General Interest

323 posts

The FAA and You


If you are a long time aero modeler then you may have recently overheard some murmurings about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from other modelers.  You might even be a little uncertain what those voices were about, but you’re pretty sure you heard something.  The fact of the matter is the FAA does have something to share with all aero modelers.  Let’s see if the air can be cleared up a bit here.

This isn’t meant as a long dissertation but, more simply, a public service announcement (PSA) to help you comply with the newest regulations affecting R/C flight here and around the U.S.  Compliance is mandated by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and was signed into law on Oct 5, 2018.  The law is broad-reaching and affects the entire U.S. aviation community including members of Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego (SEFSD).  In fact, aero modeling was specifically targeted by some provisions within the body of this federal legislation.  The need for such change was required to provide a way to monitor the increasingly prolific use of the national airspace.  Among the most immediate requirements is the need to place a personal FAA sUAS registration number on the outside of your aircraft.

You may have heard the term sUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial System) being bandied around in the last little while.  The term sUAS originally seemed to relate strictly to drones, but it is now clear that any unmanned aerial system is included – which means your Piper Cub, pattern ship, 3D Edge 540, helicopter and/or any other remotely controlled model encompassed within the lawful definition is included.  The FAA has provided the following portals which provides greater explanation:

SEFSD will not patrol members for compliance since we are not the police and don’t want to be the police.  The responsibility will be yours to demonstrate compliance if ever asked by an FAA agent.

Responsible R/C flying in the future will also require recreational R/C pilots to demonstrate an understanding of the latest policies by taking a simple online test.  Any drone operator making money as part of their flying is already doing so as a provision of FAA Part 107 rules.  It’s expected that the recreational pilot test will be less intensive than the one for commercial pilots so it doesn’t seem there will be much to fret about.

If you’d rather go straight to registering your aircraft then you may do so here (or on the graphic at the top of the page):

FAADroneZone –

This PSA hopefully helps you continue safe and fun flying with our wonderful club.

– Your Board of Directors (2019)

Club Heros! – Field Maintenance

On August 17th, several of the club faithful gathered for a good old fashioned field revival meetin’.  George made a very nice video of Dennis rollin’ the runway.  Just click it.


Frank Sutton took 23 photos on Saturday before, during, and after the Electroglide.  Here are his impressions:
“Photos of several SEFSD members working hard at various maintenance projects on and off the runway! The projects include photos of rolling the runway, painting new bullseyes, disassembling old tables, installing new tables, and the resulting foliage having been cleared around the “No Parking” telephone logs all the way down to the entrance to SEFSD Field!
  I can tell you that Alex and I agreed, we have NEVER seen SEFSD Field’s runway and adjacent areas in such great shape! That runway was SMOOOOTH and the new tables look outstanding!
  WOW! Let me assure you that if had the authority to bestow awards to everyone who was working so hard (and I know others assisted too but I don’t have photos of everything!) I would do so, but I’m not in the Navy any longer so I’ve not written a Navy Achievement Medal Award for anyone in quite a few years!
  As Randy and I were talking Saturday afternoon, however, there is one person that stood out amongst all the hard chargers as the one person that went, in my own humble opinion, above and beyond the call of duty, and that person is Dennis LaBerge.
  From what I heard, he was out there watering down the field Friday evening, then showed up at 0600 Saturday morning and started rolling the field with the steam roller! From what I saw, I can tell you he was working very hard the entire time Alex and I were there, and was still going at it when we left just after noon!
  He didn’t stop working! I watched and took a photo of Dennis smoothing out a few bad patches on the runway with his hoe even while the Electroglide was underway! I told him I’d call out to him when a sailplane started its approach so he could get out of the way! Even after the Electroglide, he continued working on the field and clearing the brush away from all of the telephone poles so visitors could now actually see the “No Parking” signs in many of them! Even when Alex was flying his F/A-18 Dennis came down to our end of the field several times to empty a plastic bag full of sand into the trash can or adjust the carpet (with Alex’s assistance once) at the gate entrance to the field, and then he used his hoe again to smooth out the area around the carpet where it went from behind the fence out into the runway area! As Alex and I were preparing to leave, Dennis was going at the old (removed) tables with a hand saw and was cutting each one into two pieces! I’ll tell you what, he just kept going and going like he had an unlimited supply of lithium batteries better than the Energizer Bunny!
  I have to be honest with you, I’m too old and too heavy these days to keep up with him, but even when I wasn’t so old and heavy, I would have struggled to keep up with Dennis and all the work he did in support of SEFSD members all day long!
  I’d have to salute Dennis, and for that matter, I’d have to salute all the Pilots that helped out with all the maintenance work this past weekend!
I believe they all did one heck of a job, and I’m really thinking of another word to use and it’s not heck!”

