President’s Corner for Mar – Apr 2024

  Hey Flyers! Welcome to Spring!!
  We had a very wet month again, and even a couple of rainy days this week.  Hopefully we’re on the verge of drying out. Thanks to everybody for staying off of the wet runway. The red lock when wet protocol seems to be working as the field is in really good condition right now. As we move into the dryer parts of the year, we may still see the red lock in use when the field is secured due to city events in Mission Bay Park, and flight restrictions imposed upon all aircraft (Full scale and Models) due to critical aircraft movements in the area. Think Airforce One is on final approach and always dominates the airspace within 30 miles. There have been a few people walk in from SEAWORLD Drive carrying models when the red lock closes access via car or truck.  This is risky, if there is an actual notice to airmen ( NOTAM ) restricting flight, and you are found flying by the authorities, you will spend a bit of time in a 6×8 cement room…
As I’m talking about the gate, there were several instance of the gate not being locked as the last member leaves the site over the last several weeks. There has been dumping in the driveway area as well as unauthorized use of the site itself. Please treat the site like you own it, and you have to repair or replace damaged or stolen items. Basically you DO own it as we pay rent for the site from members dues, and you DO replace it – as we will need to increase dues again to repair or replace tables, chairs or the fence, or pay to have dumped items removed.
The outer field area is in bloom with wild flowers. All of the rain this season means the growth will likely get over 8 feet in quite a bit of the field. Pilots have already lost a few helicopters and many plane parts in the field, and the poppies are only 3 feet tall at the moment. If you are a pilot that regularly ventures out to find an aircraft, I recommend looking into a locator device such as a loss of signal buzzer available on Amazon –  or a GPS tracker for your IOS or Android phone. Both are small, light, and easy to install. As the Poppies ( weeds…) grow, we are already seeing people all over the field and runway area taking selfies and pics of their kids and spouse. Please don’t scream at them, or approach them with your aircraft. They just don’t know that they are in the wrong place. Encourage them to move along, especially if there are planes in the air and they are on the actual runway. Finally, along with all of this growth, come the weeds trying to reclaim the runway. Thanks go out to Dennis Laberge, Dorian Kunch, and Scott Vance for conducting field maintenance – Keeping the weeds from taking over the entire area. I really appreciate your time!
  The main thing I wanted to discuss this month is situational awareness while at the field. While I do understand that there’s a lot going on sometimes, I need people to have eyes in the back of their head and see what’s going on around them. I know a lot of you focus intensely on your aircraft while you’re flying. However, I need you to be aware of what’s going on upon the runway and in the air. Last week we had a member step onto the runway to retrieve a glider, after loudly announcing his intention to step on the runway. Within five seconds, another member flying from the NEXT gate flew down the centerline, doing a knife edge at head height. While I don’t like to actually yell at people on site, I will raise my voice if an injury or safety issue is imminent. I did get loud, the pilot pulled away, and there was no blood. The person walking towards his glider was very upset, and had to be talked down a bit. I apologize to the young man that I yelled at, but in that instance, that was the response that was needed.  We have to look out for each other on the runway and at the field. I’m going to say again if you are doing any maneuver over the runway, it is YOUR responsibility to look left and right up and down and make sure you’re not putting anybody in danger while you’re conducting your maneuver.  The same awareness has to be practiced when full-scale Aircraft coming into our area. Per the AMA rules, we have to get our aircraft down below 100 feet anytime there’s a full scale Aircraft within our boundaries. I would personally prefer below 50 feet, but the official rule is to get below 100. There are quite a few people that are hard of hearing, and may not hear the chopper or biplane coming towards our site. For the most part, we know who these people are, and if you know, an aircraft is inbound step up to them and tell them to get down.
Lastly, As I previously posted, there should be no spinning propellers in the pit area, ever.  No taxiing of aircraft in the pits. Yes , that includes ducted fans. If you are walking through the pit area, please be cognizant of what is happening in the pit area. Sometimes there is activity on the tables that could result in spinning propellers. If you are working on your plane and you’re going to put power your motor, either on the table or in the pit area itself, please remove the prop. Remember it only takes 1/10 of a second to let the blood out!
  I still have several tickets to the air space Museum from our banquet in January. They don’t expire until December. If you purchased a ticket to the banquet, and would still like to do a walk-through of the museum this year, come see me at the field either Saturday or Sunday and I will issue your tickets. Tickets left over after this weekend will likely be donated to children in the community.
  I have been seeing more people flying larger planes lately. I have had great success over the last several years with 12s,14s,and16s aircraft. If you want any info on what I use, please feel free to ask. At this level, there is no such thing as cheap aircraft or components, but you get what you pay for – and reliability is key. You don’t see me walking to the scene of the crash very often.
  This week‘s fun Fly event on the 23rd will be spot landing. This is favorite event of most people in the club, as anyone can play. Some people come straight down on the target, making it interesting, but its all in good fun… Jim Bonnardel, our event master, said he has a twist in the rules to make it more interesting, so come join us Saturday at 10 AM and let’s have fun.
Following the Fun Fly, we will have our standard monthly club meeting at the field, and hotdog lunch served by Mark and Lisa! See you there.

