The flying season is beginning for most of us, so I thought it was a good time to think about field safety. Associate Vice President (AVP) Jim Rice wrote the following for this month.
As the flying season gets into full swing, make sure your aircraft and skills are ready to have fun! Safety isn’t the lack of accidents—that may well be just good luck. Safety is taking every precaution you know inspecting, educating, and creating an environment that encourages good luck.
I have seen the safest of model pilots have accidents that hurt themselves or others, and I have seen the lamest of pilots get away without incident. I have to chalk both of these up to luck, some bad and some good.
Chi-Chi Rodríguez, pro golfer, overheard a spectator’s comment that his perfectly executed hole-in-one was luck. His quiet response was that he practiced 8 hours a day hitting tens of thousands of shots per week to make that luck possible. That same effort should go into our building, maintaining and flying of models, taking every opportunity to reduce the potential for bad luck to win the day.
Routinely check batteries, fuel systems, wing and strut mounts, engine bolts, propellers and rotor blades, and anything else. Practice new maneuvers on a simulator, at altitude, or when few people are at the field until you have them mastered.
This is a good month for club safety officers and coordinators to conduct a thorough site safety inspection. Take one or two members with you and look at everything with a view toward safety.
Inspect your entry road for ruts and safety warning signs. Check the concession stand for cleanliness, splinters, and electrical problems. Walk the site looking for loose boards, rebar sticking out of construction areas, dangerous tables or chairs, deteriorating fencing, mown runways that may have gotten ruts or whose borders have crept too close to pilot stations, protective barriers that are either worn or needed for flight stations, and starting stations that might not restrain aircraft. Look at overflight areas for changes in vegetation or new biking and walking paths or structures. See if your spectator warning or AMA Safety Code signs need replaced. Don’t leave any area of the site without critical review!
Following the AMA Safety Code and all of its associated documents will keep you in step with FAA regulations and the current interpretation of public law. Our Safety Code is built on two main tenets: yield to full-scale aircraft and maintain visual line of sight with the model. Review all safety documents at www.modelaircraft.org/documents.aspx.
AVP Jim Marshall submitted the following report.
The annual Air Fiesta Airshow, put on by the city of Brownsville, Texas, featuring a nice selection of warbirds from the Commemorative Air Force collection, was a tremendous success.
The Harlingen Smash RC Club had a booth at the event. Thousands of spectators attended with many visiting the main hangar to see more than 40 beautiful model aircraft from the Harlingen Smash RC Club. An array of micro quadcopters, helicopters, sport airplanes, warbirds, foamies, and Control Line airplanes lined the tables.
Interested kids and adults signed up to receive additional information about flying models and asked questions fielded by Smash RC volunteers. The Smash RC Club had two flight simulators busy full time with many taking turns at the sticks.
A special thank-you goes to club members Gale Downey and Joe Zapata for organizing and putting together the club’s display. More than 15 other club members volunteered and worked the booth during the two-day event. A big thank-you was extended to those from other clubs in the region who volunteered their time to make the Smash booth a success. Everyone had a great time and said the full-scale airshow wasn’t too bad either.
Cecil Column, our AVP in Arkansas, has asked to be replaced. Cecil cannot travel too far from home because of health issues. If you are interested in being an AVP for Arkansas, please let me know.
I would also like to mention the rest of the AVPs. Brian Regan, Cliff Town, Bill Holland, Tony Breyen, Stew Moore, Doug Staines, Ed Valls, Jim Marshall, Randy Ritch, Benny Behrens, and Jerry Walters all do a great job for our district and for the clubs in the areas they support. When you see, them give them your thanks. If you want them to go to an event in your area, email them and let them know. If you are not sure who covers your area, let me know.
District VIII has more than 18,000 members and approximately 240 clubs. We have a huge district in size and it is impossible for the district vice president (VP) to visit the entire district without the help of the AVPs. They are the VP’s eyes and ears for what is happening in the local areas.
To add to that Doug “Chief” Powell, our contest coordinator, and Jim Rice, our safety AVP, serve the district and put many hours in to help both District VIII and AMA.
They all deserve a big thank you!
Hope to see you all at the field.