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  1. #1

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    Help save our local flying field...



    I need your advice to help save a local flying field.



    The short story: The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is rewriting their official master plan which impacts the Whittier Narrows flying field in El Monte (Southern California).



    Someone associated with the ACE suggested a blurb in the new plan that limits the R/C and C/L flyers to ELECTRIC-ONLY. They may be softening the blow with a phased-in approach but it is still a blow to the flyers. I am told that the comment period for this issue ends Septmeber 10th, 2011, about 2 weeks from now. See the original email I received at the bottom of this post.



    I've got one chance to write a letter and provide my comments on the issue so I would like my letter to sound complete, wise, and knowledge.



    I need FIVE simple things:



    A) Your Encouragement - Just post a simple "Don't Give Up" - Please don't post "Switch To Electric" I'm almost 50 and trying to get back into the hobby after the long vacation (college-wife-kids) and I'm already trying to learn electric systems and ADD them to my bag but I will NEVER give up on glow!



    B) Your Wisdom - If you've got an idea for an angle or a bullet-point that might help convince the ACE to allow glow fuel to continue I NEED to hear it.



    C) Your Grapevine - Please email a link to this thread to your flying buddies, especially the oldest, wisest, and orneriest ones who have all the knowledge and also that kind of treacherous thought process and have some experience dealing with government "stuff", and the ones who don't get on the PC and visit forums all that often.



    D) Your Knowledge - please answer my questions about glow fuel below if you can.



    E) Your Help - If you have 2 minutes to send your own email to the ACE please do so (Deborah.L.Lamb at usace.army.mil - replace "at" with @) but please don't be cross with them, they're actually fairly cooperative and helpful most of the time. They're just being misled on this one issue.



    Regarding item "D" - I need the modelers of the world to help me understand a few things (OK to reply with a LINK to a site or forum or post that provides the answers)



    Is glow fuel green? I know it's got castor oil which is edible and therefore should be biodegradable, but does the methanol combust completely?



    What happens to the Nitromethane, does it burn up completely?



    What is in the exhaust emitted by glow fuel?




    I have several other ideas try and to make them think twice about eliminating glow fuelsuch as:



    Have they even done an analysis of how many glow-powered flyers there are at the field? And how much glow fuel do they go through in a year?



    Is running an electric-powered model really "greener" than fuel? How much Carbon is produced to run a power-generation plant, needed to run a battery charger, to charge a battery?



    If they say "electric only" does that rule out Rubber-powered free flight? How about CO2 free-flight?



    How are kids ever going to grow up to be future generations of (without moving to India) engineers, metalurgists, machinists, mechanics, chemists, etc. if they grow up without the opportunity to:
    Adjust low and high speed needle valves?
    Test a glow plug and Change out a burnt glow plug or head?
    Learn about platinum and how it assists with combustion?
    Disassemble an engine for cleaning?
    Add or remove a head shim to compensate for the weather or altitude?
    Figure out how to mount the fuel tank higher or lower to solve fuel feed problems?
    Learn the difference between 5% and 30% fuel?



    Those are just a few things I came up with that you just can't learn from an electric set-up. Please post any others that you can think of.



    My sincerest thanks in advance to anyone and everyone who helps out.



    Paul



    = = = = = Original Email = = = = =
    Hello to all,
    Once again, an effort to disrupt our Whittier Narrows Flying site has been brewing and we have just learned of it. This time, the Army Corps of Engineers, (ACE), who own the land and lease it to the LA Co. Parks Dept, has retained an uninformed consultant, who has convinced the ACE that electric power is greener than "gasoline" and that the model airplane facility should be converted to electric only power. See page 97 of the attachment. The term "gas power" obviously has been interpereted to mean gasoline. The consultant is unaware that "gas" is actually methanol, which is already greener than gasoline, and doesn't cause nearly as many fires. The Knights of the Round Circle and the local flyers can take care of providing the correct technical facts to the consultant. What we need from the rest of you is to email a simple statement that you are opposed to the exclusion of glow and diesel models. We have until Sept 10 to make comments. The consultant collecting the comments is:
    (Deborah.L.Lamb at usace.army.mil - replace "at" with @) No need to be wordy or hostile yet, but be aware that they are counting the number of individual responses, and their decision is based in part on the number of negative responses that they recieve.
    Thanks for your support.
    Knights of the Round Circle
    www.kotrc.org


