Daily Archives: September 27, 2019

17 posts

Chairman’s Corner for Sep./Oct. 2019

Thank God Fall is finally here!!

 This past summer didn’t get as hot as last year, but seem to drag on forever. Even though cooler weather and even some rain is on the way, we still have to be careful about the fire danger in the outlying field area. Please keep your fire extinguishers handy If needed, and be ready to respond.

 I won’t be able to make this months meeting due to an out-of-town event, so there are quite a few things I want to touch on in this article.

 To start, I am still looking for a volunteer to help our treasurer, Quan, with event planning for our yearly banquet. We have some had some great end of year banquets the last few years, and I want to keep this positive trend going. Quan can’t do it by himself! If you have any event planning or just want to get involved, please let me, Tony, or Quan know. We need you!

 As we finish of 2019, One task that needs to be completed is voting for board of director officers to take us into 2020. While some of our current officers have agreed to stay on for 2020, all positions are up for competition! If you want to get involved, if you want to show us the direction you think our club should go, or if you just want to see what the board is about, feel free to put your name in the hat for a board of directors position. For me, the last few years have been very rewarding, and I would like to pass that experience on to the next generation of directors. If you would like to nominate yourself, or if you would like to nominate someone else (with their permission), please send your or their name to myself or Tony and we will get it promoted to the club that you would like a position on the board.  Voting for Officers will be held during the November club meeting.

Still no new news on our letter of agreement with the Air Traffic Control at Lindbergh. Sometimes no news is good news… For now we have not been told to stop flying, we have just been told to standby for further direction. The last actual response we received was that the FAA and Southern California Traffic Control centers were writing one letter of agreement to cover all clubs within 5 miles of an airport in SoCal. Thank you to Tony Quan Steve and Eric for keeping us abreast of any changes in our status. Along with this though, goes the current requirement from the FAA to register yourself as a pilot of recreational small unmanned aircraft, and put your registration numbers on all aircraft that you fly. We did have an FAA officer visit our site a couple of months ago, and state that he is authorized to write tickets and dispense fines for each aircraft that does not have a registration number. Nearly everyone here is an adult, and if you’re not an adult – you have an adult in your family that should be ensuring you’re following the current guidelines from the FAA.

As of the first week of September we were at 332 members for SCFSD. A little lower than last year, but not by much. For those folks who are still on the fence for joining for this year, we are still the best value in town as far as local clubs go. It still disturbs me when I go to the rotorplex and see past members flying with 2016 badges stating they didn’t know they were expired…

Something else we need to do at the end of each year is pick a new picture for the following years membership badges. I have asked George, Our membership coordinator, to receive and sort through picture submissions for the 2020 membership badges and pick one for use. I would like members to send aviation oriented pictures to george@oldharborvideo.com  What I don’t want is George buried under gigabytes of photographs! if you have one or two favorites in a landscape orientation, please send them to George and you never know!

 On September 27 we will have our monthly fun fly which is SCALE Day. Ken Dresser has volunteered to run our fun fly’s for the remainder of the year, and I believe he has a fun day plan for all. The only requirement is that your plane must be a scale model of a real airplane. Ken will state the event requirements to get a chance at the $150 worth of gift certificates for Discount Hobbies as the event starts Saturday at 10 AM. Between 10 AM and 12 PM flying will be limited to scale aircraft after which we will have our monthly club meeting at the field, followed by the hotdog lunch served up by Mark Davis. I hope everybody has a great month!


President’s Corner for Sep./Oct. 2019

Hey pilots,

Another great month of flying is complete. As you all know, the FAA and the AMA are requiring that we add our numbers to our aircraft. It is not the board’s responsibility to check and make sure that your numbers are on your airplanes. It is your responsibility to maintain flight worthiness of your aircraft. If someone comes and checks, the fine will be your responsibility. I would hate to see our members be fined for a simple number that can be put on with a LabelMaker or a sharpie. So please don’t be that guy who gets fined for not having his numbers on his aircraft. 
Just a friendly reminder that it is still fire season so please bring your fire extinguishers with you. And thank you to those gentlemen who have been bringing their fire extinguishers to the field. 
Please no sitting on the tables we still have a couple more to change out. Safety is your responsibility if you sit on the table and it breaks that’s never a good thing. 
We are taking photo submissions for next year‘s badge ID. if you would like your aircraft picture to be on that ID please submit your pictures to be considered. 

