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Status and News Page

                                   HSS Flying Field Status

The record rainfall of 2023-2024 (and resultant vernal pond flooding) has resulted in the HSS airfield being closed since December 2023.  The Fairview Park administrator will determine when the environmental conditions are suitable for our access. Unfortunately, the runway is becoming overgrown with vegetation, which will take CONSIDERABLE effort to remove before we commence flight operations again. Undoubtably the clearing process will not be favorably received by the folks that want to see most of the park revert back to nature and become an inaccessible preserve.   

In the meantime, the future of Fairview Park is undergoing a "Master Plan" review.  Fairview Park Master Plan | City of Costa Mesa (

We await future developments... 


                                     HSS Flying Field Status

The field is open on the first and third Saturdays of every month!  Our Authorized hours of operation are 9:00 - 2:00, but most activity takes place between 9:30 and 1:00. Free Starbucks coffee, water and doughnuts are provided (while supplies last). 

Resumption of flying is slowly accelerating after the four-year shutdown. Old guard glider guiders, Bruce and Irv are inspiring more pilots to return. Incoming club president David Tecker is an excellent DLG pilot and spends a lot of time training new student pilots. Most heartening, is the community support we have received since resumption of flight activities. Many of the park patrons stop by and watch us fly. Even those who are not interested in flying, enjoy chatting with HSS members and the wildlife, in one of the few shaded locations in the park. 

On a troubling note...
Currently the park is undergoing a review/update of the "Master Plan". Which means a re-evaluation of the usage opportunities and layout of the park.  In time past, this would be good for the park going community.  Unfortunately, a vocal minority is pushing for a quasi-preserve direction of the plateau in which we occupy a VERY small portion. This "re-imagining" of the park would exclude HSS and probably many of the few remaining popular activities still permitted. The core group pushing this agenda has stated in the past their desire exclude access to almost all of the existing 208 acres encompassing the plateau.  Unfortunately, most residents of Costa Mesa have no idea what is quickly becoming the de facto, future for the park. The City has contracted with a consulting group. These consultants are not locals, an seem to be working on a "false narrative" that what the residents want is an exclusionary preserve.  This false interpretation stems from the "public input" process. The "public outreach" results in forums attended by the same 40-50 folks that have one... and only one, vision for the park, a vision that excludes access to the plateau on the grounds of its environmental sensitivity.  HSS represents probably the only organized community "push back" against this exclusionary agenda.  The following links provide more information...

Fairview Master Plan Information: Fairview Park Master Plan | City of Costa Mesa (

Let your voice be heard! If you would like to send an email comment on the Master Plan Process:

Register article on the first of two MP update meetings: Costa Mesa gets input in future plans for Fairview Park – Orange County Register (

                                 HSS Flying Field Negotiations Stat
On Saturday, July 15, flying resumed at Fairview Park for the first time in 3 ½ years. Hooray! The runway, pits, and kiosk required some maintenance, since only minimal kiosk maintenance was able to be performed during the 3.5 years of downtime. A significant amount of the invasive black mustard and Russian thistle plants were removed from the pits and runway due to the large amount of rainfall in January and March of this year. HSS worked with the City to identify the runway boundaries, and City staff and biologists surveyed the site before any maintenance was performed. Over 25 members of HSS and the community showed up to help clear the brush by hand, similar to how we have cleared brush at Fairview Park restoration events over the last 18 months. Enough was cleared in order to get a few flights in. A BIG Thank You to all who helped! We also want to thank the members of the City Council and the CostaAmazing community members, who pushed to get the flying field reopened, and the parks staff, who re-wrote the field rules per Council direction. Almost everyone that walked by on our first flight day welcomed back the airplanes and the re-opening of the flying field. On July 29th, we had the second fly day of the year. It was very successful. A number of the local youth also flew the simulator that was set up at the field. The field is open on the First and Third Saturdays of every month!


                                                      HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

Hooray! At the May 2 meeting, the Costa Mesa city council ordered the park staff to have the field rules revised and in place by the end of June. We may be getting our gliders back in the air soon! Watch the club website ( ) for updates.





Notice From Vice President

At tonight's monthly meeting (10.11.2022) we discussed several things of importance: Nominations for 2023 officers, the Scarecrow Festival this Saturday, and the Christmas party. Tonight was the smallest attendance I have ever seen! C'mon out, people, it's your club!