Design-Build-Fly Heats Up at Mission Bay Park

Jeremy Johnson holds Aztec Aerospace DBF aircraft with the rest of the Team.

By Steve Manganelli

If it’s Spring, it’s time for the annual Design Build Fly (DBF) competition for teams of undergraduate College students and SEFSD is there supporting San Diego State University Aztec Aero Design. Safety Officer Steve Neu piloted the maiden voyage of their prototype airplane on February 18th and additional test flights on March 10th and March 17th in preparation for the Fly-off being held in Wichita KS the weekend of April 13th. The Team, led by Gabriella Gonzalez Ayala and Jeremy Johnson aims to do well with additional mission practice flights at our Mission Bay Park field up through the flyoff date.

There are several other Student Aerospace Engineering competitions, but what makes DBF stand out is that the rules change every year. Highlights of this year’s challenge include the wingspan being 60” or less, but the model has to fit in a 30” wide “parking spot”. This requirement translates into folding wing tips or a center rotating wing a la V-22 Osprey. Key mission requirements include taking off in  20’ under empty and payload conditions, the payload being wooden peg dolls. The scoring formula involves number of peg dolls, number of laps flown around a 1000’ oval course in 5 minutes, speed to fly 3 laps in a different mission and capacity of the batteries used in the mission.  There is a timed ground mission where 1 student gets to swap the “medical supply” and “passenger” payloads. All missions use normalized scoring where the best team earns 100% of the possible score and the others get a proportional fraction of the winning team’s score.  A 60 page paper detailing the design-development of the model becomes a scoring multiplier as well.

Of the 110 schools invited to join the competition, generally less than 30 produce a mission capable aircraft. Once SDSU’s and a few other flight scores are posted to the leaderboard, you start to see what’s possible. It’s a little unnerving when an obviously capable school doesn’t post their last mission until nearly the end of the contest : 7th place can turn into 12th real fast. Gabriella and Jeremy are veterans of several past DBF contests and will lead their team to great success. Steve Neu and I will be there in Wichita with them.  If you fly Sunday afternoons or weekday afternoons you might catch a test flight yourself; feel free to come by and cheer us on. For more details about the DBF Competition, browse around here : AIAA Design/Build/Fly | AIAA 

Team leads Gabriella (5th from left) and Jeremy Johnson (8th from left) all smiles in front of prototype plane and rest of Team after successful test flight on March 17th.


Steve Neu flies SDSU DBF airplane on maiden voyage.


The Gallaudet Seaplane Project, Pt. 7


The Gallaudet’s First Hop off the Water.  Click below for a video of the first time on water.

By Allan Flowers


With this model, all the major components are separated from each other so the struts and rigging become the heart of the assembly process. It was necessary to design and construct a large wooden fixture to accurately hold things in place during this time. Rigging is multistrand .031” stainless wire from McMasters-Carr and each element had to be made and fitted individually. Sullivan rigging connectors and clevises provide adjustment – with 75 pound fishing swivels to keep the wires from being twisted. Better and much cheaper than turnbuckles.

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Thank You, SEFSD Pilots

SEFSD Pilots,

     This “Thank You” was long delayed because I became dangerously sick a few days after the SEFSD Banquet (unrelated to the banquet).  Thankfully, I’m doing much better now.  First, Thank You for the Get Well wishes from so many of you, it was very much appreciated!