Last but not least, we are coming to the end of the year and we will be asking for nominations for the Board of Directors for next year. If you know anybody or want to nominate yourself please feel free. We are always looking for new members to step up and become part of the board to help shape the club in the direction you wanted to go. The closer we get the better we will know who is going for what position so feel free to nominate yourself for a position on the board. 


Tony Blackhurst. 

Scale Day 2019


This Month’s Club event is:



Bring your scale airplanes (Military or Civilian) down and fly for a chance to win a raffle prize, or to take the awards for Best Scale Flight

Any scale airplane, glider, helicopter or drone (we have full scale drones now) .. fly scale .. optional formation flying.. show your airshow stunts.

1. Static event, people will mark their favorite airplane based on static scale looks.  One mark per member.  most marks wins static event. 1st and 2nd place wins gift certificates.

2. Flying event. take off, fly by (optional scale stunts) , landing.   pilots will be judged on scale looks. 1st, 2nd, 3rd place wins gift certificates.

3. Formation flying.  pilots will form groups any size any type of aircraft and fly formation.   groups will be judged on scale flying.   1st Group will have surprise gift. 

Scale Event Begins at 10:00

Meeting and lunch to follow.

Mark’s Spring-Loaded RC Airplane Bomb

Anybody with a bomber model eventually gets around to experimenting with dropping models of bombs from airplanes.  These are usually solid foam pieces, or break-apart plastic shells filled with chalk.

I thought it would be interesting to experiment with models that actually carry some stored energy (in the form of a compression spring), to throw dust a bit more upward on impact (as opposed to just splashing outward along the ground).   Below are links to files I posted on Thingiverse, and videos of tests dropping them by hand.   These were designed in Fusion 360, and can be printed in any filament, and of course at any scale.   I used ABS for increased durability versus PLA.   A compression spring sits in the nose, and is released on impact, launching upward whatever is inside.   I found that Indian Holi Powder disperses really well, and although it usually comes in bright neon colors, you can also find it (less commonly) in neutral colors like white, grey, and black.

If you want to try one out, and don’t have a 3D printer, contact me and I can give you one of these prototypes, as long as you promise to drop it from a plane and take a video.   I have only dropped them by hand so far, and I wonder they behave when hitting the ground at much higher speeds.     I also have some 3D printed mounts for the Eflite release that could be glued to any of these.

Here are two youtube videos showing tests:

Spring-loaded RC airplane bomb

Here is a link to the .stl files on Thingiverse:

Gringotuerto’s Thingiverse Profile

BOD Minutes for August 2019

Board of Directors Meeting

Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego

Meeting starts at 7:01 pm

For this month’s meeting we once again discussed the pending agreement San Diego Control Tower.  We are talk with people and making sure we are ready when the tower responds.

Also as a priority we once again like to remind our members to get the FAA numbers on airplanes asap.

We also discussed putting permanent links on our website of the FAA drone registration information and the AMA’s know before you fly information.

Then we discussed how to make 100% sure we have no problems with the FAA, we entertained the idea to limit electroglide time to 15 seconds and have altimeters to check altitude.

Next we talked about replacing the lock for the gate.

For the next events, Ken volunteers to run them. Make sure you participate for a chance of winning some gift certificates.

Staples asked our club to send a representative to a back to school event.  We happily accepted.

As of today we have 324 members.

We the Board of Directors thank you, the member for making this the great club it is.

Your Humble Secretary,

Ken Dresser

Meeting Adjourned at 8:03 p.m.

Early American Aviation History

Source: Denham S. Scott

How many of you know that in 1910, mighty Martin Marietta got its start in an abandoned California church? That’s where Glenn L. Martin with his amazing mother Minta Martin and their mechanic Roy Beal constructed a fragile biplane that Glenn taught himself to fly.

