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

President’s Corner for Oct – Nov 2022

We are down with Dustdown, finally!  The much anticipated process of solidifying the topmost later of our dirt to a respectable runway surface was finally completed last Friday. The real selfless sacrifice goes to Dennis Laberge who spent 7 hours on the roller getting the field just right after Quan and myself orchestrated the water truck disgorging! Thanks so much Dennis, your work is exemplary! For the record, Quan and I hucked (5) 5 gallons of Dustdown to the top of the water truck and poured it into the first 2,000 gallons of water and the 2nd 2,000 gallons completes the mix. Proper spreading is an art perfected by Quan and duly instructed to <Ms. Water Truck Driver, neighbor of George Sullivan>. One pass only, so you have to go slow, else you would make ruts on a subsequent pass; the remaining water with the dust down shared between the parking lot and edge of the runway/pit area applied with a “water cannon”. 

Other than a lot of mosquitos and moving around a few chairs, Quan and I had it pretty easy compared with what Dennis endured. If you see Dennis on the field, you might want to thank him!

Any thoughts or differences of opinion as to how the Club should be run? You still have time to self nominate. Nominations and the nominal composition of the 2023 BOD  will be announced following November’s T-28 race which will be the last Club event of the year. Those continuing on the BOD are willing to shuffle around a bit to accommodate newbies. The “Member at Large” is a good place to get one’s feet wet. All you have to do is attend the BOD meetings on the nominally 2nd Wednesday of the month participate in discussion and vote on the outcomes. The secretary position requires attending BOD meetings and taking minutes, not too hard either. Please think about it. Any questions about roles and responsibilities, please shoot me an E-mail.

At the last BOD meeting we committed to a presentation of a “Story Board” at the next Mission Bay Park Planning Committee meeting scheduled for November 1st. I’m afraid that if we don’t get on the agenda this month, it might be next year before we have another chance. The focus of our presentation will be on gaining access to the Park Master planning process where we want our field of dreams included instead of the current volley ball courts and soccer fields. The story will introduce our history and highlight our community service and charitable activities. If nothing else, the committee will have a face to our name and be aware of our history.

Want a logo T-shirt? Aside from the beautiful custom embroidery you can have on a huge variety of apparel items from LNN Custom Apparel.   We will make a run of silk screened T-shirts of various sizes and they will be sold for $20.  This shirt will have a large version of our logo silk screened on the back of the Tee Shirt and a smaller one on the front.

Anyone for flying in circles? Otherwise known as Control Line, if you want to feel your airplane in the air vs twiddle your thumbs, this is the way! Like many of us Senior Citizens whom have been modeling since childhood, radio control, circa 1972 was way way expensive especially for a 12 y/o with an income obtained from mowing the neighbors’ lawns. My friends and I built and flew control line Ringmasters, Flight Streaks, Combat Kittens, Stuntmans and Swordsmens and had a ball doing it. We covered our open frame structures with silkspan and dope. No, not the kind of dope you get high on, but come to think of it, the toluene and xylene solvents in that stuff made us a bit loopy! The glow fuel smell on the handlebar tape grips of our ten speed bikes we used to get our models to the flying field (aka nearest high school athletic field), became a lasting reminder of our adventures.  After nearly (2) years of thinking about it, I finally did it : made my first control line flight in about 47 years! No, I didn’t crash and no, I didn’t get dizzy! The adventure was ignited by Frank Gagliardi whom introduced me to a group headed by Charles Carter whom flies regularly at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. The (2) years of thinking ended with an estate sale held by Frank G, where an all up “Ukie Stunter” was available for purchase. The model was already converted to Electric Power; the glow fuel stuff being something I wish to continue to keep in the past.  I obtained the exact type of control handle and lines I remembered from my childhood and used 47 years ago. The number of excuses was waning!

I didn’t get any batteries with the purchase, nor any way to control the throttle, the latter felt like something of great importance lest I start to become dizzy and need to land. The internet info on the obsolete outrunner suggested 3S lipos and the 10X5 prop it came with. Slapped on some 3S2200’s and she seemed sufficiently powerful but way tail heavy. Reached into the “motor drawer” and pulled out a Neumotors 1905 connected to Castle ICE 50 speed control. It already had the right XT60 connectors so I taped it to the nose in place of the supplied motor. Added some out-of-the-battery-drawer 4S2650’s and balance was achieved and with about the right amount of current with a similar size prop! A little fiberglass and circuit board material later, a stunning profile fuselage dark green with black nose A6M3 Zero awaited my flying prowess!

