Land like a pro! These launch pads let people
know that a multirotor is in flight and will return.
Trio of terror
My email was filled with stories of narrow escapes this month. Here are three close-call reports
of situations that you might face some
day, so be prepared.
Crazy Marion (a careful man, despite
his nickname) was adjusting the needle
valve on his airplane while the gas
engine was running. This involved
reaching a hand close to the rear of the
propeller, which should always be done
with great care.
On this occasion, instead of twisting
the knurled valve handle between his
fingers, our hero rotated his whole hand.
This brought the spinning propeller into
contact with unsuspecting knuckles—
thus rating a mention here. A common
task that has safely been done hundreds
of times turned into an adventure
on just one occasion because of that
nefarious momentary lapse of attention.
When you are near a running engine,
concentrate on what you are doing, and
remember this story the next time that
you tweak a needle valve.
Next is Charles Castaing, who
combined modeling and computers for
an exciting, unplanned flight right off
“I was testing the programming on
my ElectroStik model. There was a
problem with the flap-elevator function.
I had programmed a switch on the
transmitter to turn off the throttle
function. This was a safety function that
[prevented] an accident if the throttle
stick was inadvertently moved to turn
on the motor. All [of] my models are
programmed in this manner.
“In trying to get the flap-elevator
function, it was suggested that I go to
the servo program on the transmitter,
Those digital RC systems are great,
and the features come in handy, but
Charles proved that they will blindly
do what we tell them, even if it leads to
trouble. Double-check your actions, and
consider removing the propeller while
tinkering with a model. It will impede
the airscrew in case you outsmart the
computer, and might keep you from
wrapping the same rag around your
knuckles after an incident.
Finally, my friend, Lance Novak, told
a chilling tale about a rotary tool cutoff
wheel that broke in half while in use. A
jagged piece struck the lens of Lance’s
safety goggles. Wow!
Eye protection is vital when using
power tools. Impact-resistant glasses or
goggles have saved many modelers from
eye injuries. Don’t skip this piece of
personal protective equipment! If you
wear prescription lenses, get them made
into safety glasses so you’ll always have
them on when needed.
Multirotor Ups and Downs
It’s not exactly a secret that the rise
of the drone movement has made for
mixed feelings among some modelers.
I imagine it’s similar to when rubber
power was overshadowed by gas engines,
or when Control Line (CL) flying was
the next big thing, or those distant days
when balsa made bamboo obsolete.
Rubber power, CL models, and
bamboo wingtips are all still around and
thriving, and I bet that multirotors will
end up as just one more color in the
rainbow of model aviation. These days,
The quadcopter races were big crowd-pleasers. This sport is growing fast!
Standardized classes of multirotors are
flown through challenging courses with
various obstacles and distracting lights
flashing away. Negotiating the barriers
was one thing, but to do it fast? That
takes some skill!
Attendees could tune their FPV
goggles to the race channels and view
what the competitors were seeing. It was
reassuring to see heavy netting between
the racecourse and the spectators. The
organizers made safety a priority.
The best item that I saw was a
brightly printed, simple, foldable
fabric disk used as a landing pad for
multirotors. There were different sizes
for various multirotors.
83 Model Aviation APRIL 2017 www.ModelAviation.com
SAFETY COMES FIRST