Chairman’s Corner for Jan./Feb. 2019

Hey Folks, it was very nice, though wet, end to 2018!

Thanks to everyone for staying off of the runway while it was wet and soupy, that can be problematic this time of year. The field is in great – compact condition following the rain last week, and the only detractor is the layer of sand that has blown across since October. Randy, Jim, and Ian have been attempting to get a sweeper truck with nylon brushes to come out and sweep for up, but they are weirdly hard to locate. In conjunction with this weekends club meeting / fun fly, I would like to have a sweep day. I encourage members with garage brooms to bring them and hope to have a pretty large group starting at 9:00 AM that can make short work of the sand. Also, if a couple of people could bring out leaf blowers and clean up the pit area – that would be ideal.

The end of year banquet was a complete success! Thanks again to Quan and Randy for making the arrangements! There were a lot of neat prizes, and odds of winning were the best we had seen in years due to the fact that we had raised ticket prices a bit so we could almost double the amount of items purchased this year. The spouses that I spoke with were appreciative that there were some gifts tailored specifically to them. It was real nice to see some of you cleaned up and having a good time away from the field, and I enjoyed visiting with folks I only see once a year. Thanks to Tony and Kenny for checking in all of the guests, and letting me help them passing out the raffle prizes. We advertised ticket sales starting on Dec 01, and were fully booked after Christmas. I was contacted by a couple of folks after seats were sold out asking for spots. All I can say is don’t be left out next year! Get your RSVP in early.

Membership is in full swing for 2019, the last update I had from Quan had us shy of 200 renewals. That is great! For those that have not renewed, the grace period is over as of this newsletter. All members are again asked to display their 2019 membership card on their person while flying. All non – members will be asked not to fly until they renew. We do not pro-rate membership, so there is no value in waiting. Heck, even Dave Gordon has renewed, and we all know he can make Abe Lincoln cry…I heard one member telling another again last weekend, and the previous 4 weekends, that the expiration date on the bottom of your 2018 membership card is your membership expiration date – this is not true, that is your AMA expiration date. ALL 2018 memberships to SEFSD expired on Dec 31 2018. We attempted a 2 year membership in 2015, but it was difficult to manage so we abandoned it. I still hear from people that they paid for 2 years and still haven’t received their card for 2019 and wonder why. Some simple math needs to come into play.  Thanks to the folks that picked up their badges at the field late December and early January, saving us over a hundred dollars in postage.  All badges paid for have been  mailed and George stays very caught up on sending to new/renewing members. If you put a different address on your application than the place you currently receive your mail ( Snowbirds ) it is likely at home waiting for you. Send me a good mailing address and we will get you a new badge.

A couple of weeks ago I sent a blast concerning drone users keeping their machines further away from people than we had in the past. Traditionally and in accordance AMA standards we had been stating our rule to maintain a minimum of 25 feet vertically and horizontally away from people and animals. Over the last 6 weeks we have seen numerous complaints from the public concerning high speed drones at head height along the dirt paths in the field, within 20 feet of pedestrians. Quite a few of the FPV drone users now have drones capable of 100+ MPH and after talking to a few users one recurring theme was the statement that “once we actually see a person, we are past them before we can avoid flying over them.”  As speeds increase we need to be even more aware of the personal safety of people sharing Mission Bay Park with us. If people continue to let San Diego Police, The Mission Bay Park Director, and the City Councilman assigned to our district know that they are in fear of physical injury in our area – we stand to lose quite a bit…  I received feedback from a few members that I/WE had overstepped, or wrongly changed the safe distance requirement from 25 to 50 feet. I Disagree. It is a primary mission of the Board Of Directors that our club endures, and that we maintain our relationship with our lease holders to keep our site open for our club into the foreseeable future. If people report enough times that we are unsafe – that will directly jeopardize our clubs future. While we cannot reduce the safety requirements set by the AMA, We – SEFSD BOD are within our rights to increase safety requirements if we feel it is warranted.  For now, the BOD asks members to maintain a safe distance ( 50 FT. ) while we explore options. As one of the other options we are looking at include changing our official flight boundaries to exclude any area within 50 feet of the dirt foot path which would also exclude the large trees in the field on the far right of the foot path. We will vote on a final plan at the next BOD meeting on 08 Feb. I am willing to accept reasonable discussion on the matter via e-mail prior to that – keeping in mind that public safety has to be at the top of any discussion.

Over the next couple of months I hope you will see newsletter submissions from more members of the board. They each bring new ideas and experience to their positions and I am excited to see what they want to share with the rest of us. That being said, our Editor ( THANKS Steve Belknap! ) is always on the lookout for new and interesting items to include in the newsletter. I have seen great submissions recently from Bob, Mike, and Jeff and would like to hear about the fun or neat projects some or all of you are working on. Please send a write up and a few pics if possible to and we will include you.

