native Texan born in League City in the great state of Texas. In 1996, Alex’s parents relocated to Michigan. Alex considers Michigan to be his adopted home state. Alex is in his senior year at Rochester Adams High School in Rochester MI. Alex places great emphasis on his academic studies and after graduation from Adams High School, he hopes to attend Michigan State University.He enjoys athletics, having wrestled since the eighth grade and is on the Varsity Wrestling team at Adams.
An avid student of the Martial Arts, Alex would like to compete professionally.
Alex’s lifelong goal is to be an F.B.I. agent.
Although relatively new to discus gliders Alex has flown various types of powered and glider free flight and radio control aircraft most of his life.
Alex is a member of the Detroit Balsa Bugs free flight club. He has competed as a Junior in free flight at the National competitions held in Muncie, Indiana.
His father Chris Parkyn, by trade a professional pilot and lifelong aero modeler is an influence on him and they enjoy their time together designing, building and flying miniature aircraft.
Competing in contests across the country in Colorado, Maryland, New York , and at his hometown club the Greater Detroit Hiking and Soaring Society of Rochester Michigan, Alex has enjoyed meeting with and learning from some of the United States top discus fliers, most notably Mr. Tom Siler.
Alex is proud to have the opportunity to be a member the Junior US F3K team.
With his Junior team mates Jason Friedman and Alex Trussel, Alex looks forward to and is
excited to represent our Nation at the upcoming World Championships.
- Junior Pilot: Alex Trussel:
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 is extremely excited to represent the United States in Denmark in 2013!
- Junior Pilot: Jason Friedman
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 is looking forward to the World Championships and representing the USA in 2013.
- Team Manager: Lex Mierop
Lex grew up in Southern California, fascinated with anything in the sky. He cut his teeth on U control planes and evolved from that to powered RC once enough lawns were mowed to get his first RC radio. After having found the simplicity of slope soaring (grab an airplane and transmitter then go climb a hill to play in the prevailing winds) that was it for powered RC. Eventually that evolved into trying out thermal flying off of a winch and then javelin-style hand launch. Lex was a test pilot for one of the first commercially available DLGs and was the first ever to throw a DLG with a gyro on the rudder.
Lex is a Software Engineer by trade, LSF Level 4, and father to two wonderful daughters (who share exactly no interest in flying, but there’s hope with future son-in-laws) Lex has been a long time competitor at the IHLGF, and contest organizer for the annual Cal Challenge held in Visalia. Lex is very excited to be able to help the 2013 US F3K team in any way possible.
- Junior Team Manager: Gavin Trussell
Gavin Trussell was born in 1969 in southern California, He was always interested in model airplanes but never had someone to mentor him in flying one. Several times in his life he would build a model airplane and promptly crash it on it’s first flight. It was so discouraging that it would be years before he tried again. That was until a friend gave him a Airhog to fly as a gift. Realizing that he could actually fly this plane he went to his local hobby store and bought a Parkzone Stryker and began flying. After a while flying the Stryker Gavin started looking for more info on modifying it and ran across a video of Doug Montgomery’s little Depron Dynomite discus launch glider. That was all it took to become hooked on the DLG lifestyle and now he travels the country flying in DLG contests along with his son Alex.
Gavin and Alex compete in other soaring disciplines as well, but F3K is where their hearts are and they devote most of their time to DLG flying. Gavin has won multiple contests in unlimited soaring and Altitude soaring but his biggest achievement was winning the 2012 Bruce. Gavin is a factory Horizon pilot and is so happy to be part of the Horizon family. His wife Amy and daughter Abby also are proud supporters of the flying habits of father and son.
Gavin is so proud to be accompanying his son Alex to the worlds in Denmark as the Junior Team Manager.
- Stateside Co-ordinator: Charlie Morris
George’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.
- Pilot Emeritus : Jun Catacutan
Jun Catacutan is a 40 “something” year old father of two, Dani and RJ, and husband to wife, Ivy. Jun is a software analyst by trade and a soaring pilot by choice. The ‘Cats’ family lives in Lake Elsinore, CA since 2006, transplanted from Philippines via New Jersey. Jun has always loved flight. Early years growing up in the Philippines, he used to make small, plywood airplanes held together by rubber bands and cheap glue. They really did not fly but they peaked his curiosity on flying. In 2003, Jun was reintroduced to flight when he saw a Bird of Time glider being launched from a hi-start and was being flown by Orlando Blizzard. Two weeks later, Jun came back to the field with Kyosho Viento, a full house, electric, 2 meter glider. That was the start of the rekindling of old interest into a new hobby. Jun already knew the basic flight fundamentals but Orlando taught him everything to move forward with radio controlled flight. Since then he has dabbled in electric flight, from park flyers to 3 meter sailplanes. The RC bug bit so hard that not even a foot of snow or 100 degree heat would stop him from flying and spending time with his friends. 2007 is when he started flying DLGs with a used Supergee clone that he practiced with and destroyed after 3 weeks. The Vandal by Jones Prototypes was his next plane and brought the start of his competitive DLG flying. Jun started flying the Stobel V3 in 2010 and continues to compete with it with the support of SoaringUSA and MKS Servo Systems. All of his planes are confidently controlled via Futaba FASST transmitters. Season after flying season, he has placed well in most local, regional and national handlaunch competitions: 2009 Blue Skies Series champion, 2010 IHLGF winner and multiple top three and top ten finishes. He took 2nd place at the 2011 USA F3K Team Selects in Wilson, North Carolina and 1st place at the 2013 USA F3K Team Selects in Denver, Colorado. Jun’s long term goal is to continue to explore other soaring disciplines with his son, RJ. He is currently teaching RJ as much as he can tolerate and, hopefully, have a father and son team in future competitions! Jun’s excitement at being a part of the 2013 USA F3K Team again is undeniable and he promises to represent the country, the soaring community and the team as best he can. Soar!
Unfortunately, Jun’s work obligations will keep him from participating in Denmark. He is very proud that he made the team, and looks forward to trying to earn a spot on the team next cycle.