General Interest

483 posts

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.

Continue reading

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.

Replacement Nuts for Spektrum TX

Has this happened to your Spektrum transmitter?

It happened to mine and I couldn’t find the missing nut. After sending an e-mail to Horizon Hobbies I got a response listing the web page for eight replacement nuts and a tightening tool.

They even have orange colored nuts if you want to jazz up your Tx….


Jeff Struthers

Treasurer’s Report for Nov. 2020

We’re closing out the year with 302 members. Thank you everyone for your support, even during a difficult year where we had to cancel most events. We certainly will miss having the annual holiday party at the Harbor House in January, and sadly, the venue is going to close next September to make way for a new restaurant. However, the board and I are closely watching CDC, state, and local health orders so that we can host the annual party as soon as feasible. For next year, I’ll be your humble Treasurer again. Our finances are sound, and we have sufficient reserves. This winter, the club purchased 40 blankets that will be donated to low income older adults across the county. Thank you Lisa (Brad’s wife)  for connecting us with an incredible deal to buy the blankets at cost! I’ll be delivering the blankets to St. Paul’s PACE in Chula Vista on December 3rd. Look out for an email announcing membership renewals for 2021!


AMA Air Mentions San Diego

About half-way through the live AMA Air Show, SEFSD, Alex, and Otto were mentioned when show host Matt featured our Happy Halloween 2020 Flying Witch video!  WOW!  SEFSD made it on today’s IFLYAMA segment! WOW!
Also, Torrey Pines Gliderport was selected as NOV’s R/C Club of the Month!
Frank “Hobie Cat” Sutton

Desert Warbirds

“Thank you for helping to spread the word about our upcoming 2021 Desert Warbirds event.  I hope we will see some of your members out for our event.  This event and our Coachella Jet Jam are our two main events for the year, helping us raise money to not only support the club’s needs, but also to help the Wounded Warriors Project and Rebuilding America’s Warriors (RAW).  With the great support of our RC community we have been able to donate a minimum of $1000 each year from the proceeds of these events to those two organizations to help our great wounded veterans.  I hope your members can come out, have a great time, and support a wonderful cause.  Thanks!


IFLYAMA, do you? And if not, why not?

By Frank Sutton

      Unlike my Sweetheart, Joan, I have never been a fan of Facebook and do not have my own Facebook profile. I am, however, now a huge fan of the IFLYAMA Group that piggybacks on Facebook (, and I think you may also become an IFLYAMA fan too if you check it out!

     As an AMA Member, I receive E-mails from the AMA all the time, and some of them refer to the IFLYAMA Website and the AMA AIR Live Internet Show normally held on every 1st and 15th of the month, hosted by Matt and Claire. If you’re unable to watch the AMA Air show live (usually about 30 minutes or so), it is recorded and posted on the IFLYAMA Website.  In early AUG2020, I watched one of the recorded episodes using the link attached to the E-mail and it was very informative. I watched and enjoyed the next one two weeks later, and noticed that Claire always asks at the end of the show, “If you’re not an IFLYAMA member, why aren’t you?” I’ve been watching every episode, sometimes when it was live, ever since.

     Each episode features a dedicated segment to the IFLYAMA group.  Matt and Claire say it is their favorite part of the show and for good reason, it is also our favorite part of the show seeing the photos and videos submitted by Pilots featured on the show!  So I was very curious about the IFLYAMA group. Years ago, Joan created a Facebook profile for Alex which Joan sometimes updates because like me, Alex also doesn’t do Facebook. With their permission, I accessed the IFLYAMA/Facebook Page via Alex’s Facebook profile and requested membership almost three months ago.  Of course, I had to give IFLYAMA my name and AMA Membership number, but I was getting there via Alex’s Facebook profile.  My membership request was quickly approved and then I was able to log on the IFLYAMA Website to see what was going on and happily discovered there really is a lot going on!

     There are over 3,000 IFLYAMA members currently, and new members are joining daily. To more easily explain what the IFLYAMA is all about, here’s a quote from the IFLYAMA homepage describing what it is all about……


“Model aviation is fun! And it’s even more fun when shared! I Fly AMA is a community created to bring AMA members together to share projects, building tips and tricks, and modeling stories with likeminded modelers.

