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HelicopterSafety - RC Helis are not toys › With so many injuries....
11-26-2007 11:52 PM  10 years agoPost 1
Blade400

rrNovice

Smithfield, RI, USA

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Hi All,
I am new to RC Helicopters, and also new to this forum. I need to give you a bit of background before I ask my question. First off, I am a retired Firefighter / Medic. I have responded to many incidents that involved very serious wounds and injuries. That picture/video of the kid with the hole in his leg was a reminder to me of how "breakable" we are. That was a serious wound, and I have heard of worse wounds caused by folks losing control of their heli's.

Notice that I did not say, "caused by heli's". You see, I am also a firearms instructor, and shoot and compete regularly. We in the gun world are constantly hearing about all the people who are injured and or killed by guns. I have never seen a gun jump off a shelf and hurt anybody. Negligence and mishandling of anything that has the potential to inflict injury is the fault of the PERSON who is supposed to have said item under control. I can't help but see the correlation with heli's. The pilot is responsible for safety. Trust me, some groups don't see things that way.

I have spent the last few months visiting forums, reading RC Heli magazines, and in general getting involved in this hobby. At this time. I have a small Blade CX2, and a Blade 400 on order (yes, a simulator is on the way as well). I have watched folks fly the much larger birds. I was amazed at how powerful large heli's are. These things, if mishandled could easily inflict great bodily harm, or even death if someone gets struck by one. That is probably obvious to all of you experienced pilots.

You are most likely wondering where I am going with this. Simply put, we in the shooting sports take safety VERY seriously. For one, we don't want anyone to get hurt, and secondly, there are certain groups out there that will do anything in their power to take firearms out of hands of civilians or suffocate us with regulations. Firearm accidents help their cause. I have not seen a whole lot of regulation so far with RC Heli's. Walk into a LHS and walk out with a big ol' Heli!

Don't get me wrong, I am all for people being responsible for their own actions and I despise the "Nanny State" mentality, but it seems to me that this hobby is exploding in growth. With all the new RTF heli's, just about anybody can get themselves a flying lawnmower. It's obvious that in the hands of an idiot there is a very real chance that someone is going to be seriously hurt. We police our own shooting sports, and yet the occassional moron who never took a safety class does something stupid with a firearm outside our sports, and shines a bad light on those of us who are responsible people.

What kind of safety training is in place for this sport? I know there is plenty of reading material on the web forums, as well as fantastic advice, but it up to the individual if they want to take advantage of it. I do, which is why I am here, and also visit other flying forums. It is the person who buys a RTF 450 and flys it from the vacant baseball field into the jam packed football stadium next door, and kills someones kid that has me wondering when the do-gooders will try to ban RC craft (or micro-regulate it into oblivion)instead of blaming the nit-wit responsible.

Long post for my first one. Sorry. I generally do a whole lot more reading than writing. I am aware of the AMA, and have heard a few mention AMA sanctioned fields. Are they just for competition, or are they supposd to be sought out for all RC flyers. What about so called "Park Flyers"? Anyway, your responses and comments will be most welcome and appreciated.

Blade400

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11-27-2007 01:51 PM  10 years agoPost 2
TachyonDriver

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Chipping, Lancs, UK

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Welcome Blade!

In the UK it's the BMFA instead of the AMA, but they have similar ideals I think.

Yes, the risk is indeed real, but the fun part tends to override the "ooh what if" side of the hobby. I don't mean any disrespect to you by that comment either!

I have noticed that some hobby stores caution the prospective heli buyer as to how dangerous the machines can be. Other less-scrupulous stores just make the quick buck no doubt.

I'd guess that flyers should seek out your AMA sanctioned fields because AFAIK you need some kind of competency certificate to fly there, not to mention third party insurance. However, if you're lucky and have access to many acres of private land (easier in the States than here!) then obviously, certification and to some extent insurance would not be needed. don't crash into your friends or their vehicles though! That's about as much of a safety course as you will get. No one can enforce certification EXCEPT in instances where the pilot wishes to fly at a sanctioned event and/or field.

Someone has mentioned that the PERCIEVED danger from park flyers, a T-Rex 450 may fall into that category, is a lot less than a big nitro because the small heli doesn't quite make the same scary noises. However, as most forum users realise the 450s can do quite a bit of damage too. This doesn't cover joe public who has no idea places like RR exist however.

Tach.

Little Spinning Bundle of Joy® DON'T DISS THE DINO!!

