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February, 2000



To all new members, welcome to the Wine Country Flyers. This being an early start to a new season, please be patient with our training staff. New members needing help may find weekends the best time to get training. However, this is also the "wet" season (building time for a lot of us!). When weekends become drier you will find more staff on hand to help out. If you need help getting a ship ready please call one of our Board members. Names, of the Board members are on the applications and in this Newsletter. Flight training syllabuses are located in the shack. Contact a Board member to receive one. Training staff will check and "OK" your plane before all flights. Please become familiar with all field rules stated in the application. They are there for good reasons. All members should also be aware that the new 2000 badges are now being distributed to those who have paid their 2000 dues. Everyone will be asked to wear their badge when at the field to insure compliance with the rules and to help us learn to identify all members who may not be well-known to everyone. Until next month, keep your wings level!


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I would like to thank the Board members for presenting me with the Award and the Gift Certificate at the annual Fly2K Dinner. It was nice being recognized for helping out at all the events. It is a lot of hard work, but I do enjoy helping and would like to help out in the future.



1999 was an extremely successful year for the Wine Country Flyers. As of the end of the year, we had over 120 members in the Club – an all-time high! When I first joined this Club about 10 years ago, we had fewer than 40 members. Apparently we must be doing something right!

The year 2000 should be another banner year with numerous events planned. Over the next few months we will be announcing our plans and the schedule of events for the year. We have a great Board of Directors that will keep things running smoothly and keep the bills paid. The Board cannot accomplish these goals without the help and participation of the entire Membership. We need more participation from every member with the events, the field work parties and the general operation of the Club. Contributions to the Newsletter are welcomed from anyone willing to submit an item for inclusion. We would especially encourage our new and Junior members to contribute items for the Newsletter.

On March 1st, I am required to renew our Club Charter with the AMA. A copy of our roster is required to be submitted. Therefore, we need everyone to get their annual dues to the Treasurer by the end of February. This will be your last reminder and your last Newsletter until we receive your 2000 dues! Thank you for your assistance.

Our annual New Years Party was a great success! The food was, to say the least, fantastic. The entertainment was provided by a magician named Ken Garr who amazed us all with his illusions. He did, however, have some trouble getting out of his straight jacket until Dino House graciously agreed to assist. Jeff Costa, our Master of Ceremonies, was also very entertaining. During the evening, awards were presented on behalf of the Club to members who put forth that extra effort for the Club. Chuck Green and Greg Brannon received beautiful plaques for their service to the Club. Kim Jones and Rob Jensen also were presented with framed certificates of appreciation for their efforts. Numerous door prizes were given out to those whose lucky tickets were drawn.

Thanks to Richard and Sean Miller, we received some great PR from the story written about the Wine Country flyers in the Press Democrat. I have received many telephone calls from people expressing interest in our Club since the article was printed and many new people have come to the field to check us out. For those of you who may have missed the article in the paper, it is reprinted at the end of the Newsletter. From that exposure, our website received over 1,000 hits from people in the community! It looks like we will be doing a lot of new pilot training this Spring. Build your new planes now and be ready to fly in the Spring!

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This month's topic speaks to the proper procedure of using the frequency board and frequency pins. As the field rules state: "Never, Ever, turn on your transmitter, or test equipment, at your vehicle, in the parking lot. Do not turn on your transmitter unless you have placed your AMA membership card on the frequency board." I would like to take this opportunity to remind everybody of damage that can occur to somebody's aircraft if you activate your transmitter when someone is already flying on that frequency.

Proper technique is:

1. Impound your transmitter with the power off.

2. When you are ready to fly, check the frequency board to insure no one is using your frequency.

3. Place your AMA card on the pin if the frequency is free, if another card is attached; look around to see who is using that frequency. You can approach that person when they finish flying to obtain the pin. Place your AMA card on the frequency board (there are two pins for every frequency), and be sure that the previous flyer has his transmitter turned off.

4. This is a good point to interject: How can you find the other pilot if he isn't wearing his club badge?!?! Let's make a habit of wearing that badge every time you go to the flying field. It's easier to identify you if someone needs to locate you for any reason.

5. Remove the frequency pin from your transmitter when you finish your flight, be courteous, don't keep the pin all day. Try to limit your use of the frequency to 15 minutes or so. This gives everybody a chance to enjoy the hobby.

6. Fly from a marked pilot station, not from an opening. The distance between stations has been measured to minimize radio interference with other transmitters. The plane you save, could be your own.