Here are Frank’s  and George’s pics:

Randy sent in a few pics of the activities as well:

“Here’s a couple pics from Saturday morning.

On behalf of the club membership, please take a moment next time you see Dennis, Jim, George and Brad to thank them for the work put into the field and tables on Friday and Saturday!!

Dennis and George graded, watered and rolled the field Friday and Saturday…….Jim and Brad removed and replaced 5 tables with really nice straight 2 x 10s …. That JIM painted a couple days before.  Great work and thank you so much!!”

This Really Should Go Without Saying!

Drones and Weapons, A Dangerous Mix

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning the general public that it is illegal to operate a drone with a dangerous weapon attached.

Perhaps you’ve seen online photos and videos of drones with attached guns, bombs, fireworks, flamethrowers, and other dangerous items. Do not consider attaching any items such as these to a drone because operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account.

Operating a drone that has a dangerous weapon attached to it is a violation of Section 363 of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act enacted Oct. 5, 2018. Operators are subject to civil penalties up to $25,000 for each violation, unless the operator has received specific authorization from the Administrator of the FAA to conduct the operation. “Dangerous Weapon” means any item that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury.

Operators should keep in mind that federal regulations and statutes that generally govern drone operations still apply. Some state and federal criminal laws regarding weapons and hazardous materials may also apply to drone operators or manufacturers involved in certain operations.

SEFSD Display at Staples

This month, Frank, Hoang, and I volunteered two days at Staples in Kearny Mesa to share our hobby to teachers and students at the Back to School event. It was a good opportunity to not just promote our club, but get young people interested in radio control models. Thank you Frank and Hoang!!

Dear Quan,

On behalf of the management and associates of Staples 0266, Kearny Mesa, I thank you and the other members of the Silent Electric Flyers San Diego for your participation in the first-ever Staples Back-to-School Block Party this past weekend.

Your enthusiasm and prompt efforts to be part of this event on such short notice was nothing short of amazing. I hope you were able to open some young eyes to the excitement of flight.

Thank you again for your efforts and I hope I may call upon you again for the next Staples Block Party event.


Bob Sanford

Operations Supervisor

Staples 0266

Larry Kosta Sr. Has Passed

It is with the deepest sadness that I share with the R/C Model Airplane Community of San Diego that my Father, Larry Kosta Sr passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday June 18th, 2019.

He will be greatly missed by his family and his friends. Dad flew model airplanes for as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories in life are of going to Lakeside next to El Capitan High School, there at the river bed to fly Models with his friends, like Chuck Brown and Jack Irey. I also remember stopping at Lou Proctor’s house. Lou’s cats come to mind here for some reason.

Dad also flew full scale planes, getting his pilots certificate at the tender age of 16 in a J-3 Cub. During his life, he owned two different airplanes, a late 1950’s H35 “V” tail Bonanza that he acquired in the 70’s where he got his IFR ticket. He had the Bonanza for about 15 years and then a few years later, in the early 2000’s he bought an Avid Flyer with a Rotax 912 engine, that had an Armstrong starter! The wings folded back and he towed it back to their little ranch just north of the Ramona Airport.

Dad stayed pretty active later in his life, riding his motorcycle to the bowling alley and flying model airplanes and helicopters until he was 85 years old or so. Finally, Mom talked him into selling the motorcycle which was kind of a relief to most of the family except him. I used to think to myself that he had to have been the oldest dude in San Diego to be riding a motorcycle on the freeway!

Larry Sr along with his wife, my Mother, Deanna started a blueprinting company in 1963 called Advance Blueprint. My sisters and I still work there today with it’s new name, Advance Reprographics.

Well Dad, the tower has issued you your final clearance to taxi for takeoff, you’re cleared for VFR on top, for evermore.

