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Oct 04, 2001, 02:52 AM
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Troy's Avatar
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Disturbing discussion at OC flying field

While out at the field today with a buddy, flying a few toys, a woman came walking by with her dog yelling, "that thing is fast, really fast." Our initial reaction was thanks! but it turned out she was a little bit scared of it. As the plane landed she commented "That thing could kill somebody!" I calmly walked over to her and began inquiring more about her fear of the plane. It turns out that she is a local resident (my neighbor down the street) on a council trying to get RC planes kicked out of our local flying field; a big open dirt field behind a high school used by sailplanes for 25 years and recently a surge of electric planes.
Point of tangent- The field is also situated next to a large residential area. From where you park and fly to where the houses/apartments start is only about 200-300 yards up the dead end road we drive to get to it. To put into perspective: if you tossed up an electric Zagi and headed due south (parallel to the road), you'd be at the houses in 15-20 seconds. On the north end of the field (which is the edge of a mesa), from west to east, is a wide open space that stretches for quite some distance-maybe 1/4 mile+ square. A large portion of it is 6ft tall mounds of dirt (old dirt dump for construction) but from where you stand is a nice open area for taking off and landing. There aren't houses west, north, or east for at least a mile any which way. It's a huge community park that is used a lot for biking, walking, and running. It has a few dirt paths and a paved bike path that run through but other than that it's largely an open, uncrowded place. But, as Murphy's law would have it, what area has been buzzed by the modelers early in the morning? You guessed it, right next to the houses. This is not a recent problem but one that has brought many complaints to the flying club that uses this area.
She mentioned how a daily group of older, possibly retired gentlemen come out in the morning as early as 6:30am to fly electrics. I've known that some of the guys come out early but 6:30am!! She says that the noise echoes down her street and it is causing a lot of close by residents to become angry-no suprise.
She told me that she has spoken to the gentlemen personally about the early hour noise but was met with a rather rude and unconcerned response from these older gentlemen. They acted as if they owned the place and will do what ever they want. Not the attitude you want to give off when you are causing problems on "public property!!" I assured her that these guys, and I know who they are, are making the other 95% of the people who use the field responsibly look really bad. I told her that there ought to be a curfew that restricted flying until a reasonable time in the morning so that the buzzing of Zagis and noisy gearboxes can be drowned out by normal city hustle and bustle. At 6:30 in the morning it is so quiet around there, I know because I live 1/2 a block down the street from her. That's just ridiculous to fly that early!
We continued to talk and I told her that I had been flying there for over a decade and that lately other pilots and myself are having to police each other over the stupidity and selfishness of a few individuals. The more we talked the better her outlook on the situation looked, which was rather grim when we started. In the end she asked my name, gave me hers, said thanks for talking to her, we shook hands, and she went off with a smile.
I'm not sure what to do next. I wish there were a way to get people to abide by some simple rules out at the field. Because it is an open park there are no structured flying areas nor common runway. It's pretty much anything goes out there and that's where the problems come from.
What do you all think?
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Oct 04, 2001, 03:34 AM
leccyflyer's Avatar
I think you handled the situation really well and are to be commended for doing so.

In reality you probably have absolutely zero rights in this situation and the selfish acts of these few modellers could easily result in you losing the use of your site. If you know who they are then, distasteful as it may seem, you might just have to point that out to them directly - in a friendly manner at first of course.

There's a little sticker on my flight box - Keep Your Site With Quiet Flight - but it is undoubtedly true that some electrics (Zagis and some geared motors that you mentioned plus EDFs ) can have a perceptible and annoying noise. At 6:30 in the morning in such a setting flying anything of that sort is just asking for trouble and would be viewed as unreasonable by just about any member of the general public and I suspect even by a lot of modellers.

It sounds from your description that these chaps think they have the right to just carry on doing what they are doing - BZZZZT - that is the wrong answer. If there is a perceived noise problem at the site then even flying gliders at that time in the morning will engender complaints - people will be sitting up in bed listening for the crack of the bungee as it comes off the tow hook. It would be reasonable in most peoples eyes to do this as well.

Good luck and I hope you don't lose your site over this.


Oct 04, 2001, 09:32 AM
High Exalted Poohbah
planeman's Avatar

Quite a problem. As this is a public area out of your control I suggest the following.

As you live in the neighborhood and have met this other neighbor who is concerned, It might be well if you went back to that neighbor and expressed your concern and offered your help to solve the problem. She - and one or two other concerned but reasonable neighbors - and you should arrive at a reasonable time to begin and end flying. Then a politely worded sign should be placed at the entrance to the field noting the problem to the neighbors and the agreed upon flying hours and requesting the flying community to abide by it. The next step is for your small group to contact the police, explain the problem and solution and ask if they could patrol the area early in the morning and ask the early fliers to leave and come back at the prescribed time. There has been a noise complaint, you know.

I'll bet after a couple of months of this and everyone will be happy.

