Pack 969 Enjoys a Successful Rocket Launch

Pack 969 Rocket Launch 1On September 27th at 9:30 AM, Cub Scout pack 969, out of Westminster, visited the Arvada Associated Modelers Club for their traditional rocket launching event. Approximately 15 youngsters showed up whose ages ranged from 6 to 10 years old. They all brought rockets which were built at home and purchased from local hobby shops. Rockets ranged from mini size, A10-3t, up to a 6 foot, D12-3, multi-staged rocket. Albeit the D12-3 rocket was built, owned and flown by a parent, but he was a kid at heart. The purpose of the event was to pass an ‘achievement’ towards one of their Cub Scout badges.

Pack 969 Rocket Launch 2The weather was perfect, an absolutely beautiful Colorado day, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. JD started the day off by flying his Carbon Cub for a couple of touch and goes, loops and slow rolls. The kids and especially the adults seemed to enjoy the short airshow.

Pack 969 Rocket Launch 3Once Mick, the troop leader, talked to the group to emphasize safety and the rules of the field, the Cub Scouts started to prepare their rockets for launch. Three at a time were placed on the launch pad; each scout was able to launch their own rocket. Although there were a few minor technical difficulties, as to be expected, the launches went off without a hitch. In fact the first few, that were launched, were so straight and the wind was so calm, they almost landed back on the launch pad after reaching a height of about 500 to 600 feet.

JD and Dennis McNally donated numerous hobby materials and rocket parts to help with the Cub Scout’s event.

Parents and children enjoyed a fun filled Saturday with each other while experiencing the excitement and thrill of launching rockets at the Arvada Associated Modelers Club.

Contest Report: 2014 Colorado Pattern Challenge


The 2014 edition of the Colorado Pattern Challenge (CPC) was a great way to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The first day of summer favored us with great weather (for the most part). There were a couple of late day storm cells that rolled through on Saturday. But as is typical for this time of year in Colorado, if you wait it out, the weather will improve. Also as usual, the event was a fantastic success because of all the great people that made it happen (participants, helpers, sponsors, etc.). I want to thank everyone that was involved for your help and cooperation for making it a terrific weekend event.

This was our 5th CPC in as many years and it seems to be getting easier to run every year. Thanks mainly to the tireless and enthusiastic work of everyone involved, the CPC is truly a premier RC Aerobatics event. A great deal of credit goes to the many club members who turn out to help and for the support of AAM. Thank you AAM for allowing us to close the field for a beautiful weekend in June to pursue our passion of flying pattern.

The CPC is an annual 2-day, RC Aerobatics (Pattern) contest hosted by the Arvada Associated Modelers (AAM). The CPC is one of only 2 pattern contests in Colorado this year and one of a very few in the surrounding states. The turnout of competitors was a bit down this year with a total of 11 participating (versus 16 a year ago) including 2 out-of-town guests from New Mexico. The rest of the contingent was from Colorado, 6 of whom were AAM members.

The success, and really the sustainability, of this event is due to the many AAM volunteers and of course our many awesome Sponsors. Many members provided enthusiastic support and assistance. And many of them help out year after year. To those of you that came out and support the CPC, whether for the first time or for more, thank you very, very much!

In particular, I want to acknowledge my fellow organizers without whose assistance the CPC would not happen including: Co-CD, Lanny Hansen, our chief Judge/Flight line Organizer, Dan Underkofler, Scott Wait for wrapping up all the odds and ends, and our official photographer Lee Jay Fingersh. Official photos of the event can be found (and downloaded) from Lee Jay’s website.

I also want to give a shout out to our awesome score-keepers, Marcus and Tyler. Score keeping is a thankless job, and one that requires perfect accuracy. These 2 young CU students did a fantastic job!

One of the hallmarks of the CPC is sponsorship. We continue to have tremendous sponsorship particularly from our local hobby shops and vendors. This year’s Sponsors included:

Hobby Town Aeroworks Action RC Aircraft Center
Thompson’s Hobbies & Crafts Smart-Fly Graph Tech
F3A Unlimited Great Planes Castle Creations
Jersey Modeler APC Propellers Tower Hobbies
Tru-Turn Boca Bearing Wild Berry Productions

We had a few sponsors drop out this year, but were fortunate to have added a few new ones. A special welcome to new sponsors F3A Unlimited and Jersey Modeler! All of our Sponsor are very important to the CPC. You help make the CPC the tremendous success that it is, THANKS AGAIN!
This year’s sponsorships increased to over $2,000 in merchandise and gift certificates, all of which was distributed to participants, organizers, supporters and helpers. NO ONE walks away empty handed from the CPC, and in fact, virtually everyone took home a prize worth more than the cost of the entry fee of $35, something I’m personally very proud of. Sponsorship adds greatly to the event, so please support all of our wonderful and loyal Sponsors.

Despite having to dodge a few thunderstorms, the CPC was also fortunate to have a nice weekend of weather with moderate winds and temps. As a result, we had no problem getting in 6 rounds on just 1 flight line. We flew 4 rounds on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, including an unknown for Advanced and below flyers. We were able to run just 1 flight line due to the modest turnout, with contestant judging. As usual, Dan Underkofler efficiently managed the flight lines and judging assignments. Other AAM volunteers managed operations on the flight lines, scribed, and took care of all the other details which kept things running smoothly. All of which resulted in a very safe and enjoyable weekend of flying.

