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Chairman’s Corner May – June 2022

Hello Club members, I hope all members are doing well and staying healthy.  Here we are at the end of May and our club meeting is this weekend, so I hope a lot of our members come out and join us for this day.  We have a lot to discuss with our members on what we have for the future of the club.  This Saturday Jim Bonnardel who is our event coordinator will be having the famous Bomb Drop, so be sure you get out to the field and join the fun with rest of our members. 

This past month our field was closed due to the KOZ event and it appears that some of our chairs grew legs and walked away.  Unfortunately, we did not get them back.  The club asks if any of our member have purchased new chairs for their backyard, I ask if you can donate your old chairs and bring them to the field.  It sure would be greatly appreciated if you could.  Funny part of this, the blue chairs were not taken, that because they are heavy to move around, so at least we still have those.  We just lost all the smaller plastic chairs and the nice outdoor chairs.

Not sure if any of you heard about “Red Bull Airplane Swap” which did not work out as planned.  This event happened on April 24th.

Sunday’s, vigorously promoted Red Bull Plane Swap missed the mark in more ways than one. Not only did the swap fail, but the maneuver and resulting aircraft crash irked the FAA, which said it “will investigate Sunday evenings attempted Red Bull Plane Swap in Arizona.” 

The agency also said that on Friday it “denied the organizer’s request for an exemption from Federal regulations that cover the safe operation of an aircraft.”  In the planned swap, which was live streamed on Hulu, pilots and skydivers Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington were scheduled to fly two Cessna 182s to an altitude more than 12,000 feet above the Arizona desert, put the aircraft into steep dives, jump out, and maneuver in freefall in order to enter each other’s airplane. They would then recover from the dive and land. 

Both men were wearing parachutes.

The aircraft were modified with a range of equipment including aerodynamic brakes to keep them from gaining excessive speed in the near-vertical dive, and grab bars to help Aikins and Farrington get back into the airplanes during the plunge. The 182s each included a custom autopilot designed to maintain an unusually steep descent path.

Shortly after the 182s began their dive together, side by side, the airplane that Farrington was supposed to recover entered a spin, making it impossible for him to gain entry. Aikins successfully completed his half of the swap and landed the airplane safely. Farrington had to deploy his parachute. The 182 he was supposed to get into impacted the ground in a near vertical orientation in the desert. Officials reported no injuries.

It is unclear what caused one of the 182s to spin out of control. It is also unclear exactly where the accident aircraft—which reportedly was fitted with a Cirrus-style airframe parachute—wound up.   I wonder if they will try this again!!!!

Not too long ago I walked over to the Rotorplex field and saw that a couple of guys were getting ready to fly their drones.  I had asked if they were club member and they both said no.  I asked if they had AMA and one of them said yes.  I asked to see it and he then told me he had a pdf of the AMA card.  I said ok but I need to see it.  His next response to me was, what is AMA.  At that point I knew he did not have one.  What he did have was TRUST.  But we all know that is not enough to fly at our site.  I told them that if he did have AMA, I would allow them to fly as a guest.   Get your AMA and join the club then you can fly as often as you like, but since they did not have AMA, I told them that they could not fly.   They did pack they drones and stuck around for while to watch our T-28 races.  Steve Neu will have more on that in this newsletter.

Speaking of the T-28 races, Larry Kosta Jr was ready for his heat, so he took off and right away he was banking to the left, over the pit and what he did was hit my truck and did some major damage to the truck as you can see in the photos….Ok, I lied about the  major damage, but he’s got some polishing to on the shell and the bed of my truck to do……lol.

I hope club members have been following along my build of the DC-3 these past few articles and been enjoying the build as much as I have.  I would like to let you know that if you come out this Saturday to our club meeting I will be bring the fuselage for all to see the model.  The next few mouths the wing will be built and I’m not sure how much time I will be building on, since I just got a new job working for Collins Aerospace which begins this coming June 6th.   In the time I will have, I will be building up the wing.  