Mat Garcia to continue as President

Mike Costello to continue as Vice President

Joni Whitsett to continue as Treasurer and Membership

Fred Hesse said he does not wish to continue as Secretary or Editor


We need nominations for the following positions:

Contest Coordinator

Safety Coordinator


Social Media Manager

Lead Flight Instructor

Flight Instructor


The Scarecrow Festival is this coming Saturday, Oct 15, from 2 to 6pm. John Anderson drew a concept for a great display, merging Halloween and aviation themes. We divided up responsibilities as follows:

John Anderson - correct verbiage on pumpkin gliders, build a cardboard box "airplane hangar," scissors, jumbo paper clips

Kyle Meziere - antenna base to serve as a control tower, print 100 pumpkin gliders

Mike Costello - cardboard box as cab for control tower, music wire & carbon fiber, 2 rolls of pennies, scissors, tape


On site Saturday

Mat - 10:30 - 7

Henry - 11 - 3

Mike - 11 - 7

John - 11 - 7

Mel Hitchcock - 2 - 6

Kyle - 11 - 6

Anyone who wants to come out & help would be welcome! We need people on site to answer questions and to help kids fly the little pumpkin gliders.

The event is held at Lions Park, Costa Mesa, 18th St between Anaheim & Park Ave


Our Christmas Party will be held at Mario's Mexican restaurant on Tue, Dec 13, from 6:00 to 9:00.  We need an accurate head count to make our reservation.  Dinner will be a buffet of 3 hot entrees, beans & rice, plus a salad. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks will be included, and a full bar is available. The price is $25 per person plus tax & tip. Please let me know ASAP that you are going and how many. Guests are welcome! Aside from the good feelings & comraderie, there will be a raffle for good stuff!

Mike Costello

Harbor Soaring Society

Vice President




                                   Notice From Outgoing President

Welcome to my final message as president. Next month, we inaugurate our new slate of club officers, with Mat Garcia as president. I step down to VP and there are some familiar names in the other positions. I have enjoyed my year "at the helm," although I would have enjoyed it more had we been successful in convincing the powers that be that model airplanes really pose no threat to the birds. I hope we will quickly be able to work out the final details necessary to once again fly our gliders at Fairview. I want to thank all the people who helped me run HSS this past year. Henry provided a huge amount of assistance, as well as the history of our dealings with the city. John Rittenhouse provided the benefit of his four years' (!!) interaction with the city, as well as renewing our LoA with the FAA. Don Wittenberg assembled our PowerPoints and provided input and proof-reading for our presentations, and Fred also helped with these. There would be no newsletter without Fred, and he kept our minutes impeccably. Rob Askegaard once again provided his great photography. Joni maintained our finances and the member roster. I apologize in advance if I overlooked anyone's contributions; this club does not run itself but relies on our members to contribute as they can.

Mike Costello



                                                       HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

 Well, the axe finally fell. Last night, a bunch of us attended the Costa Mesa City Council meeting, in hopes they would follow the recommendation of the PACS Commission to restore flying at our historical site, with the long term possibility of eventually moving to the east side, in the middle of the train layout. Alas, they instead voted to kick us out of Fairview Park while they study other locations. One suggestion was the Fairview Development Center, but a quick flange at Google Maps shows this property to be completely developed, with no large tract of open land. Council voted to allow glider flying on the west side (our current site), but no mention was made as to how we are supposed to get them into the air. The winch lines used to stretch across a vernal pond, so that's out. The slope lift was destroyed years ago by the grove of non-native trees, so that's out. I guess we need to learn how to do discus launch. Note that we are NOT cleared to go flying tomorrow. City staff needs time to modify the rules, city ordnance, permit process, etc. etc. etc. Their best guess last night was 12-18 months. Looks like we need to drive to the other area fields: Whittier Narrows, Sepulveda Dam, Black Star Canyon, or Trabuco Canyon. Sorry I didn't have better news, but know that we did the best we could.


Mike Costello



HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

Our President, Mike Costello, had this to say following the May 27, 2021 PACS commission meeting...
It is hard to believe, but Costa Mesa's Parks, Arts, and Community Services Commission voted tonight, after a 4 hour (!!) meeting, to reconsider letting us back into our old field. This does NOT mean go charge your batteries & go flying tomorrow, but that HSS & the city will evaluate how we can all reach a compromise. The Steering Committee, Audubon, and Fairview Park Alliance all spoke at great length against us, but did not win their arguments.

Our next step will be to appear before the city council. Date & time to be announced. My thanks to John Rittenhouse, Don Wittenberg, and Henry Smith for their contributions to this process. I could not have done this alone.

