Daily Archives: March 20, 2011

12 posts

Responses from Congressmen and AMA Regarding FAA Rules

If anyone has not sent a petition it can be found on the AMA website at http://amagov.modelaircraft.org/4077


All you have to do is enter your zip code to get it addressed to the correct Senators and Representative and press Send to have it activated.

Below is the actual letter I received from Duncan Hunter. Senators Boxer and Feinstein merely sent form letters acknowledging receipt of my email letter.


Response from Duncan Hunter:

Dear Paul:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding efforts to implement federal regulations for model airplanes. It’s good to hear from you.

I appreciate your making me aware of your support with the action taken in the U.S. Senate during its consideration of S. 223, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, as it pertains to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  As you know, the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment offered by Senator Inhofe that denies the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the authority to develop and establish new rules for the operation of UAS model airplanes. 

Like you, I believe it is necessary to curb unnecessary federal involvement in our daily lives and its regulation should only be implemented when absolutely necessary to ensure the public good. While in the past, UAS usage was primarily military or security in nature, new technology and development has brought about new opportunities for different interests, such as model building and flying and aerial photography. The FAA claims its main concern with UAS is safety, but I do not believe this goal warrants unnecessary involvement in activities that are primarily recreational.

It is my understanding that the FAA is expected to provide its proposed rule for public comment in June 2011.  In the meantime, the House will soon consider its version of the FAA Reauthorization measure. Please be assured that as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will keep your specific thoughts in mind as we continue to discuss this important issue.

Thank you again for contacting me. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress
Please visit my website at hunter.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter and receive electronic updates.


Another response from Duncan Hunter:

Dear Robert:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding efforts to implement federal regulations for model airplanes.  It’s good to hear from you.

I appreciate your making me aware of your concerns with recent actions by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop and establish new rules for the operation of all unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  Like you, I believe it is necessary to curb unnecessary federal involvement in our daily lives and its regulation should only be implemented when absolutely necessary to ensure the public good.  While in the past, UAS usage was primarily military or security in nature, new technology and development has brought about new opportunities for different interests, such as model building and flying and aerial photography.

The FAA claims its main concern with UAS is safety, but I do not believe this goal warrants unnecessary involvement in activities that are primarily recreational.  It is my understanding that the FAA is expected to provide its proposed rule for public comment in June 2011.  Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this situation with your specific thoughts in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me.  If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress
Please visit my website at hunter.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter and receive electronic updates.


Response fron Brian Bilbray:

Dear Mr. Belknap:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about model aviation with respect to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you know, the Senate has passed their version of the FAA reauthorization on February 17th and the House is expected to act soon on its version.  Among other things, the bill will address the FAA proposed regulations for model aircraft.  When the Senate passed their version, S. 223 by Senator Rockefeller (D-WV), an amendment was included to prohibit the FAA from regulating certain types of model aircraft.

San Diego is home to many model aviation enthusiasts.  I understand the fun and knowledge that can come from building your own aircraft and flying it.  While I respect the needs of the FAA to regulate certain unmanned aerial vehicles, like military drones, there needs to be a distinction made between those and very low flying model planes and helicopters.

Please be assured that as we continue to debate FAA reauthorization, I will keep your thoughts firmly in mind.  Again, thank you for contacting me.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or my office at (202) 225 0508.


Brian Bilbray
Member of Congress

Please do not reply to this email, as messages sent to this email inbox cannot be answered. If you would like to contact Congressman Bilbray, please visit our website at http://bilbray.house.gov.


Response from the AMA:

AMA Works to Amend Reauthorization Bill Providing Relief for Model Aviation from sUAS Rules

M U N C I E, I N – Sen. James Inhofe, OK, successfully sponsored S.223 in the Senate yesterday with an amendment specifying a “Special Rule For Model Aircraft” that provides an exemption from regulation for model aircraft operating within the following parameters:

  • Flown specifically for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes;
  • Operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
  • Limited to 55 pounds or less unless certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program currently administered by a community-based organization.

“On behalf of our 140,000 members I want to thank Senator Inhofe, Chairman Jay Rockefeller and Ranking Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson for their leadership in shepherding the FAA reauthorization bill through the U.S. Senate,” said Academy of Model Aeronautics President Dave Mathewson. “Aeromodeling is an exceptional family recreational and education activity that has traditionally been a stepping stone for our children to careers in aviation and aerospace. With the Senators’ help we hope model aviation will continue to help provide that impetus for future generations of engineers,
pilots and astronauts.”   The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which is expected to rule on the matter in the very near future.

AMA has contended that the purpose and operation of model aircraft flown for recreational purposes is uniquely different from the operation of the growing number of commercial small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for which the FAA is drafting regulation. Aeromodelers operating under AMA’s guidelines have earned a reputation of being one of the safest, if not the safest users of the National Airspace System. This exemplary safety record spans more than 75 years.