But wait : that throttle problem. I couldn’t exactly tape on a servo tester, now could I? So the control line throttle problem was solved with radio control! Hit up the box of junky receivers, find one that will bind to a junky transmitter, plug in the Zero’s speed control to Channel 3 and viola, we have an R/C throttled U-control. The plan was, I’d have the transmitter connected to a neck strap allowing me to adjust the throttle with my left hand while flying the airplane via the control handle in my right hand.

Now jump to Kit Carson Park on September 23rd. My new good friend Charles Carter is poised in the middle of the circle with control handle connected to my Zero. I stand outside the circle with the transmitter. Let’s see : he has the elevator, I have the throttle, hmmm. Control line models are generally launched and flown at full throttle and then landed dead stick, so that’s what we did. I exchange thumbs up signals with Charles, firewall it and let her go. Wow, she’s flying! We agree on some throttle adjustments by talking to each other from only 60 feet apart, not too hard; can’t do that with a non-throttled gas engine, I say to myself.  “Ready to land, Charles?” Yes. I chop the throttle, then he brings it in for a smooth landing so now it’s <gulp> my turn! I’m not otherwise a TX neck strap user so I didn’t actually have one…wait a minute, a badge lanyard left over from some cruise ship vacation, that has a clip at the end, perfect. We repeat the launch sequence with me having all the controls; the transmitter dangling around my neck. I firewall it, give Charles the go signal, I add a little up elevator and in about 20 feet, she’s flying! I’m actually flying Control Line, the last time being around 1975! So far so good. I climb immediately to “3 mistakes high” which is 15 feet for U-control.

 I reach down to retard the throttle, the badge lanyard promptly snaps and the transmitter falls to the ground upside down with the throttle at full go! Ohhhh crud! Okay, I continue to spin in circles while looking down at my feet for the transmitter, I instinctively climb “high” and my Zero happily spins above me, staying right where I can find it again,  connected to my right hand! We know what would have happened in pure R/C mode : look up after retrieving the TX and plane gone, crash! I deftly retrieve the TX with my left hand and cradle it against my left side with my left hand and left thumb able to control the throttle. That’s how the remainder of the flight and subsequent flights went with the TX cradled against my side with my left hand. I chop the throttle, glide in and she noses over on touch down, no damage though, a successful flight! In two more flights I was doing inside loops and square loops. Is this muscle memory from 47 years ago or is U-control flying that easy? I’m thinking mostly the former as I remember doing inside and outside loops and flying inverted. However modulating the throttle was just too good to give up. For future Ukie flights, I’m trying to figure out how to integrate the R/C throttle into the control handle so I can have full throttle control via my right index finger. There is an art to getting the plane to stop in the right place on the circle during landing so we don’t have to walk so far. Otherwise, someone has to grab the plane and walk it back to the takeoff point on the circle, then to the pits while the pilot holds on the control handle to keep the control lines from being tangled and kinked/damaged. There is a lot of fetching and walking in control line, plus deployment of a set of traffic cones to keep spectators out of the flight circle. The R/C world of taxiing up to the gate is definitely easier on us old guys.  Even shagging the plane from an upwind gate is better as we have no control lines to tangle up. So after all this shagging and bending over to retrieve all the cones in the 90 degree heat of Escondido, we were pooped! I then offered a celebratory lunch on me to commemorate the end of a 47 year hiatus of my Control Line career.  Many thanks to Charles Carter, my U-control mentor with whom I definitely couldn’t have done it without. I have some further  “RC Integration” plans that may involve rate gyros, but that’s still a future adventure.

Finally, the previous fun-contest/hot dog cookout and 2nd to last Club Members Meeting event was a civilian scalable success. The scoresheet provided by master of ceremonies Jim Bonnardel had room for 5 judged maneuvers and a takeoff and landing. The judges were to score each maneuver on a scale of 1 to 5 and then the (4) or was it (5) judges’ scores were to be summed and averaged and the lowest score dropped and maybe divided by the square root of pi or added to each contestant’s shoe size. Not sure really.  I handed the papers to Quan, then gave my speech, by the end of it, Quan had it all figured out and the prizes were awarded and score sheets used to start the BBQ. This process is proven to prevent 2nd guessing on the scores! Thanks to Mark Davis whom returned to do hot dog acquisition and cooking; thanks for that, Mark! This weekend’s event is to be Military Scale with Allied Models to take on the Axis Power models. Mark Davis is scheduled to reprise his role as master hot dog cooker this month and next month.  Welcome back Mark!   We’ll see you at this month’s Fun Event.