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Chairman’s Corner for Sep – Oct 2020

Hey Guys,

There are a couple of items to discuss this month so I’ll roll right into it.

With all of the fires in California this month, I would like to remind everybody to be extra careful, extra vigilant, and bring a fire extinguisher with you to the field. The entire area is extremely dry and one accident could take down the whole site. If a plane goes in hard off of the runway it is a good idea to bring a “just in case” extinguisher on the walk of shame to avoid having to run back for one in the event of a fire. If there is an incident that seems to be getting out of hand, I need the members actively involved and calling 911 to direct emergency vehicles to the scene. Officially, smoking is not allowed in Mission Bay Park. I know we still have some smokers in the club, please practice your activity well into the parking lot area where there are no flammable materials.

There are some people we have not seen since January, and some new faces that have come along after starting a new hobby while locked inside for a few months. For those that are staying home, we miss you! For the new members, welcome! If you are returning after an extended break or just entering the hobby, please ensure you talk with current members about safety procedures and authorized flight areas at our site. We have had some past members return to the hobby recently who claimed that in “their day” they were allowed to fly over the fence, pits and parking area. I have been with this club for quite a few years and don’t remember that!  [I have been with the club much longer than Brad and am sure that has never been true – Steve B.]

Please keep all flight activities over the runway and the field, but always staying south of the sidewalk and foot path near the beach. Also please keep all high speed activities north of the centerline. Failures and accidents do happen.

One thing I’ve noticed this month at the field is a number of 2019 members arriving and flying with their 2019 badges that have not renewed for 2020. While I do understand that Covid kept us away from the field for three months, we do still need to pay dues if we plan to use the site. Please catch up and pay your 2020 dues if you are expired and would like to continue to fly for the remainder of this year.  

We recently signed an updated copy of our letter of agreement (LOA) with air traffic control at Lindbergh Field. While we have not made progress and restoring or increasing our current altitude limit to go above 200 feet, there is some progress as once this edition of our LOA is filed – we will be officially listed as a recognized AMA flying club with the FAA. This will give us a little bit more ammunition as we fight in the future for more altitude. Thank you Quan for running this to ground for us.

As we approach the final quarter of 2020, it is time to start thinking about 2021 Board Of Director members. Quite a few of the current board members have stated their intention to run for the Board next year. That being said, all positions are open for competition. We are always looking for members to bring new thoughts and ideas to keep the club fresh! If you would like to become involved in guiding the club next year, please approach any of the board members or send me an email within the next month and I will announce nominations in the October newsletter. Voting for the Board of Directors will be held in November.

I will ask Quan ( Voluntold! ) to figure out some way for us to vote online because we will likely still be under social distancing restrictions.

While on the subject of social distancing, the Electro-glide contest is still on hold, as are our club meetings at the field and the monthly fun-flies. I am thinking at the moment that these will not resume until next year. Since we don’t have as many competitors as last year, pylon racing has resumed on the second Saturday of each month. We are not taking score so it is bragging rights only. Steve, our race master, has stated his intention to hold T28 races for October November and December this year. We are still hoping to have some kind of post-holiday Banquet this year, but at the moment the odds are getting worse.

The gate… I have really enjoyed not being blasted by dirt, dust, and asphalt grindings when random people roll in off of the street at 50MPH and realize they are in the wrong place. I understand how much of a hassle it is to open and close it with every entry/exit  and as of this newsletter will revert to leaving it open while members are on site. The last person out MUST take the responsibility to close and lock the gate. If there are empty cars on site, lock them in, they will figure something out. If we start having issues with an unoccupied site with open gate which leads to overnight theft and vandalism, we may have to reinstate the closed gate policy…

That about wraps it up for this month, I hope everybody stays safe and enjoys the rest of the month!


T28 Race Results and an Amazing T28 Racing Video – Sep 2020

Sept 12th T28 Races.
We had a good turnout with 13 pilots entering the September 12th T28 races. The first races of the preliminary round got going a little after 10am. We had preliminary rounds with the cumulative results determining the groupings for the Bronze, Silver and Gold cup races. There were a few causalities from CFIT(Controlled Fight Into Terrain) for various reasons—the good news was that in nearly all cases the planes were easily repaired and some were able to fly in later rounds. 

