Monthly Archives: August 2017

8 posts

Brad’s Corner for August/September 2017

BradHey Fliers!


We had a cooler week or two recently with agreeable winds, and I hope you had a chance to take advantage and get some flying in. It will be warming up again this weekend, presumably through September so I will re-visit things mentioned in previous letters. Please bring plenty of liquids and stay hydrated! A couple of guys seem to bring water for their dogs, but none for themselves. Sunscreen is your friend, I have heard a couple of folks talking about having small melanomas removed this summer -that can lead to deeper issues. Fire safety is still a big concern, I appreciate that I have seen members walking to mishap areas carrying extinguishers. If it is a fairly good hit – just bring one. It is easier than having to run back. There is still some aggressive pollen on the dry weeds in the outlying areas. I am not normally allergic, but still have blisters (healing) on my legs after walking out to look for a small helicopter 3 weeks ago. There is still a possibility of snakes in the field. Please be careful!


We are around 390 members finishing August, pretty close to where we were last year at this time. If you haven’t renewed yet, please get it done. There is no advantage in waiting, and you may be discovered and not get to participate in an event or two. The yearly dues are the most economical in the county if you take into account the fact that no one is charged an “initiation” fee. I still see folks at the rotor plex wearing badges from 2016, and while I like members that wear badges, they have to be current.  I do anticipate dues to go up slightly next year to keep up with higher costs to maintain the porta-potty and our event support systems such as flags and banners, race gates, power systems, and materials to roll/wet the field. The City has stated there may be an increase in rental cost for the site, but has not been specific yet, so we will adjust as necessary.  I am still seeing new faces at the field and again would like to thank all of you for the welcoming attitude you present to the public. You are the reason we are one of the largest clubs in the AMA. Please feel free to chat with new members about safety at our site, if you see an unsafe action, please step up and discuss it, do not wait to tell a board member.


The last few years we have been able to plan and execute our end of year banquets using mostly funds raised outside of membership dues. While our “ambassador of fun” Jim Bonnardel has been bringing money into the club from sources wishing to use our facility, we have not seen the income we have been used to that was based around the rotor plex area. We are about two thirds of the way to our goal of having another great banquet this year. With that in mind we will be having a club raffle on September 4th – Labor Day as a banquet fundraiser. I am selling tickets at the field on weekends for $2.00 each. The same price if you purchase one or fifty tickets. If I don’t approach you, feel free to approach me for your tickets. Since I know quite a few are primarily weekday flyers, I will be accepting ticket purchases via PayPal to . Please ensure you use the “Family or friends” option to send funds and put your full name in the comments block if your e-mail name is not your actual name. Last year I had to decipher: SKIPDUDE@WHOSYOURDADDY…  If you purchase via PayPal, I will write the name you provide on the back of each ticket. You do not have to be present to win. Jim is still purchasing items for raffle, but I can say we expect prize value to be over $2500 dollars. There are quite a few items donated by members (NIB ARFs, unflown receiver ready planes, and new general use items) along with new items being purchased. If everyone that attended last year’s banquet purchases 10 tickets – we will be fully funded. If we don’t make our goal, we may ask for a bit more to reserve seats this year.


I would like to plant a little bug in people’s minds early this year. In 2 months we will be opening nominations for board of director positions to take the club into 2018. From recent conversations I expect a one or two current members to step away from their positions to make room for new blood. Even if the position you think you would fit into is not vacated, feel free to run against the incumbent if you feel you have ideas to offer. I am going to challenge each of you to determine whether you feel your experiences, knowledge, and possible desire to change something you may not agree with is justification to run for a position.


Randy is still boxing it out with a local locksmith to get a new (and a spare) lock for our gate. It has been a great pain in his neck, so I am glad I was able to voluntell him on to this assignment. He has taken it like a trooper! Our main goal is to get locks that match the keys that have been issued, hopefully by the end of the month. Thank him when you get the chance.


Please check out the for sale by members page, there are a couple of nice items on there. To get your items posted simply send a mail to our editor at with a description of the item for sale and a couple of good pictures. The flip side of course, will be to let him know as items sell so he can remove them.