That's it for this month. Remember, fly safely and enjoy this great hobby

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See Members-Only, Financial Pages


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This month I will be focusing on good starter planes for kids and beginners and also the benefits of being a "junior" member of the Wine Country Flyers.

When choosing a good starter plane, you will have two major choices: electric powered or gas powered models. The electric planes are initially cheaper than gas planes because you will not need to buy field equipment (starter, glow plug starter or even fuel). Advantages of electric planes are their size, their noise (almost none) and there is no mess to clean up from oil coming out of the engine as in gas planes. Because they are smaller, electrics can be flown in a near-by school yard or open field (after you have mastered flying at the flying field, of course). If you would like to start flying with an electric plane, I recommend Thunder Tiger's Skymaster RTF which .was reviewed in the Product Review section of last month's Newsletter. But if electrics just aren't your style and you have a little more money, you can look at gas planes. As I said before, the gas planes will be more expensive in the beginning because along with the plane and engine, you will need to buy a starter, glow plugs (similar to a spark plug), fuel, a fuel pump, and a flight box. This can sometimes be over $100. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to scare anyone away from gas. I'm just trying to tell you the whole story before you buy a plane and not realize that you need to buy more stuff. If you are going to buy a gas plane, I recommend a size .40 trainer (.40 stands the size of the engine) like the SIG Kadet LT-40. This plane comes either as a kit which you can to build or as an A.R.F.(Almost Ready to Fly) which is already built. The choice is yours. There are many good trainer planes available. For more information on choosing a good trainer plane, contact Dave at Hanger One. Dave will tell you everything you need to know and he can supply you with everything you'll need to be flying with the "Big Boys."

Some of the advantages of being a Junior Member of W.C.F. is that you will only be required to pay $30 a year dues instead of the normal $60 fee, and there is no one-time initiation fee of $100 for the field fund. Also, if you are hesitant about the part on the application requiring each member to help out at some of the events, well, that doesn't apply to Junior Members either, although it is a lot of fun to get involved and meet the other members of the Club. I have enjoyed helping out at the field knowing that I can contribute something to the Club. All new members, but especially Juniors, can receive free flight training from more experienced members of the Club who are all willing to help. This program has been revised and now consists of working from a training syllabus with check-off boxes for your instructor to sign off the skills you have mastered.

I hope I have made your decision to fly and to get involved with our Club easier. I enjoy this hobby along with the other Club members. Happy flying!

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I decided to begin our Member Profile with the senior member of Wine Country Flyers--Glen Ballard. Glen was born in 1911 in Laurel, Nebraska. He and his wife. Garnet, have been married almost 70 years. They have two children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Before he retired almost twenty years ago, Glen was a nurseryman and owned a large wholesale nursery across from the Redwood Empire Ice Arena on West Steele Lane. The nursery was on a 31/2 acre parcel and its customers included Payless and K-Mart. Glen said the work was physically very hard and eventually he sub-contracted out the labor.

Glen first started flying model airplanes about 10 years ago. He joined the Redwood Modelers Club located at Ya-Ka-Ama, between Windsor and Santa Rosa. He said that the field was very rocky and was murder on the planes and that repairs were frequent. He buddy-boxed with fellow members Lou Sprague and Dennis Henderson. His first plane was a low-wing Hobby Lobby plane called a Telemaster. Glen has owned about 20 airplanes (mostly scratch-built) during the time he has been in this hobby. His favorite plane was another Hobby Lobby kit called a Funster-a 72" low-wing airplane. Glen's most memorable experience in R/C flying was winning two or three Fun-Fly events in our Club.

Glen has seen the hobby change since he first began. There are many more exotic planes now that before and the quality of the ARF kits is much better now, as well.

Glen's other hobbies include outdoor and wildlife painting. I saw many of his painting while in his home and they are very good! He is also an amateur ham radio operator. I enjoyed the time I spent with Glen and his wife. Garnet. They are nice people who are very involved with their grandchildren. I encourage anyone who flies during the week to meet Glen and his wife and I am sure you will find them a pleasure, as I did. Nice to get to know you!

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Since we had the Fly2K Dinner Party in lieu of our last meeting, this question will be in addition to last month's "Name That Plane" question. There will be two drawings and two winners at the next Club Meeting.

It seems you guys have been doing your homework. More and more people are getting my questions right, so here is a good one.

Canard aircraft have been around since the first successful plane. Although not seen much in the mainstream, several of them have been designed and built. Name two planes that were Canard fighters-one from the W.W.II era and one from post Vietnam. HINT: Two were built by modern-day car manufacturers! Answers at the next meeting!