Treasurer’s Report for July 2019

We are at 321 paid members as of 7/24 and over $30k in the bank. This month, we submitted our Letter of Agreement to Lindbergh ATC, and we hope to have an executed LOA very soon. I want to thank Eric Shapiro, Steve Neu, Steve Magenelli, and Steve Belknap for taking the initiative to put the document together.


FAA to Further Expand Opportunities for Safe Drone Operations


LAANC logo


FAA to Further Expand Opportunities for Safe Drone Operations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) beginning on July 23 will expand the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) system to include recreational flyers. This action will significantly increase the ability of drone pilots to gain access to controlled airspace nationwide.

LAANC, a collaboration between the FAA and industry that directly supports the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the nation’s airspace, expedites the time it takes for a drone pilot to receive authorization to fly under 400 feet in controlled airspace.

LAANC provides air traffic professionals with visibility into where and when authorized drones are flying near airports and helps ensure that everyone can safely operate within the airspace. The expansion means the FAA has further increased drone pilots’ access to controlled airspace safely and efficiently.

LAANC capability is accessible to all pilots who operate under the FAA’s small drone rule (Part 107).

For updates to LAANC capabilities, visit


FAA Closes Apollo XI Field

Please click the image below for the entire discussion:

This just in from Sepulveda:

“Just a small correction, Sepulveda Basin is open again but with restrictions:
1. Ceiling limit is 250 feet
2. Absolutely no smoke
3. Turbine aircraft are approved
4. No take offs or landings right to left. If wind is reversed then no flying
Barry Mattingly”

Treasurer’s Report for June/July 2019

We have some great raffle prizes this year for the 4th of July, with over $3,400 worth of prizes, and purchased at a great price to the club. Do please open your pocketbooks and show your generosity so that we can have another great holiday banquet at the end of this year! I want to thank the late Roger Long and his family for donating the sales proceed from his plane collection to our holiday banquet fund. We are at 309 members, with $29,439.07 in the bank.

“Mayday!” The Story of Alex’s Lost Radian

Later in the afternoon today Alex called out “MAYDAY” and held his transmitter high over his head – that is his signal informing me that he has an emergency! Alex lost connectivity/control of his Radian Sailplane! 
  We had not experienced such a loss of control in well over a year when, as we eventually discovered, Alex had a faulty transmitter and Horizon Hobby replaced it and a new Mini-Apprentice at no charge (we happened to have dash cam video of the flight and crash that we sent to Horizon Hobby and that probably helped us!). 
  Alex’s sailplane was flying itself very well for a while, but getting further and further away, and it flew out of bounds far away from the runway area and then sharply turned towards earth in a tight spiral down. We lost sight of it behind one of those large trees on the far north side of the runway. Alex ran across the SEFSD runway and field trying to locate the sailplane, and he found it too! It had flown completely over the open water between SEFSD Field and Fiesta Island, and was floating in the water just a few feet from the shoreline at Fiesta Island! He ran back to the van and we all took off (with Joan and Alex in the van as well) to Fiesta Island as fast as we legally could!
  When we got to Fiesta Island, Alex spotted the sailplane still floating in the water at the very edge of beach shoreline towards our left, and we let him out of the van and he took off running again towards his beloved Radian! 
  In the meantime, because traffic is one-way on Fiesta Island, Joan, Codey, and I had to drive all the way around Fiesta Island to get to where we found Alex waiting for us at the shoreline with his Radian, and we picked him up right there (a very bumpy ride through the sand too!). 
   Alex said he first disconnected the battery and couldn’t find the canopy, it must have sunk. Everything else was recovered and thankfully, the Radian appeared to have no physical damage at all – probably because it luckily landed in the water instead of the much harder sand! Of course, the entire Radian was soaked with salt water and covered with wet sand too, so Alex put the Radian in the van and we all headed to the Marina just down the street from the SEFSD Field where Alex gave his Radian its very first shower ever! I told Alex that fresh water would be better than salt water, so it couldn’t make things any worse for the electronics. Alex got some funny looks from a few folks there watching him shower off his sailplane! Ha!
  After returning to SEFSD Field with a freshly washed down Radian, Alex set it on the table to air dry and when we returned home, Alex put dry uncooked rice in the cockpit and engine compartment, then covered it with the canopy from his Electroglide Radian and taped it closed. I explained to Alex that the rice would draw out the remaining moisture from the electronics over a 2 – 3 day period and with a little more luck, his Radian will fly once again! We’ll know in a few days if the electronics are still good or not. We haven’t yet determined what caused the connectivity/loss of control though.  We were wondering how many Pilots over the years have (unwillingly) flown a plane over to Fiesta Island and successfully recovered it?
  Between the mid-air Pop Wing Race collision with Carlos (luckily neither plane was damaged significantly) and the Unscheduled Fiesta Island Flight, we’ve had some really fun and unique experiences today and I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it, we’re very fortunate to have found such a great group of friends and Pilots to fly with!