Thank you all and I look forward to seeing you all out at the field!

President’s Corner for May – June 2022

First, there’s something different about this issue of Peak Charge. Scroll back to the top and look again. See it? Yes Ladies and Gentleman, SEFSD has a new logo! The original logo was designed by old friend Brian Chan (of SF Bay area) around 1991 when the club was founded.  For the refresh, we have Larry Kosta and his professional graphic designers to thank. The board did participate in the design, giving stick and rudder to multiple draft versions before settling on this one. So you like it? Want it on a shirt? A hat? A hoodie sweatshirt? It’s all going to be possible. Larry not only has graphic designer connections but embroider connections. Standby for a Website that will have sizes, colors and types of a lot of different garments for your choice of custom order. For the record, the club is not making money off the logo apparel (for now anyway), instead we’re passing on the embroiders best price to you, to encourage taking the plunge!

I want to offer public congratulations to Alex Sutton whom recently soloed in a full scale glider. Not content to just  beat us up in Electroglide, Alex now takes to the skies in full scale gliders where I’m sure his competitive spirit will prevail. Proud papa Frank graced us with the pictures of the milestone event. Just don’t forget us down here on the ground Alex, we still like to chase you around in our T-28s…uh I mean with our T-28s! 

As of now, next years’ banquet is still up in the air! At the last members meeting, a straw poll preferred returning to the Aerospace Museum vs Phils BBQ Event Center. Please realize that last year’s largesse was the result of having 2 years worth of funding which is of course not available this year. Like everyone else, we have to live within our means. Right now, we’re trying to work prices and adjust buy-in costs so the Aerospace Museum is possible. Standby for more info. The 2nd event to watch out for is our annual 4th of July bash and raffle to be held on the 2nd of July (less traffic). In the past, the raffle has been unsuccessful as a Banquet fundraiser and with night flying no longer allowed…well just stand by for more on that.

Lastly, the week of June 5th has (2) unusual weekday events. Monday the 6th, the field will be closed for Hotliner/F-5B practice from 12:45 to maybe 5:00 P.M. and Friday June 10th,  in the A.M. the field will also nominally be closed for a local UCSD student competition. The latter should be some interesting spectating and we could use a few more proctors to assure everything is accomplished safely.

Steve M.

Jovi’s DC-3 Build Project: Chapter 3, Building the Lower Section of the Fuselage

Now that I have completed the top section it is time to move to building up the lower section of the fuselage.  In this process we will also be making a change to the build.  That is moving the servos back to the original position (behind F5 to F7) which was just over the wing, where I had made the hatch for the access to the battery.  You can see that in the drawing.

Ok, let’s get started in building the bottom section.  The first thing I did was to install the formers into place, making sure all were 90 degrees from the top stringers which were pinned down to the board when building the top section. The wing saddles were also installed at this time too.

At the same time, I installed the push rods guide tube into place.  I installed the servos and worked on the push rods to the correct length.  Once that was completed, I placed the tail wheel support plate in place for a dry fit and made sure that I did have the correct length. As always it was perfect. 

To make sure that it was correct, I connected the servos to my receiver and made sure the control arms were center.  I then completed the rudder and glued in the rudder block to the control rod and again made sure that all was center so I would not have to do it at a later time.   The elevator was done the same way, but I have not glued it yet into position.  If adjustments need to be made, I can do that on the radio.

