Field Closure Notice
The runway and associated glider winch line path are closed until further notice. Updates will be sent to the membership when they become available!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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