[Alex is now the newest member of SPLASH. . . – Ed]

A Plethora of New Pics

Click the pics for more pics:

Carl Lewellen the plane fixer,  during Electroglide….took his eyes off for 10 seconds, and UHHHwhere’s my plane??  He got it down after hitting Home Depot for some PVC pipe……

Randy’s Pics from Jet Day 2019

Frank’s Pics from May Electroglide and Open Flying

Frank’s Pics of Open Flying in June

Frank’s Pics of Popwing and Open Flying in June

Frank’s Electroglide and Open Pics from June

Frank’s Son Alex has Been taking Full Size Glider Lessons. 
I was on the ground with Joan and Codey the entire time. I shot the photos with the same cameras I use at SEFSD too. That one photo of Alex and Flight Instructor Jose coming in for a landing with the mountain in the background does look like it could have been taken from above, but it looks that way because Alex had the nose pointed down in preparation for the landing. One thing about those sailplanes, the Pilots have one opportunity and one opportunity only to land in the right place – there is no fly back around to try again! – Frank.

Treasurer’s Report for May 2019

By Quan Nguyen

As of 5/22, our club has $29,697 in cash, and 299 members. This month, the board is looking at CDs (Certificates of Deposit) to invest our reserves so that it keeps up with inflation. We’re also going to start updating the AMA website’s membership list at the club level so that it matches the actual members. We haven’t updated that list since I became treasurer.

Report on The 2019 AUVSI XPONENTIAL Show

By Mark Davis

The 2019 AUVSI XPONENTIAL show took place recently. This is the biggest annual show dedicated to unmanned systems. Although it covers unmanned everything, the focus in recent years has been >80% unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Airbus Vahana (air taxi) prototype was popular. Attached are a few photos of the cockpit and externals. This air taxi opportunity (such as Uber Elevate for example) is drawing a lot of investment both from aircraft incumbents (Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Embraer, etc.) and a slew of startup companies. Almost all of the vehicles are Electric VTOL that also have an efficient forward-flight mode.

Boeing’s CEO gave a keynote speech and covered many topics, including their supersonic prototype. This topic (supersonic commercial service) is resurrecting recently, with NASA X-59 and other prototype efforts well underway.

Counter-UAS was a big theme, as always, with both kinetic and electronic methods on display.

The weirdest thing I saw was definitely this “aerial motorcycle.”   It has electric motors for VTOL and a jetcat for forward propulsion. Uh….no thanks.

2006 Mid-Winter Electric Write-Up

[Some nostalgia for those who might remember this]

By Steve Manganelli

The 10th Anniversary Mid Winter Electrics Spring Fling (MWE) was held May 16th, 17th and 18th at SEFSD Field, Mission Bay Park. From my perspective as Contest Director (a pittance effort really), we did another beautiful job. More specifically, Stelio Jackson did a beautiful job. As chief organizer, equipment orderer, personnel herder, Boyscout facilitator, hat maker, setter-up-er and taker-down-er, Stelio is the hero of MWE, congratulations on a job well done!

