General Interest

498 posts

Treasurer’s Report for March 2021

We have 264 members as of March 10th. The board finally opened a “high yield” money market checking account to put our reserve funds to use! Hooray! Although I must warn you the definition of “high yield” has changed quite a bit the last year, and it’s not that much. The club charter with the AMA has been renewed for 2021.
We rolled the field this month after the rain. Dennis LaBerge, who has been operating the roller for the last several years, is finally ready to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of groundskeepers. He showed Brad and I how to use the roller so we can take over the monotonous chore when he needs a break.

I’m happy to hear most of our older members have been fully vaccinated, and starting to return to the field. My dad was fully vaccinated as of last week, and I immediately took the opportunity to visit him so we can finish building my 89″ MXS-R together. He’s quite the handyman, and we used a vintage drill press frame that he mounted a hand drill to, complete with a variable drill speed controlled with a wall switch dimmer, and a switch to automatically turn on the drill when the press comes down. Worked like a charm for drilling the four holes in my 24″ Mejzlick prop.

Editor’s Safety Note:
  In the above picture we see Quan’s Dad using a drill press to drill the 4mm bolt holes in a carbon prop.  Drilling carbon is not inherently more dangerous than drilling wood.  As with drilling anything, there is a chance the drill will become stuck and want to rotate the thing being drilled.  If this thing is a prop then you could have something with sharp edges spinning around.  That could cut you very badly.  Be extremely careful when drilling a carbon or wood prop.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, do not use a power drill of any kind to drill out any type of plastic prop!!!!  If you have tried this you will know that conventional drill bits love to bite into plastic and drive themselves completely through the prop in an instant.  The drill grabs hold of the prop and spins it with the power of the drill.  This is true wether you are using a drill press or a hand drill.  At a minimum the prop will be ruined.  If you are holding the prop with your hand you could be lacerated badly.  I have personal knowledge: years ago I tried drilling out an APC prop with my drill press.  The prop was in a 5 lb drill press vise (not attached to the table).  As soon as the spinning drill bit made contact with the plastic it screwed itself all the way through the prop hub and lifted the prop and vise to the top of the drill bit against the chuck.  Then it began to spin around.  Had my hand been in the way . . . I don’t want to think about it.  Lesson learned!

I found that opening a hole in a plastic prop is safer if you clamp the drill bit in a bench vise pointing straight up.  Then using your hands rotate the prop manually around the bit.  If the prop is sharp wrap it in tape.  This takes a while but it is safe and works very nicely.

747 Shuttle Piggyback

A quick “trip report” from the pilot of the 747 that flew the shuttle back to Florida after the Hubble repair flight. A humorous and interesting inside look at what it’s like to fly two aircraft at once.  (I have decided to adopt one of “Triple Nickel’s” phrases : “That was too close for MY laundry!”)

Well, it’s been 48 hours since I landed the 747 with the shuttle Atlantis on top and I am still buzzing from the experience. I have to say that my whole mind, body and soul went into the professional mode just before engine start in Mississippi, and stayed there, where it all needed to be, until well after the flight…in fact, I am not sure if it is all back to normal as I type this email. The experience was surreal. Seeing that “thing” on top of an already overly huge aircraft boggles my mind. The whole mission from takeoff to engine shutdown was unlike anything I had ever done. It was like a dream… someone else’s dream.

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Lindberg Warning – New Sign on the Sign

By Steve Manganelli

You may have noticed the message below on an added decal on our main field rules sign and wondered “why is that?”. The answer is compliance with our agreement with the Lindberg Field Control tower to allow our continued operations at SEFSD/Mission Bay Park Field! In that agreement (aside from fly below 200 ft), we are required to inform the Tower if a model is flying toward Lindberg in such a manner so as to effect manned aircraft operations. Realistically, stable escapes from our field are so remote as to be virtually irrelevant; most of our crashes as we well know are on the field in plain view and if departing the field, still in plain view and not effecting manned aircraft operations in any way. However, in the extremely unlikely event of a fly away that is heading for Lindberg field flying stably, any useful notification would have happen literally within a minute, thus typically “notifying a BOD member” would be pointless and your BOD has taken the step of providing you the direct contact phone number to the Control Tower with the associated admonition about when to use it. I wouldn’t say put that number in your phone on speed dial, just be aware and know that the emergency instructions are on the sign in large font!