  2. #2

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    This is horrible news to read. I sincerely hope that some fellas step up to the plate and offer some information to help you with. I have my own opinions of the "unenlightened consultant" but will refrain from voicing those thoughts. I only have one bit of suggestive information for you. Get ahold of the AMA and present them the same information regarding the change. Part of what they do is help fields get started or keep them from being closed down in that manner. I think you will find a wealth of knowledge from those people there. Good luck and keep up posted, I am interested in this as one of my local flying fields is on Corp of Engineers property, so far they have been very cool with us and like having us out there, rent free mind you!
    Kirby C.
    I gotta have more cowbell!

  3. #3

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    This is one man's opinion, but where I would attack this is in the consultant's mistaken impression that you are running gas engines exclusively. This is where he is ignorant of the topic, and if you can show that without coming off like a jerk then you make the COE question everything he has said. When methanol burns, it emits water vapor and a little bit of unburned methanol which quickly evaporates. You've already researched castor oil which is no worse than spraying canola oil on the ground, and there is so little nitro in the mix that it's a non-issue. But even gas engines aren't going to make an impact on the environment considering the tiny amount of fuel burned in big airplane engines. The cars driving past your flying site are going to do more environmental damage than the planes themselves do.
    I doubt the kid benefits will be convincing, because electric power has its own set of engineering knowledge they can benefit from. From the human benefit standpoint, most larger models are more practical and much cheaper with wet power, which opens up the possibility for your club to run competitions like IMAC and do big events like scalemasters and such. Going to electric only would severely limit those possibilities, hurting a sporting and educational opportunity that your club provides to the community.
    Also, if you haven't already, start an official free training time so that you can cite the fact that your club intentionally reaches out to the community. Inviting members of the decision making board to free training gives them the chance to see that you aren't dumping toxic chemicals into the groundwater or disturbing the wildlife with excessive noise.
    No kid, I said break ground and fly into the wind!

  4. #4
    scale only 4 me's Avatar
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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    You guys need to consider this is Southern California,, One City there several years back pasted and Ordinance that banned "gas" powered leaf blowers due to the noise they caused,, what did the landscapers do??? They converted them to Alcohol,, LOL it was priceless.

    But seriously,,you need to fight these greenies at every turn,, sooner or later they'll find out how electricity is really produced in this country and we'll all be living like Amish,, but with the Taxes still
    You're so smart,, you figured out how to read this!! Or maybe ya just got lucky??

  5. #5
    smithcreek's Avatar
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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Are you guys an AMA site? I'm sure they have lots of material and ideas ready to go that would help you keep your site.
    For a kit you are, and to a kit you shall return.

  6. #6

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Involving the AMA would be a great move if you are a member club. One other thing to remember is that you are dealing with a bureaucratic organization. The folks who will make this decision could care less one way or the other about the flying site, pollution, noise, or any of the other actual issues at stake. What they care about is that the decision and the process is easy for them, meaning both in the process and the aftermath. If they fear a backlash from a big environmental group, forget it. But if they feel that they can generate goodwill with you guys and the community without any complaints for anyone else, then you'll win. You have to tactfully discredit the "expert" and show that he has wasted their time with misinformation and needlessly bothered the public.
    No kid, I said break ground and fly into the wind!

  7. #7

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Model aviation is a teaching tool. teaching things like phyiscs, aerodynamtics, mechanics, also how to listen and follow instructions, obey rules, and self discipline, safety, Eletric theroy. Indangables things such as self confidence, politeness, and consideration for others.
    Eliminating gasoline powered model aircraft takes some of those teaching tools away as we as flyers could no longer teach mechanics...The mechanics of small engines.
    Small engines are fuel effiecent.....a gasoline powered airplane would only burn a gallon of gasoline every couple of months flying 3 20 min flights a weekend.
    We as a club would loose out on our knowledge base, as the gas guys would look else where to fly....when we loose our knowledge we loose our ability to teach young and old.

