Dedicated to the Promotion of Electric Propulsion in all types of Aeromodeling

President’s Corner for Feb – Mar 2024

Happy February Everyone!

If you have kept up on my field updates over the last several weeks, you have seen my frustration in members responses when we are trying to minimize wet field damage – with a root cause of rainy weather. While I wish we had control of when / and how much rain we will receive, this time of year, it’s hard to guess what next week will bring. Even Jovi’s ANTI-Rain Dance video had no effect.

One mandate that I constantly bring to the Board of Directors is to keep our
runway in a flyable condition, which has led us to the RED LOCK WHEN WET
policy for the last 2 years. I will say that keeping members off of the
muddy runway has kept the field in the best condition it has been in over
the last 10 years. I will also say that the sheer anger directed at the BOD
for trying to keep the field in good condition has been unreasonable. Some
people act like their life will end violently if they have to wait a few
days for the greater good.

I’m hoping a tiny bit of education about our field will MAYBE calm them
down….

I hate to beat what should be a cold, dead horse, but here I am – with the
stick….

Our field is Clay. Clay is naturally absorbent.  It rapidly absorbs moisture, and it releases it slowly. Water doesn’t drain through clay like it does through sand or soil, it has to evaporate out. The time it takes to evaporate liquid out of clay depends on 3 things:

1.       Sunlight – the runway may dry quicker on warmer days

2.       Wind – may carry more moisture away faster

3.       Humidity – if the air is dryer, it may evaporate more moisture from
the runway

These conditions are completely out of our control. Just because the street is dry in front of your house in Chula Vista, Mira Mesa, or Oceanside has no bearing on whether the field surface will be dry enough to use within 36 hours of a rain storm with measurable precipitation…

The safest bet will be to simply understand that the field will be unusable
for at least the first 24 hours after a storm – and up to 36 hours if
conditions stay cool with little wind. If a BOD member is in the area during
or after a storm, we will attempt to verify the field condition and put it
out via the Clubs Facebook page and/or email blast to members if we can.
None of us live on site, and all of us have jobs – so this is not 100% going
to happen every day.

Thankfully, the traditional rainy season is almost over, and I can shut up
about this for a while. Remember though, as things dry out – if we leave
deep impressions that actually dry into the clay, they will be ripping our
landing gear off well into summer as once the clay is dry, its near
impossible to smooth it out.

MOVING ON!

There has been more confusion about the pattern we fly at SEFSD in a
logical attempt to reduce head on, mid-air collisions.

Standard flight fundamentals dictate that we take off and land heading into
the wind to take advantage if the “free” air speed.

We promote using an oval pattern with the upwind leg being between the
runway centerline and 15-10 yards over the weed line, and the downwind leg
30-50 yards out in the field area. The normal flight pattern at our site
tends to be ” right to left” over the runway to take advantage of the
‘Normal” wind, generally coming towards us past SeaWorld. This time of year,
we tend to see the wind coming from mission valley on mornings until between
8:30 and 9:45 AM, then it usually shifts back to “Normal”. This can be a
confusing time and has led to a few confrontations lately at the field in
the few minutes when the wind is shifting.

To make it as easy as possible – when there is little to no wind, Call out
your intentions, Loudly. Call out ” TAKING OFF LEFT TO RIGHT” or “LANDING
LEFT TO RIGHT” – whichever direction matches the condition.

If others are in the air when you take off, MATCH their current pattern.
Don’t switch patterns mid-flight. If people lifted off left to right, they
should stay in that pattern, and land left to right. Even if the breeze had
shifted slightly in the interim. If the wind shifts and you are the only one
flying, fly the pattern you prefer, and when another pilot calls for takeoff
– tell him which way you are flying so he can match you. It will become
obvious usually around 10:00 AM on which way to go, and people generally
will stay with that pattern for the rest of the day.  If this is all too
confusing, simply save your flight until the pattern is obvious. If you can
only fly one way, I recommend you get some early practice to break this
habit.

We are generally on a good will basis for mid-air crashes. An apology and a
handshake usually clear it up. However – that may change if you are
willfully flying opposite pattern and take someone out as a result.

The whole idea is to have fun without too much yelling and crashing other
pilots planes.

Finally, a member brought up the fact that he is unhappy with members
saving tables for others. While there are no ” full time ” reserved tables
for anyone at SEFSD, I am OK with reserving tables on a case by case Basis.
While I, personally, do like the lower table between gates 3 and 4, to reach
into taller fuselages without a ladder – it is not “BRADS table”. A few
people are kind enough to put a chair there on weekends to help me out. If I
put a chair out for Jovi or Mark, it is intentioned for Jovi to be near me
so I can help him with something, and Mark to have a table reserved to set
up lunch for the club. Yes, People have tried to fight Mark in the past when
he set their plane next to the fence in order to set up the hot dog
station…  If you want to reserve a spot for a soon to arrive family member
– please have at it.

One thing I do ask – Don’t reserve a spot for the whole day for someone
that’s not coming. If I save a spot for Jovi or Jim at 7:30, and they are
not there by 8:30, I will text them and let the spot go if they don’t
answer, or say they aren’t coming. On event days or meeting days, no saving
after 9:45 AM ( except the food table)  Share the spots once it’s obvious
that tables are in short supply.

Again, it’s all about having fun with friends – and making new friends as
you go.

A couple of safety issues I viewed this month:

** It’s NEVER safe to fly your plane at the fence with full throttle, and
pull away at the last possible second.

Exciting? Yes.

Totally Unsafe? Yes.  I see servos and control clevises fail every day.

** Never taxi inside the fence of the pit area. Spinning blades only on the
runway please.

If you have to run up a motor or work on an energized plane in the pit area –
always remove the prop. One second on inattention can equal months of pain
and rehab.

To close out – Here’s to praying for a dry Month!!

This weekends fun fly event on Feb 24 will be the most popular “Don’t Spill
the Beans” competition, which is the only monthly fun fly we have all year
where you receive CASH for prizes. It will require a standard 3s sized
aircraft and a pilot capable of taking off, reaching a specified altitude,
pulling a loop, and landing. Easy as pie! Once the fun fly is over, we will
have the monthly club meeting followed by lunch provided by the club.

Stay Dry, and keep SAFE!

Brad