In Case of Stable Fly-Away Toward Lindberg

Warn Control Tower at (619) XXX-XXXX (Actual Sign shows the number)



It’s a Win-Win-Win For All

By Frank Sutton

                Carlos happened to be flying at SEFSD Field back back in the Summer of 2018 when Alex and I arrived for the first time to fly his brand new R/C plane – a Radian. We met Carlos and after talking with him, he pointed out (then) SEFSD President Brad who was the second SEFSD Pilot we met. Both Carlos and Brad were of invaluable assistance to us because little did we know at the time, we had the wrong type of transmitter for Alex’s brand new Radian. With their help, Alex was eventually able to fly and we both happily joined SEFSD. Since then, we have made so many great friends we are thankful for, and our lives have been extraordinarily changed for the better!

              Alex’s appetite for flying is insatiable; whether in the cockpit of a sailplane or at the transmitter controlling an R/C plane, Alex loves all aspects of flying and wants to make it his career flying cargo or passenger jet airliners. Alex’s Mom, Joan, and I are encouraging him to do well in school and follow his aviation dreams.

              Over the past nearly three years, the number of R/C planes in Alex’s “hangar” has steadily increased.  Alex’s hangar used to be a spare guest bedroom, but now it looks more like an actual aircraft hangar and Aviation Repair Depot!  Even after experiencing a few setbacks when a plane would be totaled in a disastrous crash, Alex’s collection kept slowly increasing and increasing until there was no room left in Alex’s Aviation Repair Depot with planes everywhere from floor to ceiling in all states of repair and disrepair!

              Brad’s recent announcement to sell of some of his outstanding planes inspired Alex, Alex’s Mom Joan, and myself!  We decided that it was time to reduce the size of his fleet.  Alex and I nearly simultaneously thought of giving some planes to one of our good SEFSD Pilot Friends, Carlos! Quite a few of Alex’s planes have not even been flown once in the past year because Alex has his favorites, so we knew this was a great opportunity to make a plane donation to a well-deserving best friend!

              Carlos has been out of work for nearly one year after his accidental eye injury on the job, and Carlos has always been busy designing and creating his own custom planes like none we have ever

before seen – just take a look at his triangular FA/18 Blue Angels plane, it actually flies great! Carlos is also always skillfully rebuilding and repainting planes and making them fly and look brand new again, we thought he would love to have some of Alex’s planes and the price was certainly right – FREE!

              Alex looked around and found three planes he wanted to give to Carlos, then he looked some more and found five, then six planes. Eventually, Alex selected a grand total of seven planes for Carlos!

              We asked Brad to help us contact Carlos because we didn’t have his E-mail address or phone number, and Brad passed our phone number to Carlos (Thanks for the assistance, Brad!). After a series of text messages, we offered to drop the planes off at his home but Carlos and his wife came out to our home to pick up the planes on the afternoon of Monday, 08FEB2021. Before Carlos’ arrival, Alex lined up all seven planes (and one transmitter) along with any spare propellers/parts in our back yard for easy

retrieval for Carlos. When Carlos arrived, Alex and I could easily see the big grin on his face as he saw all the planes and I can tell you that I could see a grin just as big on Alex’s face too!

              Alex walked with Carlos along the line of planes and gave him some information on the condition of each one – some had a minor problem which Carlos advised would be no problem for him to repair with a little foam board and glue. I can assure you, Alex and I both were very happy to see Carlos was so appreciative and excited to be given these planes. For me personally, it was truly a heartwarming experience to watch and listen to these two expert Pilots discuss the planes and flying with SEFSD!