After a number of close and hard fought laps around the pylons the matchups for the finals were as follows:




Quan took first place in the Bronze Cup.

The Silver Cup between Alex And SteveN was likely the closest and most hard fought 10 laps of the day with both planes “cutting the grass” and trading places numerous times. In the end it came down to the last turn before the finish line with yours truly getting ahead of Alex by < 3 feet. 

The Gold Cup was anticlimactic  after the the Silver Cup drama—Both Otto and Frank put themselves down a lap by jumping the start or cutting a turn—which gifted the Gold Cup win to SteveM who coasted to an easy win by staying out of trouble.

We learned a few things and next time we will revise the audio file so as to make the countdown to the start clearer and easier for pilots to follow so as to avoid some of the late/early crossing of the starting line—also some of the sounds will be toned down a little.

In watching some of the flying during the races it was clear that several pilots had their planes setup for what I would call “sport flying” with way too much control travel for racing 6 feet above the ground—the last thing you need is to snap roll the plane while pulling a hard pylon turn. Go back and read some of the setup advice in the newsletters earlier this year. 

We have two races on the schedule for next month with the first on October 12th @ 10am and the second two week later on the 24th at 10am. get in some practice and get your planes trimmed for speed!

Steve Neu

Now for the video from Hobie Sutton Studios (Frank & Alex Sutton).  Just click

Glider Launch Vehicle

By Steve Belknap

About 20 years ago I put a cradle on my Sig Kadet Sr. to carry gliders aloft and release them.  Recently I pulled out the cradle and dusted it off.  Frank G. had a freshly made Goldberg Wanderer he had not yet flown.  So I rubber banded everything onto the Kadet once more.  Everything worked perfectly.  So far I have launched his glider 5 times.  On the last flight Frank measured the radius of one of the light standards using the leading edge of the glider.  All fixed now and ready to fly again.

Some of the members who were around then might remember my initial attempts to use this launch cradle.  They might remember when I launched a glider and the rubber bands released on only one glider wing.  The other wing stayed attached to the cradle.  It got ugly real quick.  Finally, the glider separated from the cradle.  The rubber bands did not let go but the glider snapped off the upper part of one side of the cradle.  Everything landed OK and the cradle was modified to prevent the rubber bands from not releasing.

Click the pic for a short video:

Treasurer’s Report for Sep 2020

By Quan Nguyen

SEFSD accomplishments in September included 291 members, a fresh runway, and an updated, newly signed LOA that will put our field on the FAA’s national AMA registry.

Elections are coming up, and all positions are open, including mine! While I enjoy being treasurer, having someone else in the position will allow me to focus on other aspects of continuing to improve the club. Feel free to throw your name in the hat. I promise to help make it a smooth transition.

I also want to give a plug for the club’s T-28 racing event series, and a shout out to several people that make the races great! Steve Neu, the race organizer, recognized some of the challenges pilots had with taking off, and was responsive and modified the rules appropriately to accommodate everyone, even clumsy pilots like myself. I appreciate Frank Gagliardi being quick to lend me a battery to do a trim flight when I forgot all my batteries at home. A big compliment to Wayne Walker for his mentorship on my first real race and making sure I finished. I think this intergenerational component of our club is critical to our club’s future, and its continued success. The spectators got to see a thrilling match-up between a young novice, Alex, nearly overtake seasoned veteran Steve. The fact that this happened in the midst of a pandemic shows what this club has to offer to strengthen a community in trying times.  The next year will be tough, with the club’s regularly scheduled events still uncertain. The club will use every available opportunity to build this unique community across all ages and skill levels.

Chairman’s Corner for Aug – Sep 2020

Hey Flyers!

 It’s been over 10 weeks since we have been able to use our field again. I would like to thank everyone that has utilized the site for following the rules as put forth by the county and practicing social distancing. Some of you have decided to stay home and not fly, that doesn’t stop us from missing you at the field! It’s understandable though, I hope everybody is staying safe and keeping your family safe!

 I want to thank Dennis LaBerge for his efforts and weed abatement around the edges of the field. When you have a chance please thank him also – he puts in some serious hours keeping the wild brush under control.

 This weekend on Saturday- 22 August, we are hoping to have decent participation for a field sweep between 8 AM and 9 AM in preparations for soaking the field with the water truck next week. The clay will absorb the water and compress, the sand will not. Thank you to all that show up!