It has often been told how Douglas Aircraft started operations in 1920 in a barbershop’s backroom on L.A.’s Pico Boulevard. Interestingly, the barber-shop is still operating.

The Lockheed Company built the first of their famous Vegas’ in 1927 inside a building currently used by Victory Cleaners at 1040 Sycamore in Hollywood.

In 1922, Claude Ryan, a 24 year old military reserve pilot, was getting his hair cut in San Diego, when the barber mentioned that the ‘town’s aviator’ was in jail for smuggling Chinese illegal’s up from Mexico. Claude found out that if he replaced the pilot ‘sitting in the pokey,’ that he would be able to lease the town’s airfield for $50 a month – BUT he also needed to agree to fly North and East – BUT not South!

Northrop’s original location was an obscure So California hotel. It was available because the police had raided the hotel and found that its steady residents were money-minded gals entertaining transitory male hotel guests.

Glenn Martin built his first airplane in a vacant church, before he moved to a vacant apricot cannery in Santa Ana. He was a showman and he traveled the county fair and air meet circuit as an exhibitionist aviator From his exhibition proceeds, Glenn was able to pay his factory workers and purchase the necessary wood, linen and wire.  His mother, Minta and two men ran the factory while Glenn risked his neck and gadded about the country. One of his workers was 22-year old Donald Douglas [who WAS the entire engineering department]. A Santa Monica youngster named Larry Bell [later founded Bell Aircraft which today is Bell Helicopter Textron] ran the shop.

Another part of Glenn Martin’s business was a flying school with several planes based at Griffith Park, and a seaplane operation on the edge of Watts where his instructors taught a rich young man named Bill Boeing to fly.  Later, Boeing bought one of Glenn Martin’s seaplanes and had it shipped back to his home in Seattle. At this same time, Bill Boeing hired away Glenn’s personal mechanic. Later, after Boeing’s seaplane crashed in Puget Sound, he placed an order to Martin for replacement parts.

Still chafing from having his best mechanic ‘swiped,’ [a trick he later often used himself] Martin decided to take his sweet time and allowed Bill Boeing to ‘stew’ for a while. Bill Boeing wasn’t known to be a patient man, so he began fabricating his own aircraft parts, an activity that morphed into constructing entire airplanes and eventually the Boeing Company we know today.

A former small shipyard nicknamed ‘Red Barn’ became Boeing Aircraft’s first home. Soon, a couple of airplanes were being built inside, each of them having a remarkable resemblance to Glenn Martin’s airplanes .. that, interestingly, had its own remarkable resemblance to Glenn Curtiss’ airplanes.

 A few years later, when the Great depression intervened and Boeing couldn’t sell enough airplanes to pay his bills, he diversified into custom built speed boats and furniture for his wealthy friends.

After WWI, a bunch of sharpies from Wall Street gained control of the Wright Brothers Co in Dayton and the Martin Company in L.A. and ‘stuck them’ together as the Wright-Martin Company.

Wright-Martin began building an obsolete biplane design with a foreign Hispano-Suiza engine. Angered because he had been out maneuvered with a bad idea, Martin walked out .. taking Larry Bell and other key employees with him.

From the deep wallet of a wealthy baseball mogul, Martin was able to establish a new factory. Then his good luck continued, when the future aviation legend Donald Douglas, was persuaded by Glenn to join his team. The Martin MB-1 quickly emerged from the team’s efforts and became the Martin Bomber.

Although too late to enter WWI, the Martin Bomber showed its superiority when Billy Mitchell used it to sink several captured German battleships and cruisers to prove it’s worth. Mitchell was instructed to stay above a high altitude  {Out of gun range?}   He flew his planes in low so as to increase probability of bombs hitting the ships. He was later court-martialed for his effort.

In Cleveland, a young fellow called ‘Dutch’ Kindelberger joined Martin as an engineer. Later, as the leader of North American Aviation, Dutch became justifiably well-known.

Flashing back to 1920, Donald Douglas had saved $60,000, returned to L.A. and rented a barbershop’s rear room and loft space in a carpenter’s shop nearby. There he constructed a classic passenger airplane called the Douglas Cloudster.