The Academy of Aeronautics, founded in 1936, charters 2,400 clubs across the country, sanctioning more than 2,000 events and competitions as a member of the National Aeronautic Association. It is dedicated to promoting aeromodeling as a recreational, competitive and academic pursuit.


Letter from Timothy Johnson, AMA District 10 AVP:

As many of you may know, the FAA is working to regulate Model Aviation.  One Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma has attached an amendment to  Senate bill S.223  which is the FAA Reauthorization Bill.  The amendment attached by Senator Inhofe prevents the FAA from regulating our Hobby of Radio Control Model Aviation.  The bill passed in the Senate with very little issue.  The House of Representatives have a bill of their own, H.R.658.  This bill has been approved by the house with much controversy.  The Senate bill S.223 now needs to be voted on and approved by the House, and  House bill H.R.658 needs to be voted on and approved by the Senate then to be combined and delivered to the President for his signature.

We as Radio Control Aviation enthusiast need to contact our local Congress Representatives, urging the passing of S.223.  I do not need to go into detail about how important it is for all of us to send our representatives a letter.  The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) have made it extremely easy for you to send a letter through their website. The letter is already composed for you, all you need to do is enter your name, address and email address.  Doing this will only take 2 minutes away from your busy schedule.  But it is very important for our hobby that you can take the time to fill out the short form to send the letter to your representatives.  Here is the link to the form: http://amagov.modelaircraft.org/4077/this-is-placeholder-call-to-action/

I hope you can take the time to do this.  Many of your peers, children, and grand children would like to continue to enjoy the Radio Control Model Aviation hobby without excessive regulation.  This is one liberty as many others that I would hate to lose.  Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,
Timothy Johnson
AMA District 10 AVP
Scale Squadron of Southern California

Touch & Go Challenge

First category up to give their best HAD to fly Tim’s Depron West EXTRA 300L.  The category enticed 
eight pilots to try the event without risking their own aircraft.  Tim’s DW supported aircraft was 
designed to fly precision but with rates turned up it was cranked up a notch to make swift turns.  The 
top pilot was able to make 8 circuits and touch down on the center circle 7 times out of eight for almost 
a  a perfect 150 points.  That pilot would be ultra -uber competitor Pedro Brantuas.  Ray Fulks scored 
seven touches and tallied 90 points which was good for second place.  Steven Dente only had 5 touches 
in 60 seconds but they were good for 80 points and third place.  Only five points behind Steve was Stelio 
Jackson with 75 points.  Also finishing the event in 5th through 8th were Jim Bonnerdel, Ralphi Houri, 
Dennis B and Frank Gagliardi.  The landing gear was severely tested at times but the airplane from Mike 
Morgan returned to the hanger intact. 


Next, we moved on to the NEWBIE Division.  This division was any aircraft with landing gear and pilots 
with limited experience, limited practice time and relatively new to events and or flying……NEWBIES.  
Ryan Austin went up first and had four touches for 20 points.  Jim Bonnerdel followed with 6 touches for 
70 points; this was eventually good for first place. Scott took second with 65 points and Terry and Tak 
both had wild and adventurous flights with a few touch and goes….and no one was hurt. 
The OPEN class was described as any airplane with wheels and more experienced pilots.  Seven 
testosterone laced guys signed up for the battle.  Steve Dente threw down a 95 with 4 bull eyes in the 
six touches.  Stelio Jackson rolled out his P 38 twin foam airplane and ventured onto the course 
eventually touching the runway once and then dramatically crashing after a snap roll in a safe zone.  Ray 
came up next with his 12 year old Crackle and had 3 touches. Frank Gagliardi had his 8 oz Super Extra 
330 and it floated so much in the wind that he only induced it to touch down 5 times for 30 points.  
Pedro was up next with his indoor DW Foamie Yak and made 9 touches but repeatedly missed the 
center of the circle but still totaled 115 points for first place.  On landing he rolled it into a ball for total 
foam redo.  Ralphi made 3 touches for 20 points and SEFSD editor in chief Steve Belknap accumulated 
35 points  in 6 touches of the ground.   So now the competition part was over and the winners were 
acclaimed for their prowess.  Okay…we took some pictures. 

As the fun was coming to its conclusion Priscilla Eberle was prepping to serve all club members a superb 
lunch.  Headlining with the second best hot dog out there….. the Hebrew National….only Nathans hot 
dog is better, but only by a slight margin.  With Tim’s Weber Kettle topped up with charcoal we were 
ready to blast furnace these dogs into submission.  Three or four minutes of cooking was all it took and
then 40 some club-members descended on the table with the buns, condiments, chips, cookies etc. and 
then rushed over to the cook to receive their dog (s).  It was an excellent sight with club-members 
enjoying the day scarfing up that great chow……coming back again and again.  It was all good!!! 
One conclusion that a few club members voiced was that we should have more of these fun events.  This 
club event had good support, but we can do better.  You have ideas?   Share them with Tim Attaway or 
another board member.  The overall plan is to have general club meetings at the field more often and 
include an event plus food for everyone.  One idea would be to plan for the last Saturday of the month 
in even number months therefore the next event would be in six weeks at the end of April, then June, 
August, October. 

