Academy of Model Aeronautics






2009 With The Sanderson Field RC Flyers






It's October and the Autumnal equinox has now passed. Here in Washington, the Sanderson Field RC Flyers (SFRCF) are looking forward to some Fall flying--and just maybe some winter flying, too. There have not been as many good flying days this year as in 2008. To some, in fact, the flying season has seemed a bit disappointing; but, speaking for myself, I am surprised when I add up all of the events and activities in which I and other members have participated this year. Several of the activities have not taken place on the club's flying fields.

Although SFRCF club members were not able to fly on January 1 due to poor weather conditions, we did get our planes in the air early in the year. The view of the Olympic Mountains, covered in snow, is always a spectacular background for our home field as Winter passes into Spring.

Snow On The Olympics
Snow On The Olympics

Winter On The Flight Line
Winter On The Flight Line

On one rainy day, I spent a morning with Richard Robb discussing his building projects and learning about the latest building techniques. I have not done any model building for many years and I was particularly interested in Richard's tutorial on using modern adhesives, such as cyanoacrylate glues. He demonstrated the use of the glues on scraps of balsa he found in his shop. I was amazed at the building possibilities when using modern adhesives, especially since the last "amazing" glue I used (around 1960) was Ambroid: I can still remember the Ambroid smell and also the time I spent chewing off dried Ambroid glue from my fingers. I also found Richard's discussion of laminating thin balsa sheets fascinating, particularly laminating them with thin carbon fabric to create light--but very strong--composite material for model aircraft building.

A Morning With Richard Robb
A Morning With Richard Robb

In March, a group of SFRCF members made a trip to the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. I was particularly interested in the incredible craftsmanship apparent in the construction displays of early aircraft.

Arriving At The Boeing Museum of Flight
Arriving At The Boeing Museum of Flight

Early Workshop For Aircraft Construction
Early Workshop For Aircraft Construction

Wood Construction Detail
Wood Construction Detail

We spent several hours looking at the "Warbirds" exhibits and on the main floor of the museum.

On The Main Floor At The Boeing Museum OF Flight
On The Main Floor At The Boeing Muesum OF Flight

When Summer arrived—finally—I headed to Sanderson Field with a Great Planes Easy Sport. I'd had a couple of flights with the plane and looked forward to flying it again. My instructor, Bob Beatty, taxied the plane and took off. After making a left-hand turn, Bob and I (on the buddy box) both lost control of the plane: the plane no longer responded to control from our transmitters. The throttle opened up to full and the plane dived for the ground. What started as a training flight with the Easy Sport ended up with a pile of Easy Sport parts and pieces. Like many such disasters, we could find no specific cause for the crash: the transmitter and receiver both checked out as working perfectly and the receiver and transmitter batteries also tested as good. There was very little that could be salvaged. I am now building a new Easy Sport to replace the old one.

Great Planes Easy Sport—Before The Crash
Great Planes Easy Sport—Before The Crash

Great Planes Easy Sport—After The Crash
Great Planes Easy Sport—After The Crash

After the crash, the day ended with a very positive experience: I was treated to flights of a REACTION 54 jet piloted by SFRCF's own Top Gun, Charles Kentfield.

Charles Kentfield Flies His REACTION 54 Jet
Charles Kentfield Flies His REACTION 54 Jet

On June 20, a group of SFRCF members traveled to the Olympic Airshow, held at the Olympic Flight Museum, Olympia, Washington. But first, the group stopped at the Toledo Swap Meet to look over lots of RC bargains.

Toledo Swap Meet
Toledo Swap Meet

It was fun to get a close-up look at many awesome aircraft at the airshow. My favorite event of the day was an incredible show by Bud Granley, flying a Yak-55, and son Ross, flying a Yak-18T.

Yak-55 Flown By Bud Granley
Yak-55 Flown By Bud Granley

Yak-18T Flown By Ross Granley
Yak-18T Flown By Ross Granley

On June 27, a beautiful summer day, the club met at the Hunter Farms grass field. Hunter Farms is located in the beautiful Skokomish River Valley. Since the day was warm and dry, workers at the farm were busy harvesting hay. Between flying and lunch, I walked about the farm admiring the scenery.

Darcy Niebeling Launching His Yak-54 For Some Aerobatic Flying
Darcy Niebeling Launching His Yak-54 For Some Aerobatic Flying

Harvesting Hay At Hunter Farms
Harvesting Hay At Hunter Farms

At the end of June, SFRCF's pylon racers Tom and Edward Graves tested their Quickie 500 planes in preparation for the 2009 NATS event, held in Muncie, IN. While at Sanderson Field, both Tom and Edward shared details about the construction and operation of their aircraft. Watching the planes in flight was—as it always is—exciting.