Our editor, Steve Belknap fills a volunteer position and devotes numerous hours to getting this newsletter out and managing our e-mail blasts and contact lists. Please thank him when you see him. He is constantly looking for aircraft related articles to put in the newsletter for our enjoyment. If you see/hear something neat, and feel like sharing – type something up and send it in, we want to hear from you! If you want pictures of your planes featured in our gallery, send them!


It has been quite a while since we have had measurable rain which results in our clay surface breaking up badly. This Saturday (Meeting and Fun Fly) I am asking all attendees to bring a large broom and pitch in sweeping the loose material away in preparation of wetting the field down around the end of the month. If all hands pitch in, it should only take around 30 minutes.


This month’s event will be spot landing (no Micro’s please) followed by the monthly meeting and lunch provided by the BOD. This is always a fun event and I encourage all to enjoy!


Stay Safe!



Mark's Biplane

Electroglide Report for August 2017

By Scott Vance


This month’s Electroglide found us flying in overcast skies and light wind from the west with a temperature of 70 degrees. No one was expecting any lift in the usual spots, boy were we all surprised.


First launch at 09:30 found 6 Radians and one Easy Star climbing out to the west. To our great surprise, 3 pilots found lift and plenty of it. Roger Ball came in at first place with a 9:45 with a 10 point landing. I came in with a 9:40 and a 20 point landing. Tom Erickson came in third with a 9:15 and a 20 point landing. Rich picked up the lucky dog and a 20 point landing for 48 points.


The second launch had 5 Radians and one Easy Star heading to the west looking for lift. Fred had to drop out do to aircraft issues. Flight times were shorter, lift was harder to find. Roger came in first again with a 6:36 and a 10 point landing. I came in a 6:32 also with a 10 point landing. Tom came in at 6:09 with a 20 point landing. Jon Graber captured the lucky dog and a 10 point landing for 58 points.


Launch number three had 6 Radians as Dennis LaBerg joined the party late. The wind picked up to 4-5 mph and the lift was there out to the west. At the eight minute mark, 4 pilots were high to the west and slowly began to head toward the field. As the clock counted down to the 9:45 mark, pilots were beginning to make their move and things got crowded around the landing circle. Roger got down at 9:56; I got down at 9:52. George Sullivan and Dennis missed the time limit and landed after the 10 minute buzzer. In our scramble to get down, landing points went out the window as none of the high timers had any landing points. Jon Graber captured the lucky dog and a 10 point landing for 36 points.


The fourth launch found flight times typical for an overcast day with minimal lift to be found. I had the longest flight with a 4:40. Roger came in with a 4:27 and 20 landing points. Tom came in with a 4:20 to round out the top 3. Jon Graber captured the lucky dog again for 16 points.


Winners for the day: Roger Ball with a total of 220 points, I had 216 points and Tom came in third with 179 points. Jon Graber flying in the Easy Star class had 140 points with 3 lucky dog landings.


Jeff should be back next month to resume control of Electroglide, hope to see a bigger crowd of pilots next month. The September Electroglide will take place on the 16th.

Sonic Rebirth


John also thought that replacing the old 6 volt brushed motors with E-Flight “6-Series” inrunners ( 2000 Kv) would fit in the existing motor pods without modifications. So, those were put on order.


I took the model home and started dry fitting it together. It was originally intended as a hand launch aircraft, no landing gear. The thought of this unique airplane belly flopping on our dirt runway didn’t do much for me, so E-Flight retracts were also ordered. I decided to have the mains rotate 90 degrees when stowed, as the wing is not very thick. There was also a concern about how far aft of the C.G. I could place the mains, as this is a pusher propeller system. On lift off rotation, these props are going to come close to the ground. The maximum size propeller recommended for these motors is a 6 x 5.5. That gives me three inches of clearance.


I elected to make the main gear struts 4 inches in length and install them 1 ½ inches aft of the C.G. This still places the counter rotating props 18 inches behind the main landing gear. Roll out is a bit long and I still have to keep the rotation shallow to avoid a prop strike.