A couple of years later, Claude Ryan bought the Cloudster and used it to make daily flights between San Diego and Los Angeles. This gave Ryan the distinction of being the first owner/operator of Douglas transports. Claude Ryan later custom built Charles Lindbergh’s ‘ride’ to fame in the flying fuel tank christened: The Spirit of St. Louis.

In 1922, Donald Douglas won a contract from the Navy to build several torpedo carrying aircraft. While driving through Santa Monica’s wilderness, Douglas noticed an abandoned, barn-like movie studio. He stopped his roadster and prowled around. That abandoned studio became Douglas Aircraft’s first real factory.

With the $120,000 contract in his hand, Donald Douglas could afford to hire one or two more engineers. My brother, Gordon Scott, had been schooled in the little known science of aviation at England’s Fairey Aviation, so he hired Gordon.

My first association with the early aviation pioneers occurred when I paid my brother a visit at his new work place. Gordon was outside on a ladder washing windows. He was the youngest engineer. Windows were dirty. And Douglas Aircraft Company had no money to pay janitors.

Gordon introduced me to a towhead guy called Jack Northrop, and another chap named Jerry Vultee. Jack Northrop had moved over from Lockheed Aircraft. And all of them worked together on the Douglas Aircraft’s world cruiser designs. 

While working in his home after work and on weekends, Jack designed a wonderfully advanced streamlined airplane. When Allan Loughead [Lockheed] found a wealthy investor willing to finance Northrop’s new airplane, he linked up with Allan and together, they leased a Hollywood workshop where they constructed the Lockheed Vega. It turned out to be sensational with its clean lines and high performance. Soon Amelia Earhart and others flew the Vega and broke many of aviation’s world records.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with Ed Heinemann who later designed the AD, A3D and A4D. He told me how my Dad would fly out to Palmdale with an experimental aircraft they were both working on. They would take it for a few hops and come up with some fixes. After having airframe changes fabricated in a nearby machine shop, they would hop it
again to see if they had gotten the desired results. If it worked out, Mr. Heinemann would incorporate the changes on the aircraft’s assembly line. No money swapped hands!

In May 1927, Lindbergh flew to Paris and triggered a bedlam where everyone was trying to fly everywhere. Before the first Lockheed Vega was built, William Randolph Hearst had already paid for it and had it entered in an air race from the California Coast to Honolulu.  In June 1927, my brother, Gordon, left Douglas Aircraft to become Jack Northrop’s assistant at Lockheed. While there, he managed to get himself hired as the navigator on Hearst’s Vega. The race was a disaster and ten lives were lost. The Vega and my brother vanished. A black cloud hung heavily over the little shop. However, Hubert Wilkins, later to become Sir Hubert Wilkins, took Vega #2 and made a successful polar flight from Alaska to Norway. A string of successful flights after that placed Lockheed in aviation’s forefront.

I went to work for Lockheed as it 26th employee, shortly after the disaster, and I worked on the Vega. It was made almost entirely of wood and I quickly become a half-assed carpenter.

At this time, General Motors had acquired North American consisting of Fokker Aircraft, Pitcairn Aviation [later Eastern Airlines] and Sperry Gyroscope and hired Dutch Kindelberger away from Douglas to run it. Dutch moved the entire operation to L.A. where Dutch and his engineers came up with the P-51 Mustang.

Interestingly, just a handful of young men played roles affecting the lives of all Americans ….. as it initiated the So  California metamorphosis, from a semi-desert with orange groves and celluloid, into a dynamic complex, supporting millions.

Although this technological explosion had startling humble beginnings, taking root as acorns in – a barber shop’s back room – a vacant church – and an abandoned cannery – but came to fruit on as mighty oaks.

If you read all this then take a break and come back for an incredible amount of interesting aviation history ‘and great historical photos’.  Go to ‘Galleries’ and ‘Pioneers in Aviation’. 


