Welcome to the March news letter of SPARKS, The Springfield Area Radio Kontrollers. A few tasty treats to share this month.
o NEXT MEETING: Wednesday March 14
o FEBRUARY MEETING REPORT
o NEW AND RETURNING MEMBERS
o AT THE FIELD
o REPORT: The WRAM show
o REPORT: Chicopee-Fest-Of-All
o ANNOUNCEMENT: Western Massachusetts flea market/swap meet, Saturday April 28
o ANNOUNCEMENT: New England Aerotow 2012, May 18-19-20
o JUST FOR FUN: could you fly a military drone?
NEXT MEETING: The next club meeting is Wednesday March 14, 2012 7pm at The Knights of Columbus, 460 Granby Road, Chicopee.
FEBRUARY MEETING: A dozen members attended the meeting where we talked a little about membership and some ideas for getting the word out about our hobby. The idea is to introduce folks to the hobby, get them excited, and invite them to the club if they're interested. See Gigger's report below for one such project, the Chicopee Fest-Of-All. Model-wise, Gerry Buliard showed off his electric Escapade, a nice looking plane. It will be fun to see it fly. I brought the Phoenix simulator in again, with the float planes being most popular. (You could hear the splashing throughout the meeting.) I think the ICON A5 is particularly cool.
NEW AND RETURNING MEMBERS: A big welcome to Merle Jacobson, Dave Matlasz, and Donald Georges who all joined up this year. Glad to have you, guys!
AT THE FIELD: Last week the usual hearty handful showed up to do some snow flying and enjoy the beautiful scenery, including our friends the hawks. The driveway wasn't too muddy, though we'll see what the next few weekends hold. High winds have been a bit of a pain, I have to admit. Keep your eyes peeled for information about a clean-up day in the near future.
REPORT: The WRAM show: Gigger reports on attending the Westchester Radio Modelers show ( www.wram.org ):
"The WRAM show was ok, lots to see they had indoor flight demonstrations planes and helicopters, electric boats and cars. The prices were competitive so looking around before buying was a good idea. they had a good selection of electric planes, helicopters, cars, boats, and even submarines. Balsa, and all types of hardware, the coolest part was the swap shop which turned into a mini auction, there were some very happy winners. The AMA President, Bob Brown, Executive Director Dave Mathewson and our District Vice President Andy Argenio were there. Dave and myself talked about having some kind of event with Andy and he was more than willing to do whatever he can to help out with information and procedures. Also at the show were Bob Bluteau, Mike Chalue, Paul Ethier and his son Paul Jr who was buying his father a new motor [it’s a surprised birthday present]. Dave Matlasz and myself did hook up with the FLYRC Club’s bus to the Wram Show, the bus left out of Newtown ,Ct. which is 15 min W of Waterbury [took us 1 hour 10min. to get there right off 84 W] The bus trip cost us $31.00 each [originally quoted $40 but bus was filled giving us back $9.00] and that included the price of admission. coffee, donuts and bottled water were available to all bus riders [no charge] which I think was the way to go. Not having to drive into NJ. We met some nice members of that club and they were interested in coming up for any event which we put on. This was my first Wram Show and probably won’t be my last, But I think it could’ve been a little bigger with more vendors and I think that will happen. Cant wait for next year’s show."
REPORT: Chicopee-Fest-Of-All ( www.festofall.com ): This is a project we kicked off at the last meeting. Again, from Gigger:
"The City of Chicopee has been putting on what they call is a "Fest of All" a spinoff of their kielbasa fest and taste of Chicopee with fireworks, live music, games and activities for the kids and adults, which happens this year on June 28,29,30 and July 1 I have been talking to my boss who submitted the idea to the fest of all committee and they liked the idea of us doing a demonstration and display on that weekend. I'm not sure of time slots and which day or days but as soon as I get more info I will pass it along. We will be talking more about this at our next meeting on March 14 so anyone interested and want to share some ideas for this event come on out to the next meeting. I think this will be a positive thing to promote our club and get young kids interested in our awesome hobby."
BUY/SELL/TRADE: Would you like to see a buy/sell/trade section here in the newsletter? I am looking for a foam wheel for my (new!) T-28 electric (3.4mm ID, 58mm+ OD) and I thought others members would like to put something into the newsletter each month. Let me know what you think of the idea ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). And if you have a foam wheel, please bring it this Wednesday :-)
ANNOUNCEMENT: Western Massachusetts flea market/swap meet, Saturday April 28, 2012, 9am to 2pm, Turners Falls, MA 01376.
