Wine Country Flier

Next meeting: Tuesday the 16th of September 2003. Time: 7:30 P.m.

Veterans Memorial Bldg. (Northwest Room) Across from Fairgrounds
Get there early for your free door prize raffle ticket!
Promoting Model Aviation in Sonoma County

2003 Club Officers:

President: Steve Cole (707) 566-8838

Vice President: Red Jensen (707) 585-3170

Secretary: Larry Miller (707) 577-0496

Treasurer: Tom Haddorff (707) 526-7058

Member @ Large John Reade (707) 545-9831

Newsletter and Website

Newsletter: Phil Leech (707) 538-8557

Stevo Smith (707) 523-4703

Website: Stevo Smith (707) 523-4703


This past month we had a lot of events going on. August 9th there was Art Sutter’s party at his place, PCAM was held on August 23rd & 24th, and our own Neil Taylor Day on Saturday September 6. That is more events in a 30 day period than we normally experience. The great thing is that they were all successful with everyone participating having a great time. In addition to all of the fun, we had work parties at the float site, Larry Miller and Tom Haddorff got all of our tables painted and we are making plans for new Astro Turf. Wayne Frederick has made us a complete set of beautiful frequency pins and plans are in the works to upgrade our existing frequency board. And wonder of wonder a new Porta Potty is available to us (for free!) to be reserved just for our Ladies! Now that should bring out a cheer from wives and girlfriends!

Are we having fun or what?


We have three new members this month to welcome. We can start with Ken Melani from Rohnert Park then Don Bais of Santa Rosa and finally John Roush from Cotati. Don’t have any further info on these guys or their flying experience so we hope to see them at our next meeting or at the field soon. This brings our membership up to 106 for 2003!


Submitted by Phil Leech

Most of you are well aware of the procedure that we all go through to gain access to our field. It takes a little patience to wait in line at the gate of the Transfer Station and to say a few words to the person stationed in "the little house". Usually a simple, "Go’in flyin" is all that it takes to identify yourself and to let the gatekeeper know that you are not there for any business at the Transfer Station. Most of the county employees are really nice people and seem to enjoy the fact that even though they have to work, we are able to "just have fun". A couple of weeks ago there was an "incident" at the field that involved a spectator and his guests. The spectator attempted to bypass announcing who they were and where they were planning to go by driving around the vehicles that were lined up and talking to the gatekeeper. This act infuriated the gatekeeper who left his station and drove up to our field to "chew out" the offending party. Unfortunately this person had already left and the gatekeeper returned to the "little house" Ralph Grella and John Stoufer realized that we had a problem and went down to talk to the gatekeeper to try to explain that it wasn’t one of our members that had attempted to bypass him. I guess he called this behavior "gatecrashing". While Ralph and John tried to mollify him and suggest that none of our members would do anything like that, he claimed that, "You guys are just as bad as that guy and you do it all the time". Oh boy, I hope he is not right about that but for the record…….. GATECRASHING IS A NO NO! It’s possible that some of you may not have realized that this procedure is required and we must all abide by it ……but you do now!


Submitted by Phil Leech

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM by President Steve Cole with 27 members present.

Taylor Jensen drew the ticket for the door prize, a gallon of fuel that was won by Ryan Melani, son of new member Ken Melani. We’re sure they will put that fuel to good use.


New member Don Bais was introduced and it sounds like Don has previous R/C experience. Welcome to the group Don.


Tom Haddorff presented the treasurer’s report for the past month and informed us that present membership stands at 102.


The minutes for August’s Board and General Meetings as published in the Newsletter were approved as written.


Larry Miller reviewed the upcoming PCAM Airshow and related that we have been allocated the time slot beginning at 10:15 AM and ending at 10:45 for flying demonstrations. Larry is working on developing a flight schedule and he asked if anyone had access to folding canopies. Stevo Smith and Joe Geiger both offered to loan us their canopies

The Neil Taylor Day was reviewed and we were reminded that this is a free event with free BBQ and flying events. Stevo Smith is the CD and Steve Cole will present the Neil Taylor Award for 2003 to the member that is to be recognized for service to the club. The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 6.


Sid Maxwell announced a Work Party that he is conducting at the new Float Site for Saturday morning August 30. The purpose of the work party is to clear seaweed from near the shoreline to improve access to the water.

John Reade scheduled a small work party for Sunday, August 31 to clean the work tables so that Larry Miller can get them painted later in the week.

Wayne Frederick presented samples of new frequency pins that he has created for review and approval by the membership. The pins that he made are really beautiful and the approval was unanimous.

