Daily Archives: April 27, 2018

11 posts

President’s Corner for April/May 2018

I hope everyone had a great April! At this time last year the early rain had led to a growth explosion in our outer field area. We had to fly carefully due to all of the people taking pictures of the flowers ( weeds! ) Not so much rain this year, and that is both good and bad for us. While those of us with allergies will have some relief, the dead weeds are extremely dry and can act like razor wire to both airplanes and modelers alike. Be careful out there! Also, we are in a heightened risk of fire period as the dry stuff ignites and spreads very quickly. Please ensure those of you with extinguishers bring them to the field and stand ready to use them if needed.

It was a great month weather wise, and should be a great summer. While the rest of the country was getting blizzards, we were getting sun burns. Randy and I have both burned already, so I want to encourage you to use sun screen, and chap stick with at least a protection level of SPF-15. Randy also suggests using sun screens rated for sensitive skin, or infants. These products are usually free of the chemicals that can sting your eyes when used on your face. Also a hat that can screen your face, ears, and neck should be considered.

As we get closer to summer, we are starting to work out the details for our 4th of July event at the field. Like last year, we plan to have lunch, an amazing raffle, and keep the site reserved for members only as we move into the evening to watch fireworks. This will be the first fundraising event of the year, and if you enjoy attending the holiday banquets, I expect you to be purchasing raffle tickets to support. If you would like to get involved in the event, please let Randy or me know.

Due to recent events, and some disgusting misuse of our porta-potty over the last 2 months by non-members, we will be locking it and posting its use as “ Members only “. We will use a lock that uses the same key as our main gate and ask people to lock it upon exit of the unit. Please ensure you have your gate key with you.

It’s the end of April and I still see past members who have not renewed, flying at our site – primarily at the Rotorplex. Please encourage these people to join the club, and please wear your badges while on site so I don’t have to ask if you are a member. We are at 316 members for the year. We are still a bit behind where we were last April – but would probably be about even if the slackers renewed…

As we move in to swap meet season I would like to remind everybody to take a look at the for sale by members section of our web site. I know everyone likes a good deal, but it is always a mixed bag of what you end up with from people you don’t know. If you buy/sell from members, there is a better chance of getting some quality items at a decent price, and if you are selling something – odds are that you will not have someone trying to cut you off at the knees by offering you 5 dollars for something you have a grand into…

As we the home centers start their summer build up, please keep the club in mind when buying new yard furniture. The club will always accept old chairs to replace last years stock. We can use some more carpet also. So instead of paying to dispose your carpet, bring it to the field ( no padding ) and put it at the end of the field near the Porta potty.

This month’s fun fly event on the 28th will be the Poker Fly. Bring something you can get 5 flights on to collect your hand and have a chance at $150.00 worth of gift certificates to Discount Hobby Warehouse. The club meeting and hot dog lunch will follow at around noon.

Have a great month!





UAS Traffic Management

By Mark Davis,

Most of you are aware that Special Rule 336 is under attack, primarily due to the explosion in drone hobbyists, not all of whom have been responsible pilots.   There is also UAS ID, which will impose some requirement for automatic ID broadcast (although it is still TBD exactly how it will affect us).   These are both long topics that I won’t try to cover here.  But another less often discussed force might also affect our hobby soon – UTM, or UAS Traffic Management. 

Commercial operations today require a Part 107 pilot to control the UAS and keep it in visual line of sight.  Many of our club members are licensed under Part 107. 

But at some point in the near future, commercial operations will be fully autonomous.  A computer or artificial intelligence (AI) bot will be able to dispatch a drone to collect information or deliver a package, with the entire flight conducted by AI from start to finish.  And with fully automated flight, many interleaving flights can be rapidly routed through the same area in narrow, disjoint corridors.  It is not hard to envision a sky crowded with automated drones whizzing around delivering food, monitoring traffic, and executing hundreds of other use case.

In theory this would not necessarily mean Part 101e pilots (i.e., hobbyists flying under the 336 exemption) would have to do anything differently, but in practice there are reasons to believe that this will impact us eventually.

First of all, the traffic management interfaces conceived by NASA do include some messaging for Part 101e flights.  And initial UTM test integration with FAA (which kicked off March 15) does include test cases for automated notifications and dynamic flight restrictions for Part 101e pilots.   So far, both NASA and FAA say that this is just for generality, and the actual plans/requirements are not decided.  But the test cases are there.  You might at some point be required to do something before you fly, and have a means of monitoring dynamic restrictions in real time.

Secondly and probably more significantly, the airspace below 400ft will be more commercially valuable.   The use cases are too long and varied to describe.   But for just one example of what the future could hold, check out the video at this link. 


This kind of air taxi service will likely start (soon) under existing VFR rules, but the clear goal is to remove the pilot and operate under some future generation of UTM.