The Franklin County Radio Control Club ( www.franklinrc.com ) is proud to host its first annual Flea Market / Swap Meet. The event is free to the public, so bring the whole family down to check out all of our RC things. We invite both RC car people as well as flying RC hobby people to come down and rent tables and sell your goods. NO premium for what you sell, just the table charge. 150-200 tables. Indoor and outdoor areas are available so if you have really big airplanes you can leave them outside and enjoy some sun and sales. Rent a table for 10 dollars if before April 23, otherwise 15 dollars to rent a table at the door. Location: Franklin County Technical School, 82 Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls, MA 01376. For table reservations and information contact: David Korpiewski, 413-695-2191, Davidk@cs.umass.edu
ANNOUNCEMENT: New England Aerotow 2012, May 18-19-20, Salem, Connecticut - http://www.rcaerotowing.com/event-details-registration.php?id=13
Scale Soaring in the Connecticut skies as we host our annual three day weekend of AMA-sanctioned scale sailplane aero tow from a beautiful flying site in Salem, CT Towing from a manicured grass field, the surrounding farm fields and rural terrain produces great thermal activity! Tow fee: $30 for three days, $15 for any one day. Hot lunch and beverages available for purchase at the field. Registration: Please send your name, address, phone number, AMA number and channel/frequency via e-mail to: email@example.com call 203-246-5881 with any questions. Current AMA membership required to fly. Powerful tugs capable of towing sailplanes up to 10 meters! Come fly with us! Door Prizes – Sailplane and Gear Raffle – Awards – 50/50. Looking forward to seeing you on the flightline!
JUST FOR FUN: Over on the helifreak.com forums I asked, "which is more difficult to fly, an RC heli or a military drone?" The responses were surprising, and I thought you'd like to read this one:
"You would be surprised at how different flying a drone is compared to r/c flying. The drones are flown in a two step process. The first step is the launch. The runway a drone takes off and lands on is set up with an ILS (instrument landing system) that projects a radio glide scope. This slope goes off the runway and up at about a 500 ft/min slope (at takeoff/landing speeds) and when the drone is given a green deck it will power up and take off like a normal plane. After it takes off, the drone is then told to climb to a certain elevation and fly to a chosen GPS coordinate. As the drone nears the area where it will operate the person that will be flying the drone connects to it and takes control. The "pilots" setup is actually very, very boring. There are usually two or three computer screens with 3 jobs. The first one is a map of the area the "pilot" is surveying where they can click on a point on the map and the drone will fly to it. Once at the area, the person can tell the drone to maintain a certain altitude, speed, and a circular radius to fly around the point. There is no "stick operation" like we have in r/c. The second monitor is a video feed from the FLIR (forward looking infrared) mounted on a turret on the drone that moves the FLIR on a 360* plane both vertical and lateral. There are a few video feeds they can alternate between. The first is a standard IR video where you can see thermal stuff like bodies, vehicles, high powered lights in buildings (commonly for drug plant growing). The second video is standard color as if you had a GoPro mounted that can actually zoom really far. The third video is a color low light version for not quite night-time watching. The last is a combination of color video with an IR video overlay. This one is actually terrible to watch, its like your tv is showing two tv channels at once over each other so it makes everything really confusing to interpret. The third monitor is a VIDS (vertical instrument display system) that tells you speed, baro alt (altitude above sea level), rad alt (radar altitude which is the height you are above whatever is directly below you), engine info, etc. The only control stick you have is for the FLIR camera, you can't fly it like a r/c plane. The last part to this process is after the person is done with their mission and the drone returns home. This is a repeat of the first step but backwards. The "pilot" tells the drone to go home so the drone flies back to the tarmac, picks up the ILS signal and flies in on the radio glide scope which will take it right to the runway where it stops and its mission ends. So, the TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read) is you dont actually fly a drone, you just tell it where to go while you watch a video feed and disseminate the findings accordingly. The reason I put pilot in quotes is because you really aren't a pilot, you are more like ATC (air traffic control). Hope this helps!"
Until next month, happy flying.