              Carlos loaded the planes in his van and was so thankful, he could not stop thanking Alex for the planes!  We told Carlos that we were very happy too that these planes which Alex has loved to fly, now had a new Pilot that would fly and love them as much as Alex had. This was WIN-WIN-WIN for all……

A WIN for Carlos, the gift of seven planes!

A WIN for Alex and I, it is better to give than to receive!

A WIN for Joan, now there is a more room in Alex’s Hangar/Aviation Repair Depot!**

             ** SEFSD Logic:  More room means more space for more planes!


  Frank Sutton

Custom AMA Numbers

Here’s the link to get more info and apply for your customized AMA Number.  For now through MARCH2021 it is on sale for a half-off one-time fee of $25.  After  MARCH the one-time fee goes up to $50 if you want to customize your AMA Number.  Maximum characters are 10. I’m getting my number changed, but I haven’t decided what yet – how about you?  Check out the link for more info!
Frank Sutton

Treasurer’s Report for February 2021

By Quan Nguyen

We have 242 members in February. Thank you everyone who joined or renewed for supporting the club. Despite the pandemic ravaging many social clubs financially, even disbanding some (non radio-control related) groups, SEFSD remains in a strong financial position. We’ve allocated a budget to give out prizes to the popular T-28 racing series and continue to maintain the field. We also keep up to date on local and state health orders and wait for the moment we can resume and fund the activities we used to have before the pandemic, including lunches at the field, regular contests, and the annual banquet. The covid case positivity rate has been receding rapidly the last several weeks locally and nationally, and I’ve heard some of our older adult members receiving their first or second dose of the vaccine, so I am cautiously optimistic this is the beginning of the return to normalcy.

Farewell to Fred Harris, 1931 – 2020

Fred Harris was a member of SEFSD in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  “50 Watt Fred ” as we called him was the first member to really see and demonstrate the usefulness and versatility of the ubiquitous ‘Speed 400’ motor.  The “50 Watt” refers to the electrical output from the motor and full tilt.  Input was ~100 Watts but the motor was only 50% efficient.  As most of us scoffed at the idea of using the cheap little motor, Fred was applying it to several of his home made planes.  The performance was better than most of us thought possible.  Thus the age of the Speed 400 was upon us thanks to Fred.  There were more firsts courtesy of Fred.  Long before any of us were doing anything with aerial video, Fred had a complete air to ground video downlink system with a monitor and VHS recording.  I remember putting his camera in my first “Big Red” Sig Kadet Senior.  The camera went inside just behind the windshield giving the illusion you were actually flying in the plane.  Fred was a fundamental component of our club’s growth and edification in the early years.  Thanks Fred!

Please click Fred’s picture for his obituary

Steve Belknap

3, 2, 1—Done! Remote ID Rule is Final

A 499 page document from the FAA has been released (leaked) regarding the “Remote ID” rules—of note is the fact that some of the more onerous requirements for RC flying have been dropped or modified under pressure from the AMA and the 53,000 people that gave their input when the “notice for proposed rule making” was made a year ago. There is a link to both the original article as well as the text with the areas of interest to us in red. I think members of the club might like to be kept informed as to what is going on.

Steve Neu


Four days before the new year, after 53,000 public comments on the draft rule and almost one year after the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) launch, the waiting is over. The Federal Aviation Administration has released its final Remote Identification (RID) Rule. Inside Unmanned Systems received an advance copy of the 499-page document, and here’s our summary of the new rule. Expect a full review of the rule and its implications in our February-March edition.

What it Is

The rule creates a new Part 89 in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft. It essentially requires a digital license plate” for unmanned aircraft (UA) to be operated in the U.S., one that both people on the ground and other airspace users can receive. (See “Types of RID” below for details.). This rule is specifically for UA (the unmanned air vehicle itself) and not unmanned aircraft systems (UAS – which includes the control station and data link). This recognizes that manufacturers might make UAs that are controlled by another manufacturers control stations. More importantly, it ensures that the UA will be broadcasting RID and not the control station. Very important if the UA goes lost link.