Before closing, I want to commend the quick response of club members this month for getting a LiPo fire contained following an aircraft crash that damaged the battery. Please ensure you have your extinguishers handy, and understand how to use them.

This months event – following the field sweep at 9:00 AM – will be BOMB DROP starting at 10:00 AM on Saturday the 26th. Piiots can use any plane they desire, but you must be able to mount the basic drop mechanism using tape, rubber bands, or velcro. There will be $150.00 in gift certificates to the high scorers as usual. You must be a current member to participate. Following the fun fly we will hold the first club meeting at the field for 2019, followed by a Hot Dog lunch cooked by our new DOGMASTER Mark Davis. Thanks for taking on the duties Mark!

Hope everyone has a great month, and as always – Heres to wishing for no WHAMMIES!


President’s Corner for Jan./Feb. 2019

Hey pilots,

I wanted to welcome everybody to a great year ahead for flying, I look forward to serving to my best potential for the club and everybody involved. 

I wanted to take a minute and And tell you a little bit about myself. I have been flying models for around four years but I have been in the aviation industry since I was a little kid. I spent four years in the Navy as a jet engine mechanic after that I got my A&P license. I have been fascinated with all things RC I have flown helicopters driven boats cars and now I’m flying airplanes that is the most fun. 

We are still on track to get the field swept down at the end of this month or the beginning of next so that we can have a nice runway to fly off of. And thanks again for staying off the runway during the wet and rainy seasons. Foot prints make it hard on landing gear. 

We did have a minor fire at the west end of the field we had 2 fire trucks show up. Fortunately for the pilot who crashed there were fire extinguishers at the site to help keep the fire from spreading when it first started. Please if you have a fire extinguisher bring it to the field with you. If you don’t use it great but it’s always good to have just in case. 

And finally to hit on the Christmas party we had a great time everybody was joyous and happy. Even the wives got prizes this year. The food was excellent the Harbor House venue was amazing. A big thank you to the Harbor House for putting on the event for us. 

A new year, a new you. Remember to have fun. This hobby is as great as you make it so make it the greatest hobby you can. And remember we are all safety officers. 

Respectfully yours,

Tony Blackhurst. 

January 2019 Club Event – Bomb Drop

It’s that time again. Come out for the first Bomb Drop of 2019. Also if you have any payload releases on your plane your encouraged to bring them for some target practice before and after the regular event.  Click the pic for pics from the last Bomb Drop event.

Scale MQ-9 UAV R/C Project – Cheap and Easy Vac-U-Forming!

By Bob Kreutzer

I have been working on an MQ-9 UAV (top) R/C model. It started with a Nitro Planes model kit (above).

Yes, It has all of the standard Chinese good and bad that has been talked about (Ad nauseam) but it is a starting point.  For this report though, I had to fabricate some scale pieces that had to be custom made. In this case, it is the elevator and rudder servo fairings. This aircraft has no hydraulic systems, for control actuation it is all electric servo control just like our models!

Please take note as to how prominent these covers actually are. They are a visually defining bit of the overall look of this scale model. As a bit of technical information also note that there are two servo covers per elevator. This is the double redundancy of this control. There are 4 electrical elevator servos per aircraft. Note the single rudder servo ( no redundancy?). The Vee tail can, in case of a rudder servo failure, make it back to base with just the Vee tail authority. There are a lot of engineering trade-offs on this aircraft.

All control surfaces are multi redundant and electrically powered.  Servo covers are an important scale feature that should, in my opinion, be addressed.  To that end, I vacuum formed my elevator covers in a really simple way that I found on ( where else? ) You Tube. Here is a picture of the result.

I used a 10% scale 3d printed model servo cover for my 8% model because that’s what I had. This is close enough as you can see by the slightly more trimmed back plastic final result .

For the vacuum forming platen, I used a tin can, a shop vacuum, a heat gun, and plastic bowl that I had lying around.

I pinched the can to fit the vacuum hose and to clamp into the vise. Duct tape took care of the air seal.  I just drilled a bunch of holes with a 1/16” drill and that is about it. Check out my really nice brass form.  This is as simple as it gets.

This picture shows the set up and the before and after heat-gunning the plastic bowl.  Try to keep the heat in the center of the bowl and the rim will provide a bit of a stable “frame” that help with the vacuum seal around the edge.

I just heated up the center of the plastic bowl and turned on the vacuum and pressed it onto the can/vacuum former. That’s it !  Be ready to scrap 50% or so until you get “ the feel for it” But, at 8 cents a try, well ….