Sid Maxwell presented two official AMA Solo Certificates that are available from AMA and he also displayed a Solo Certificate that John Reade had created from a desktop publishing software program that he has. John’s Certificate was overwhelmingly chosen because he had personalized it with our own logo and the certificate was generally more colorful and interesting.

John Reade also announced new solos for members Duane Hope and Brian Blackburn.

Bob Rose and Bob Nellor submitted their applications for membership to Tom Haddorff.


The Half Cash $61, was won by Julio Alvarez and new member Don Bais won a twin engine elec plane and a tach. Sid Maxwell won a nice tap set and Steve Cole won and electric fuel pump.


Paul Kramosil brought an electric powered model that he scratch built from plans that he bought from "Flying Models" magazine for $3.00. The model is very lightweight and is powered by 300 mah Ni-cad batteries. Paul reports that he gets 20 minute flights.

Steve Cole told us about his current new project. A Do 335. This looks like a pretty ambitious project because the Do 335 is actually a twin engine plane with the unusual configuration of one engine in the nose "pulling’ and one engine in the tail "pushing". The model is "square" in planform with a wingspan of 81" and a fuselage length of 81". The kit comes with a DVD instruction manual and includes lasercut formers and goodies. This one may take Steve a while to finish. Steve also displayed a new mag "Fly RC" that covers kits, engines, electrics and heli’s,


The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM with refreshments and discussion at the rear of the room



September 2, 2003

Board Meeting 9/2/03

Members present were Phil Leech, Larry Miller, Rob Jensen, John Reade, Tom Haddorff, and Gary Child.

Gary has the first draft of the bylaws nearly completed. The board will look them over and then a copy will be mailed to all members prior to a question period and vote at the following general meeting. If accepted by the membership, they will be adopted. If not, they will be modified until they are satisfactory to a majority of the members.

Went over the plans for the annual Neil Taylor picnic. Phil says everything is under control and a good time should be had by all.

Saturday, September 27th was set as the day that several volunteers will head for the south bay to pick up some more free Astro Turf. This should make for a pretty nice pit area. If at all possible, maybe we can try to extend the runway somewhat with some of it.

Had a report on the success of our weekend at the PCAM Airshow. Rob says quite a few people have come into the shop as a result of our R/C Airshow and display. Phil also has some nice pictures he took which he'll have at the next meeting.

The board voted to reimburse Art Sutter for expenses incurred for the picnic he hosted.

The board also would like to thank Wayne Fredericks for the new frequency pins he has made up for us. They look great and are sorely needed. Thanks Wayne.

On a more somber note, we were notified by the gatekeeper at the field of several members bypassing the check-in point and going around the cones. He was very upset and said that he had reported this to his superior. After talking to another gatekeeper, this was a problem with her, too. This is a no-no. All members must stop at the shack to check in. We do not want to lose our flying site because a few people are too impatient to wait in line. If we get another report of this happening, the member involved will be disciplined.

We also received a report of someone cutting a large tree limb with a chainsaw to retrieve an aircraft that had become entangled. This is also a no-no. Do not cut even a bush with out prior approval from the County. We have a professional tree climber in the club ( Jeff Kowell ) who, if called, will come out and get your aircraft out of the trees. He can be reached at 431-8500.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Larry Miller, Secretary

The following is a list of persons that are currently in flight training and haven’t soloed yet. Let us know if we missed anybody.

Lou Winnard, Ollie Burns, Stuart Dobbie, Bilal Maqsood, Robert Sherrill, Bill Boitano, Jordy Strong, Jerry Williams, John Stoufer


By Sid Maxwell

To see a hawk soaring high above as he appears motionless waiting for the next thermal is to have a feeling of being free and at peace.

On a warm windy afternoon in July, three hawks standing on top of the mountain flew on air searching for that peaceful feeling.

Bob Film invited Phil Leech and myself to fly with the hawks on top of the mountain

up Roberts Rd. above Rohnert Park. It was Phil's first time and my second. We were so fortunate to have such a capable instructor as Bob Film to introduce us to the world of soaring called, "slope flying". Bob really knows his way around sailplanes. Bob had his one meter electric sailplane and I had my two meter, "Explorer Dog", for Phil and myself. Bob flew first showing us how to look for thermals, how to turn into them and what to recognize when you get the lift. Bob flew 20 minutes. Then it was

time to see if "Explorer Dog" was balanced and ready to fly. Bob gave it a push off the side of the mountain into the wind and was gone, flying on air

just as perfect as you can get. What a feeling !!! Peaceful, calm relaxed, something everyone should experience. After 20 minutes -----I could not believe I was still going, I called Phil for his turn to fly on air. Phil took over and got that feeling right away. You would never know it was his first time. He was flying on air and loving every minute of it. To have Bob Film giving us pointers greatly improved our learning process. Slope flying is one part of soaring where you can fly for long periods of time without coming down. Searching for thermals, keeping in the funnels while it takes you higher and higher until you could go out of sight.

