Al Ferraro built this gorgeous Perky CL racer. Get a subscription to the
Control Line Competition Newsletter and see more aircraft such as this.
Many unexpected retailers, such as Galco’s
Soda Pop Stop shown here, carry model aircraft,
but how will the builders learn how to fly safely?
Don’t you just love super villains? Battling evil is more satisfying when the bad guy wears a corny
costume and has a sinister laugh.
I’ve figured out who my nemesis is
when it comes to safe aeromodeling.
He glares back at me in the mirror
each morning. Of course, we are all our
own worst enemies when it comes to
avoiding incidents with our models.
It’s embarrassing to not be able to
blame things on anyone else, but in our
hobby, each pilot is the commodore of
an air fleet and he or she makes all of the
decisions. I get to pick the type of model,
whether to buy or build it, and how it
will be operated. The responsibility of
flying safely is mine.
This autonomy is part of the appeal
of our hobby, but it carries the risk of
becoming complacent with such
power. It takes a sharp pilot to resist
taking the shortcuts that become
tempting after a while.
Our inner commodore says,
“We’ve made many flights
with this dependable model.
We know the power and
control sy tems inside and
out. Why do a full preflight
inspection? I’m in charge
here, and I say we can
skip it this time!”
Even after many
decades in this hobby,
I sometimes feel evil
urges to cut corners.
The truth is that
I’m not experienced
enough to skip
precautions. None of
us are. The moment
tha I try a shortcut is
when a gremlin will
sneak in and remind
me why a rule was
made. If you see me
wearing a bandage on
my finger sometime,
you ll know that the
bad guy in the mirror
had his way.
Drones and Soda
Once upon a time,
there were local hobby shops all across
the country. You could drop by and look
at the latest models, and beginners could
get advice and information. These days,
that type of hobby shop is rare. Many
novices are on their own when learning
to build and fly their machines. Helping
new pilots become safe pilots is an
important part of supporting our hobby.
With the current multirotor/drone
movement, I’ve found aeromodeling
items for sale in the oddest locations.
A local electronics store had dozens
of types of multirotors, along with
conventional RC helicopters and fixed-wing models in RC and Free Flight
types, for sale. Across town, a bedding
store had a display of infrared-controlled
rotorcraft. Some toy stores, museum
gift shops, and sporting goods stores also
have models for sale these days.
Topping it all was the rack of balsa
model kits that I found at Galco’s
Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles. You
might have seen this store on a food
or travel channel. It sells unusual or
obsolete beverages and candy bars that
you thought were long gone. The shop
carries Abita Root Beer from the New
Orleans area, and boy is it good!
The owner decided that model
79 Model Aviation JULY 2016
The archenemy of safety
SAFETY COMES FIRST