The classes broke down as follows: 1-Sportsman; 3-Intermediate; 4-Advanced; and, 3-FAI. It was disappointing not to have a larger turnout in Sportsman, however, several of those flyers (from last year) moved up to Intermediate, and so on. And, we may have recruited a few new prospects from the volunteer pool for the Sportsman class next year!

As always, I am very proud of the AAM contingent. They are always very well prepared and very competitive. AAM took 3 out the 4 top spots, but more importantly our guys are also the first to step up to call, assist others, or do whatever it takes to keep things positive and fun!

We were not expecting to have any glow-powered airplanes this year, including an “old school” Conquest IV that was converted from glow to electric by Tom Anderson from Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, Tom lost the Conquest in a mid-air on Friday. Tom’s back-up was a sport airplane powered by 4-stroke glow motor. Incidentally, Tom performed remarkably well given the facts that he has just returned to pattern after a fairly long hiatus, and having flown a very regular sport airplane in competition. Welcome back Tom, we’re looking forward to seeing you at future contests!

We took a page out of John Gayer’s book and incorporated an “Unknown” sequence for the Advanced and lower classes at the CPC. John has been doing a single round, unknown competition called the “Watermelon Cup” for several years now at the annual Fall Pattern Classic in Albuquerque. The Watermelon Cup includes every class and is a custom sequence that is geared for Advanced and above flyers, but still open to everyone. His method of handicapping the lower classes has proved to be quite equitable and makes for a great adjunct to the regular contest.

At the CPC we strived to make the unknown a little more friendly to the lower classes, and excluded everyone above Advanced (which was only the FAI guys). The contest was a single round of simply the 2011-2012 Advanced pattern with the same handicapping system used for the Watermelon Cup. Nearly everyone in the Intermediate and Advanced classes participated with the winner getting first pick from the Sponsorship prize fund.

Interestingly, probably the worst weather of the weekend occurred during the unknown flying. A rather blustery cross wind, blowing straight in made for some challenging flying. Regardless, there were no mishaps and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. John did win, showing off some rather impressive wind-corrected maneuvers. John also volunteered to create a truly unique and original sequence for next year, so it’s safe to say we’ll be trying it again in 2015.

Again, I want to thank everyone (participants, supporters, volunteers and sponsors) that helped make the 2014 CPC such a huge success. Congratulations to all the competitors and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Keep practicing,

Joe, Lanny, Dan, Scott and the entire AAM Crew!!!

Final Results

Place Sportsman Intermediate Advanced FAI/F3A
1 Rodger Barsch* Lanny Hansen* John Gayer (NM) Dan Underkofler*
2 Steve Naler* Scott Wait* Joe Pirozzoli*
3 Tom Anderson (CO) Jim Rogers (CO) Chuck Shone (CO)

Winner of the 1st Annual CPC Unknown competition was John Gayer from Albuquerque, NM.

* Indicates an AAM Contestant


Dear AAM Members,

Hopefully by now you have received an email from AMA or have visited the AMA website to learn about the FAA’s recent “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” as it pertains to “FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.”

It is extremely important that every single one of us respond to the FAA’s interpretation because of its highly aggressive approach and potential detriment to our hobby.  The response deadline is September 23, 2014 so please do not delay.  YOU MUST RESPOND!!

There are 4 ways to respond (please see details below), but easiest way by far is via email as follows:

Email: Go to Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

It is important to respond in a thoughtful and meaningful manner.  Please refer to the following link for: Tips for submitting your comments.

The following Summary of tips are meant to help you submit comments that have an impact and which will help agency policy makers improve federal regulations.


  • Read and understand the regulatory document you are commenting on.
  • Feel free to reach out to the agency (or others within AAM) with questions.
  • Be concise but support your claims.
  • Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted.
  • Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment.
  • The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters.

Additional Documents and Resources

Additional information and interpretation of the FAA’s intent provided by Joe Falconer:

  1. Section 336 also prohibits the FAA from promulgating “any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft” if the following statutory requirements are met:
    • The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
    • The aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
    • The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
    • The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and (This is the FAA’s way of leaving room for future changes in dealing with UAVs and the NAS. Notice this has never changed.)
    • When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower…with prior notice of the operation…
  2. (AMA) FAA interpretive rule Negates Congress’ intentions:
    • The FAA is stating, “the prohibition against future rulemaking is not a complete bar on rulemaking that may have an effect on model aircraft.” The rulemaking limitation applies only to rulemaking actions specifically “regarding a model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft.”
    • Therefore the rulemaking prohibition would not apply in the case of general rules that the FAA may issue or modify that apply to all aircraft, such as rules addressing the use of airspace for safety or security reasons.
    • The statue does not require FAA to exempt model aircraft from those rules because those rules are not specifically regarding model aircraft.
    • The FAA interprets the section 336 rulemaking prohibition as one that must be evaluated on a rule-by-rule basis.
  3. FPV – VLOS:
    • Aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator
    • That the operator must use his or her own natural vision (corrected if needed by standard eyeglasses or contacts)
    • People other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight.  ***** Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. *****
    • While the statute would not preclude using an observer to augment the safety of the operation, the operator must be able to view the aircraft at all times.
  4. Commercial – Any operation not conducted strictly for hobby or recreation purposes could not be operated under the special rule for model aircraft. Clearly, commercial operations would not be hobby or recreation flights. Likewise, flights that are in furtherance of a business, or incidental to a person’s business, would not be a hobby or recreation flight. Flights conducted incidental to, and within the scope of, a business where no common carriage is involved, generally may operate under FAA’s general operating rules of part 91.

For more information or question, please contact Joe Pirozzoli or Joe Falconer.

Thanks, and please act quickly!