President's Message (End of 2019)

Happy holidays! 2019 has been a great year here at the Marymoor R/C Club. We have seen some changes in leadership and board members and have made many great improvements to our field that will continue through 2020.

This last month our former website administrator, Joel Pothering, stepped down from his role after his term ended. Thank you, Joel, for your amazing work and modernization to our website and webcam/weather station. If there are any club members that would be interested in volunteering for the now vacant website administrator role, feel free to contact us at We also had Walle Ralkowski (our former field manager) step down, and owe him a big thanks as well. He did a tremendous amount of work on the upkeep of our field. Stepping in to take on his duties is Rob Smith – a huge thanks to him for taking on this role, as well as members Bryan Connelly and Mark Knutson for their time spent volunteering in mowing and maintaining our flying site. This last board meeting we voted in Brian Kelly (BK1) as our new Vice President, welcomed Micah Truman as our new “member at large”, and Brian Burk who will join Doug Hurley as a co-manager for our training nights. Brian Burk has already been a great help with our Tuesday night training sessions, and Micah has been involved with his son on Sundays (an unofficial youth flying day) in helping club member Bryan Connelly with his mentorship and instruction of a lot of the youth that partakes in our club. Mike McGee (Secretary), Mike Powell (Treasurer), Brian Kelly (BK2/Safety Officer), and Eric Benjamin (Membership coordinator) will continue their current roles with our board into 2020. Thanks to everyone, board and club members, for all their help in keeping MAR/C running!

Mid 2019 saw Steve Guty step down as President after many great years with him on our board. Steve greatly helped pave the way to ensuring the future of our flying site and forming a strong friendship between MAR/C and King County Parks, so here’s a big thank you to Steve for his time and effort in volunteering for our club. We also had Al Watson step up to the plate as an interim Club President as Steve was moving away, and he was a huge help during a brief period where we needed leadership, so thanks to Al as well. Al stepped down for personal reasons a couple months ago, and I was happy to accept the role of President moving in place from my former initial role of Vice President. It’s been a steep learning curve initially, but Steve and Al - as well as the rest of the board - have been great resources and help for me in my transition. I am excited to continue to pay it forward to our amazing flying field and members.

I know that myself - as well as many others- have spent their childhoods (or a chunk of adulthood) at MAR/C immersed in aviation. In my opinion, preserving the passion for aviation in any form, especially in youth, is paramount. Youth is the future of our hobby and making the effort as a club to continue to pull in new youth is something I’d love to continue and expand on. Club member Bryan Connelly is someone many look up to as a true steward of our hobby – specifically towards youth outreach and training/mentorship. He is the reason I joined MAR/C as well as many other new youth members before and after me. Thanks Bryan – we should all try and follow in your footsteps!

This last summer, Mike Powell and Brian Kelly (BK1) took on creating our first ever STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) youth event. They did an amazing job bringing in kids that were interested and/or passionate for aviation. They taught them the basic principles of flight and gave them demo flights on our club aircraft. We plan to continue to do this event annually, as it had great feedback. Regarding STEM - this last summer we said goodbye to a long time MAR/C member - John Vice. In his passing, he left behind a donation for our STEM program and club. John will be missed, and we are fortunate to honor his memory through youth outreach.

The club’s future looks very bright when it comes to field improvements and enhancements. Over the last several months, with the help of some of our awesome board and club member volunteers (BK1, BK2, 3D Ken, to name a few), we were able to get our two new east and west boundary markers installed. These came out great and we hope they will help ensure the prevention of any potential future overflights. Regarding overflights - our noise and overflight complaints are at an all-time low, and we’d like to thank the membership base for their adherence to our flight boundaries. Please continue to self-police yourselves with this matter to help maintain our good relationship with our neighbors, especially with the opening of the new closer apartment complex near our east boundary.

Other improvements that have been finished over the last month included placing the new flight station verbal call signage as well as the signage on the description of how to interpret our new field boundary markers. We also had new signs made for the “do not taxi into pits” markers as well, which turned out great. Thanks to my friend Tyler Brunkhorst for making the final image files for these new signs, and our new VP Brian Kelly (BK1) for creating the boundary images.

We are also in the process of safely disposing of all the LiPo batteries in the battery disposal garbage located at the charging tables. We will have a new empty metal garbage bin specific to LiPo batteries here shortly. Please be sure to only use this bin for disposal of bad/old batteries, and not for normal garbage. Regarding the charging stations: please remember that we have sand located in two sealed buckets behind the charging tables that is there specifically to suppress/put out LiPo fires. Should a battery fire not be manageable by only sand and begin to get out of hand, then the actual fire extinguisher should be used as a final resort. Mike McGee did a great job installing concrete slabs on top of the charging tables for added safety should a battery catch on fire (to help prevent the table from also igniting), so hopefully only sand will be required for these events.

I recently removed the old centrally located windsock as it was literally hanging by a thread. At the November club meeting, we then discussed our proposal as a board to remove the original centrally located wind sock and replace it with two wind socks located at a 45 degree angle out about 100 feet from each corner of the runway on the left and right sides. The idea behind this is that when we’re turning downwind/base/final to land our aircraft, the new location of the wind socks would be much more favorable to quickly glance at the wind conditions or even see the wind sock in one’s peripheral vision as well. We do plan to keep the wind sock that is on the flight station side as well for our hand launch aircraft. Brian Burk has been a great help the last month or so in hunting down new wind socks for us and we hope to have them up soon.

Finally - this last board meeting we discussed the beginnings of plans for our large field improvement we’d like to accomplish this summer; the restoration of our covered awning, storage sheds, and fence line outside the pits. We plan to have a final project plan in place by late April (thanks to Brian Burk for his help in this) and will strive to begin and finish the project over the span of the summer, with the help of volunteers. The goal is to replace/restore the entire current fence line, add new/more welcoming signage, re-paint the storage sheds, and re-paint/restore the covered awning. We are excited to tackle these improvements and know they will greatly help the appearance of our club. In the meantime - myself along with the help of youth member Ian Morrow - removed the old 2.4ghz frequency board for our old member card usage under the covered awning. We also cleaned out the hornet nests and the plexi glass for the 72mhz frequency boards as well and kept those up for those that may still use 72mhz.

One thing I’d like to note to the membership (in an effort to be fully transparent) is that with my line of work in the airlines, it's not always possible for me to be present at all MAR/C board or club meetings. The current board is aware of this and has been great in being willing to work around my schedule to allow me to still do my duties in volunteering to the club. I will do my best to be present at all board and club meetings. If I can’t make a meeting, another board member will help run the meeting. Thanks for your understanding.

If there is one thing we would love to reach out to our membership for - it would be potential volunteers for our board, (particularly for our website if possible), any suggestions on improvements we can make to our field, and volunteers for our upcoming fence/storage sheds/covered awning project this summer. This club is run by volunteers and without them would not be possible. It would be awesome and very much appreciated for folks to step up and help pay it forward to our club and the future generation of model aviators. Here’s to a great 2020.

Happy Landings,

Zach Sweetser