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If you thought the Club's annual dinner party would be a drag and you decided to stay home, well, you really goofed! There were 47 members and guests at the dinner. Five members were unable to attend due to illness. What a turnout!

The food was wonderful! The buffet included salads, chicken breast, roast beef, salmon, marinated mushrooms, vegetables, breads and great desserts! The food was well-prepared and of unquestionable quality. Perhaps the best part of the evening was the magician. Ken Garr, who fascinated and thrilled us with his illusions. His magic was only exceeded by his humor, which kept us in stitches all night. Did the $10.00 bill ever reappear? Hope everyone enjoyed the evening and we all look forward to next year.

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Do you ever wish you could get a little more performance out of your Sunday flier? Need a little more vertical for your acrobatic ship? Want to be the first one to get to Pylon #1? You may think that more nitro in the fuel, or a tuned exhaust is what you need. These will work but they sound expensive right? 1'11 tell you a little secret that will pep up ANY airplane's performance for usually less than $5! A trick you ask? Nope. Magic? Well, maybe a little,...the answer is propeller selection. A prop is basically a rotating wing. It has an airfoil, just like a wing. It has incidence, called pitch, just like a wing and shares most of the same aerodynamic effects as a wing.

To select the right prop, first you must determine what you are trying to accomplish. Is your plane a sport plane or an acrobatic ship. Is it a trainer or do you want to bum holes in the sky? To keep it simple, if you want to go fast you want a prop that will move a small amount of air quickly. If you want more vertical, you want a prop that will move a large amount of air slowly. Most people just choose a prop according to what the other guys are running or by a general rule of thumb (i.e., .40 gets a 10 x 6). This is fine and works quite well, but if you want to eek out some extra performance here is what you must do.

Lets take a .40 powered semi-clean sport model. It has a good running .46 ball bearing motor in it (this seems to be the most common .40 replacement these days) and you look for a prop. Most guys will grab a 10 x 6 or 10 x 7 and fly away when there is lots of "hidden" performance left. One particular weekend you want to do the "go fast" thing. The smart way to go would be to get a more performance-oriented prop like an APC. That alone will give you a boost. But try this: go with a SMALLER diameter and MORE pitch, say a 9x 8. Pitch like diameter is measured in inches. A prop with a 6" pitch means that if that prop was rotated through a solid object it would move forward 6" for each revolution of the propeller. This plane will accelerate a little more leisurely, but top end will be improved. Speed props will tend to have a NARROWER blade than a standard one. This is like a narrow wing on a race plane and it acts the same way. Low drag at high speed while producing big velocity. That one change will more than likely add 5-10 mph to our example aircraft.

Ok, now lets go the opposite way with the same aircraft. Let's say you are into trying to hover or you like to go straight up out of sight. Your motor just doesn't quite have enough beans to do it. The answer here is LARGER diameter and LOWER pitch, like a 11x4 or 11x5. This will give us more thrust at a lower speed. It's like a lower gear in a car. It accelerates great but won't go very fast. Blade design here plays a role too, we want to find one with a WIDER blade to move more air, like a Graupner for example.

There are many more factors influencing your motor/prop combo, but correct propeller selection is the key to good results. If you have a plane that is a little on the heavy side for your motor, just add diameter and reduce pitch. This will boost take off power and keep the airspeed down. If you want to turn and burn, reduce diameter and increase pitch. One good rule of thumb is when changing prop sizes, keep the proportions the same between diameter and pitch. If you go up 1" in diameter, reduce pitch by 1". If you go down 1" in diameter, go up 1" in pitch. This will keep the motor "load" roughly the same and won't lug it down or let it rev too high. This opens up a whole new series of props for your engine to use. Also, watch the blade design, narrow for speed, wide for

power. This is a general rule for 2-strokes. However, 4-strokes seem to always like a standard-to-wide blade because of their lower rpm tendencies. You may need to try several props to find the "correct" one to suit your plane and flying style. One thing is for sure, it can only get better, and you will be amazed at what a simple prop change can do for your plane. Feel free to ask questions. It is the best way to learn!

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Officers 2004:

President: Stevo Smith
Vice President: Phil Leech
Secretary: Larry Miller
Treasurer: Tom Haddorff
Member at Large Sid Maxwell
Board Members 2004:
John Reade

Gary Child

  Ralph Grella

Brody Carlson

Guy Nicholas

Web Coordinators: Stevo Smith
Newsletter Editor: Stevo Smith
Assistant Editor Phil Leech

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Wine Country Flyers
P.O. Box 4198
Santa Rosa, CA. 95402