    This is some of the things I'd bring up...if youdo any charity work include that as well
    Good luck

  8. #8
    JohnBuckner's Avatar
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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    This is truly tragic to hear. The Narrows was my home field from 64 thru about 68. A message has been sent to Deborah Lamb.

    One point that the COE needs to be aware of is demanding electric only will completely shut down the tether car track and associated club which I am sure you are aware is right behind the parking lot. This one of only two still left in the county.

    In addition this will also virtually shut down most of the controlline activity. Another major loss.

    John
    \"Keep your controllines tight\"

  9. #9

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    It should help to remember that they aren't out to get you. They are just trying to make good decisions and if you talk common sense to them they should listen to you. If you show up with attitude or an accusing tone, or if you exaggerate the good that your club does (as we tend to do when defending) then you lose credibility. When public land is used for recreational activity the top desire of government officials is that the group using it is mature, trustworthy, and adds something good to the community. Show them what's truly good about your club, and the desire to restrict it will go away.
    No kid, I said break ground and fly into the wind!

  10. #10

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Involve the AMA NOW!
    They are the only ones that can provide all that at once. Every modeler who flies there needs to call the AMA so they get the point. You should still do what you are doing from your end. I have never been there, but I have read about it all my life. It is a historic site for modeling.

  11. #11

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both forms of power for models. It is irresponsible for one individual or group to try and limit the other. Look how electricity is generated to recharge batteries! The pollution is downstream so the 'green' thing doesn't hold water as far as I'm concerned.

  12. #12

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    I've had a reasonable amount of experience in this arena, different players but the same game.  At the end of the day, a handful of 2 stroke engines (be it glow planes or gas powered motocross bike or whatever) is such a minuscule percentage of any areas carbon footprint it's ridiculous.  The average small house has a 100x larger greenhouse gas emissions than any of those activities could ever image.  I work for a company that spends a lot of time and money researching these things, and those are our general findings.

    As far as electric vs fuel powered, most of the time and in the majority of regions, electric is usually worse.  Most of rural america (and where I'm assuming the mass of R/C tends to be, and please don't kill me for that) is in regions where coal and other non "green" sources are the primary source of electricity.  So usually the carbon footprint of charging a lot of electronics far exceeds that of anything fuel powered.  You also have to consider the disposal of all of those LiPo and NiMh batteries long term.  Not that I'm against green at all, but sometimes that's the reality.  When you're talking 10,000 gas cars vs 10,000 electric cars, it's one thing - but 25 glow planes a week vs 25 electric planes a week is such a different argument, it's usually not worth anyone's time to consider.  The key is the right approach.

    I spend a lot of time pushing green technology, but purely from a responsibility perspective, not cost effectiveness or pure carbon footprint.  So I would go into this as others suggested - no attitude, just raise the point that glow vs electric is so negligible from an environmental standpoint that it shouldn't matter.  And for purposes of negotiation, be prepared to have some reasonable fuel handling ideas that will guarantee no spillage to the ground or other similar ideas to keep them happy.  It's always good to go in with some ideas for compromise without giving up the main objective.

  13. #13

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    There's no such thing as "Green" anything.

    Just a scam to tax or limit. A method or concept used to make money. It's that simple.

    Wait till they start rationing drinking water. At 5.00 a gallon.

    Owner: CFC Graphics. "Model Airplane Graphics from a Model Airplane Builder." cfcgraphics.com

  14. #14

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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Thanks go mout to everyone who provided input, publicly or privately.  You know who you are.

    Mission Accomplished.  For now...

          http://www.sgvrcl.org/winning-the-ba...field-proposal

  15. #15
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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Don't know if it would help or hurt (as in no flying field at all), but you may mention the increased risk of LiPo technology and unquencable battery fires from crashes and increased risk of fire when charging.  Our club has never had a gas or glow related fire since 1980 but this year we had three battery related fires with electrics; plus one club member's lost home traced to an overheated battery on recharger.  :-(
    Charlie P. (NY) "Gravity is weak but persistant".

    AMA 747089/IMAA 30723

  16. #16
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    RE: Help save our local flying field...

    Outstanding and kudo's to you and the SGVRCL. This is truly a victory for not just the Narrows but all of us in a way.

    John
    \"Keep your controllines tight\"


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