 Following the sweep down we will have our first official Pylon Race of the year, thanks to the event owner, Steve Neu, we will be racing FMS 800 millimeter T-28 Trojans. Starting this late in the year, with an event series that completes in October, we are just going to race for bragging rights – and have invited members from local clubs to participate.

Electra Glide is still on hold for now. We traditionally have 12-15 participants and Jeff wants to stay within the current guidelines for gatherings of 10 or more. We await approval from Jeff Struthers to start. It may not happen this year we will just have to see how it goes. Along the same thought, the monthly meeting/fun Fly event is still on hold. Sorry, no Hot Dogs…

With the heat wave upon us, I would like to remind everybody to bring plenty of liquids with them to the field and also to be mindful of the fire hazard in the outer field area.

For now membership is down more than 80 people below where we were last year at this time, and may not improve. We are still seeing new members join, but there are still quite a few prior members who have not renewed for 2020. If you’re not flying, that’s fine. If you are flying, please renew and finish out the year as a member.

Finally, I want to toss out a bone and ask people to think of what they could personally contribute to make our club a better place to enjoy our great hobby. In a few months we will be voting for the 2021 Board of Directors. Quite a few of the current Board have agreed to continue on next year but a few are on the fence. Right now we are down one club president, and may be looking for one or two others to fill out the board of Directors. Your input is valuable in providing guidance to the club!

Have a great month!


New Article – R/C Flying Photography Tips

SEFSD is extremely fortunate to have Frank Sutton as a member and contributor.  He has provided thousands of high quality photos and videos that are shared on our SmugMug gallery.  He puts a lot of time and effort into this so please thank him next time you see him at the field.

By Frank Sutton

               It is my hope that you, the Pilots, Families, and Friends of Silent Electric Flyers San Diego (SEFSD), enjoy viewing and sharing the photos I send to our SEFSD Editor, Steven Belknap, for publication on the SEFSD Website’s Gallery. Steven puts a lot of time and effort into not only the outstanding SEFSD Peak Charge Newsletter we all enjoy each month, but also posting the many photos that I send to him for the Website. I salute Steven and all of the SEFSD volunteers that unselfishly contribute so much towards making SEFSD the best Radio Control (R/C) Club in existence today!  Thank you!

              Steven asked if I would write an article on any tips I could share on taking photos of R/C aircraft. I told him that I am not a professional photographer (or a professional videographer for that matter), however, I would write the article because I very much enjoy taking and sharing photos and the occasional video of not only Alex’s R/C adventures, but the flying adventures of all the SEFSD Members too – and that leads me to Tip Number One!


               I’m certainly not a lawyer, but in a public area such as SEFSD Field, anyone may legally take photos and videos of others without their consent so long as they are not minors (less than 18 years of age). Be advised though, if anyone requests their photo (or video) not to be taken, do not take that person’s photo or include them in a video!

              If anyone that requested their photo not to be taken should inadvertently be included in a photo or perhaps appear in the background of a photo, then the photo must be cropped so the person no longer appears in the photo, or that photo must be deleted entirely. Similarly, video with that person should not be kept.

              You may ask the person if they’ll give permission to take photos/videos of their aircraft only (but not to include the Pilot flying the aircraft), and then respect and follow their directions.

Read the Entire Article

Treasury Report for Aug 2020

The board is busy behind the scenes making sure your club is running smoothly. As of 8/21, we have 288 members. We are in the process of diversifying our accounts to different banks to take advantage of more competitive interest rates. Our field maintenance is coming up, and our club is on the waitlist now to get a 2000 gallon water truck. With the heat wave going on, our rental equipment provider said all the water trucks are rented out. Our target is to get the field watered down on 8/28. We’ll keep you posted.

NEW! – The FAA Launched a Podcast

Meet The Air Up There, a podcast for people who are curious about aviation
The Air Up There Podcast

Meet The Air Up There, a Podcast for People Who Are Curious About Aviation

It’s no secret that we at the Federal Aviation Administration think aviation is incredible. We want to share this passion with the world, through stories that will inspire the next generation of aviation professionals.

We’re excited to share the launch of our first-ever podcast, The Air Up There. Read more about the podcast launch on our blog.