The Rule is effective 60 days from the expected publication date in the Federal Register in January 2021. Operators have thirty months and manufacturers have 18 months after this date to comply (i.e., 60 days plus 30 months).

RID Is Needed For

UAs weighing 55 pounds or less that must be registered under part 47 or part 48, with few exceptions. Of note, the FAA scrapped the requirement that all UA obtain a unique registration number. Recreational users remain an exception and can still be issued a single registration number for multiple UAs.

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Treasurer’s Report

We closed out 2020 with 306 members, and 201 members renewed or joined so far in 2021. Last December, our club donated 40 blankets to low income seniors at St. Paul’s PACE, a medical assistance program for low income seniors. They are very appreciative of receiving a blanket, as it is usually the only gift they receive for the holiday. We look forward to a great year at our club, and hopefully we can have events again soon!


Schubeler Virtual Aeromodelling Expo

Have you been looking to add some special enhancements to your next aeromodelling project? Then you won’t want to miss the next edition of the Virtual Extreme Jet Aeromodelling Expo premiering on Tuesday, January 26.

Brought to you by Schübeler Technologies, this episode features the inventor and CEO of Smoke-EL, Gunter Zielke, who created an electrical smoke system designed for RC model planes and jets. He’s also an Engineer of IT and ET, with a master’s degree in physics, whos’ been flying electric model airplanes since he was 15 years old! 

You can watch the show in English at 9am Eastern Standard time or in German at 9am Central European Time.  Please CLICK HERE to register. 

In this Expo, Gunter shares his experience inventing a smoke system designed specifically for electric aero models and provides an in-depth walk-through of how he built his CARF Eurofighter. 

Also, we’re always looking for other enthusiasts who would like to be featured in an upcoming Expo. Let us know if you have a special Aeromodelling project we can feature? 

Join the fun and register today for our next International Virtual Extreme Jet Aeromodelling Expo, brought to you by Schübeler Technologies.

Best regards,
The team at Schübeler Jets


Date: January 26, 2021
Time:  9am ET  or  9am CET

Our Friend Pandi Has Passed

Pandi was a great friend to many of us at SEFSD.  I remember his smile and prevalent good nature.  He called me this last Spring after not talking with him for several years.  We had a nice chat and in retrospect I think he was saying goodbye.  I’m glad he called.

You could see him most weekends at the field flying something he had put together.  Even though some did not fly as well as he liked, he was always back with something new the next weekend.  He owned Sureflite Hobbies on Convoy.  That was back in the days when we were blessed with three hobby shops in the area.  Seems so long ago.

Pandi’s Obituaries:

Tis the Season of the Outlaws

By Steve Manganelli

The Holidays are the season of the outlaws. We know how it goes: somebody gets a flying Christmas present, they have  general recollection that right near Seaworld is “the place” to fly such things. They timidly set up near one end of the field so as not to disturb anyone else (if there’s anyone else). It’s usually toward the afternoon and most folks have left and the wind is usually blowing. Perfect time for a newbie pilot to maiden a new airplane : how hard could it be? Usually it’s a quick crash, another broken toy, no harm to the rest of us SEFSD members.

This is the fixed wing scenario. As members, and/or officers, our control mechanism is to invite them on a walk to the rules sign while we point out the features of the field, our relationship with the various Government activities that gave us our flying privilege, how to select and instructor pilot, etc.  We strongly suggest they join the AMA, like now, before they try to fly and eventually our club and register with the FAA to become completely legal.  Failing that, if one of us volunteers to be the pilot in command that makes it legal for that day and a successful maiden voyage that will encourage them to come back for more, join our club, be part of our activities, just what we want.