Treasurer’s Report for September 2019

This month, we have 335 members and [removed] in our bank accounts. The board has found a good high yield CD from a credit union, and I’ll open one in the next few weeks.
As you’ve all heard, the FAA wants us to put our FAA numbers on our planes.  For next years registration renewal, we’ll include the FAA number as part of the SEFSD registration process.
Thank you!

Electroglide Report for September 2019

We had a nice Electroglide competition last Saturday, the 21st. Clear skies greeted us at the 10:00 a.m. start. Winds were around 5 mph from the North West, temperatures were 73 degrees.

On first launch six Radians and two open class gliders took to the sky and headed west. Arthur Markiewicz, Scott Vance and Alex Sutton found the lift to the far western edge of our flight area. Getting one’s aircraft to a good lift zone is a hard thing to do in the 15 seconds of allowed motor run time.

Arthur had the longest flight at 9:52 minutes plus a 10-point landing. Scott had a flight lasting 9:32 with a 20-point landing. Alex had a flight at 5:47 with a 20-point landing. Stephen Treger flying an open class Phoenix 2, also picked up a 20-point landings and Bob Stinson flying a Conscendo, picked up a 10-point landing.

Second launch had vastly different flight times. Arthur, having the long flight again, came back at 4:21 with a 20-point landing. Scott came in at 3:57 with a 10-point landing and Stephen came in at 3:50. Alex and Bob Stinson both picked up 20-point landings and Dennis La Berge had a 30-point landing.

The lift was still allusive for the third launch as flight times were all below five minutes. Dennis had the long flight at 4:30, with a 20-point landing. Scott was second at 3:50 and Alex was third at 3:38 with a 20-point landing. Arthur picked up a 20-point landing as well.

Fourth and final launch was again into weak lift. Dennis again found some lift coming back at 4:53 with his second 30-point landing. Arthur came in second with a flight lasting 4:31 plus a 20-point landing and Scott had 4:25 aloft with a 30-point landing. Alex picked up a 30-point landing and Stephen Treger also picked up a 20-point landing.

To bad the lift was so fickle, first launch yielded some great flight times. Everyone tried their best and the extra points earned from landing within the target circles helped keep the contest competitive.

High score in the open class was earned by Stephen Treger at 94 points. Second place was Bob Stinson at 83 points. In the Radian class, highest score was Arthur Markiewicz with 198 points. Second place goes to Alex Sutton at 194 points and third place finish goes to Scott Vance with 192 total points.

We all had a fun time under a beautiful San Diego sky. Thanks to Frank Sutton for the photography.

The final Electroglide for 2019 will be next month, October 19th. 10:00 a.m. first launch.

At the end of the contest I will be passing out the trophy plaques for the top point earners in both Open and Radian classes. We will also have prize drawings for all Electroglide pilots. You do not need to be present to win but please be sure to write your e-mail or phone number on your score sheet.

See you then,


Safety Corner for September 2019

Things for the most part have been pretty quiet at the field with few major safety issues to report. We have had some destroy the latch and hardware on the outhouse a couple times in the past month or so. Brad has beefed up the latch and hardware in hopes that we can keep the night crawlers out. For our who are the last to leave the filed please make sure the gate is closed AND locked. Be sure to make sure any visitors are aware that they need to leave or risk being locked in. 
On the FAA letter of agreement front no news is good news. We have not done anything to cause any concern which means members are doing their part to operate safely and avoid bringing notice to our activities. Please continue to observe the field boundaries as well as the altitude limits. For many you will be getting your AMA membership renewal notices—while you are doing that it would also be a perfect time to get your FAA number and put it on all your planes. Is is a FAA requirement—it is easy to comply with and does not cost much. There is a hefty fine possible if they catch you without the ID numbers on the plane. https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/register_drone/
One last thing—even though the weather is getting a little cooler the brush and grass at our field is very dry and the risk of fire is high. Please take care with models that go down to get to them quickly and remove the batteries and dispose of them properly to avoid fires. 
Stay safe!
Steve Neu

Fuel Cells for UAVs

DOD Wants U.S. Solid Fuel Source For Fuel Cells

The U.S. Defense Department wants to establish a domestic production capability for alane, a solid fuel that can be used in fuel cells that generate electricity to power a wide range of applications from wearable electronics to aircraft systems.