Mike Costello




HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

 The Fairview Park Steering Committee held a Zoom meeting this past Wednesday, at which they voted not to allow HSS to ever reopen our present flying field. They did leave a "light at the end of the tunnel" - a very dim light at the end of a very long tunnel. At some point 2-3 years from now, they might allow a new flying area in the middle of the trains on the east side of the park. HSS leaders believe that, eventually, FVPSC will not approve this, either.


This is the end result of a four year process in which HSS negotiated with the city about flying conditions at the park. HSS was willing to make concessions in order to placate FVPSC, but all to no avail. Four HSS presidents, assisted by numerous other members, have toiled many hours debating what might satisfy FVPSC and creating numerous proposals. Through all our interactions with FVPSC, our proposals were always rejected. We asked repeatedly for suggestions from FVPSC how we could change our proposal to meet their concerns. FVPSC never offered any, and eventually merely told us "no."


I stated at the beginning of my term as president that my goal was to get us back at the field as soon as coronavirus restrictions were lifted. I failed to do that, but not for lack of trying, nor for lack of support.


There is one small window of opportunity left. FVPSC reports to the Parks, Arts, and Community Services Commission, who reports to the city council. PACS will hold a meeting on May 27, when it will receive FVPSC's recommendation against us. If we can be allowed to speak at this meeting, maybe we can convince PACS to override the decision by FVPSC. If so, the next hurdle will be a city council meeting in June. 


If HSS is to survive, we need the support of many Costa Mesa residents. Please talk to your friends and neighbors and ask that they voice their support. 


Mike Costello 


1.28.2021                                  HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

As all are aware, the Harbor Soaring Society has been in the midst of negotiations with the City of Costa Mesa to renew our field “Use Permit”… for some two plus years.  On January 28, 2021 club president Mike Costello submitted the latest club “Proposal”. The contents of which can be viewed here: 1.28.2021 - HSS Proposal



12.31.2020                                       Notice From Incoming President


Good bye, 2020! We certainly will not miss you! Hello, 2021. We have great hopes for you. As a club, we have a lot of work to do this new year. In order to regain use of “our” field, we must convince the administrators of Fairview Park that we are not a nuisance, and that we are, in fact, an asset to the park and to the city as a whole. In October, we presented to the Fairview Park Steering Committee a proposal outlining how HSS could coexist with other park users; this proposal was rejected by the committee. We put out the word to the membership to contact the city council members and members of the Parks, Arts, and Community Services Commission in support of HSS before their mid-November meeting. It turned out that is was extremely unlikely that PACS would override the FVPSC decision, and that HSS would be better served to withdraw our proposal and start over. The city sent a list of issues, and Henry and I went over it with a fine-tooth comb so we could draw up a new proposal that responds to each of these issues. This new proposal will be sent to the administrators in January, to be reviewed, modified if necessary, and presented to FVPSC at their February meeting. Regardless how the proposals go, no one will be flying at Fairview until COVID restrictions are lifted. With luck, masks and the new vaccines will get rid of this virus soon, and life can begin to get back to normal. I would not expect flying to resume for several months, maybe as long as summer. I want to thank the 2020 slate of officers for doing a good job in an otherwise awful year. Henry Smith III, John Rittenhouse, Don Wittenberg, Fred Hesse, Joni Whitsitt, and probably others (forgive me if I left you out) worked long and hard on trying to make progress with the city. As a group, we will keep working until we are allowed back on the field. Some of you may be wondering just who is this new president guy anyway? Some may remember me from my 20 years at Hobby Shack, starting in 1974 in Buena Park, and becoming the first store manager at Fountain Valley. I learned to fly with gliders at the Fairview Park slope, although it wasn’t yet called that. I moved on to power planes, flying sport and pattern, but always had a few gliders. I used to stop at the bluff to fly after my shift at the store, flying until the sun went down. I was an HSS member during the late 70s-early 80s and flew in our monthly contests. Eventually kids came along and modeling went dormant. Since returning in early 2017, I’ve been flying a few electrics: Piper Cub, Radian XL, 1.4m polyhedral Ascent, and a little foamie Hobby King sport plane.


Happy New Year - Mike Costello - HSS President




11.28.2020                                    HSS Flying Field Negotiations Status

The latest proposal submitted by HSS has not been received well. It is my opinion that the city wants HSS to have Marshalls or Docents or whatever at the field whenever the field is in operation. This requirement would place a large burden on HSS to supervise the field when most of the users are not members and thus probably not sharing the duties of Marshall. The city also wants the flight training program formalized and documented. In my opinion this is easier than furnishing supervision at the field. Lots to think about.

Henry A. Smith III
Harbor Soaring Society

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