Next in line for the most selfless include Night Watchmen Lou Rosse and John Hainlen, Impound Coordinator Frank Gagliardi and the ever cheerful raffle and merchandise sales team of Don and Donelle Griffin, this year assisted by Michelle Baker deemed an enthusiastic addition to the team. Wayne Walker was the master of the parking delimiters, parking enforcement and provider of the flag used for the daily flag raising, and Tim Attaway, the transporter of the Club Trailer from which the PA system, signs, tents and other SEFSD owned equipment magically jumped into their positions on the field…NOT! The blistered hands, filthy clothes setup crew included Tim, Tom Brown, Zeke Mazur, Bob Anson, Lou, Stelio and several others, the teardown crew included myself, Michelle, Stelio, Lou, Wayne and Tim. Sam Wright handled the announcing chores like the pro he is on Saturday and he was also responsible for the Kyosho donations. Sunday, I advised hydration, raffle ticket/memorabilia sales and merchandise purchase from our vendors. The 10th Anniversary Logo was designed by graphics professional, Jack Hix and the announcer of the lucky raffle winners both days was Mr. Mark Wood. Ray Fulks got our Government permit from the City Parks folks, Chuck Grim coordinated the sanitation equipment, Frank Smith did an outstanding job with trash management, and Doug Rubin coordinated the caterer serving us the tasty chow. Special thanks to Boy Scout Troop 24 for gate/crowd control both Saturday and Sunday. Scout leaders included Dick Thorn, Jennifer Calvert, Shawn Shepard, Joe Strickland, Abby Voigt, Dan Machado and Nick Amicone. Scouts doing the heavy lifting included Pavel Thorn, Michael Orona, Conner Shepard, Jack Bowman, Steven Strickland, Micah Schatz, Cody Machado and Nick Amicone. Thanks folks!

MWE wouldn’t be what it is without vendors and sponsors. I’d like to mention Hitec/Multiplex, NeuMotors, ThunderPower RC, Aeromodel/Hacker, and Castle Creations as key sponsors contributing not only merchandise for the fabulous raffle but cash $ to pay for the equipment rentals, thanks gents, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks also goes to RC Sport Flyer Magazine for their donation. The rule for vendors requires a minimum donation of merchandise of $150 retail value. If you saw the prize haul for the raffle and counted the vendors you’d realize it didn’t add up : our vendors were very, very generous! Besides the sponsors and vendors we also had contributions from Great Planes, Horizon Hobby, E-Flite, Medusa Research, Kyosho, LipoSack, Tower Hobbies, RC-TEK, and Zurich Sunglasses. The vendors present at the event included NeuMotors, Aero-Model/Hacker, DW Foamies, Extreme RC Products, Innov8tive Designs, Discount Hobby Warehouse, Hobby Town San Marcos, E-Power RC, Center Stick, Electronic Model Systems, Cermark, Fun RC Hobby, MikroDesigns and last but not least the AMA booth manned by Dist X AVP Tim Attaway and his capable crew of AMA volunteers.

Part of the package for being a sponsor and vendor is allotted time for the Noon-time demos. Steve Neu and Pedro Brantuas showed off respectively F-5B (Multitask) and F5 (Pylon) models equipped with judicious amounts of NeuEnergy Cells and NeuMotors. Pedro followed up with a precision aerobatics demonstration with his 35% size YAK-54 flying on a NeuMotor 2215 and 14S 4900. Hitec/Multiplex used their slots to show us a couple of new aerobatic models and a substitute for a “typical .40 glow size trainer”, but purpose built for electric. These new models are made from a new foam called “Elapor” which is both resilient and serviceable. Hitec also brought out a couple of their very popular Twister EDF jets which flew very well in out of the box form and even better with Neu-excess power. Formation flight with a couple of these was memorable. Mike Morgan and his DW-Foamies had a virtual “airforce of foam” in the air during his demo time. Fourteen year old Ryan Archer from Scottsdale AZ and our own Pedro probably shared the prize for most prolific demo pilots each flying for at least (3) different outfits. To be in such demand at a young age is a tribute to young Mr. Archers’ skills! Speaking of young, Mr. Kyle Dahl of Delano, CA was our lone and very competent Helicopter demo pilot. Expert aerobatic pilot Mr. Steve Nelson treated us to an Unlimited Class Aerobatic Demonstration with Ray Fulks’ “Miss Ellie”.

What would an MWE be without famous demo pilots? Sean Plummer of Aeromodel/Hacker brought the goods! Jeff Szueber Jr. and Matt Szueber both expert caliber precision aerobatic pilots wowed us with their 3D flying or large aerobatic models set to music. Their takeoffs followed immediately by a wingspan height rolling circle set the stage for harriers, hovering, tail touches and other crowd pleasing maneuvers. The final demo of Saturday’s fest was super-expert Mark Leseberg flying a large (like 40% size) biplane. Mark’s fabulous combination of both precision and 3D aerobatics set to music was a fitting cap to the Saturday demonstrations.