     Next, THANK YOU very much SEFSD Board of Directors for honoring me with the 2023 SEFSD Founders Award!  I was in complete shock at the banquet when Steve Manganelli called my name as the recipient!  I was overwhelmed at the time and could not express my gratitude as I wanted to do.  I was even in tears for a moment!  I feel extremely honored to be the second Founders Award recipient after 2022’s very worthy first Awardee, Dennis LaBerge (Field Maintenance!), thank you!  I value the 2023 SEFSD Founders Award as much, or perhaps even more, than my highest US Navy awards!
     I believed there were other very deserving SEFSD members that had been a part of the club for many more years than Alex and I and you know what, that is the primary reason Silent Electric Flyers San Diego is without a doubt the best radio control aircraft club in the world!  Sure, the beautiful location is part of it, but the real reason behind SEFSD’s greatness are the many dedicated Pilots that belong to SEFSD!  Without all the hard working volunteers and friendly Pilots willing and able to assist new Pilots, or to help another Pilot repair a damaged plane, SEFSD would not be the R/C Club that it is today!   Alex and I are very fortunate to have discovered SEFSD in 2018; it changed both of our lives for the better!  I don’t know what we would have been doing on so many Saturday mornings without SEFSD!  We certainly wouldn’t have been making so many great friends and having so much fun!
     I’m very proud of the photos Alex shot at the February Electroglide when I was in the hospital, he made my job look easy!  Alex is back at SJSU now and I have returned to SEFSD Field, cameras in hand!  I pledge to each of you, so long as I’m physically able and not away on vacation, I will continue striving to get good photos of the SEFSD Pilots and their planes.  I will also continue to create an occasional video documenting the super fun times we all share together.  After making such good friends over the years and sharing so much fun, this is the least I can do to give back to the club and it is my sincere pleasure to do so too!  Thank goodness for SEFSD Pilots!
     Thank you!
Frank “Hobie” Sutton

Frank “Hobie” Sutton


By Frank Sutton
     Here’s a few photos of some Hobie Cat Memories that were hanging on the wall in our home.  As you can see, I was a natural born Sailor before being a US Navy Sailor!
     You may find the newspaper article interesting!  It was quite an adventure sailing from Morehead City, NC into the Chesapeake Bay via the Atlantic Ocean side of the Outer Banks (both times), especially considering I didn’t carry a cell phone or radio onboard my Hobie 16 (Desperado II).  I was on my own, for good or bad!  Looking back now, I don’t understand how my Dad let me do this but I’m very grateful that he did!
     The original Desperado was a Hobie 14 which I sailed for a few years and sold to help pay for the Desperado II in 1979.  I had a trailer and used to travel with my Hobie Cat friends as far south as Daytona Beach, FL and north to Virginia Beach, VA and all beaches in between whenever and wherever a sanctioned Hobie Cat Regatta was scheduled during the summer!  We had so much fun, I really miss those days!  I’m sure without a doubt, and very far in the future, Alex will think extremely fondly of his days flying at Mission Bay with SEFSD Pilots in the same way I think about my old sailing days!  That is the original reason I began taking photos for the SEFSD Pilots, to preserve the great memories not just for Alex, but for all the SEFSD Pilots!
     All the other (paper) photos (and film negatives) from those old sailing days are stored somewhere in our garage, buried in photo albums and boxes along with some of the old regatta trophies that weren’t lost or destroyed when moving from home to home or in storage over the many years.  I’m not in shape enough just yet to go out to the garage and find those photos, but these few photos are enough to share with the SEFSD Pilots!

     Now you may understand why Aviator Alex is so adventurous and loves to fly, it’s something in our family genes I believe!  He loves aviation as much as I love sailing!


T28 Racing & Safety Report for March 2024

Click the pic for the entire album of T28 pics

This month’s T28 racing report is somewhat abbreviated because a number of the regulars were not able to attend because of other commitments—myself included. Thank you Jim Bonnardel  for stepping up at the last minute to take the helm and run the races.

The smaller field of planes had lots of good close races with Corry and Brad both going into the finals with first places in all the preliminary rounds.  Cory grabbed the gold when after Brad reportedly cut one of the turns. Second and third went to Artie and Larry.

The next T28 races will be on Saturday the 13th of April at 10am.

It was brought to my attention that some people seem to think it is OK to fly over the roads to the south —let me make it perfectly it is not OK to fly over Sea World Drive or South Shores Drive. The simple thing to do is just extend the fence lines to both the west and to the east and keep your plane north of it. Gliders are no exception to this rule—I don’t care if the “lift is better” over there or not—just don’t go there…..