Good luck!
Oct 04, 2001, 11:06 AM
Should it be doing that?
I remember when flying at Mile-Square Park in Fountian Valley had a restriction on how early you could fly. It was like 9 or 9:30AM. This was due to the 'Quickie 500' guys goin out there early and running without mufflers.

9AM isn't so bad. Most people are awake by then.

Is the site you are talking about by Estancia HS?

Brian Christie
Oct 04, 2001, 11:18 AM
1.21 Gigawatts!
Steph280's Avatar
Good job Troy.

With all the flying fields disappearing in LA/Orange County, it's obvious that everybody needs to work together to keep one of the few remaining fields open.

Curfew is a good idea, I am suprised there isn't one already since it's so close to residential area. Over by Whittier Narrows, people are not allowed to even power up their plane before 7AM, and that is even with the field far away from any residential area.

But the tough part is enforcing it. There are always some stubborn individual who refused to be told what to do, like the ones you mentioned. We really need to get the clubs involved to help get the point across to these individual.

Remember noise checker George back in Mile Square park days? We should have the club designate somebody like that to check the noise level on all the planes. Might sound funny considering only electrics fly there, but the sound that some planes make are pretty substantial. Considering how close the residential area is, noise planes should be restricted to fly over the mesa area. I always keep my Zagi far away from the apartments there.

thank you for your effort to help everybody keep one of the last fields in the area. If everybody could be as cooperative as you, we should have the field for decades to come.

Oct 04, 2001, 12:12 PM
Visitor from Reality
Sounds like you've hit on a real bummer Troy. Having been involved in odd ways with two sites that were lost to noise, it would be really PO'ing if an electric group lost a site to noise!

For starters, and this might grate on some folk, a club is a better bargainer than a bunch of odd guys. As far as the neighbours are concerned, you're all 'odd guys' and if kicking the lot of you off means their peace and quiet returns, off you go.

If you have a club abiding by set standards that the neighbours like, and the neigbours are happy stopping those who aren't club members from breaking those standards, you might stand a chance. The bad boys either line up or find themselves in a one sided conversation with the local cop, you get to fly some.
Oct 04, 2001, 02:17 PM
tic's Avatar
To me, a zagi sounds as obnoxious as an .049..... Perhaps the zagi's should have the curfew.. Not that I'm biased against zagi's or anything...
Oct 04, 2001, 06:58 PM
Caution:Makes sharp left turns
Troy's Avatar
Thread OP
Yes, it is the Estancia field in Costa Mesa. The interesting thing is that the soaring club (HSS) that has been established for 25 years and doesn't really want the electrics out there because of the abundance of complaints. What I'm thinking of doing is getting some rules with explanations posted out at the field in the club's display case and maybe even getting a letter written to local residents about the attempts being made to curb the noise problems. At least they'll know we're trying to stop it as well. It would have to delicately/diplomatically say that the club is aware of the problems and is trying to alleviate them. Most local residents like to come out and watch the planes, it's somewhat of a family affair for small kids and kids at heart. It blows me away that people three times my age are acting as irresponsible and mindless as they are. These guys are the refugees of the ill fated mile square park. Out there we could fly electrics as early as 7am but it was fairly isolated from residentail areas. I really respected old "DB Meter" George because he got a lot of flack from guys when he tested their planes for noise. The only people who were annoyed by him were the "It's a free country, I'll do what I want" kind of crowd.
I'm glad there are many guys like Stephen out at that field who are concerned pilots and respect the neighbors. If a few of us have to become a "DB" George then so be it. We've got to show the community that we are responsible hobbyists so that we'll have a chance to keep our field.
Last edited by Troy; Oct 04, 2001 at 07:21 PM.
Oct 04, 2001, 08:30 PM

The Locals over here

We had the same problem. Or atleast so I was told by the old timers at my field. Our field is an 8 acre AMA sanction long, widely challenged field right next to a county bike path. Back in the day, they used to fly powered. And up until about 8 years ago or so, the residents (the whole 4 of em) that lived 40 feet off the perimeter of the field wrote a petition or something to the mayor of the town and a week later, they banned powered flight.
Then when someone went out and got a brand new silent flight electric, they asked the people living there if that even bothered them.. They ofcourse said No , and *bada-bing*, we fly again!

I guess its a happy ending! So far......
Do electrics really make THAT much noise?
I mean yea, you can have some freak accident resulting in someone getting a buzz cut but how many times does that happen?!
Oct 04, 2001, 10:05 PM
troy you left out a some information ,the problem first started when the presedent of the harbour soaring club was flying a plyon
aircraft right next to the appartments,
the lady with the dog you were flying fast by and scaring, we are all fimaliar with she wants only all flying stoped and nothing less. the vp of the club has taken sound mesurments from the appertments and cant even get a reading on the noise, and we do have a costa messa policeman with us almost every morning and flying on his days off.
the bigest part of the problem is yung people flying all over the field instead of flying away from the apts.
Oct 05, 2001, 02:33 AM
leccyflyer's Avatar
Couple of points here.

