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By Tim Attaway
As you may remember, last year we got a call from Physics/Engineering teacher Scott Swaaley asking for excess equipment that members of SEFSD no longer needed. He planned to develop units around RC technology at Pt Loma Hi Tech High. The science section of the school has 500 students and 40 plus teachers. The school has been in existence for a dozen years or more and lucky for both parties Scott is teacher and member of SEFSD. He developed the first unit on RC boats, floating their creations at vacation village pond. The follow up unit was a 5 day intercession conducted Jan 6 through the 10th and was attended by 25 students. They looked at a variety of short term projects within their 3-4 person groups and the experience level varied from no RC experience to a medium amount of experience. Five teams choose the Cessna 180 project. You may remember that Sean Belknap did a build thread on SEFSD website for this aircraft and you may also remember our esteemed president now Chairman of the board Frank Gagliardi gave away a ton of these basic kits last year and I saved 5 complete kits for just this kind of project.
Scott received an avalanche of old motors, broken planes, servos, radio equipment, batteries which were donated by Neu energy and the AMA actually sent him 4 Hitec Zebra radio systems on 72 MHz As January 6th approached you saw a call for small servos in an internet blast to our club membership. I got several calls but the key one was from Dick Hatch. I went to his house in the AM of Jan 6th to pick up what he wanted to donate. Dick’s incredible generosity included more than 100 servos, 20 motor/speedcontrollers combo’s receivers, solo motors….way over 1000.00 dollars in valuation. I was amazed at his gift to this cause and Hi Tech High is so appreciative for this donation. Thanks Dick! BTW this is a tax deduction for 2014.
As you will see from the pictures that were taken during construction period Monday –Thursday I was joined by SEFSD member extraordinaire Pedro Brantuas and together with Scott we tried to guide construction of a broad spectrum of aircraft but predominantly Cessna. The classroom pictures show a screen that had a simulator going non-stop every day with students trying to learn to fly on the program that was donated also by someone in SEFSD. Much balsa was ruined and I just had to keep my comments to myself at times because discovery in working with balsa is a process. The tail feather production out of balsa with hinging and shaping and attaching horns and so on was a sight to see. Locating servos, motors and propellers and then there was the landing gear that had to be invented….it was fun to watch what they came up with and all was not good or useful.
We planned a day at SEFSD and the Cessnas, T-28, Easy Stars, foam slab construction of a twin motor aircraft that was about 90 % complete and other assorted flying Delta aircraft showed up with 30 students and many parents that provided transportation on Friday Jan 10th to our Flying Site. They arrived at about 9:20 AM and we assembled down at the safe East end of the runway. I went through the safety rules and gave them a spiel about being very deliberate with all of their activities so as to keep safe from mishaps. For the most part we had few incidents to worry about. John Forester stepped in the biggest way by offering to take the students up for a flying lesson so I began sending 3 students at a time to him and he took them up on his Twin Star trainer. Thanks so much John….you saved me by helping out with this project. Our club owned Mentor system, which we earned through the Civil Air Patrol program last year, was put into service by Pedro Brantuas with multiple students doing quite well. I took a couple of groups up with the Club Easy Star and they were quite capable of keeping the aircraft in control. Then we began to attempt to fly the creations of the week and that was exciting at times. Maiden flights of Cessnas began and other aircraft came out to the flight line and some carnage did happen but some flew successfully and the students rejoiced when they saw their project slip through the air with the greatest of ease. It was intense, a little wild at times….it was not boring. A lot of learning took place…..that was what this was about.
The BOD of SEFSD approved the funds to buy lunch and Hebrews came out and were consumed with great gusto, with the group making them disappear quickly. We cleaned up took the group pictures which are included herein and the class was over for the day at around 1 PM.
Thanks again Pedro and John I really appreciated your assistance on this project and it will help us in our securing the Gold Leader Club status for 2014. Scott……it was interesting and I enjoyed being in a classroom again and I look forward to more in the future.
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