DC-3 Fact:

The one and only DC-1 served a full career with TWA, then was sold to Howard Hughes.  Hughes sold the airplane to the Spanish government, but the DC-1 met its demise after an engine failure during takeoff in the 1940.   (Guess they didn’t read the “Engine Out” section in the manual)

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Design-Build-Fly Competition Report for 2022

By Steve Manganelli

The 26th annual (and first Post-Covid) American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design Build Fly (DBF) Competition took place April 21st through 24th at Cessna Aircraft’s Wichita KS facility. Ninety-seven teams of Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Students including teams from San Diego State University (SDSU) and University of California San Diego participated. Myself and Safety Officer Steve Neu have been mentoring the SDSU team since announcement of the rules in early September of last year. Unique about DBF is the rules change every year so there is no way to iterate on your success (or failure). This year’s challenge was to design and build an electric powered R/C model to carry giant syringes and ½ pound chunks of wood 4X4s representing vaccine vials. A further challenge was the vials contained orthogonal 25G shock sensors and had to be deployed on the ground (in a defined area) without tripping a sensor. The deployment had to be after landing from about a 60 second flight which had to takeoff in less than 25 feet! The rules contained a scoring formula that rewarded large numbers of vaccine vials and syringes.

Early in the design stage, we flew the shock sensors in miscellaneous R/C aircraft in order to ascertain 1), if a high G turn would trip a sensor and 2), how many takeoffs, course completions, landings and deployments could be accomplished in the 10 minute allowed window. After a couple of flights, we surmised that If everything went well, (8) ½ pound vial bricks could be deployed in the 10 minutes and all but the tightest turns and the worst dork landings would be under the 5 G limit. The 5G s became moot anyway as the organizers later change the shock sensor to 25 Gs.  The rules specified a minimum of (10) syringes per vial brick, thus 4 pounds of 4 X 4s and 80 syringes became our target design payload. The students then used some simple rules of thumb (cargo weight = everything else weight) to define the required wing area. They chose a low aspect ratio constant chord wing with a tried and true epoxy-carbon tow and vertical grain balsa “I-beam” spar within their foam core wing. The wing was then faced with lightweight fiberglass using the foam cradles as a female mold.

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Horizon Hobby – Great Service!

George Sullivan Writes:

 I had a very good experience with Horizon Hobbies this week. I contacted them because I was looking for a part for the nose gear on my F16. The part was not available to purchase separately from the nose gear. Horizon volunteered to mail me the part free of charge. Great customer service!

Music Video Featuring Otto’s Flyguys + Flying tampon

A couple months ago I was contacted by Atlantic Records asking me to build and fly a couple characters in a music video. Joined by Mike Frandsen, Bob Simon and Dave Encinas we pulled it off.

Otto with the singers.


I was contacted by an ad agency that wanted to know if I could build a 50 foot flying Tampon. Playtex has just released a 100% bio degradable Tampon. I told them I’d need to build a prototype to determine the feasibility and issues. They provided some money and the prototype flew well enough. I submitted a quote that went through many puts and takes but in the end it was too costly for their budget.


SEFSD BOD Meeting Minutes for May 2022

Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Date and Meeting : Home of Steve Neu, 11 May,  6:30 P.M.

Board Members Present : Chairman of the Board-Murek, President-Manganelli, Vice President–Nguyen, Safety Officer-Neu, Member at Large-Kosta

Via Zoom : Member at Large-Struthers, Member at Large-Cox

Not Present : Secretary-Dresser, Editor-Belknap

Called to Order by Manganelli at 6:40 P.M.

Old Business

  1. Membership renewals : 271 as of 5-1-2022.
  2. Club Trailer/ Storage vs divest it : Trailer to remain stored until at least September, 2022. BOD to reconsider at that time.
  3. Banquet expense as compared to membership dues. BOD Decision January 12th : Dues will not increase this year; club finances will be revisited toward the end of the year to determine a prudent banquet expense for 2023 and possible dues increase for 2023.
  4. Raising altitude limit via AMA/FAA sanctioned Safety Risk Management (SRM) Panel. SEFSD is in the queue, we will be appraised approximately Fall, 2023 when we get close to the to the top of the list. In the meantime we must maintain positive relations with Air Traffic Management (ATM) by abiding by the terms of our current agreement!
  5. All T-28 themed SEFSD Sports and “repurposed” medals have been distributed. There are (10) “Better Luck Next Time” and (8) SEFSD Sports Medals remaining. Possible use could be July’s Raffle/Funfly.
  6. UCSD Student Competition approved for Friday, June 10th from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Field closed to sport flying. Proctors/observers to be Jovi, Dennis L.