Tim Attaway, event director and VP in charge of  fun this year.

Electroglide 400′ Max

Last Sunday a group of us got together at the field, flew gliders, measuring their altitude with some fairly hi-tech instruments and consensus was reached that we could continue the Electroglide, keeping within the  Clubs policy of a 400 foot limit (that is, until the Board comes to some agreement with the Lindbergh tower, possibly getting a temporary waver for the one hour of the Electroglide each month).

So……….. here are the new rules and regulations for a week from next Saturday, the 19th:
15 second motor runs (longer for Easy Stars  —   possibly 30?)
10 minute max for each launch
4 launches make up the contest

We’ll give this a try and we’ll use the honor system to keep below 400 ft if we have a good thermal day.  Your suggestions and/or comments are certainly welcome, but come out, bring your latest creations and join us on the 19th…..9:30 first toss, as usual.

I’ve also done a single sheet that will work for all the classes.  Take a look at it and let me know what’s missing.
See you a week from Saturday.


Thank You Electrogliders

Dear Electrogliders,

When Jim and all of you approached me Sunday morning and presented me with this beautiful plaque and gift certificate, I was at a loss for words!  I stumbled around and muttered something……….. I should have said how proud I am of all of you who fly in the Electroglide; how your performance has been a thing of beauty, how you always come out on a Saturday morning to toss your birds up and do your very best, and especially how you treat one another  —  aiding, mentoring, and being good friends, and in general being there for each other. You are the greatest, and I have a special place for this plaque in my den where it will always be in my view reminding me of all of you and the fun we’ve had together with the San Diego Electroglide. My most profound thanks for your friendship.



Don Award

The Next Big Thing-Step 3

The first two criteria are pretty straightforward. The repair-ability is a bit more important than first meets the eye.
You see, ANY glitch, results in a snap-roll into the ground ( or worse ). You know that nice little motor controller
feature that pulses the power as the battery gets low? Snap roll ( into the ground ). 500 milliseconds of fail-safe
operation? Snap roll (into the ground )  Some data stream in the microprocessor decides to be a trickle-stream?
Snap roll ( into the ground ) Yes, rule # 3 is pretty important, and you can see how it rolls back into rule # 1.


On a multicopter the “arms” connect the motors to the main pod, or body. Thes arms have been found to be the
one point that should be designed to be sacrificial. Just like a Formula 1 car’s suspension is designed to break-away
in a crash, so too should the multicopter’s arms fail and “save” the motors and main pod. I figure a dollar’s worth
of  3/8″ aluminum tube should work just about right.

The main pod is just made of 1/8″ birch plywood. I have to say here that a 6″ X 9″ piece of warped plywood for
6 bucks at the local hobby shops is “over the top” uh, excessive mark-up. I bought a 5′ X 5′ piece of beautiful,
STRAIGHT, three ply,1/8″ birch plywood for fifteen bucks at Frost Hardwood and Lumber on Miramar Rd.
Just so you know.

So much for talk, here are some pictures of my version of a Tricopter airframe.


Picture 1 shows the servo controlled tail motor assemble. It is just a helicopter rotor grip bolted into a piece of aluminum tubing
that has a plywood servo mount epoxied  to as well. Pretty simple. Simple is good (rules 1,2,3)

Tail Assy


All three motor-nacelles ready for mounting. They are a telescopic fit over the arms and are simply taped
onto the arms. This works quite well , actually  ( and fulfills rules 1,2,3 )



The airframe parts ready for assembly. Low parts count fulfills rules 1 and 2.



The arms and nacelles assembled.  (Pic missing)

The assembled airframe. Simple, clean and fully functional.

Assembled 1

Assembled 2


So that’s it for this month’s installment of…………   The Next Big Thing  .

See you next month.

Rocket (Bob) Kreutzer

Otto’s Awesome Planes!

The second picture shows my 3 F-15s; the micro 1.5oz, the mini with retracts at 8oz and my 1973 8.5 pounder.  The big F-15 is my design.



The third picture is of my mini Kaos at 6.5oz and my two 5 pound 1971 Bridi Kaos’s, both electric, one with retracts.  The 5 pound Kaos’s were built from Bridi kits originally available in 1970.


The fourth picture is of a Parkzone P-51 with my Micro F4U built from a Sukoi.