MWE is not really a contest but a funfly. Nonetheless, we gathered all the Electroglide enthusiasts together Saturday A.M for three tosses for plaques created by Stelio. Bob Anson was declared the top Electroglider followed by Stelio and Dick Prentice. Before noon on Saturday, we also gathered all the scale models and handed out plaques for both “large” and “small size” categories. Each pilot had the run of the field to operate his model in a scale like manner, including a crash that the judges deemed scale and earned the pilot a respectable second place. Large scale was captured by “Eindecker” which I’m sure was the aircraft not the pilot whose name escaped our records, followed by Ray Fulks with his Extra 300 and Brad Bender with his J-3 Cub. Smaller scale was taken by Steve Neu with his F7F Tigercat, then Wayne Walker’s Yak-54, 2nd and Mark Ferreria’s HondaJet in 3rd. Of course, what would an MWE be without the Evil Dr. Jet’s limbo combat? The Limbo Combat was the last official event of the MWE before the final Sunday raffle. I think Mr. Mike Morgan of DW-Foamies actually outdid the evil Dr. Jet (aka Bill Knoll) in the planning of this very twisted task. Mr. Morgan designed and built a drill powered “rotisserie” approximately 10 ft wide and 4′ off the ground. The rotisserie was liberally embedded with 12″ long spinning carbon spikes waiting to fillet any unsuspecting foamy flying too close to the bar! Part of the fun of Limbo combat is that any points accrued by a competitor you take out, go to you! The other fun part is the mystery of the configuration, known only to Mr. Morgan until actually set up : no practicing!  After the foam chips cleared in round one, only Mr. Richard Carlton had a semblance of a lap completed. Dr. J, then simplified the task to just getting under the limbo for Round 2. Again Mr. Carlton proved victorious and claimed the plaque and bragging rights to Limbo combat champion for MWE 2008. Second and third place? There’s no second or third place in Limbo Combat!

What else? The weather cooperated perfectly all 3 days, maybe it was a little too hot, record setting hot in the East County making Mission Bay the place to be. The 72 registered pilots came from not too far and not too wide probably due to high gas prices. Richard Carlton and son Alex came down from the Sacramento area, Chris Stephenson from Las Vegas, Charles Steed from Wyoming and Roy Hooker from Peoria AZ; most the rest from the greater Southern CA area. Thanks for coming all; we’ll see you next year!

Respectfully Submitted,

Steve Manganelli, SEFSD Chairman of the Board, Contest Director


Finally – We Have the Old Articles Back on the Website

As some of you remember our website was hacked in the Fall of 2017.  Since then we created this new and better website.  Unfortunately, adding the old content onto this website was much more difficult than anyone expected.  It took until now and required the help of several wonderful members to make it happen.  I want to thank Raphi Houri, Quan Nguyen and Stephane Gervais because without them it would never have happened.

I suppose most of the members could care less about a bunch of old website articles but it means a great deal to me.  I, with the help of others, created the previous website which started in 2011.  A lot of content was created and stored there.  The most important parts of that content had to do with club history.  When that website got hacked in 2017 I was fearful that content may never be reclaimed.  Most of it is now available to read.

Through the twists and turns of getting the content from the old website to this new one, some of the articles lost their images, some retained their images but lost some or all of their text.  Still, I am very happy to have what we have.

If you like, you can peruse the old files in the article categories:

President’s Corner
Meeting minutes
Builds & Reviews

General Interest
F5B & F5D Pilots & Planes
Electroglide Contest Results


A Different Way of Calculating Wing Area and Various Wing Loading Methods Compared

By Ken Myers

We are now in the buy and fly era of model aviation. A large number of people who enter the hobby today just purchase a bind-and-fly (BNF) or ready-to-fly (RTF) model airplane instead of creating their own model airplane.

Once it assembled, they expect it to fly as described in the various reviews; hobby magazines, online (Web site) or video (i.e. YouTube).