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Electroglide Report for May 2022

 The Electroglide for May was held last Saturday and unexpectedly, was quite fun. The weather conditions didn’t look favorable; 61 degrees, a 10 mph wind from the Southwest and overcast skies. At the pilots meeting before the contest, we debated then voted to begin the contest anyway. A little after the 10:00 start time, seven gliders took to the skies.

  Surprisingly, the lift was there, high and slightly westward. The Southwest wind crossing the San Diego river channel, created some lift that the Radian gliders could make better use of.

 Scott Vance, flying a Radian, was able to get the long flight of 6:26 minutes. Neil Zhu, flying a Conscendo, had the next longest flight at 4:43 with a 20-point bonus landing. Dennis LaBerge, also with a Radian, had the third longest flight at 3:26. I was able to pick up a 20-point landing.

  One pilot had his glider get away from him and end up in Mission Bay. A thank you goes out to the friendly jet skier who returned the swimming aircraft to the pilot waiting on shore. 

 On the second launch, the secret was out. Most of the pilots headed to same high west spot that worked so well for Scott and Neil. Dennis made good use of the lift, flying for 7:06 minutes. Scott had a flight of 4:48 with an excellent 30-point landing. Alex Sutton came in third with 4:04 minutes aloft and a 20-point landing. Both Neil and I picked up 10-point landings.

 Third launch had Scott again winning the long flight at 8:30 minutes. I was second at 8:21 with a 20-point landing and Neil was third at 4:40 minutes. Bob Anson nailed a 30-point landing and Dennis had a 10-point landing.

 Fourth and final launch had the fun lift disappear on us. The long flight was earned by Scott at 3:16 with a 20-point landing.  I had the next long flight at 1:59 and third place is shared by Dennis and Alex at 1:48. Dennis, Scott and Neil all picked up 20-point landings.

 I would like to point out that getting any extra landing points via the target circles was a hard thing to do, what with the Southwest wind and ground turbulence.

 Good flying everyone and kudos to those who made the small 30-point circle.

Thanks to Frank Sutton for again supplying the event photos.

Next Electroglide will be on June 18th. Ten o’clock, first launch.

See you there,

Jeff Struthers

T28 Racing Report for May 2022

Our May T28 races were held May 14th with most of the usual suspects in attendance.  Racing got underway at a little after 10am . Larry had some bad luck starting out when his plane decided to make a hard left turn after takeoff right in to the side of Jovi’s  pickup truck—most of the damage was limited to Larry’s pride but the crash put him out of the rest of the races. After that most of the races were mostly without drama—there were a number of very tight races with planes crossing the finish line wing tip to wing tip. Several of us got tagged by eagle eye Jovi at the starting line for crossing early—protests proved pointless:) 
After the preliminaries were out of the way the finals proved to have some great racing with the Bronze class having a great battle between SteveM and Alex with Steve getting the win. Silver was less eventful with 2 planes dropping out early leaving Alfred and SteveN to go at it with SteveN taking the win. Gold race was a battle between Brad and Otto with Brad proving that you usually will come out the winner if you avoid mistakes–like not cutting turns or jumping the starts!
The next scheduled T28 race is June 11th at 10am. As usual  newcomers and other interested people can find setup and info on the planes and how to set them up at: 
Until next month—go fast and turn left!
Steve Neu

Brad is Selling Planes Again

About a year ago I sold about a dozen planes and received some good feedback on the fair pricing and flight qualities of them.