P-51 & F4U

The fifth picture is of my 1965 Marksman that I converted to electric last year and first flew in 1968 with a 60.  The 1965 Long Nose Marksman was a competition plane designed by Paul Ennis; my 6 oz Marksman was the 1969 (fourth) version Paul flew at the Nats.


My 1987 Suprafly 25 with retracts.



My micro (2.5oz) and mini (15oz) P-38s.  The mini P-38 has retracts and counter-rotating props.



My 5 oz Kwik Fly 3 (Phil Kraft’s 1967 International Champion design).



Two more planes for your collection, my Falcon (6.5oz) and Micro Hawk (1.1oz).

Falcon 1





Not pictured but I’ll send along soon are my micro Bonanza, P-82 Twin Mustang, 2.5oz pattern plane with retracts.

A Journey into R/C Airplanes

   A few Cox cars were fun, but they never made much of an expression on me.
At nineteen, I was visiting my best friend, Joe, after a bad motorcycle wreck.   He was in his wheel chair with one leg sticking straight out in a cast.   In his hands was an unfamiliar sight.   It was the leading edge and ribs of a Voodoo .35 control liner he had decided to build in his down time.   After about 20 minutes of checking it out, we where on our way to one of the local hobby shops to pick-up my first plane.   My .049 Pussycat took shape as the two of us talked of his youthful days in the control line circle.  


Pussycat from the story (blue and white) and The Voodoo (orange).   And a few other planes from my stable (1977?)


Before long they were both ready to fly.   His Voodoo was set-up with bladder pressure and needed a competent pilot to put it through it’s paces.   His leg was getting better, but not ready for the test flights.   His flying buddy of days past accompanied us to the field.   Dave was a little rusty, and had never flown such a performance beast.   He mostly held level flight, and prodded by Joe, tried some maneuvers.   Nothing against Dave, but he was not up to what that plane could handle.   Next up was my Pussy cat.   He kept it in level flight only, but it flew great.   My turn at the controls netted some babbles, but I started to get the hang of it right away.   On to inverted flight, same thing, some mistakes, but I was loving it.   I was becoming an acrobatic pilot.
That was the beginning of a love affair with model airplanes.   I went on to build and fly some great, fast, and aerobatic control liners.   Some, I still have and fly occasionally.   I built some free flighters too.   About a year after my first plane, one friend, (John), started talking about his attempts at R/C.   He still had the radio, and wanted to try it again.   Off to the hobby shop.   We went in halves on the first of four Quickee 200s I have owned (I still have the last one and think often about converting it to electric).   This is a great 1/2 A plane.   Not knowing any better at the time, I outfitted it with a TD .049 on pressure.   That part was ok (not really a good idea for beginners, though), it was his radio that caused most of the problems.   It was an old Futaba on green.   We found out later that this was a shared frequency with CB that was so popular at the time.  
With enough model experience under my belt, the plane was built and balanced well.   We headed down to Whittier Narrows for a day of flying.  


Ace Alphas


Even though he had never completed a full successful flight, John was to be the test pilot.   The TD was screaming as the plane was released.   With a major bout of overcontroling, the little plane jumped up and down wildly, never getting more than ten feet in the air.   Luckily the damage was minor, as the plane didn’t have a chance to build up much speed.   After two more tries, with the same results, we decided that John wasn’t up to the task.
We watched some of the flyers and then approached one that was flying well.   He said he would be glad to help.  


Quickee #3 about 1981


The Quickee took to the air and was flying very fast.   He claimed it might be doing 100mph, as fast as a pylon racer.   Not too far into that flight, the plane started doing some incredible aerobatics.   We were impressed, until he cried out, “it’s getting hit.”   He held out the transmitter to show us that he was not giving it any input.   The control came and went, and a smooth landing ended the flight.   It was decided that semis on the nearby freeway (605) were the culprit.   A normal CB is limited to 5 watts, but many people at the time had biamps that would transmit at well over 100.   He was not that interested in another flight, but it was such a good flyer (when the signal was not being interrupted), he agreed to one more.
We were hooked.   The next flying day was at Carbon Canyon Park in La Habra.   This is where my first C/L flight was, and as far away from any freeways as we could get.   I had installed a regular tank to slow down the plane a bit.   John was able to fly it, but his landings resulted in stalls and crashes.   Dead stick landing can be hard for some people, and with that 1/2 A, it was the only option.   We all took turns, after the minor damage of each crash landing was completed.   It was a grass field, and foam wing 1/2 A planes are pretty durable.   One of our group, Harold, actually made a landing and he was immediately decreed to be the “official” lander.   Turns out it was a fluke, and his title was removed.   I was the one who first became proficient at flying and landing.
We still had radio hits that day and we only got them when we could see small aircraft high in the sky above us.   That didn’t make sense that they would be on a R/C or CB frequency, but I decided it was time to buy a “real” radio.   Off to the hobby shop again.   Have we all heard that one before?