Mailbag: Decades-old model flying club faces existential threat

Chris Adamczyk attaches a wing to his glider at Fairview Park model airplane flying field.
Chris Adamczyk, seen in 2019, attaches a wing to his glider at Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park model airplane flying field, where flights have been grounded for more than a year.
(Courtesy of the Harbor Soaring Society)

Thank you for the article about the model glider flying at Fairview Park (Daily Pilot, March 25) and the problems faced by the pilots to continue. You did a good job of covering the subject. I will add a little more background here.

I was one of the founders of the Harbor Soaring Society (formerly Harbor Slope Soaring Society) and might possibly be the only founder left.

A group of us were slope soaring our then very primitive radio controlled gliders on the bluffs of east Back Bay when the Irvine Co. (land owner) told us we were trespassing and in order to get a permit from the company to continue to use the property, we would need to form a club and buy third-party liability insurance (naming the Irvine Co.) for anyone to fly there. That was the original reason for a club to be formed. This was 1962 as I recall.

We usually soared the slope lift of the east side Back Bay cliffs but we would sometimes go over to the Fairview cliff for a “change of pace.” I first flew my model gliders at the Fairview site (it wasn’t a park then) in 1963. It was a completely bare area with no vegetation and was continuous all the way back to Fairview hospital; Placentia Ave. was not there then. The reason it was completely bare of any plantlife was because the state had scraped soil from the entire surface to use in the building of the 405 Freeway. Therefore, all plant life and vernal pools are recent additions after the land was no longer being used by the state.

When the East Bluff area was developed into condos and apartments, we lost the place we were flying and moved to Fairview as our flying base of operations. So, sadly, if we are banned from flying there, it will be the second time we have lost our flying site, and there isn’t a third choice in this area now. I will have witnessed the birth and death of the world’s longest continuously operating radio controlled glider club in my 88 years on the planet.

Frank Colver
Newport Beach

H.B. housing needs aren’t avoidable

What makes Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland think that by abiding the state’s mandate to provide an adequate amount of affordable housing (13,368 new units by 2029) will result in the urbanization of Surf City? And from where does the “95% built out” statistic that Strickland cites come?

The option to providing affordable housing to people appears to be a city full of people without housing pushing shopping carts filled with their belongings or panhandling on street corners.

Let’s build the affordable housing required by state law. Without such livable accommodations what we are witnessing is the third-worldization of our seaside community.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

Once again, Patrice Apodaca chimes in with a column critical of Huntington Beach civic affairs and this time it all rings true. While her city of residence (Newport Beach) is not immune to right-wing shenanigans, she exposes our brand here as more uncouth and obstreperous. Apodaca refers to “ignoble moves” by the new City Council majority who do indeed suffer from “lockjaw of the mind” syndrome. She mentions the penalties and punishment the state can mete out, which could cripple our progress and place us in an adversarial and unsustainable position regarding our future housing needs. The pugilistic grandstanding of the council majority and their not so “Rocky-like” hero, City Atty. Michael Gates, is doing nothing to solve our affordable housing dilemma caused by past conservative council majorities in the first place. I sense either a KO or a TKO looming. The citizenry is being victimized by both the state and its own local government. Apodaca states that change is inevitable once the intolerant “narrow vision” of the current council majority is exposed for its dearth of true leadership and inability to tackle our problems and needs. I respond “Is that before or after it runs our city into the ground?”

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.