SAFETY COMES FIRST
Teaching an old dog new tricks
How do you learn things about modeling? Where do you go to find information when a new
challenge arises? And, especially, where
do you get answers to safety questions?
Your flying buddies? A club officer?
The Internet? The AMA website? This
There are probably some who, like
me, blunder through every mistake until
finding a method that works. I’m the
poster child of trial and error, but I don’t
recommend that technique. Asking and
learning is better.
I am fortunate to have a mentor (my
father) who is wise and experienced
and willing to share his knowledge. Not
many modelers are as lucky! A technical
question about some newfangled
electronic device might stump us both,
and then it’s time to ask Google.
There are loads of homemade videos
available for every possible facet of
aeromodeling. When someone learns
a skill or solves a problem, he or she
typically wants to share the knowledge
with other pilots.
This is great, and the resulting body
of knowledge is terrific for new fliers
and old dogs learning new tricks.
Sometimes you can find several videos
with opposing viewpoints, but that’s our
sport. There can be more than one right
way to do something.
These kids are intent on learning about model building. So much for video games! Howard Littman
teaches them the correct and safe way to build.
me for printing a story about his cut
finger in the May 2013 issue of MA,
found that kids are as fascinated by
flying models as ever, and they are eager
to learn how to build one. Of course,
the safe use of tools and CA is a prime
lesson and those kids are soaking it up
(the lesson, not the glue).
Most people get into modeling to
enjoy their own aircraft, not to become
instructors. Someone who is willing and
able to teach newcomers is a treasure.
The included photo of Howard
Littman surrounded by kids proves two
1. Howard is a great man who gave up
his lunch hour to help young pilots.
2. The idea that “kids are only
interested in video games” is wrong.
Howard, who did not hold it against
AMA Safety Code
Your flying buddies are a great source
when you have questions, and club
meetings are the place to get local
updates. Well-organized clubs have
a safety person, who typically is an
experienced pilot who knows what is
what. It’s nice to have a club officer
whose job is to watch over members’
One such person is Chuck Smith,
who wrote to me about a concern his
club members had. Some fliers thought
that the fast, low passes being performed
by turbine models at their field were a
violation of the AMA Safety Code.
AUGUST 2013 www.ModelAviation.com