The Denver RC Eagles was founded in 1960. Since its inception, the club has grown from a small group of RC enthusiasts to a group of about 100 members.
The Eagles flying site (Suhaka Field) is located at Cherry Creek State Park, approximately 9 miles southeast downtown Denver. There are two paved runways (400' & 275'), paved taxiways and pit area. Activities cover nearly every phase of R/C Aircraft building, flying, and Fun-Fly events. Club members have diverse interests in scale war birds, aerobatics, helicopters, ducted fan jets, electrics, and turbine powered aircraft. Beginners are always welcome and instructor pilots are available for flight training.
The Denver RC Eagles club maintains the runway facilities and field maintenance and your membership is encouraged to help support the facilities. Access to Cherry Creek State Park is via I-25 (exit Belleview) or South Parker Road. A Colorado State Park pass is required for entry. State Park annual pass is the most cost effective.
The descent through the clouds over the mountains was exhilarating. With the evening sun to the west, the remnants of afternoon thunderstorms were lit from the side, creating a multitude of light and dark patterns. The brightly colored wing of our Boeing 737-700 sliced through some of these clouds as the Southwest flight brought my wife, granddaughter and I hope from a trip to southern California to visit my mother.
As we descended out of the verga over Denver I could look south and see Cherry Creek State Park, home of Suhaka Field and the Denver R/C Eagles. As the jet whined through its approach to DIA I had a nice opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of this past year at our Club, since I became President.
My first step as President was to form a Leadership Team and get everyone on the same page with a plan for the Club. My first priority was to improve the safety at Suhaka Field. This meant changing the culture of the Club, which had historically had a pretty relaxed approach to safety. To my great surprise, the membership responded well to my expressed concerns about safety, and quickly embraced a stricter approach to safety that has included updating our rules, requiring that AMA membership be displayed while flying, and posting signs to let non-members know that our club has rules and we expect non-members to follow them.
The Leadership Team also worked hard to improve our relationship with the management of the Cherry Creek State Park, with good results. At our request, Park representatives have greatly improved the rotary wing flying area, have regularly sprayed weeds, and have kept our trash buckets emptied. We have also had the benefit of a very responsive Ranger staff willing to come and help enforce our rules when requested (which Eric Sunderwirth did one day). We still have lots of work to do reducing the Prairie Dog population, which I expect will be a joint effort with Park Staff during the fall when the cooler weather makes the “treatment” they apply more effective.
I have been very pleased to see many of our Club members come out for the three maintenance days we have had that have greatly improved and refreshed our facilities. I think we have had over thirty members show up for these events and “put their shoulder to the wheel”. Thanks guys for your good efforts, of which we can all be proud. Our Director of Airfield Maintenance, Bob Brelsford, has led the effort to keep Suhaka Field in top-notch shape, contributing countless hours to organizing our maintenance days, and doing much of the regular maintenance work himself. Thanks Bob!
Another very active group has been our flight instructors, led by Director of Flight Training, John Dickens, and Chief Flight Instructor, Richard “Doc” Hamilton. It has been very gratifying to me to see many new pilots learning the skills required to fly a radio-controlled aircraft at Suhaka Field.
John Dickens has also been involved in organizing a community outreach program. John reports in recent email:
On August 15th, I organized an airshow at the Highline Place assisted living facility. The show included a fixed wing airplane flown by myself and two helicopters flown by Steve Yamamoto and Ron Cox. The location of the airshow was confined as seen in the attached photograph. The only casualty at the show was during my landing. My airplane collided with the concrete curb of a traffic circle, which ripped off the main landing gear. A picture of the repaired airplane is attached. The audience and the participants enjoyed the airshow.
We have also had an busy calendar of events that have been very well attended. Leaving aside the maintenance days, we actually have eight club events scheduled at Suhaka Field this summer. Every one of these events has had food planned, purchased, prepared and served by our master chef and Club Secretary, Joe Bolognese. Joe has shown a remarkable talent for serving a variety of creative and delicious meals. These gatherings have had a transformative effect on our club, bringing members together for food, fellowship and flying. I have witnessed friendships kindled, stories shared, and lots of laughter as pilots joined in these events. Thanks to Joe and all the other volunteers who have made these events a big success.
Thanks also to the other club members that have stepped into leadership roles with the Club, including Treasurer Joe Apice, Safety Officer Eric Sunderwirth, Club Founder Sid Gates, Ambassador Richard Rudolph, Website Manager Marty Miller, and Director of Helicopter Operations Steve Lantz.
As the current flying season winds down I would like to encourage other members to take on leadership roles with the club. We currently have a vacancy in the Vice President position, and would benefit from having a couple more people active in our Leadership Team.
August Air Show
Speaking of events, we had two of the best events so far this year in August. On August 23, we held the DRCE Public Air Show. For 90 minutes many of our best pilots filled the air with a variety of beautiful aircraft, performing maneuvers to narration, music, or sound effects. Participating pilots included John Dickens, Bob Brelsford, Majid Mongazeb, Sid Gates, Bob Pash, Richard, Eric Sunderwirth, Mark Sievers, Richard Rudolph, Jack Steinhauser, Bob Ihly, Steve Yamamoto, Stephen Lantz, Lachlan McLean, Richard Hamilton, Bob Haynes, Dave Bockelman, Cam Lawson, Dave Randomski, and Robert Reagle (my apologies to any pilots not mentioned).
John Dickens and Bob Brelsford also managed the field and pit operations, insuring that each flight group launched and landed on time. Remarkably, the Air Show finished within one minute of the scheduled time, a good indication of how well John and Bob managed the event. Other assistance was provided by Mitch Long and Lachlan McLean on the sound system and music, and Ron Cox with his photography. Joe Bolognese served another wonderful BBQ meal and brought in several hundred dollars for our treasury.