Many other lucrative business uses are under discussion, all of which may eventually dwarf our hobby in terms of market size.   Commerce may increasingly encroach on what is today a vastly under-utilized public resource:  low-altitude airspace.

But what about Special Rule 336?  Doesn’t it protect us from all of this?   As I said, that is not the subject of this article, but briefly, Special Rule 336 is in jeopardy.   AMA Government Relations has already raised the alarm about this through all their channels (magazine, emails, etc.). See their site for more detail, and please follow their advice about contacting our congressional representatives on this topic.

The AMA government relations team is doing what can be done for hobbyists.   They have a great understanding and competence, and are looking for sustainable, realistic solutions.   But, it is not easy to indefinitely hold back the tide of crowded skies and commercial interests.

So while irresponsible novices get the bulk of the press attention today, the real impact to our hobby may come from AI bots flying under UTM.  

Electroglide Report for April 2018

By Jeff Struthers

Last Saturday was one beautiful day for our Electroglide. Clear skies, 71 degrees and a NW wind. The wind would later increase and be a slight problem for us, but long flights were still made by some. Sam Halderman from the Escondido Wing Masters R.C. Club drove down and joined us for the contest.

First launch was at 10:00 and nine pilots took to the blue skies. Six Radians, one Easystar and one open class motor glider. I managed to get the first long flight at 7 minutes, 10 seconds. Alex Sutton came in second at 6:18, Rich Rogers was third with a flight of 5:26 plus getting a 20-point landing. Dennis LaBerge also picked up a 20-point landing. Steve Treger and Sam Halderman both got 10-point landings.

The second launch was into some increasing north west wind that affected the thermals coming towards us from Sea World’s parking lot, so flight times were a bit shorter. Jim Bonnardel had the long flight of 5:20 plus a 30-point landing. I came in second at 4:51 with a 20-point landing and Dennis La Berge was third at 4:10 minutes aloft. Sam Halderman again got a 10-point landing.

The third launch was into some tricky conditions. It took careful attention in watching our aircraft to stay aloft. Most flight times were under 5 minutes, but Jim Bonnardel showed us how to do it with an amazing flight time of 10 minutes and scoring a 20-point landing. I came in second with a 5:16 flight time and a 10-point landing. Sam Halderman came in third at 4:09 and another 10-point landing. Good flying Jim.

The forth and final launch had many of us finding the lift, flight times jumped. I managed the long flight at 8:58. Carlos Mercado came in second at 8:22 plus a 10-point landing and Dennis LaBerge and Alex Sutton shared third place with 6:36 aloft. Dennis picked up a 30-point landing. Stephen Treger and Jon Graber both scored 20-point landings. I would also like to point out that Jon Graber found a good thermal with his little EasyStar-2, staying aloft for respectable 6:20; his longest flight this year.

The winner for the day was yours truly with a total score of 199. Jim Bonnardel came in second at 170 points and Dennis LaBerge was third at 162 points.

This was a good contest on a beautiful day. Good flying by all pilots and many extra points earned with the spot landings. Great work everybody

Also, thanks again to Frank Sutton for all these pictures.

Next Electroglide is set for May 19th, 10:00 a.m. first launch.

See you then,


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2018 Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design-West Competition

By Steve Manganelli

Those that know me know about American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design-Build-Fly (DBF) competition for under-graduate aeronautical engineering students. I’ve been supporting UCSD and SDSU teams for many years in in this endeavor, their flyoff occurring the 2nd week in April in either Tucson or Wichita. In March or early April we often observe the teams practicing and test flying at our field prior to heading out to the competition.

Similar to DBF, Aerodesign West attracts teams of College students from literally around the world. There were teams from India, Mexico, Egypt/Middle East, Asia and South America along with “locals” from the around the US. There is also an Aerodesign East competition in Florida oriented to Eastern US Schools. I guess if you’re coming from ½ way around the World, it doesn’t matter which one you attend. This year’s West competition was held at the Valley Flyers R/C field in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, April 6th through 8th. Myself, Steve Neu and Jeff Keesaman had the pleasure of an up-close look thanks to Neumotors connection with an electronics device (more later on that).

Though both DBF and Aerodesign are both essentially R/C model cargo carrying competitions, DBF organizers change the rules every year to discourage year over year design iterations whereas Aerodesign rules are pretty static. The DBF students have to write a 60-page paper documenting their design while the Aerodesign students have to make a presentation to industry members (just prior to the competition) about their aircraft. Aerodesign has (3) classes: Micro, Regular and Advanced. The classes repeat in order on each day of the competition, with 4 rounds of each class we observed being flown on Saturday, April 7th.