The only airframe parameters they are interested in is wingspan and fuselage length. In other words, “Will it fit in my vehicle?” or “How many can I fit in my vehicle?”

With a few more airframe parameters, a person who’s been in the hobby for awhile can compare and predict the flight characteristics of an unknown airframe. The added parameters provide useful information to those who have passed the introductory stage of RC modeling.

Many magazine reviewers provide the ready to fly (RTF) weight. If the RTF weight is given as 5.1 oz. to 5.6 oz. and the wing span is noted as 28.15″, it does provide a little comparative information when comparing it to to another model that has a RTF weight of 2.22 lb. (35.5 oz.) with a wingspan of 65″, but not much.

As a quick mental exercise, try to arrange the following in order from easiest to fly to hardest. All the planes were reviewed in the Winter 2018 issue of “PARKPILOT” magazine.

Horizon Hobby E-Flite UMX Aero Commander 5.6 oz. & 28.15″ – 2.39 oz./ft.
Origin Funter Glider Trainer EP RR 35.5 oz. & 65″ – 6.55 oz./ft.
Hacker Model Pilatus Turbo 890mm EP ARF 7.3 oz. & 35″ – 2.5 oz./ft.
Horizon Hobby Blade UMX F-27 FPV BNF Basic 2.8 oz. & 17″ – 1.98 oz./ft.
Horizon Hobby HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S RTF with SAFE 1.65 oz. & 16.8″ – 1.18 oz./ft.
Horizon Hobby E-flite X-VERT VTOL BNF Basic 7 oz. & 19.85″ – 4.23 oz./ft.
Tough Jets T-15 40 oz. & 31″ 15.48 oz./ft.
Horizon Hobby E-flite UMX Waco BL BNF Basic 3.5 oz. & 21.7″ – 1.94 oz./ft.

This method has an obvious flaw. The Waco is a biplane and only the wingspan of the top wing is noted. That is okay for noting how much space the top wing will require, but not so good for comparative information.

Ounces per linear foot is an oddball way to try the anticipate possible flight characteristics and similarities of flight of various model planes.

Full scale designers, and modelers, have used ounces, or sometimes pounds, per square foot of wing area for generations as a comparative and anticipatory value.

A look at the example planes using ounces per square foot of the wing planform area.

Horizon Hobby E-Flite UMX Aero Commander 5.6 oz. & 93.1 – 8.66 oz./sq.ft.
The reviewer did not note the wing area. It is on Horizon Hobby’s Web site.

Origin Funter Glider Trainer EP RR 35.5 oz. & 434 – 6.55 oz./sq.ft.
The reviewer did not note the wing area. It is on Tower Hobby[s Web site.

Hacker Model Pilatus Turbo 890mm EP ARF 7.3 oz. & ?? – ?? oz./sq.ft.
Neither the reviewer nor Tower Hobbies noted the wing area.

Horizon Hobby Blade UMX F-27 FPV BNF Basic 2.8 oz. & ?? – ?? oz./sq.ft.
Neither the reviewer nor Horizon Hobby noted the wing area.

Horizon Hobby HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S RTF with SAFE 1.65 oz. & ?? – ?? oz./sq.ft.
Neither the reviewer nor Horizon Hobby noted the wing area.

Horizon Hobby E-flite X-VERT VTOL BNF Basic 7 oz. & 120 – 8.4 oz./sq.ft.
The reviewer did not note the wing area. It is on Horizon Hobby’s Web site.

Tough Jets T-15 40 oz. & 615 – 9.37 oz./sq.ft.
Wing area was noted by the reviewer and it is on the Tough Jets’ Web site

Horizon Hobby E-flite UMX Waco BL BNF Basic 3.5 oz. & 132 – 3.82 oz./ft.
The wing area was noted by the reviewer and it is on the Horizon Hobby’s Web site

Arranging these planes by ounces per square foot, for comparison purposes is a bit easier, except three of the planes cannot be arranged by wing planform area loading because the wing planform area is not available.

The F-27 and T-28 are somewhat similar, with some of the shortest wingspans in the group, and both are ‘low weight’ models, so they could be expected to fly in a similar fashion. The Hacker Model Pilatus Turbo 890mm EP ARF with a 35″ wingspan and 7.3 oz. weight would fly differently. Continue reading