Now because there are two servos for the ailerons, I have configured flaperons to get airborne with the hope of minimal rotation.  


The original wing spars were about seven inches in total length and while I still installed them, I also installed a 1/8th carbon fiber slat from the wing root to just shy of the wing tip. This reduced some nasty flexing noted after the wings were glued on.


Also a concern, now that I was adding landing gear, was the flex of such a long fuselage. A single carbon fiber slat was epoxied along the battery compartment spanning the tricycle landing gear. I chose only one slat as I didn’t want to develop blind spots for the receiver. This seems to have done the trick rigidity wise, as my first few landings were less then optimal, shall we say?


The construction of the battery hatch involved gluing four slabs of 1 x 4 x 29-inch styrene together. It took some time, but a hot knife, sanding block and light weight spackle have produced an ok looking hatch (If you don’t look to closely). A vacuum cleaner to pick all the dang styrene dust was helpful too. That crap sticks to you via a static charge.


The finished airplane has wing span of 50 inches and a length of 50 inches. The two E-Flight inrunners fit into the pods just fine, leaving room for the 40-amp ESC’s to fit in as well. It’s a snug fit, but a Dremel tool carved some room and ventilation slots for the ESC’s and motors. I found small air scoops at “Park Flyer Plastics “, (Miscellaneous Section) to supply inflight cooling air.


The motors are configured to counter rotate and spin 6 x 4 props. These motors are only rated for a 3-cell battery, so with a fresh 3S 3700 I’m seeing 45 amps total current and 540 watts total power. All up weight is 3 lbs. 12 oz. so that’s around 144 watts / lb.


I know what you’re thinking, I have had the same thought. What would it be like with a four-cell battery? Well, faster and heavier. It currently flies scale and is quick enough.


Sonic 2 


This aircraft is loosely modeled after a picture I saw of a SST concept air liner study done by NASA and Boeing Aircraft. I did the blue paint and Callie Graphics supplied the decals.


So how does it fly anyway? Well, different but in a pleasing way. Remember that part where I talked about configuring flaperons? When I first engaged the flaps, I did it at altitude where I could see what would happen. The elevator on this airplane is up front, on the canard. The main wing and flaps are in the back, behind the C.G. So, flaps deploy down, wing lifts and the nose goes down, hard down. I had to add about ¾ of back stick just to fly level (different).


I really should have seen this one coming. The fix was to add elevator mixing with the flap switch, duh. With the elevator in front of the C.G., it’s just the opposite of a standard tailed aircraft. To go up, the elevator deflects down. To go down, the elevator deflects up.


Now when I deploy the flaps the elevator also deploys downward, creating lift both fore and aft. And that take off rotation I mentioned is now greatly reduced. Only a slight amount of back stick is needed to initiate lift off. The aircraft will rise almost horizontally from the runway, keeping the props clear of the ground.


For landing, the Sonic Liner needs to be flown to the ground. On final approach with full flaps, power is held at 50%. There is a slight, flat sink rate, so once I’m clear of the soft rocky patch on the east end of the runway, I’ll reduce power by 1 or 2 clicks on the throttle. The sink rate will increase so I must be ready to add those clicks of power back. It will take a second or two for the sink rate to change because this is a pusher configuration. I land it like a jet, adjust altitude on final with power not the elevator (pleasing).


In flight, the Sonic Liner likes to move along and seems to have a more solid feel at full power. As you can see, the wing chord gets short moving away from the fuselage. That may explain the soft feel at half or three quarters power.


This is an interesting airplane to fly and it looks pretty striking in the air. For me, making all the adaptions for motors, strength and flight control have been the fun part. Learning how to take off and land a canard aircraft was a challenge, but this is how we learn in our hobby.


Learn something and push yourselves a bit, it can be a pretty cool result.  




p.s. Bob and Vince took some still pictures and videos of this aircraft flying and posted those on You Tube:

“PACIFIC RIM” F-5B Motor-Glider Contest in Hawaii


Less people mean’t more flying! We got in 2 rounds each of B and J on each of the 3 days. Nary a drop of rain impeded our fun! Day one, the get- organized day took us until nearly 4 P.M., the last day we got it done by 1:45 as we had a motive : a fabulous poolside barbeque served up at the Hawaiian residence of Ken Ueyama : Thanks Ken!