A feeling everyone would enjoy. If you get a chance to go slope flying, I would say.....go!!!

So let's fly..see you there.

sid maxwell


Submitted by Larry Miller

Again this year we had a display at the annual Pacific Coast Air Museum air show at the Charles Schultz Sonoma County Airport. And again we were promised we could fly demos with our R/C aircraft. Well, this year it finally happened. Many thanks to Rob for putting together a fine R/C demonstration for the spectators. He and Steve Cole flew aerobatic aircraft together doing various routines that drew a round of applause from the audience. Steve also flew his P-51 which was quite an attention getter. It ran a little rough on Saturday and it started out that way on Sunday but all of a sudden it decided it wanted to put on a show and really smoothed out for a super flight. Wayne Fredericks followed this with a flight on his Scale Masters WW1 Fokker DVlll. Very impressive aircraft and flown very nicely by Wayne. Guy Nicholas and Eddie Garcia really wowed the crowd with some really extreme aerobatics with their helicopters. People were absolutely amazed to see them hover inverted just inches above the runway. Helicopters aren't supposed to be able to do that. The PCAM folks liked our routine well enough that we were invited back to fly again next year.

We also had an array of R/C aircraft and helicopters in our display area for the spectators to look at. We were busy all day both days answering questions and talking to the people interested in our hobby. We'll probably pick up a few new members as a result of this show.

I would really like to thank all the club members who helped out getting set up before the show, manning the booth and talking to the public during the show, and helping to tear everything down after it was all over. There were too many folks to name them all, but you know who you are and your help was greatly appreciated in making this event the huge success it was.


By Sid Maxwell

The Combat Air Squadron is really taking off. As of this date there are 12 commissioned officers in the Combat Air Squadron .All are

Col.s. Most are flying Fun Bats. All are

ready for combat at any given notice.........

If you want to join the Combat Air Squadron get a Fun Bat or any small combat plane with a .15 size engine, a streamer and let's fly............

Anyone can join. We want you !!!!!!!!

Combat Pilots

Col. sid maxwell, Col. ralph grella,

Col. john stouffer, Col. des shapiro

Col. bob film, Col. julio alvarez

Col. kurt hiner, Col. gary child

Col. sTevo smith, Col. red jensen

Col. steve cole, Col. brian blackburn

Flyer of the month "Phil Leech"

By Sid Maxwell

When you first meet Phil Leech you sense something is different about him. You get that certain feeling that he is glad to see you and meet you. Then after you get to know him you realize he is really glad to see you and meet you. He makes you feel relaxed and comfortable, completely at ease and a joy to be around. You feel good about being there. Phil brings that certain something to the Wine Country Flyers and anyone who makes contact with him.

Phil became interested in RC when he was 20 years old while living in Indiana reading magazines and dreaming about airplanes. Then in 1978 when he was 40 he started building a plane kit for a friend which never was finished. He also did some free flight and bought a Kraft Tx but later sold it. Phil was an architect in Indiana and in 1999 he retired, sold his business and moved to Santa Rosa.

After driving by Hanger One many times and feeling the interest for RC growing, he stopped by one day and talked to Dave Higgins. He picked up a flyer for WCF and the flying field. Going up to see the field he talked to Dino House....He was hooked.

Later he went to Hanger One, told Dave he was committed. He bought all the stuff including a big and slow Kadet Senior which took 6 months to build. He later added ailerons. He had seen Larry Miller's

Senior fly and thought, "that's for me". He joined the WCF and the AMA then came to the field for help. Many helped but Julio Alvarez was the bravest. Red Jensen took a special interest in Phil but Tom Haddorff put him over the top towards going solo with many Saturday mornings. When I asked Phil what he though of RC he said, "hardest thing I have ever tried to do and what I've learned, flying full size is easier than RC, building is easier than flying". I asked what his main RC interest was, "scale building and flying scale gives me the most satisfaction. Gene Novak had an impact on me. He had a beautiful 1/4 Cub that was beautiful and flew beautiful". He added, "some day I'll build that good and fly that good". I asked him about learning to fly better he said, "I'm progressing slow and learning fast, people watch and I don't know they’re watching but I get plenty of tips about little mistakes I make" He has 2 Tx's and 2 planes, building a 1/5 Cub with 2 kits are waiting.