So for a few minutes of work I have my 4 servo covers and I’m ready for paint. I hope this inspires.  Some of you to try this super simple, super quick, cheap, vacuum forming technique

Post Script:

I tried a few improvements, and here are some pictures.

I went to party city and purchased some grey plastic plates because they are easier to paint to match.

I also used some aluminum window screen to distribute the vacuum and it worked much better (less scrap)

I also used some old caulk to seal the vacuum hose and this worked better

Take note of the little piece of foam I used at the back of the servo cover mold to help the plastic not

Bridge and cut itself off (and pop a vacuum leaking hole) at the back edge of the servo cover mold.

The last tip I can offer is to continue using the heat gun after applying the vacuum.

You can really improve your success ratio with a little bit of well placed heat.

Well, that’s about it. It’s pretty easy , cheap, LIGHT, and makes a big difference in the visual effect of a scale model.

Bob K

More pics: Continue reading

Prism Isotope RC Kite Plane at SEFSD – January 2019

I live in Minnesota but spend January in San Diego. I enjoy flying with the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego (SEFSD) at the Mission Bay field (not to mention the fabulous banquet in January), but I needed a reasonably sized model airplane that would travel well on an airline. Last year, I modified a Prism Zero G Glider Kite (purchased at the kite store in Seaport Village) for this mission (see the March 2018 SEFSD Peak Charge for details).

This year I decided to design a more robust Kite-Plane from a Prism Isotope kite purchased from the kite store in Seaport Village ($55). It flies quite well as a kite. As an airplane, it flies even better. High overhead, it looks like a kite without a string, traveling cross country.

A light weight rudder (foam board) provides yaw/roll control (using dihedral). The dihedral is accomplished by pulling a tight string across the back of the kite from the right corner to the left corner – like you have all done with the typical diamond kite. The motor is gimbaled up and down to provide pitch control. This gives very effective pitch control as long as you have some power applied to the motor. When you cut the throttle it becomes a glider with only yaw/roll provided by the rudder. To land, you need to add some power and a lot of up “elevator” to enter a high alpha mode. If you play it just right, you can “plop” it down right at your feet. The conversion was very successful. It can be flown either as a kite or airplane. All of the special fittings for this Kite-Plane were created in 3D CAD and printed on my low cost 3D printer. All the parts could be built up with wood, but the 3D printing process allows a lot of tweaking/redesign in a short period of time. I think the basic kite frame is fiberglass. I used some 3/16 wood dowels and carbon fiber rods along with the 3D printed fittings to complete the structure.

The empty weight is 576 grams and the All Up Weight with a 3S 1500mah Lipo is 715 grams. The wing span is 48 inches. The motor is a Cheetah 2212-13 1000 KV with a 10 x 4.5 prop. It flies nicely with just under 50% throttle. Measured flight time is 21 minutes when the 3.6V warning beeper starts telling me it’s time to land. It handles wind very well up to point. At the SEFED field, I was able to fly it slow enough to fly “backwards” with an 8 mph breeze.

Since we stay in Coronado for the month of January, the Kite-Plane makes a great backpack airplane. I ride the Coronado Ferry to the Broadway Pier, then take the trolley to the Morena/Linda Vista stop. The bike takes me the rest of the way to the SEFSD field.

Attached are some photos of the Prism Isotope Kite-Plane in the kite configuration, airplane configuration, and backpack configuration.

Rob Jahnke

Member – SEFSD (San Diego CA), MARCS (Madison WI),  Northstar Flyers (Holdingford MN) 

Events Calendar for 2019

By Ian Mckinlay

Jan 26th.   Bomb Drop 1
Feb 23rd.   Don’t Spill The Beans
Mar 23rd.   Poker Fly
Apr 27th.   Foam Frenzy
May 25th.  Jet Day
Jun 22nd.  Bomb Drop 2
Jul 27th.   Umx Flea Circus
Aug 24th.  Limbo
Sep 28th.  Scale Day
Oct 26th.   Airplane Derby
Nov 23rd.  Warbird Day

The new event “Airplane derby” will be fun for everyone. Participants and audience. Dig out your old ugly planes and come out for the first airplane derby. The object is to try to midair anyone else in the air. It’s a crash up derby, but with planes. Streamers are optional.  Will be harder than most people think.

Since we can’t score this event all participants will get a raffle ticket. Prizes will be the usual gift certs from DHW. 

Electroglide Report for January 2019

Sorry, there was no Electroglide competition for January do to our rain saturated runway. The next Electroglide is scheduled for February 16th.