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11-27-2007 02:16 PM  10 years agoPost 3
copperclad

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NY

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hi Blade400
welcome to the forums and the sport/hobby , i can only speek for myself , but i learned to fly a micro , a few years ago , in my front room , and was bitten by the bug , pretty soon i came home with a new raptor 30 and soon realized i wasn't going to be flying in the front room anymore , and for that mater the back yard was out too , i thought it was prudent to join a local club and the AMA since it was a requirement with the club , it is easy to join both

$55.00 dollars a year gets you an AMA card and a magazine , that thoroughly covers all aspects of control line flying and even has an occasional piece on helis

with an AMA card you can join a local club and with an annual dues , fly at the local RC field , i feel this is the way to go with anything larger than a micro , one benefit of this path is you can tap into the local talent to get help with , building , setup , flying , and advice

i personally feel parkflying with a 3 oz foamy harbors little risk , but flying larger models at public parks or playing fields , is something i would rather not get involved in , i know people do it all the time and seem to get away with it , i just feel that the local RC field offers a more controlled environment for the sport

and if you progress to the point , that you want to participate in an RC event , contest , funfly , you will need an AMA card anyway

HTH , dana

PS: with your interest in firearms and helis , you will enjoy this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGRPIseoPPM

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11-27-2007 04:33 PM  10 years agoPost 4
spog

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Ontario, Canada

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No matter how safety oriented you are, flying a heli is always a risk.
It is the person who buys a RTF 450 and flys it from the vacant baseball field into the jam packed football stadium next door, and kills someones kid that has me wondering when the do-gooders will try to ban RC craft (or micro-regulate it into oblivion)instead of blaming the nit-wit responsible.
It's only a matter of time. Park flyers and the AP crowd are the biggest risk to the hobby. These clowns just don't get it.

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11-27-2007 07:14 PM  10 years agoPost 5
Blade400

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Smithfield, RI, USA

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Thanks for the welcomes and responses folks.

Blade400

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11-27-2007 07:31 PM  10 years agoPost 6
martinic

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NB, Canada

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There isn't a whole lot of regulation because:

1) It's a relatively small hobby and it largely occurs away from heavily populated areas. The small stuff that you can get away with flying in town is less likely to kill somebody (i.e. it requires a direct hit to the jugular and extremely bad luck!).
2) You can't rob a bank with a heli, nor is it a practical choice for a murder (stick 'em up, I've got a Synergy N9!).
3) Fatalities are (VERY) few (as compared to guns or cars, for example).
4) You're most likely to "victimize" yourself or fellow enthusiasts.

Government regulation is applied where numbers warrant it. The small R/C hobby doesn't warrant it, especially since we're proactive in self policing and in dealings with government (via our associations).

We are usually the casualties of regulation, as is currently the case with the aerial photography regulations (commercial pilots license). In that case, we weren't significant enough to be considered a stakeholder during the consultation phase of the regulatory change.

Luckily, it takes strong commitment to fly a heli and irresponsible people's helis usually don't last long enough to do damage.

That said, safety is always a top concern for the majority. There's always room for improvement and greater awareness.

On a parting note, not all AP and Park Flyers are reckless and ignorant; many do in fact "get it".

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11-27-2007 07:42 PM  10 years agoPost 7
Jeff Greunke

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Northwest Ohio

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Is the danger real? The first thing every new Heli pilot should do is take a look at the Ron Kyle post at the beginning of this topic. It serves as a reminder that saftey is the responsibility of all of us.

Welcome Blade400, you'll find plenty of great tips, saftey and otherwise on RR. Danger aside flying Helis is more fun than a human being should be allowed to have

Raptor 30, Raptor 50, Raptor 50#2, E620

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11-27-2007 07:48 PM  10 years agoPost 8
TachyonDriver

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Chipping, Lancs, UK

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that thoroughly covers all aspects of control line flying and even has an occasional piece on helis
Did I detect a hint of sarcasm in that? Or did I read it completely wrong?

Of course control line models can be dangerous - why behead yourself with a heli whne you can garrotte with a control line? No sarcasm intended with that, perhaps a wry smile or two!

Tach.

Little Spinning Bundle of Joy® DON'T DISS THE DINO!!

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11-27-2007 08:06 PM  10 years agoPost 9
copperclad

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NY

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hi TachyonDriver
LOL , yes , just a hint of sarcasm , i swear the copies i get each month have been mailed to me from the sixties , and i have to admit , i have never even seen anyone flying control line , and for that mater , i have never heard of anyone that knows anyone , but judging from the magazine it must be about ten or twenty times more popular than helis , i would honestly be happier if they would knock $5.00 off my dues and keep the magazine , dana

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11-27-2007 08:34 PM  10 years agoPost 10
helimatt

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Lafayette, IN

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I think what Blade400 is bringing up is worth on-going discussion. True we might be smaller group than fire arms enthusiasts. I particularly like the comment from martinic that you couldn't reasonably commit a crime with a model heli .