The COVID-19 public health emergency changed the way that many Americans do their job. Curious how it’s affected the way we move traffic through the sky? Listen to Episode 1: Air Traffic Amid A Public Health Emergency.


In Episode 2, we talk with TJ Kim, a 16-year-old student pilot who has spent the last several months using his training flights to deliver PPE and other medical supplies to rural and community hospitals in Virginia. Listen to Episode 2: Operation Supplies Over Skies.


You can listen to the show on our website at www.faa.gov/podcasts or find it on Apple Podcasts. If you like it, please rate and review it on Apple Podcasts – it will help other (new) aviation geeks find us, too.

Chairman’s Corner for July – Aug 2020

Hey guys, not a whole lot to talk about this month but still a few items.

With the county locking down again due to increased virus activity – I hope everybody is staying safe!

After arriving very early a couple of weeks ago to find a homeless gentleman sleeping on a table near gate 6, I would say it’s not a bad idea to disinfect tables before using them. Thanks for keeping up the sanitation of our portable restroom. It is nice to have it available for use!

For now I would like to keep the gate mainly closed and have members pass through and close it behind them. This is primarily to keep our club from having a bunch of random people on site and risking losing access if the wrong person notices and reports a lack of social distancing. The new combination locks seem to be working out after some initial drama. Thank you for your patience.

A BIG Thank you to Mark Davis for the hard work you put in repairing and updating four of the work tables on site! They should last for many years to come. I always appreciate the members who step up selflessly.

I don’t know yet whether Electroglide or T-28 racing events will be held in August, it will depend on the Covid requirements at that time and the decision will be made by the race master, Steve Neu and the Electroglide king, Jeff Struthers. Keep an eye on your emails for more information.

For now, our Monthly fun fly events, hot dogs, and meetings at the field are still on hold. The plus side is that the prize money we are saving will be available to allow us to still hold our yearly banquet in January ( Covid willing).

Finally, with the summer heat upon us please remember to bring sunscreen, portable shade, and enough liquids to stay hydrated while on site.

Fly them if you can, but please stay safe doing so!


Brad with Extra taxiing

An MQ-9 Story pt.6 – 3D Missiles & Bombs (continued)

By Bob Kreutzer

Locked down, but not out.

Last issue I showed my “lock down project”. A good friend lent me His Ender 2 3D printer. At ~$200 it is an absolutely great deal on an entry level 3D printer. I can recommend it. I wanted to add a full ordinance load onto my MQ-9 project. So I jumped in with both feet and learned a new skill. Like most things, once you get the hang of it, well it becomes pretty easy. Basically there are 3 steps.

1: Obtain an STL file of what you want to print.

2: Download a slicing program (more on that)

3: Put your sliced STL file into the printer and press the on button.

OK. An STL file is to a 3D printer as a PDF file is to a regular printer. Nothing more.

A slicing program (I used CURA and do recommend it highly) allows you to place the project in the proper place on the 3D printer bed. It also allows you to size it to your needs. You press the SLICE button and everything magically happens. Then tell it to copy onto a SD card.

Take the SD card and insert it into the 3D printer. Scroll through like, 2- 3 menu options and press “PRINT”. That’s pretty much it.

So here is what I did:

Hell Fire missile on the printer bed. I found printing vertically was best.

Continue reading

Treasury Report for July 2020

We are at 280 members as of 7/21/2020. We’re seeing more members signing up now as the field reopens. We are ahead of budget this year due to fewer expenses on club events. The club also earned $120 in interest from a CD that matured in July. It’s great to see more people come to the field recently while maintaining social distancing. Thank you all for supporting this club!

I’ll see you at the field,


Find the Correct Center of Gravity for Your Plane

I have started a new section on our website aimed at helping flyers learn a little more about their planes’ performance.  The first section to be completed is the Center of Gravity (CG) calculator.  

We all know that sometimes model manufacturers do not get the CG location correct for your model.  For example: My 59″ Kyosho Hawker Hurricane ARF had the CG location placed about 5/8″ too far aft, making it nearly impossible to fly.  After a simple calculation, the correct CG was determined and the plane flies like a dream.

The CG calculator below very accurately determines the optimum location for your CG.  It takes into account both the wing and horizontal stabilizer.  It also gives you a lot more information about your plane.  Below is a picture of the real calculator.  Click on it to go to our new web page.