Tom (L) And Edward (R) Graves Flight Testing A Quickie 500
Tom And Eward Graves Flight Testing A Quickie 500 Construction

Edward Graves (L) Explains The Finer Points Of A Quickie 500
Edward Graves Explanes The Finer Points Of Quickie 500

With the advent of summer, SFRCF pilots dusted off their float planes. Several members of SFRCF are also members of the Lake Nahwatzel R.C. Float Club (LNRCFC), a small, local club dedicated to flying RC float planes at nearby lakes. Although I do not have a float plane, I enjoy participating in the events as an observer. The LNRCFC fly at two local lakes, Nahwatzel and Isabella, both near Shelton, Washington.

Bob Beatty's Decathlon On Nahwatzel Lake
Bob Beatty's Decathlon On Nahwatzel Lake

Bob Brusa's Stinson-108 At Isabella Lake
Bob Brusa's Goldberg Stinson-108 At Isabella Lake

Mark Anderson's Realistic Y3 Super Cub At Isabella Lake
Mark Anderson's Y3 Super Cub At Isabella Lake

In August, there was lots of flying at Sanderson Field, including a major pylon event. Just prior to the North vs South Pylon Race, SFRCF held a fly-in. There were a good number of participants and a wide variety of aircraft, including Stacy Myers' scale model of a North American AT-6A "Texan"—with a somewhat disturbed passenger in the cockpit. There was lots to see at the fly-in, including the usual skydivers from Kapowsin Air Sports adjacent to the SFRCF field. During the fly-in, Dan Nalley arrived towing the signal board for the upcoming pylon event.

Stacy Myers' North American AT-6A "Texan"
Stacy Myers' North American AT-6A "Texan"

Cockpit Of Stacy Myers' North American AT-6A "Texan"
Cockpit Of Stacy Myers North American AT-6A "Texan"

Skydiver From Kapowsin Air Sports
Skydiver From Kapowsin Air Sports

Signal Board For Pylon Races
Signal Board For Pylon Races

An AMA sanctioned competition, North vs South Pylon Race, was held at Sanderson Field on August 29-30. Members of the Pylon Racers Of Puget Sound (PROPS) arrived a day earlier to set up the course. On Sunday, August 30, I spent the afternoon on the flight line photographing the pilots and their planes. I quickly found that there is a universe of difference between observing a pylon race from a distance and experiencing the event from the flight line. There is nothing to compare with the excitement of watching several aircraft approaching at nearly 200 miles per hour—I understood immediately why hard hats are required on the flight line. At the end of the event, prizes were awarded to all of the volunteer course workers, including several SFRCF club members. The course workers put in long hours during the event.

Launching The—Fast—Quarter 40 Pylon Racers
Launching The—Fast—Quarter 40 Pylon Racers

SFRCF Course Workers Take Home The Prizes
SFRCF Course Workers Take Home The Prizes

In September, there was more flying at Sanderson Field, including the last flight of Stacy Myers AT-6. A landing gear problem caused the onboard battery pack to discharge until the receiver no longer responded to the transmitter. The resulting crash retired both the aircraft and the passenger, although the pilot seemed to remain alert and unconcerned. There were also additional float-fly events.

Crash Scene: Stacy Myers' AT-6 "Texan"
Crash Scene: Stacy Myers' AT-6 "Texan"

Richard Robb Brings Home His Twin At Nahwatzel Lake
Richard Robb Brings Home His Twin At At Nahwatzel Lake

Thom Martin Ties A Canoe To His DHC-2 Beaver At Isabella Lake
Thom Martin Ties A Canoe To His DHC-2 Beaver At Isabella Lake

On October 10, SFRCF held its last scheduled flying event for 2009 at Hunter Farms. Although the day was mostly cloudy, the flying conditions were still excellent. The event was well attended. When not at the grass field, I spent time walking around the farm with my camera, documenting Pumpkin Patch. Pumpkin Patch is an annual event at Hunter Farms, open to the public, and features rides to a pumpkin patch where families can pick their own Halloween pumpkin. Pumpkin Patch has become a family tradition.

SFRCF At Hunter Farms
SFRCF At Hunter Farms

Returning From The Hunter Farms' Pumpkin Patch
Returning From The Hunter Farms' Pumpkin Patch

What's left for 2009? At the very least, there is the Christmas Potluck. Perhaps there will be additional excursions to places of interest to SFRCF members. For sure, there will be winter building projects. Has 2009 with SFRCF been at all disappointing for me? No way!





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 I hope you enjoyed this article,
Royce Tivel


Royce Tivel

 Royce Tivel
rtivel@selectdigitals.com







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