Phil has been a member of WCF for 3 years, is the Co-Editor of the Newsletter, serves on the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Finance Committee and has been the Secretary.

He is one hard working club member. About the club he said, "I see a higher skill level in building and flying and that is a big help for others". He also said, "for myself I plan to have mastered the controlled landing and some aerobatics by the end of the season".

I asked Phil what advice he could give others he said, "you need the basic drive to stick with it. Don't give up. You have to be persistent and have patience to succeed. You can do it. If it doesn't mean enough to you ,,,,,,,,,,,,,you won't make it".

I asked him what final word he could give, "Back in the 60's I imagined RC planes in the future would be just like full size planes. All the features such as flaps, landing gear, advanced Tx,4 stroke engines, etc. Today it is so complex and unlimited, changing and advancing so fast that there is enough to hold your interest to something in RC".

Phil is retired now and besides RC he makes, "designer", jewelry with his wife Ann, "the love of his life". They have one son who lives in S.F.

Phil is a special person, an all around guy and the backbone of Wine Country Flyers.

Timely Tips

By Sid Maxwell

When building kits and you find

a gap in some of your balsa fittings. Take a scrap of balsa, sand it to get a little pile of balsa dust, put the dust in the gap and

add a drop of thin CA .Sand it.

No more gap...........


For Sale:

(2) FunBat .15 size combat airplanes complete hardware incl. motor mount, hinges and 2 oz gas tank. 37" wingspan $32.00. I ordered 6 and have 2 left

Sid Maxwell (707) 584-4428,
(530) 832-4548

The Hangar

Submitted by sTevo Smith

What happened to summer? Seems like only yesterday I was writing about the beginning of summer and now Fall is almost here. We had a lot of fun this summer and there is still some really good flying days ahead before the weather gets too bad.

Neil Taylor day has come and gone but not without a whole bunch of fun had by all in attendance. It was great seeing our friends and just having a ball flying. I was C.D. this year and at the request of several members we had a few fun events along with plenty of open flying.

First was the timed take off and landing. It looked like it was going to be a run off between Dale Chironi and Tom Haddorff as they were both at about 58 seconds. The last contestant was one of our new solo pilots, Big D or otherwise known as Duane Hope. He touched down about 1/10th of a second shy of one minute. You just can’t get closer than that.

The second game was spot landing or really just who gets the closest to the X. This turned out to be way more difficult than it looked. Finally Phil Heidt came within 2 feet which turned out to be the closest.

After lunch we had one more game and that was the limbo. Dale Chironi was the bravest of the bunch and went first. He went around and under 3 times and on his fourth attempt clipped his wing on the string. (We tried to use crepe paper but it was too windy). He suffered a broken motor mount and some other damage but said it was a fairly easy fix. We even had another new solo pilot, Brian Blackburn, give it a try. He almost won the thing too. He said "I will just be happy to go under once" but he ended up making it three times.

Phil Heidt looked like he was going to take it with some rather extreme flying. He made it four times very quickly but hammered in on the last attempt.

Not to exclude anyone, Loren Fong joined in the fun with his heli and looked like he and Phil would be tied for the lead. That is until Tom Haddorff got his Sig Something Extra fired up. He made it through five times with 15 seconds to spare.

Even though there were a couple of mishaps everyone who got involved said they had a great time.

All the winners of each game received a gallon of fuel but everyone came away a winner as there was fun to be had by all.

In preparing for this day Phil and I wanted to come up with something special. I had remembered Phil had told me that a month or so ago his neighbor took him for a ride in his Yak 52. Well didn’t take much coaxing to get Phil to give his buddy a call and ask him if he would be willing to do a fly by for us at our field. After checking his calendar Phil received a call back and he said it was a go. The pilots name is Joe Grzebik and is the co-owner of a vintage Yak_52

We were excited enough just to watch him do a couple of nice fly-bys but then he put on a show for us. I am sure you will all join me in giving him a great big thanks for doing so. We really appreciated it. Anytime you want to learn to fly RC come on by Joe.

The award was presented by Steve Cole after Doug Boucher gave us some background on this memorial event.

It was a double wammy this year as we had two outstanding members that we wanted to show our appreciation for. Way to go boys.

See ya next month, sTevo



Christmas Party

Dec 13 (Saturday night)

OK, Mark your calendars cause this is the only event left this year. Last year was a blast so you should really try to make it if you can.


P.O. BOX 4198