Whether you fly airplanes, helicopters, drones, prefer Free Flight, Control Line, or Radio Control, this place is for you. Because at the heart of each discipline, we all share one thing in common: a passion for flight!

Please be kind, respectful, and don’t spam. We’re all in this together!”


     In the “Media” section I immediately saw photos and videos submitted by other Pilots showing what they’re flying, where they’re flying, what they’re building, and comments back and forth between the Pilot that posted the photo or video and those that saw the photo or video.  Sometimes a Pilot would ask a question or seek advice, and always other Pilots would respond and come to their assistance.  Everyone I could see was as excited about aviation as myself and Alex, and we were able to learn a few things and make some new “virtual” friends along the way and located all across the USA!  There are technical articles and information as well, and news about the FAA and how their rules and regulations are affecting our wonderful sport.

     IFLYAMA does so many things to promote model aviation too, one of them being to promote a different R/C Club each month in their Live AMA Air Internet Show. They also change the aviation photo on their main page every month by having members submit their own photos and then the one with the most “Likes” by the viewers is the photo that headlines the IFLYAMA’s homepage for the following month.  Pilots have to specifically submit a photo in the main page contest to be considered for the monthly IFLYAMA mainpage photo when the contest starts on the 15th of each month, any photos that may have already been submitted simply for sharing with other Pilots are not considered.  Once a Pilot’s contest photo is chosen, that Pilot is disqualified from submitting another contest photo for the honor of it being used as the IFLYAMA Main Page photo, but of course, the Pilot may always submit additional photos for sharing.  The homepage photo competition is fierce with many absolutely spectacular photos submitted each month; I don’t know if one of my contest photo submissions will ever be a monthly winner but I’m not giving up!  So long as the SEFSD Pilots keep flying, I’ll keep taking photos!

     You may have already guessed it; I saw an opportunity to promote Silent Electric Flyers San Diego to the more than 3,000 IFLYAMA members and have been doing so for nearly three months now.  I have submitted photos and a few videos for the IFLYAMA members to view and have received dozens of “Likes” and comments in the process.  Similarly, I “Like” and comment on other Pilots’ submissions as well, and often receive a thankful reply.  There is no doubt by now many Pilots across the USA understand how great it is to be a member of Silent Electric Flyers San Diego and know of all the fun we have flying at our beautiful Mission Bay location.  Many members respond to some of the photos by stating it just can’t get any better flying R/C with the roller coasters in the background (of some photos)!

     If you enjoy reviewing the SEFSD Website, the SEFSD photo gallery, and reading the SEFSD Peak Charge Newsletter every month, then Alex and I believe you will also enjoy the IFLYAMA community where there is always something new happening.  To join, you’ll need a Facebook profile ( and if you don’t already have one (like me!), you may easily create one and provide the minimal information to protect your privacy.  Then, log on Facebook with your new profile and search for the “IFLYAMA” group and submit a membership request. It can’t get any easier than this, and we hope you will enjoy it too!  And if anyone asks, Alex and I STILL don’t do Facebook – but we definitely do IFLYAMA!

     I’ve enclosed a photo of Matt and Claire on the IFLYAMA Air Show, the IFLYAMA logo, and a screenshot photo just after posting a few 10OCT2020 T-28 Racing and Open Flying photos.  As Matt and Claire say at the conclusion of each AMA Air Live show, “See You Later, Aviators!”


