First things first : We were inspected by our Landlord (San Diego City Parks Management) on the 19th of July and we passed! This annual requirement is part of our Right of Entry Permit so we had a visit from Mr. Mike Rodrigues and his boss, Ms. Karolynn Estrada whom took the time to come out and not only conduct the inspection, but share their thoughts about relevant issues that are important to Parks organization. Our great WEBSITE provided the ongoing answers to their advance questions about membership costs/procedures/requirements, Board of Directors composition and Bylaws. Current documents about our non-profit status and site specific insurance were provided by Quan and forwarded on to Parks Management in advance of the meeting, thanks Quan! We received high marks for the field condition; it was tidy, neat and 100% trash free thanks to Dennis LaBerge. Most of their inspection criteria are generic and not easy to apply to us; we received some fast check marks for items that were sort of applicable (i.e. preservation of drainage for one). Next, our discussion went on to my main issue namely how to respond to Commercial inquiries to rent/borrow/sub-lease the field to demonstrate some commercial product. The answer was curt and unambiguous : NO! We are limited to recreational use only and any/all inquiries to “borrow” the field for a commercial purpose should be rejected. <Note to Editor. Plz spell check Dennis’ name>.
The issues on the minds of Parks Folks were drones and homeless. The latter easier to explain. The Parks Department was recently directed to use the City’s “Get-It-Done” organization, (known more commonly as a downtown cleanup kind of thing) to remove homeless encampments in the Park. That takes coordination with SDPD, Parks folks and needs to have some kind of planned outcome for the person to be displaced (i.e. jail, drug rehab, etc.). Fortunately, Randy Wynant was with me to describe his efforts to both identify homeless encampments and close the loop on his past efforts to seek a solution via this Get-It-Done organization and the outcome therein. The Parks folks pride themselves on being responsive and were apologetic about their inability to do more. One thing completely within their jurisdiction is landscape maintenance. If lowering the bushes surrounding an encampment will encourage the persons to leave, they’re for it! We thanked them for them efforts.
Finally drones. The word “drones” is not in our bylaws, our runway sign or anywhere else on our documentation. To us it is synonymous with “quad copter” or “multi-rotor” the latter term is in our documentation and is sanctioned by our signs, fences, FPV race course and “Rotorplex” area. We explained the operational use difference between fixed wing, helicopters and multicopters. Randy helped explain the difference between a professional FAA Part 107 licensed operator flying with FAA sanctioned LAANC permissions and someone strapping a camera on a CraigsList acquired quad copter and flying around over a crowd to get some “cool footage” for their YouTube channel (and complaints to the Parks Dept. about privacy and/or safety hazards). The parks folks do know to send uninformed quad copter operators to us where we can get them set up with AMA, FAA, Club Membership, Field boundaries, etc. but from their standpoint, why would they want to do that if they just want to take pictures of some event happening miles from our field? The matter gets a bit muddier when you add FAA requirements and classes of airspace which do not differentiate between types of R/C flying vehicles only that they are all kept away from man-carrying aircraft. Apparently, there is a small corner of the Park the FAA recognizes as having a higher ceiling than Class B airspace and thus uninitiated quad copter operators are often directed there. They also provided me some FAA documents they use to council drone operators which I believe are obsolete. The Parks folks asked for and received a copy of our Lindberg Field Letter of Agreement for their files.
Do you have your new Logo fashion items on order yet? I do! The link is now very clear on the left side of our home page (not that it wasn’t previously as I never tried it before). I hope I’ll have my new sun-shield hat with our new logo before next week’s Altitude Quest Funfly. I also want to mention that the funds to replace the “disappeared chairs” have been received and turned into action which you’ll see on the field next time you’re there.
Our Independence Day celebration on July 2nd was a smash hit. The BBQ catered by Larry Kosta’s friend and club member Joe Zaitz (Smokin Joes BBQ) was delicious. The assemblage ate every bite of Tri-tip plus grilled onions and peppers plus potato salad and topped it off with Brownies made by Michelle Manganelli. We began the day with “Don’t Spill the Beans” (DSB) orchestrated by the Fun Contest Master, Jim Bonnardel. I need to apologize for suggesting that someone other than Jim was to conduct this contest per my last month’s column. Turns out, this was Jim’s Birthday weekend and otherwise had us scheduled for the previous weekend. Jim very graciously changed his plans to be with us instead, Thanks for your commitment, Jim!
Steve Neu and I decided to “go to school” on DSB a week before the July 2nd event. Without knowing what size cup or what size beans to use, we stuck a 2 oz (way bigger than the official DSB cup) on the top of the canopy of Steve’s Passport (10S, 11 lb, F-3A Pattern Airplane) and some random dry beans from Steve’s pantry and went for it. We were surprised and then amused to watch the beans appear to levitate right out of the cup (low pressure due to fuselage shape, probably) at the beginning of the takeoff roll. The beans were scattered to winds before the plane even left the ground! This is going to be harder than we thought. I first tried putting the cup on the CG of my low wing Tucan necessarily off the center of the fuselage. This didn’t fair any better as the beans were certainly gone by the time I returned to the deck, never mind the loop which I intended to try only when the takeoff and landing retained the beans. Steve only brought a sandwich baggie half full of trial beans which we were quickly running out of along with good ideas. Next I tried the Splendor which is a bigger airplane with a softer landing gear. Much easier to get a smooth takeoff and low but positive G climbout. Still mixed results. Capitalizing on the low pressure theory, the cup was moved to the trailing edge of the wing (where the pressure should be higher…ish?) and as inboard as possible without interfering with the aileron : we have success! We were able to retain the beans without too much trouble. A good landing would save all the beans and goodish landing at least 2/3rds of them : dollar bill bonanza here we come!
But wait, a new wrinkle arises : Jovi is unable to make it, someone else needs to bring the drinks in the club ginormous cooler. I realize that if I have to put that thing in my car I can’t fit the Splendor and well, poop! Steve N. thinks exactly the same thing, the Passport taking up most of his car as well, now what? So, we strike up a deal : how about if we each bring ½ the drinks in our own smaller coolers and we’ll still have room in the cars for the smooth planes destined to capture the cash. Well…So, you know what happens to “innovations” as applicable to a supposedly fun contest? They get smacked down by the Man! It wasn’t considered cheating as the current rules don’t specify where to put the bean cup, but next year’s rules definitely will, dag nab it! Next year we’ll be constrained to have the cup on the center of the fuselage. Well boss, you can lose the beans, divvy out the small but bulky fortune in $1 to others, but I’m keeping the smiles and the laughs to myself, OK? That’s the best part of it, really. I had one more big idea and announced to the crowd : “since you all have pockets stuffed with $1 bills, how about lightening up your load into Smokin Joe’s tip jar to show our appreciation for the fabulous BBQ?” He and his crew appreciated it I think enough to come back next year for some more great chow. In the meantime, we’ll see you next month for altitude quest.