For event publicity we relied on a posted sign and the assistance of the Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts. I would estimate that we had about 80 spectators including club members. I have never seen the parking lot so full.
I would say that the Air Show event was the most fun and successful event we have had yet. It has got me thinking that we should reformat the September Fun Fly as a Club air show. We can discuss this at the next meeting.
August BBQ and Evening Fly
The August BBQ and Evening Fly held on August 28 was our most enjoyable Evening Fly event so far. The weather that afternoon was tumultuous, with several lines of thunderstorms raking the Denver area. Joe Bolognese was so concerned he called me to ask if the event was still on. After consulting my various weather resources, including weather radar that was tracking the thunderstorms, I concluded we had a pretty good chance of a pleasant evening. It turned out this was a good call. The weather was gorgeous, the beer cold, and Joe B. served a fantastic beef brisket for dinner. So, we had good weather, cold beer, great food, and lots of good conversation, not to mention a little flying.
We actually had quite a few aircraft in the air, including planes equipped with lights, and a variety of rotorcraft. Some of the pictures from this event are spectacular, as can be seen on the cover of this month’s newsletter, as well as in the photo spread towards the end of the newsletter.
As reported in previous newsletters, the RC community and its national representatives, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, have been attempting to counter a push by bureaucrats at the Federal Aviation Administration to impose dramatically tougher regulations on RC flying, including a virtual ban of First Person View flying. While the FAA process allows all interested parties to comment on the proposed rulemaking (and your editor happily submitted a stiff rebuke to the FAA with specific alternatives to the rules being proposed), there is no guarantee that the same bureaucrats who came up with the new rules will be swayed by the objections of the RC community to amend them. The AMA announced on August 22, 2014 that it has filed a Petition for Review of FAA’s Interpretive Rule. Excepts from their news release are set forth below:
Muncie, IN— Today the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) filed a Petition for Review in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the FAA’s Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014.
The AMA believes that the FAA’s Interpretive Rule is contrary to the text and intent of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Public Law 112-95, and violates Congress’ specific prohibition on any new rules or regulations regarding model aircraft that are operated pursuant to a community-based organization’s standards. The FAA’s purported interpretation effectively establishes an array of new regulations that model aircraft enthusiasts have never been subject to in the past, and poses an immediate and direct hardship on model aviation.
“Model aviation is a wholesome family recreational and educational activity,” said AMA Executive Director Dave Mathewson. “Aeromodeling has been a steppingstone to careers in aviation and aerospace for many young people in this country, and AMA is concerned that the FAA’s interpretation of the law will diminish our ability to continue to be the pipeline for young talent that will become the next generation of engineers this country so sorely needs.”
Although AMA has worked cooperatively with the FAA in the past, and hopes to continue to do so, the AMA has filed its petition for review within 60 days of the issuance of the FAA interpretation, by necessity, in order to assert its legal rights.
“The AMA has worked collaboratively and in good faith with the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office for many years and will continue to do so as we attempt to work through our differences concerning the interpretive rule,” said AMA President Bob Brown.
While there can be no assurance this tougher strategy will work, I applaud the AMA leadership for taking a more aggressive stance with regards to the FAA bureaucrats.
One of the best aspects of the summer into fall flying season is the variety of Warbirds Events being held at different clubs along the Front Range. The biggest and best of these is coming up this weekend, the “Warbirds over the Rockies Event.” As described on their website: at www.warbirdsovertherockies.com “
“Warbirds Over the Rockies is an international event that attracts the finest in model aviation pilots and warbirds from around the globe. With more than 150 pilots and 5,000 spectators, the event is a classic showcase of aviation history and camaraderie. Bring your family for the day or stay all weekend.
Another warbirds event that was held recently is the “Warbirds over Pueblo” event. As described in local media:
Sky Corral Radio Control Club of Pueblo, Colorado will be hosting the 14th annual "War birds Over Pueblo" Model Air Show on Saturday, August 31, 2013 and Sunday, September 1, 2013 at Sky Corral's Colonel Brad Dolliver Field in Pueblo West, Colorado. . The show features radio control model aircraft, which are reproductions of actual planes flown in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War. The planes range in size from 18 inches to 10 feet in wingspan and weigh from several ounces to over 40lbs. This show will feature several jets powered by real turbine engines capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph.
There will be a special ceremony a 12:00 noon on Saturday during which several local veterans will receive plaques honoring their service for our country. A formation flyover by pilots from Doss Aviation is also scheduled for noon on Saturday. They will honor the vets with the "missing man formation".
I decided to attend the Warbirds over Pueblo event representing the Denver R/C Eagles. I brought two scale military planes to fly: a 70 inch DLE-20-powered Spitfire, and an electric-powered Dornier 27 that I recently purchased as an ARF kit.
Weather for the Pueblo event was sunny and windy. Still the air was constantly filled with scale military RC aircraft, including my Spitfire and Dornier.
At the event I was pleased to see fellow Denver pilot Dave Teich receive recognition for his service in the Korean conflict. Dave was a tank commander who defied orders from his superiors to rescue a group of 76 Army Rangers who had been isolated by the rapid advance of the Chinese Communist Forces. See the picture of Dave herein. Dave was describing the harrowing rescue of fellow American soldiers from torture and death at the hands of the Chicom forces. Dave is 89 years old and is still an active RC Pilot!
Enjoy the great flying weather; the next six to eight weeks are generally the best time of year to fly.
DRCE Club President
Next DRCE Monthly Meeting
2014 DRCE OFFICERS
Director - Airfield Maintenance
Director – Flight Training
Chief Flight Instructor