Frank “Hobie” Sutton

“Aviator” Alex Sutton

Meeting Minutes from August & September 2020

By Steve Manganeli

Minutes, SEFSD BOD Meeting, August 12th, 2020

Meeting called to order by COB Brad Bender @ 6:52 P.M., home of Steve Neu

Present : Brad Bender, Steve Manganelli, Steve Neu, Quan Nguyen

Via Zoom : Jeff Struthers, Ken Dresser, Eric Shapiro

Not Present : Carl Cox, Tony Blackhurst

  1. No minutes were created after our last meeting held February 11, 2020 although I and Brad had written notes from it. Manganelli agreed to take minutes for this meeting.
  2. Membership stands at 286 and our net worth is ~ $33,000. No club events and no prizes has saved us money!
  3. Field Improvement. Application of “Dust Down” via 3000 gallon water truck was approved and will be implemented after loose sand has been swept away. This was discussed in February to be accomplished in March prior to the last rain, but overcome by (Covid) events. A treatment performed in the next few weeks should last us until the rains come. Sufficient Dust Down should be in hand by next week, the sand sweep will be announced via broadcast for August 22nd at 8:30 A.M. and the water truck rental/application shortly thereafter.
  4. Altitude Limit/FAA. Brad reported that the AMA has intervened with some clubs to raise their altitude limit to 400 ft. However our limit was imparted by an FAA regional office in the Los Angeles area and we don’t have any direct contacts with them. For the foreseeable future we must abide by the 200 ft limit and have our FAA registration current and displayed on our models.
  5. Holiday Party. Our contacts at the Harbor House Restaurant informed us that they will be closed for inside/close dining until at least November so no party may be scheduled. However once opened, we could be scheduled in with only 30 days lead time, so don’t give up yet!
  6. First Post Covid Club Event : T-28 Racing! Steve Neu announced that Racing with social distancing will commence on August 22nd. We should plan on wearing masks when we are in close proximity as current practice. There are folks from the Miramar Club that want to race us and was agreed that as long as they have AMA, they were welcome but any prizes purchased at Club expense would only be available to club members. There was no mention of anything at stake for August’s race, hopefully it will low key so as to not create the appearance of a crowd.
  7. Port a Potty Rental. Quan reported we are due a credit from United Rentals of $286 for extra cleanings not actually performed (as we weren’t there to benefit from them). Eric mentioned to watch for black widow spiders when putting to lid down and was still feeling the pain from an encounter!
  8. Our Certificate of Deposit expired and is now at an interest rate of 0.25%. Other possibilities are being explored.
  9. Club Officer Succession. Brad reminded us that his term as COB is nominally over at the end of this year. Per our bylaws, the outgoing President nominally succeeds him, but after the abdication of Mr. Blackhurst, it is clear we will need some new blood. Brad asked all BOD members if they would consider another office or another term. It was also discussed that there may be a need for an alternate election methodology in the face of the Covid/Social distancing.
  10. Tony Blackhurst will be removed from the Club Bank account authorization due to his non-participation in Club activities. The new President will be a Substitute nominee.
  11. Meeting was adjourned at 7:52 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted be Steve P. Manganelli, Vice President

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – –

Minutes, SEFSD BOD Meeting, September 9th, 2020

Meeting called to order by COB Brad Bender @ 6:55 P.M., home of Steve Neu

Present : Brad Bender, Steve Manganelli, Steve Neu, Quan Nguyen

Via Zoom : Jeff Struthers, Carl Cox, Eric Shapiro

Not Present : Tony Blackhurst

  1. Field Improvement : we spent $639 for the “Dust Down” and $680 for the 2000 gallon water truck to solidify the field as authorized at the last BOD meeting. Apparently( 1) of the 5 gallon pails was shipped damaged and we received (5) no-charge replacements, so the next time it will be cheaper (won’t be done again until after the rains come). Thanks to Jim Bonnardel for driving/filling/messing with the water truck!
  2. Membership stands at 291 and our net worth is ~ $33,000. No club events and no prizes continue to save us money! We submitted a new Money Market account to raise funds from our savings.
  3. Altitude Limit/FAA. Our letter of agreement with Lindberg’s tower was received, signed by both parties, thus approved! Yeah, we get our “Blue Dot” on AMA’s master flying site map! The only new item for us is too add POC info for the tower in an unlikely event that a model departs the field heading for Lindberg in a stable manner. Look for an addendum to the large rules sign stating what to do in that unlikely event. Action to write the statement : Me!
  4. Club Officer Succession. Brad took a poll of current officers willing to serve another term : those in the affirmative include :Myself, Quan, Steve Neu and Brad.. (3) more names are needed. All were encouraged to recruit!
  5. Holiday Party. Discussion will be deferred until October’s meeting.
  6. We still have a couple of tables at the field to replace, goal is to have them done by the end of year.
  7. There will be no Electroglide this month. Principles still dissuaded by Covid implications.
  8. Next BOD meeting scheduled for October 14, 2020 although it appears to be the 7th
  9. Meeting was adjourned at 8:07 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted be Steve P. Manganelli, Vice President.