somehow missed out on half the fun.
Even if you don’t build your entire
model, there will probably come a time
when repairs or upgrades require some
soldering. I never have enough hands
to hold all the parts and wires in place
while managing the hot iron. Radical RC
came up with a clever solution.
Napier’s Solder Jig Bench features
laser-cut parts that assemble into a great
holding system for soldering a model’s
wiring harness. The bench has metallic
surfaces and magnetic jigs for complete
flexibility. It is well thought out and
solves the problem of components that
must be secured while you are busy with
a hot soldering iron.
I can’t be the only one who has
damaged a plastic sleeve or melted some
insulation while trying to solder battery
leads. This gadget is a deal at $29. It
holds parts until you are finished using
the iron and can set it down.
A simple but clever item was at the
Sonic-Tronics booth. The company was
displaying some molded plastic wheel
chock/jack stands for midsize model
aircraft. These little beauties keep your
airplane from rolling around and also lift
it for easier access. The booth staff called
them Model Chocks, and said they are
Hobby People sold me an inexpensive
charger bag for my LiPo batteries. I have
several fire-resistant containers, but at
9 x 11 inches, this envelope was the
right size for my indoor flying systems.
This is an area where shortcuts are not
okay, even for a forgetful guy such as
me. I sometimes have to remind myself
to be cautious and use a fire-resistant
container, even if it is less convenient.
This bag will be handy to take to the
gym on flying night. Please consider
using some sort of protection when
charging your cells. It could make a
difference when things go wrong.
On the subject of battery fires, Sam
Brauer emailed me about my recent
column on battery fires. He is better
informed than I, and quoted the FAA
instructions for flight attendants dealing
with inflight battery fires on airliners.
They are advised to use a Halon
Sam and I discussed how, since Halon
is no longer produced, these effective
extinguishers are getting expensive and
rare. He says that water should work fine
on a LiPo fire because of the chemicals
and materials in the pack.
I mentioned that my usefulness drops
to near zero during an emergency, and
a bucket of sand is probably the limit
of technology with which I could be
trusted. Such a bucket, dumped on a
burning battery, may not be as effective
as Halon or water, but would probably
contain and extinguish the problem.
The bottom line for battery fires is
that your best choice is Halon. The next
best is water in an extinguisher bottle.
A third option is sand, which is easiest
to maintain and keep handy, and is
approved for use by panicky guys such
Another reader took me to task for
my comments on First Person View
(FPV) RC which, until recently, was not
allowed under the AMA Safety Code.
He was courteous, but felt strongly that
AMA should be less restrictive toward
FPV flying, because it represents an
area of technological advancement in
our hobby. The current line-of-sight
limitations and mandatory use of a
buddy-box copilot do not sit well with
some FPV fliers, who can’t fly “their
way” at fields that enforce the AMA
I was in the room, sitting next to
an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
instructor/pilot, when the AMA Safety
Committee recommended allowing
FPV under those conditions. The group
around that table had so much modeling
experience that I was the newbie with
only 40 years of flying!
They were aware of how fast the
electronics in our models can advance,
And remember, right now the
government is determining what the
guidelines will be for UAV and drone
operations in our airspace. We want to
be seen as the hobbyists and sportsmen
we are, engaged in recreational,
educational, and competitive model
To promote that viewpoint, the AMA
Education Committee is holding an
online video contest for all members.
When people use online search
engines for information about our
sport, the results often include a list of
86 Model Aviation AUGUS T 2012 www.ModelAviation.com
SAFETY COMES FIRST