“Military systems of today and tomorrow are eclipsing the limits of batteries,” says a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) solicitation seeking proposals to establish a manufacturing capability for high energy-density alane fuel.

Alane, or aluminum hydride, stores hydrogen that can be controllably released by heating to feed a fuel cell. The project, under Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA), will support a path toward mass production and cost reduction for stable crystalline alane, also known as alpha alane.

Hydrogen fuel cells offer high energy density with simple refueling and enable longer mission times compared with rechargeable batteries. “While the military investigated many different hydrogen sources, the one that has stood out as the most promising and able to fit in our logistic structure is alane,” the solicitation says.

Alane was developed in the 1960s by both the U.S. and Soviet Union under secret projects to produce a high-energy rocket fuel. In 2016, HRL Laboratories proposed using an alane fuel cell to power unmanned aircraft.

According to HRL, an alane cartridge weighing 280 grams (less than 10 oz.) could provide the same flight time as 3 kg of lithium-ion batteries or 980 grams (2.15 lb.) of gaseous hydrogen stored at 4,500 psi. The Pentagon also has tested wearable alane fuel cells produced by Ardica.

According to AFRL, alane’s advantages are high energy content for a small weight and volume, safe and simple usage, long shelf life and minimal environmental impact–hydrogen fuel cells emit water vapor. Alane contains 10% hydrogen by weight and has twice the volumetric energy density of liquid hydrogen.

The disadvantages have been that producing alane has required large quantities of raw materials and large amounts of energy to produce small amounts.

But companies such as Ardica claim to have developed more efficient methods that reduce the feedstock and energy required to produce the fuel.

“The significant disadvantage of alane is the lack of any large-volume commercial production capacity,” the solicitation says. The fuel has been synthesized at costly laboratory scale, but has not been transitioned to mass production to reduce its cost.

The plan is to use DPA Title III funding to support development and construction of a pilot line that will prove out the capability to produce alane at a small production-representative scale. This line will provide the government with information on the requirements for scaling up production.

AFRL plans to make up to two awards worth $2 million, each matched by $2 million in contractor cost sharing. Bidders must detail how they plan to reduce the costs or volumes of raw materials and increase production to meet viable target fuel costs for military and commercial applications.

–Graham Warwick, warwick@aviationweek.com

Larry’s Motorhome Trip to Utah

Here is a couple of pictures from my motorhome trip last month! 
I got a real lesson density altitude, even if it was only 4200 ASL, a parking lot at The Great Salt Lake RV Park in beautiful Utah. 
My first take off roll seemed like it was going fast enough but just after lift off, the wing dropped and full power was the only thing that saved me!  
The air here is thin and though the Cub has a large wing, the airplane just did not want to fly like it does at sea level.
Take off and landing speeds were noticeably higher too. Even at cruise power the airplane was going faster than I normally fly it!
Fortunately I had a huge empty parking lot and I used it all!  
This thin air flying was a fun experience, but I prefer our 10 ASL…  There’s no place like home! 

Randy’s Buddies’ pics

Hi Steve,

My buddy of 35+ years came down to the field….He normally does nature photography,  but came with me to the field. – Randy

His name is Tim Parker:  “Here are some of the images I took this past Sat if you want to put on your web site for the guys. I did one thing with the two images of Carlos #6 Blue Angel jet that I want to see if you can pick out what I did before I tell you with the images and its not adding 2 extra jets in the moon shot.”

RC Scale FunFly at Torry Pines Gulls

By Bob Mosley

Went to Torrey Pines today for the RC Scale Fun Fly.  Got there early at 12:30pm and the band was still setting up.  I brought my small Ka-8 foamie with only an 88” wingspan.  Then the other gliders started showing up and dwarfed mine.

The sun came out at 1:00pm and people started flying while the band played.  In the photos my Ka-8 has a red nose with R on vertical stab and red/white striped rudder.  You can compare its size to the other sailplanes.

Arthur was there too with an RC hawk that looked just like the real bird in flight.  Sorry no photo of his hawk.