Whether a noise reading can be made at the site of the noise complaints is completely irrelevant. The residents perceive a noise problem and it is entirely reasonable of them to expect people to not be flying at 6:30 in the morning no matter how small that noise is. For the sake of hanging fire for a couple of hours those using the site that early in the morning risk losing the site for everyone. How is this so difficult to understand?

Whether a policeman is doing it as well is also irrelevant - it might not be against the law of the land but it is a matter of common courtesy and common sense. Even if some bozo was up cutting his grass at that time of the morning is irrelevant - I don't know about anyone else but I was taught when I was just a tot that Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right.

When push come to shove in the eyes of the public you are a raggedy bunch of strange people who play with toy aeroplanes and in doing so are seen to be inconveniencing the lives of legitimate residents. Fy in the daytime and keep them away from the apartments and you have a chance of co-exisiting - as Troy's original post showed - but carry on with what any right thinking person would view as unreasonable by chasing the sparrows around before they have even finished coughing and you could wave bye-bye to the field for everyone.
Oct 05, 2001, 02:56 AM
Michele Somaschini, Spain
RookieOne's Avatar
We got the same problems here.

City is growing more and more and some fields have been surrounded by new residents.

They say RC is dangerous and noisy but we get there first.

Last time we're forced to quit by five stupid/arrogant/snob men riding on horses. They said we scared the animals. Field is wide enough to allow a 747 landing there !!!

"If horses are scared, is because you don't know how to control them" we answered.
There's people riding on motocross bikes too, and horses doesn't scare??

They were just looking for some fight to show how "macho" they were holding their whips.

We finally quit as nobody wanted a major incident.

Life is sooooo unfair
Oct 05, 2001, 02:56 AM
Registered User
Sluf7's Avatar
Simple really go have a chat with council get permission to put up sign saying they agree to you flying here but restrictions will be aplied if these few simple rules aren't followed.......

Ya won't no till ya talk with them and it's about as far as you can go really at least ya can say ya tried.

Or this will happen.

Oct 05, 2001, 04:18 AM
high-speed freak
opualuan's Avatar
ya know, there are some people that are never satisfied. the woman that shows up to EVERY city council meeting, gets into everyone's business, etc... there's a lady on my street who just moved in and hassled the city enough so they put stop signs every 40 feet on my street. this is residential. normally there is about 2 cars per hour that pass by on this street. we now have four way stops at the meeting of 3 cul-de-sacs. why? this lady doesn't bother watching her little kids and lets her 3-year old play in the street.

i have a feeling this lady is one of those people.

however, annoying people like this tend to get stuff done, and they are a pita to fight... so you try to appease them. however, if a park is zoned for electric flight, it is. you have just as much right to fly there as she has to walk there. however, a-holes can NOT start up their planes at 6am. my flying site is 9AM-7PM, i believe, and that seems alright. anyone starting up a noisy pylon racer at 6am should be met with a squad car for disturbing the peace.
also, noone has a right to buzz houses or people. this is reckless. if you're a beginner like me, sometimes it can't be helped. but, I've seen people trying to be cool buzzing by onlookers at my flying sight, and it is a BAD idea.

in terms of safety, i think with the emerging power and speed of newer electric planes (>park flyer or even >zagi...) i think some people have to start moving to lonely gas fields. I went to the electric meet in half moon bay, and I was 5 feet away from being hit with a full throttle nose dive crash of a edf jet straight into the spectators area. 2 people WERE hit. they were dealt glancing blows with wingtips on their hands, but still... it was a meet, everything was handled safely, the pilot was in perfect control of his plane, he lost it in the sun momentarily. that's enough at 70mph in a dive. people with super-large or superfast planes should not be flying at parks, they should be going to a secluded gas field somewhere... it is too easy to lose control with a 70+mph plane, and it's too dangerous to fly around people walking their dogs.

also, i'm starting to see more and more gas conversions... imaa legal wingspan doesn't necessarily mean you should fly your 100" span p47 at your local park....

my $.015...
Oct 05, 2001, 08:31 AM
Visitor from Reality
Interesting point - it may be okay for little bitty electrics to fly in odd corners, but for those of us who fly "sports RC models that don't make much noise", it's time to re-join the mainstream of RC flying.

For one, am definitely looking for another strip to call home Sundays. The last straw happened when I rolled 7lb of model onto finals - and overflew a guy who had wandered out into the field to set up his glider catapult. This 'gentleman', oblivious to all, messed around out there for nearly an hour with a catapult strung right across the middle of the field, made a couple of flights all of a minute long, diddled around some more wrapping it all up and left, without a word.

IMO - this informal world of self taught parkflier and glider operators, with no sense of responsibility, is an accident waiting to happen, and it will get much worse as they multiply in a world where "me first" is a popular way of life. As the unfortunates in this thread are finding, their lack of discipline is a social disadvantage too.

I regret it, but the time to return to a site with decent safety discipline, pits, and pilot stations has come, having had my fill of folk with no concept of flight safety whatsoever. I'm lucky enough to know where the quiet times and spots are for impromptu evening and lunchtime sessions are, but Sundays are going to be spent some place where flight safety has presence and respect.

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