Then there’s the drone scenario.  An out of the box commercial drone should be able to fly without pilot skill. Once again, they may perceive our field is the right place to fly. Hey, maybe even a good place to fly; get some birds eye view pictures of Seaworld, maybe a close up of some Jet ski action just off Fiesta Island, who knows. Never mind that these vantage points are outside our defined safe flight boundaries. These people have probably read our sign, maybe decided following all the rules is too much trouble, and there’s too many of them anyway.

“Hey, I don’t want any hassles, I just want to fly my drone!”  A couple of Sundays ago, we “counseled” (2) drone pilots who pitted out of a corner of the boat launch parking lot.  One of the two of them had previously tried to launch at our field but was dissuaded by Brad due lack of AMA, club Membership, etc.  I guarantee Brad did not suggest the boat launch parking lot was the alternate flying field for outlaw drones! The second drone was observed from our field; his flight path suggested origination from that same parking lot and he clearly wasn’t respecting our flight boundaries nor our altitude limit.

Remember, we are the only R/C Model institution associated with Mission Bay park. Anything bad or good that happens in the vicinity either indirectly or directly comes back on us.  These outlaws have nothing to lose, but we do! I’m suggesting that we should all be vigilant. Each scenario is a chance to bring a new member into our R/C community or make a disenfranchised outlaw.  Politely challenge what doesn’t look right.  Help the newbies that want to be helped and seem willing to understand and abide by our rules and strongly suggest to the outlaws to find another place far from here. If nothing else, point out the altitude limit, field boundaries and the obvious proximity to Lindberg field to which many of our rules originate.

T28 Racing Results – Dec 2020

We held our last T28 race for 2020 on November 28th. We had a good showing with 9 hard core pilots who all came ready to do battle in the sky. The first round kicked off at a little after 10am. The first heat went off smoothly with Brad taking first followed by Frank and George. With heat two things started to get cut throat with Mark, Otto and Steve Manganelli all trying to capture the lead—some just tried too hard  and managing to set new records for the number of cuts in a single race heat. After the fur ball fight Mark got the win simply because he flew cleanly avoiding making any cuts. Steve M and Otto ended up with 4 and 8 cuts respectively. The third heat of round one was clean with Alex first SteveN second and Quan third. Rounds 2 and 3 of the preliminary rounds all saw some great flying with very close finishes. The scores were totaled from the preliminary rounds to determine the matches for the finals. 
The bronze cup final had George taking an easy first place due to the abundant cuts of SteveM and Otto who managed to get rewarded with 4 and 11 cuts —a new record! George managed to avoid their fate and got the first place finish.
The silver cup featured Quan, Frank and Brad. Frank jumped the start putting him a lap down and handing first to Brad and second place to Quan. 
The gold cup had Mark, Alex and SteveN battling it out—for much of the race the lead went back and forth between Alex  and SteveN—on the last lap Alex’s plane went down resulting in a DNF. That left Mark and  SteveN in the race with Mark getting the first place in the end. We were all done flying in less than an hour—a lot of action packed into a short period.
We hope to restart the T28 racing series in January but we will be looking at the virus situation and making adjustments to the schedule as needed. I would like to ask members what they like and don’t like about the current format and what improvements they would like to see. Please feel free to send me your thoughts to:
I would like to thank all the members who have helped me with equipment setup, turn judging and “master of ceremonies” duty which without we could not have our T28 races.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and stay safe in the New Year!
Steve Neu

Analyzing Video Footage Of Collapse of Massive Arecibo Telescope

Incredible drone inspection footage of Arecibo telescope inadvertently capturing cable failure and resulting total collapse of the array during an aerial structural inspection. As some of you know I work with a group in the Navy in Point Loma that set up a drone inspection proof of concept program in 2017 to inspect Navy radio communication tower structures for structural integrity and maintenance so this really hit home for me watching this amazing footage.
Mike McGinnis
Click the pic.