Life happens and after my recent medical concerns, I am looking at moving quite a few planes to new owners in the next few months so I don’t leave a potential problem for Lisa if things go downhill. I will be moving sizes from small foamies up to 100CC sized planes. Prices will be fair, but since I’m not dead yet – I won’t be giving them away. I look to target about 60% of their value – but will consider offers. Nearly all will be RTF on Spektrum.

I still have the names of people I sent the sale to last year. If you would like to be on my mailing list this round, please send an e-mail to


SR-71 Story (Low Pass)

Written by Brian Shul, retired Air Force pilot:

As a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I’m most often asked is ‘How fast would that SR-71 fly?’ I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend. It’s an interesting question, given the aircraft’s proclivity for speed, but there really isn’t one number to give, as the jet would always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to. It was common to see 35 miles a minute.

Because we flew a programmed Mach number on most missions, and never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it run out to any limits of temperature or speed.. Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own individual ‘high’ speed that he saw at some point on some mission. I saw mine over Libya when Khadafy fired two missiles my way, and max power was in order. Let’s just say that the plane truly loved speed and effortlessly took us to Mach numbers we hadn’t previously seen.

So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked, ‘What was the slowest you ever flew the Blackbird?’ This was a first. After giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared before, and I relayed the following.

I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall, England, with my back-seater, Walt Watson; we were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain when we received a radio transmission from home base. As we scooted across Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English countryside had requested an SR-71 fly-past. The air cadet commander there was a former Blackbird pilot, and thought it would be a motivating moment for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach. No problem, we were happy to do it. After a quick aerial refuelling over the North Sea, we proceeded to find the small airfield.

Walter had a myriad of sophisticated navigation equipment in the back seat, and began to vector me toward the field. Descending to subsonic speeds, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in a slight haze. Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a small tower and little surrounding infrastructure. Walter told me we were close and that I should be able to see the field, but I saw nothing. Nothing but trees as far as I could see in the haze. We got a little lower, and I pulled the throttles back from 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable. Walt said we were practically over the field-yet; there was nothing in my windscreen. I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver in hopes of picking up anything that looked like a field. Meanwhile, below, the cadet commander had taken the cadets up on the catwalk of the tower in order to get a prime view of the fly-past. It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast. Walter continued to give me indications that the field should be below us but in the overcast and haze, I couldn’t see it. The longer we continued to peer out the window and circle, the slower we got. With our power back, the awaiting cadets heard nothing. I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I better cross-check the gauges. As I noticed the airspeed indicator slide below 160 knots, my heart stopped and my adrenalin-filled left hand pushed two throttles full forward. At this point we weren’t really flying, but were falling in a slight bank. Just at the moment that both afterburners lit with a thunderous roar of flame (and what a joyous feeling that was) the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the tower. Shattering the still quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of fire-breathing titanium in their face as the plane leveled and accelerated, in full burner, on the tower side of the infield, closer than expected, maintaining what could only be described as some sort of ultimate knife-edge pass.

Quickly reaching the field boundary, we proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident. We didn’t say a word for those next 14 minutes. After landing, our commander greeted us, and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings. Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the commander had told him it was the greatest SR-71 fly-past he had ever seen, especially how we had surprised them with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as breathtaking. He said that some of the cadet’s hats were blown off and the sight of the form of the plane in full afterburner dropping right in front of them was unbelievable. Walt and I both understood the concept of ‘breathtaking’ very well that morning and sheepishly replied that they were just excited to see our low approach.

As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight suits, we just sat there—we still hadn’t spoken a word since ‘the pass.’ Finally, Walter looked at me and said, ‘One hundred fifty-six knots. What did you see?’ Trying to find my voice, I stammered, ‘One hundred fifty-two.’ We sat in silence for a moment. Then Walt said, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again!’ And I never did.

A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer’s club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 fly-past that he had seen one day. Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows. Noticing our HABU patches, as we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, he asked us to verify to the cadets that such a thing had occurred. Walt just shook his head and said, ‘It was probably just a routine low approach; they’re pretty impressive in that plane.“