What a nice month to be flying RC aircraft! Just a touch of precipitation, but not enough to ruin your day and the winds were generally right down the runway. We definitely fared better than the rest of the country.
As I said last month, we haven’t had the normal growth explosion in the surrounding field area. This is both good and bad. It is easier to find aircraft components out there, but everything is already bone dry and more susceptible to fire. Please keep bringing and using your fire extinguishers to help keep our site safe. Also, with how dry the weeds are – they are more like barbed wire than anything else, try to avoid going off of the runway unless you would rather spend more time repairing damaged aircraft than flying…
A couple of neat things to talk about this month. First of is the Fourth of July event which is about 6 weeks off. For the newer members that are not aware of the benefits to our location on the fourth of July, I ask: How would you like a free lunch, a fun day flying with your friends, a front row seat to the fireworks, and a “little known” exit strategy that will avoid most of the post fireworks traffic jam? We have all of that – and more! We traditionally have a MEMBERS ONLY – closed gate day for you, family, and friends. We will have lunch on site, there will be a grill or two for those who want to bring and cook dinner on site, the Sea World Fireworks go off around 10:00 P.M., then as you exit the site – if you go across Sea World drive at the light and turn left onto Old Sea World drive, it will take you a bit east to Friars road where you can make a quicker getaway. The lunch plan is not finalized, more on that in the June newsletter- but we are providing lunch to you and your family if they want to join you. After lunch will be a really great raffle to raise funds for our end-of-year holiday banquet. We have authorized the purchase of approximately $2500 dollars’ worth of raffle prizes this year, and I will say that Jim and I already possess 2 of the 6S receiver-ready planes included in the raffle and they are among both of our favorite planes. Tickets for this raffle will be $5.00 each, and I will say that if the people that enjoyed the banquet last year each purchase 4 tickets, that will get us half way to funding next year’s event. If you have not been attending these, we have been having a great time and I want to see you there with your spouse if possible! Larry Sarkozy has a head start on purchasing his tickets – He will not be back in our zip code until after the holiday, but already purchased his 4 tickets. For the rest of us, ticket sales will start this Saturday, the 26th at our monthly fun fly event. You can purchase tickets from any of the board members, or as a last resort via PayPal like last year. I would rather avoid the online stuff as last year I had to write names on over a thousand tickets myself and my knuckles were sore for a month…
After just 2 weeks of locking the porta potty there has been a very noticeable change in overall cleanliness. I had just assumed some of us were slobs and others were just plain nasty. NICE Surprise! It was the general public that see our unit from the road and blow in at 50 miles per hour!! We also received permission from the vendor to camouflage the unit again to make it less visible from the street. Jim (Picasso) did the spray out and I know it really helped to keep unnecessary traffic down the last 2 weekends. The porta potty lock is keyed to match the gate, so please ensure you have your key with you. Keys can be purchased on site for $3.00 (our cost) from myself, Randy, and Dennis LaBerge.
PLEASE, PLEASE, and in case I didn’t say it yet, Please – if you are the last member leaving the site – close and lock the gate behind you. If there are random vehicles there, knock on the window and inform them that the site is being locked. If there are empty vehicles there, lock the gate- they will figure it out. Part of our agreement with the city is that ALL people flying aircraft at our site will be insured (AMA), and will be versed and monitored for correct safety practices (SEFSD Membership with safety officer). Randy and I stayed late a few weeks ago and were surprised at the number of people that rolled in to the runway and rotorplex area late afternoon that stated they always come late when no one else is around and the gate is open. Even though it is posted at the main gate, at every flying gate at the runway, and at the rotorplex the AMA and SEFSD membership is required – they all “Magically” didn’t know about any such requirement. Again – close the gate upon exiting.
We are approaching 330 members for 2018. Still a bit behind last year, but I am thinking that may be because some prior members still have not renewed for this year. In the last couple of weeks Jim, Randy, and I have approached quite a few people (flying) that stated they thought they had renewed ( but had not) and people that claimed they had paid for a 2 year membership. We only did that in 2015, and those expired in 2016. Please continue to wear your badges while flying so we know you are a member. Members – please continue to ask people not wearing badges to show you their badge. If they are a prior member, Guest privileges do not apply and they need to join the club before they continue flying (they can join from their phone on the spot of their AMA is up to date) If they have never been a SEFSD member and are visiting (with AMA) we will let them fly as our guest up to 3 days before asking them to join our club. They are required to sign the guest log and a member must brief them on our safety practices and observe a flight to ensure the person is not a menace.
There were a few more close calls last month involving people either failing to call out their intentions, or calling too lightly to be heard at other gates. Please LOUDLY announce when you are crossing the field, taking off or landing, doing touch and goes, or are making low passes at the edge of the runway. Not only does bad behavior is this respect put aircraft in jeopardy, it can cause serious personal injury. It is ALWAYS ( did I say always?) the responsibility of the person stepping onto or placing an aircraft onto, or taxiing onto the runway to LOOK at planes in the air or on the runway to determine if it is safe to proceed. Last month I heard a pilot (Loudly – thank you) call landing – who then landed – to immediately destroy his plane hitting another whose pilot failed to listen, failed to look, and gunned his aircraft at full throttle from the gate. I myself, after I called landing twice (Loudly), nearly hit a member with a 30 lb. plane already on the ground and rolling out when he started crossing (unannounced, of course) from the gate immediately to my right. Luckily I was able to yank it up over his head, and once clear of him I powered up and went around. I would hate to think what that carbon prop would have done to him. Please be aware – safety is for all of us – not just the safety officer…
As we pass Memorial Day, a lot of people are setting up their back yards for the summer events and parties to come. As you look at your yard furniture from last from previous summers and you contemplate replacing things – we are always accepting donations of used chairs, and even umbrellas. Last year Ray and I each donated $100.00 to purchase 10 chairs from Home Depot, only 2 of those remain.
I know I have been long winded this month, but needed to say things, so to wrap it up:
The Good Time Race League will be kicking off their summer race series at our rotor plex area this weekend. Drone racing is a lot of fun to watch, and for those on the fence – this may be your chance to see what it is all about. I ask that all plane pilots be extra vigilant to carry our fence line out in an imaginary line towards Friars road, and not cross that line. This will keep you from flying over people at the rotor plex area.
Our monthly fun fly event is the extremely popular “Don’t spill the beans!” event which will start at 10:00 A.M. Saturday the 26th to be followed by the monthly meeting and our customary hot dog lunch for members.