Thats it for this month—have fun and fly safe!

Steve Neu

Electroglide Report for Mar 2024

Click the pic for the entire album

We had a pretty fun Electroglide last Saturday. For three of the four launches, there was a good thermal lift column over the rotoplex area. Couple that with a mostly blue sky and a 6 mph southern breeze and you get a great time of glider flying.

First launch had ten aircraft take to the sky, seven Radians and three Open Class aircraft. Flight times were short though, maybe because no one had found the lift column. Scott Vance, (Radian), did find some lift getting a flight of 3:43 minutes plus a 20-point landing. Bob Anson, (Radian), had the next longest flight at 1:58 minutes, also getting a 20-point landing. Dennis LaBergh was third at 1:48 and a 20-point landing. Stephen Trager and Jon Vance, (both flying Radians), scored 30-point landings. Neil Zhu and Bob Stinson,(both flying Conscendos), scored 20-point landings.

Second launch saw an immediate jump in flight times with Neil flying the longest at 9:35 with a 20-point landing. Scott was second at 8:33 and a 20-point landing. Bruce Driver, (open class), came in third at 7:50 with a 10-point landing. Dennis and Stephen both had 30-point landings and Bob Stinson, had a 20-point landing.

Third launch had a bit shorter flight times. Dennis had the long flight at 8:23 with a 20-point landing. Scott was second at 7:41 and Neil was third at 7:16 with a 10-point landing. Stephen had a 30-point landing. Bob Stinson and Bob Anson both had 20-point landings.

Fourth and final launch had Stephen with the long flight at 6:30 minutes. Neil was second at 5:56 with a 30-point landing and Dennis was third at 5:41 with a 30-point landing.  Bob Stinson picked up a 30-point landing and Bruce picked up a 20-point landing.

Winners for the day.

Open Class:         

Neil Zhu               229 total points
Bob Stinson          215    “     points
Bruce Driver         105     “     points

Radian Class:
Dennis LaBerge     217  total points
Stephen Treger      176     “     points
Scott Vance           162     “     points

It was a sunny, fun day with some great flight times. Thanks to Frank Sutton for the event pictures. The next Electroglide will be on April 20th.

See you there,

Jeff Struthers


PopWing ReCap for March 2024

Group Shot.  Click for the entire album of pics
Well racers, we are FINALLY under way!  With the weather scrubbing last month, we finally have points now. Weather was fantastic, the field was in great shape, and the turnout was light. The turnout for March was only 8 racers, likely due to the fact that there was another club’s swap meet going on in town.
Racing was really fun! Everyone was having a great time getting laps down,  we had old and new PopWings running,  and it sure does appear that there is no true difference between the models,  the old ones are just as fast as the new ones, and vice versa.   There is a condition we are finding with the new PW’s and that is the ESC seems to either work,  or not.  If it does not,  you can use any ESC that is clearly marked 20 amp.
Racing happened fast as we are only doing 5 lap races, and each pilot gets 2 races.  There was some action (a mid-air) and some amazing races. 
The Hitec media boys stopped by and if you “instagram” check out their feed as they did a nice video of the races.
The new scoring system seems to be easy enough to tally,  and it keeps the points curve pretty flat.   I don’t want the leaders to “get out of reach” from the pack.  Small point values keeps everyone close!   
After 1 month of racing our stats are:
Brad          2
Brian         2
George H.  2
Corey        3
Alex          2
Larry         4
Tom          1
Jim           5
PopWing aircraft are available at Motion RC   so you are not left out of the crazy fun!  If you have been thinking about joining in on the fun,  THINK NO LONGER!  Pull the trigger and get 1 (or 2) PopWings so you can get in this fun game.

Basics of Modern Radio Control

I can tell that some of you have less than full knowledge of how modern radio control systems work.  This is unfortunate since at some point you may need to do routine maintenance on your radio system such as: replace a worn out vacuum tube, replace a broken rubber band on your escapement, etc.  If you are one of these folks you can get yourself back up to speed by reading on.  I am sure most of you still have your recent 1953 issue of Air Trails Model Annual on hand.  If you have temporarily misplaced it or, for some other reason, it is not immediately available, I have scanned in the important pages for you.  Read and understand the simple basics below and you won’t look silly next time you talk about RC with your modeling friends.  -Ed.