Still, they are dangerous and we need to police ourselves dilligently before others decide to do the policing for us. To that end it seems to me:

1. Hobby shops and online dealers should consider how they can promote safety and sanity for purchasers of model helicopters. (I don't know what the answer or approach should be, at this time just saying that its worth serious consideration).

2. Clubs should have a good program for training both fixed and rotary wing model aircraft pilots. Make that training available- even some sort of "buddy system" where newbies are mentored by more experienced members.

3. Clubs can and should identify new fliers or interested folks, welcome them, and also (for their safety and better success) check on their equipment and skills. We have folks show up at the field, never say a word to anyone, fuel up, take off, and then in many cases crash due to bad skills or setup. Its dangerous and avoidable. Mostly airplanes here just because us heli fliers always mob anyone showing up with a heli. .

4. Let's not grow complacent. First experiences with model helis are very impressive, and as we go along we become accustomed to the energy and power, and take the reliability and our abilities for granted. This can lead to unwise practices or decisions.

5. Don't be shy if you are concerned about safety at any time when flying with someone or observing them flying. We can help each other in all ways, and perhaps avoid mistakes that might cause pain or serious injury. Speak up, you don't have to be rude of course, but don't wait for someone else to play "safety officer".

6. Our club fosters a good relationship with the community. We could do more, but any bit helps keep us in good stead.

I fly in parks some, only if it can be deemed safe to do so. I fly in my cul-de-sac, again with intrepidation and care for the neighbors, and in a much more reserved manner. The club field is sometimes where I feel most at risk; so there is a ways to go there. So far never witnessed even a remotely serious injury, but there have been many close calls, mainly involving less proficient pilots and airplanes. Some could be avoided just by better safety standards and training.

Hey, welcome to the hobby, by the way! Looks like you've got what it takes to be a real asset to our community.

Never, ever, ever, ever give up.

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11-28-2007 03:43 AM  10 years agoPost 11
Blade400

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Smithfield, RI, USA

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Thanks again for all the imput.

Quoted from above response:
"2) You can't rob a bank with a heli, nor is it a practical choice for a murder (stick 'em up, I've got a Synergy N9!).

Heli's probably wouldn't keep someone from getting raped either!

I made the gun correlation only to show that knee jerk reactions to horrific injuries or deaths almost always result in misdirected regulations piled on by people who do not know a thing about the items on which they are legislating. You would be getting dumped on by folks who don't know a rotor from a skid. Besides, it is not criminal activity with heli's that I am concerned with. It is common sense safety fundamentals or lack there of, by well meaning individuals.

So far, you guys are great. I am going to learn a lot here.
Thanks again all.

Blade400

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12-01-2007 10:18 AM  10 years agoPost 12
faf

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Perryville Maryland-USA

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"4. Let's not grow complacent. First experiences with model helis are very impressive, and as we go along we become accustomed to the energy and power, and take the reliability and our abilities for granted. This can lead to unwise practices or decisions."

Most excellent point. That is a feature of the human being which is often very difficult to control.

Faf
WHAT THE?

Raptor 30v1, T-Rex 450

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12-05-2007 09:23 PM  10 years agoPost 13
Pistol Pete

rrProfessor

Seffner, FL

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Welcome aboard and above all congrats on the retired part!
What kind of safety training is in place for this sport?
I believe its a matter of maturity and common sense.

AMA above all has guidelines for safety...BUT many heli flyers despise joining mainly because (insert reason here?)

Its sad that many do not realize what they have done for the hobby since their inception as well as what they continue doing...keeping our frequencies open.

~~Enjoying the hobby one flight at a time~~

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12-08-2007 08:48 PM  10 years agoPost 14
cmulder

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cork city , ireland

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apples to oranges?

I am not really confortable with the comparinson of savety between remote controlled aircraft and firearms.
Firearms are designed to couse injusry and aircraft have a totaly diferent purpose.

To compair our aircraft to cars is a mutch better one in my opinion.
Both need skisll to operate and when not handeled properly can couse injuries.

For this reason i also think it would be good to have a licence system requireing passing a exam of both theory and demonstrating skill when operating craft over a seritain power/weight/ speed.

Since this is generally accepted for cars i do not see why this could not be inplimented for aircraft.

I originaly from holland and there this is handeled by the Knvvl wich is the same organisation wich handles general aviation, gliders ect,
And my model aircraft licence is recognized by the F.A.I. and therefor valid international.

I think "self regulation" is best since it keeps the government from forcing rules made up by people who have no clue about our hobby.

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