The Micro-class seems to favor an aircraft of approximately 3’ to 4’ span and must be hand launched. I believe their score is based on the ratio of empty weight to cargo weight and obviously the power system is constrained to be a fairly small electric system. The rules encourage starting off light/safe and then increasing weight as the contest ensues. The Micro-class most likely becomes a demolition derby of attrition as the combination of difficult hand launches and overweight airplanes weeds out the field. This was starting to happen on Saturday and I’m sure became more entertaining on Sunday.

The rules for Regular class specify 1000-Watt maximum electric power and a spec required 6S-3300 Lipo Battery. How might that be adjudicated, you say? Enter SEFSD’s Steve Neu and Jeff Keesaman of Neumotors whom designed and built a device that monitors battery voltage and current and throttles back the speed control to maintain the power at 1000 watts. Me personally, I like to spec my high performance sport/pattern models with a target power loading of 200 Watts-in per pound. Therefore, my 1000 watt “cargo” model should have a gross weight of 5 lbs. : I wouldn’t have done too well in Aerodesign as the competitive models had a gross weight of more like 45 lbs.! Their cargo was combination of steel plates and tennis balls. These models were behemoths of 10’+ span and 15” to 24” chord high lifting, under-cambered airfoil wings. President Brad would be proud of them! There were no points for speed; some of these models appeared capable of hovering in a modest headwind. All the models had to do for a successful mission is takeoff in ~ 200 ft., make one circuit of the field and land without shedding parts. Fortunately the Southern CA weather smiled upon us with light winds and clear skies. However that didn’t mean that all the monsters climbed briskly and a simple, safe down wind turn was a no brainer, no way! There were plenty of flights where the model never got above 50’ altitude and there was significant concern about clearing the bushes at the end of the runway. Many times we had to stand up from our chairs to maintain the aircraft in view. There were a lot of guffaws where a model was staggering on the prop and we were sure a stall-snap roll crash was imminent: this happened a few times but not as many as expected due the great skills of some of the Valley Flyers “Company Pilots”. One memorable flight, the R/C system went into failsafe and the model completed an uncommanded barrel roll at about 50 ft altitude. The control was restored and the pilot made a safe landing to the cheers of the crowd.

In Advanced class, power was limited to .46 in^3 total nitro burning engine(s). Their cargo was combination of steel plates and streamer connected shot (?) bags that were expected to be dropped on command. There was also some FPV style video and telemetry that was intended to allow the model to be lined up for the bombing run prior to bombs…er shot bags away! Maybe like the old Norden Bomb sight equipped B-24s and B-17s of WW2: “Okay bombardier, you have the controls!” Getting the engine(s) running and the telemetry downlink working seemed to be problematic for many of the flight attempts, which often resulted in no-drop or no flight as their preparation time expired. Organizers were very strict about preparation time to get the models into the air. Too long and you’re done which kept the competition moving briskly even though it was just one flight at a time. Though most models were what I called “Monokote overcast”, a team from Poland had a molded all composite model that had every bit the craftsmanship of a competitive F-5J model or one of Steve’s Russian built F-5B Avionic models. The Polish team was doing very well as did a team from China that featured geared twin “scale buggy” type engines. The Chinese team calmly went about their business and put their shot bags on the bulls eye while other teams were either scampering to complete or rebuild their aircraft on the field, or soliciting help from others. One amusing call for help was a team requesting the use of the Club’s welder to repair a model!

I’m sure the contestants had a great time, the Valley flyers wore out their volunteers and made some nice cash for their club treasury while the SAE reps I’m sure were happy to have this contest completed. I’m going out on a limb to surmise that the Chinese and Polish teams are at the top of the podium. Should it concern us in some way that the next generation of top Aero Engineering bombing experts are Chinese?

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Carl Cox Flying VR RC Flight Simulator for the First Time!!

By Steven Scott

Carl and I got together and I wanted him to have an opportunity to fly a flight simulator. He was excited to fly Virtual Reality because it is like being at the field and that he can fly with his radio while flying airplanes he would never have a chance to fly for real. 

It was fun watching him experience flying in VR    

because he couldn’t believe that he could see a 360 degree view of the flying field. His head was on a swivel. His favorite plane was the giant scale F4U Corsair. One funny thing Carl would do is call “landing” in loud voice. He was so immersed in the VR experience that he forgot he wasn’t at the field. He was flying with noise canceling headphones, so he can be forgiven!! Carl seemed to have a great time and is always welcome. 

My other project is “Project RC Pilot”. It is a way for me to do some good.  The mission of Project RC Pilot is to take kids from living conditions most people do not experience. Things like domestic violence, drugs and gangs. I am partnering with Horizon Hobbies and “The Good Niegbor Project “ as way to take groups of kids out for life expectancies they would not have a chance to do. I provide rc flight training and building opportunities while The Good Nieghbor Project takes these kids out fishing, horseback riding, hiking ETC….

I have a new Facebook page with a bunch of photos.