Until then,


Safety Report for January 2019

Safety counts!
As your new club safety officer I get to hear and see all sorts of calamities, some are simple excusable “dumb thumb” errors and some are a result of more serious disregard of common sense safety procedures. I would like to use the monthly newsletter to provide some insight into the safety concerns related to our activities at the field. 
With over 300 members operating a wide range of aircraft flying by VLOS and FPV there are lots of things that need to kept in mind. We have had several reports of some FPV flying getting too close to joggers on the paths along the water. While we have not been able to verify the facts in the incidents we ask all members to take extra care to be sure that they keep well clear of members of the public at ALL times regardless of where your craft is being flown. 
We will likely be updating the field map with some additional information so as to make it clearer what the operating boundaries are for the various aircraft type.
My goal is to preserve our right to use our field safely with the fewest restrictions possible—to this end it is important for everyone to exercise common sense and not do something that gets our activities on the radar of the city officials in a negative way.
Each member has a right and duty to ensure others operate their craft in a safe manner. If you see a unsafe practice let the person know in a calm and civil wha the problem is. If the issue is not resolved then please let me or an other board member know of the problem and we will try to resolve it.
Safe flying!
Steve Neu

SEFSD BOD Minutes for January 2019

Meeting starts at 6:57 pm

For this month’s meeting we discussed the incident with a drone flying recklessly through “trees” at high speeds and then being reported by a civilian to everybody and their grandmother.  We find it hard to believe that a club member would endanger people and our field by this type of behavior.  It could just be a non-member flying from a park bench.  Regardless, we have to police ourselves and other non-members flying at our filed or close to it.  We advise taking pictures and documenting any reckless behavior, otherwise we may lose our flying site. 

The Palm trees are out of bounds.  The other trees are within our bounds, however FPV thru these trees requires common sense, like a spotter at the trees maybe?  Also, remember our field has no fence and people do walk through it all the time.  I personally fly at palm tree top height near the palm trees.   Never fly lower than 10 ft AGL everywhere else because I have been surprised to see people walking right where I just flew.  People and full scale aircraft have the right away at any height and at any point on our field.  It is your responsibility to avoid people and animals crossing the runway.  Take a look and or have a spotter.

The next topic was field maintenance and setting up dates for rolling the runway.  Then we talked about AMA grants for the club.

And finally we talked about organizing the club events for the year.  Between bomb drop and limbo we are working on a great year full of fun events.  Please bring your badge to the next club event.

We the Board of Directors thank you, the members for making this the great club it is.

Your Humble Secretary,

Ken Dresser

Meeting Adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

Treasurer’s Report for Jan 2019

We are starting the year financially strong with over $28k in our bank accounts. We’re currently at 245 members, with the expectation of around 400 by the end of the year. Last year, we made significant investments in our field, including fence modifications to make the Rotorplex safer, dust control for our runway, and two excellent PA systems. We also invested in many events at the field, including a catered food truck, T-shirts for the UAS4STEM participants, and of course our monthly contests. I want to thank the club members for your generosity at our 4th of July raffle and the T-shirt sale fundraiser. I also want to individually recognize Larry S. and Hoang T. for their direct cash contributions to our holiday party.  We are on track to have another successful and enjoyable year thanks to our supportive membership base.


SEFSD Treasurer 2019

Which Way is it Going?!

Can YOU tell which way the plane is headed?  Is it coming toward you or flying away?  Photo quiz submitted by Frank Sutton.

Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum

The Joe Martin Foundation’s museum in Carlsbad, California displays the world’s largest permanent collection of model engineering excellence.  Click on the pic to go to their website.  It is a wonderful experience, you could stay for hours.

Please Contribute to the Newsletter

Thanks to all who sent in goodies for this month’s newsletter!  You folks are the best! 

Your editor would love to hear from club members.  If there is anything you would like to share with the rest of us I want you to send it to me.  I will add it to the next newsletter.  My favorite things to publish are items sent in by members!!  These can be anything like reviews of your plane or equipment, links to good videos, links to articles and things you have built or created.  Bad spelling and/or grammar gladly accepted.  Anything from a picture with a caption to a full blown build/review article is good.  Letters-to-the-Editor are always welcome as well.  Tell us what you think.  Please help make the newsletter and website more interesting with your submissions.  Embarrassing pics/vids are the best.  I look forward to hearing from you.   — Steve

Editor’s Notes for Dec. ’18/Jan. ’19

Newsworthy Items:

1.  Please check the calendar for the new schedules for: Meetings/Events, Electroglide, Float Flying, and Indoor Flying.
2.  The Torry Pines Gulls have their outstanding newsletter available online.
3.  Please check out all the other great items for sale in our “For Sale by Members” area.
5.  Please check out these fine newsletters from other clubs:
The Harbor Soaring Society has a wonderful newsletter here.
6.  There is now a complete list of club instructors under the “Resources” tab.