These Halo heli blades have an immaculate finish. Encore RC has them in
all sizes to spiff up your model.
Viva balsa! David
Shin shows off a line
wooden airplanes at
AMA Expo 2015.
The coming of OSHA
Iwas just a lad when the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) began its reign. It was the subject of jokes about crazy new workplace safety rules and pointless regulations. “They will put us all out of business,” people said. My
father, Ralph, brought home a silly cartoon showing an “OSHA cowboy” so padded
and protected that he and his horse could not move. Ha, ha.
Dad is now retired. He still produces beautiful model aircraft, but his career
took a physical toll—not unusual for a man of his generation. He has had serious
hearing loss, mobility reduction, and two carpal tunnel syndrome operations on each
wrist. During his years in industrial/technical work, hearing protection was rare and
screwdrivers were turned by hand. Serious workplace accidents were fairly common.
Loud machines, dangerous equipment, and chemical exposure were the norm.
Fast-forward to 2015. I’m 54 and at the
peak of a career in industrial work for a
public utility company. My hearing tests
show no change over 20 years, my wrists
work fine, and I can still slink around
How much of this is because of my
(mandatory) use of hearing protection, electric screwdrivers,
and improved workplace safety standards? I once mocked
OSHA, but now it looks as though some of the credit for my
comparatively good physical condition should go to those “silly”
My hobby is a big part of my enjoyment of life. I would miss
it terribly if a disability left me unable to play with my toy
The habits I learned at work translate to my home workshop.
I use protective equipment that the previous generation of
modelers might have considered optional. The power tools on
my bench are smaller, but they deserve the same respect and
vigilance as commercial equipment. Getting hurt is never good,
and staying safe is worth the extra effort.
If you are new to the sport of aeromodeling, I welcome you
and urge you to use caution with your fun new equipment.
Learn good habits and be methodical when using your model
aircraft tools and powerplants. Make sure that they only bring
AMA Expo 2015
I got a great deal of pleasure from attending AMA Expo
2015, the annual model show in Ontario, California. There are
always fun new items to see and buy, and I am amazed by the
demonstration pilots’ impossible skills.
This year, I walked away with some newly released laser-cut
models and an antique kit that was produced before I was born.
A stroll through the aisles brought me to the Nanoplanes
booth, where David Shin showed me his Shark line of high-performance RC racing airplanes. What I liked most about
them was their balsa construction.
I would label them as old-fashioned, but the engineering
of these aircraft is anything but. They
are laser-cut for precision, and a well-designed balsa model can be strong,
easy to repair, and capable of extreme
performance. Too many pilots are
missing out on the fun of building their
models, and David’s products can fill
that void in our sport.
Next I visited the Encore RC display,
where Art Hughes showed me some
beautifully made carbon-fiber helicopter
blades. I asked him for a safety angle
so I could plug his products. “Forget it,”
he said. “There’s no such thing as a safe
helicopter blade if you get hit with it.”
Art told me that carbon-fiber blades
carry less energy than some other types,
95 Model Aviation APRIL 2015 www.ModelAviation.com
SAFETY COMES FIRST