Hawaii F5B 3


The Kawainui Airfield could be considered a bit “tight” for F-5B. The 150 Meter course drew a diagonal line through the entire site which was surrounded by plane eating jungle! There was not a lot of room for Base A climb outs from a low starting altitude even though we were standing right next to the jungle. Base B turns were against a hardscape back drop : can you say depth perception? Again, because of the size of the field, we had to place the landing circles on the course thus flew consecutive groups of (2) waiting for both to land before the next group. The starting order was arranged so pilots could help each other in their native languages. Most of the B folks suitably respected the jungle resulting in conservative lap counts. A couple of 47s were the high envelope, most folks happy enough with 44s. The lift was well suited to the L/D of the F-5B models, with very few excursions above 1750 Watt-Minutes (W-M). One notable exception was Jeff Keesaman whom watched his standout 48 leg distance performance end at a porky 1760 WM and went downhill from there finishing duration north of 2000 W-M, oh well, at least the Jungle didn’t eat it! At the end, Steve Neu won (3) normalized rounds and prevailed, Lenny Keer won (2) normalized rounds and took 2nd and Ken Ueyama took (1) round and third place preventing all the tiki-trophies going to us Americans.


The Japanese however, preferred to tempt fate with the jungle. Ken demonstrated the mid-air wing detachment trick and both pieces disappeared into the canopy. Urban retrieved the wing while Fumi climbed a tree to retrieve the fuselage; that plane was done. Prior to that, Fumi learned about high speed stalls and excessive elevator the hard way augering into the deep wet stuff. The wing was destroyed but everything else remained intact. Not a problem, Ken and Fumi had the same design model and after a little programming were able to share the remaining wing between them. On a further flight with 1760 W-M already on the tally, Ken Ueyama decided that he didn’t need anymore motor run to stay within the field boundaries. He was wrong, the jungle was had it’s due again and the last wing between them was in the swamp! Undaunted, Ken blipped the motor to locate it by sound, sacrificing the propeller and Fumi made the heroic, soaking wet rescue : go Fumi!


Hawaii F5B 2


In F-5J things were a bit calmer. Lenny with the superior airplane and thermal hunting skills prevailed and Joe Nave using local thermal knowledge but an inferior airplane took 2nd. Steve Neu was the highest of the B-J converts and took third.


As you may have guessed, we bent a few rules and did everything we could to help each other keep flying; pretty much what you want to do for a fun contest that’s a long way from home and any hobby Shop. Steve Neu had to lend Ken a motor just so he and Fumi would both have a viable B Model. I want to close by thanking my dear wife Michelle for unflappable base judging, Barbara Keer for scoring both F-5B and J and Wayne Walker for assembling equipment and coming to Hawaii to hang with us.

BOD Minutes for July 2017

By Quan Nguyen,


July Board Meeting
Present: Jim, George, Brian, Brad, Paul, Dennis, Randy, Quan, Isabel
Commenced: 7:13
-EMAC: Jim followed up with David from FAA. Have not heard back. Voted to suspend EMAC due to altitude conflicts with FAA. Discussion will be had with event contest director.
-Field Prep: Paul to look into field prep. Randy presented product from Desert Mountain Corp.-
-Raffle: So far, we have about $2k worth of raffle prizes earmarked.
-Discussed giving out credit towards club membership in lieu of gift certificates at club events.
-375 members as of July 21st
-Member offered to volunteer web design skills
-Discussed probable club membership fee increase
-Treasurer’s report: we currently have $3,200 for holiday party. Our budget this year for venue & food is $5,500.
-Club ordered a new porta-potty.
-Safety: Please fly north of the runway.
-Damaged tables will be replaced soon. Approved motion to replace 9 – 10 damaged tables before the end of the year.
-Meeting adjourned: 8:38pm