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ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

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Old 10-23-2011, 08:07 PM
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Firepower R/C
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Default ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Hi guys, I thought I would share with you an event that occurred yesterday while flying my brushless Slow Stick. I was out flying at a large, open private property 30 miles out of town when disaster struck. While I was doing a near full-power motor test, the prop shed a blade, and that blade flew like a shot directly into my eye. The force of the impact was tremendous, snapping my head back and causing me to fall flat on my back. I tell you, the pain was unbelievable- I was sure at that moment my eye was gone. I was semi conscious, and unable to think clearly... my worst nightmare had come true. I quickly covered it with one hand and stumbled to my feet, and tried to figure out what to do next. No one around that I could find (the property owner had just left on a bike ride). I shouted for help, nothing. I couldn’t even really see well out of my good eye at that point for some reason, and blood and tons of tears was starting to run from under the hand covering my eye. It was about then my faculties were starting to come back and I had to know how bad the injury actually was, so I gently felt around on my eyelid to see if it felt like an eyeball was still in there. There was, whew! So then I carefully tried to open that eye but was met with terrible pain and sensitivity to the light- but at least I saw light! Knowing that it would take at least 45 minutes for anyone to come get me, and not really knowing if time was a factor in saving my sight, I reluctantly decided to drive myself back to town. I threw my crap in the back of my truck and slowly headed for town. I had a friend meet me on the way and he finished the drive to the hospital. After a rather unpleasant examination I was told that I had a pretty serious corneal abrasion, a cut on the eye, and broken blood vessels due to the forceful trauma, but should recover completely save for possible scarring. What a relief, I get to keep my eye!!! Thank God. My eyesight is still pretty blurry right now, but should get better soon. In the meantime I can’t drive, fly models, or even read the clock across the room. I am now reflecting on how lucky I was not to lose my eye, and how important eyesight is for my hobby, career, and life as a whole. No eye, no fly. I will be a lot more cautious in the future. I knew the risks of flying without a spotter and flew nonetheless, and this time it bit me in the butt, er, eye.

I just wanted to share so others could benefit from my pain. Stay clear of those props!!!

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Old 10-23-2011, 08:22 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Boy, you are a lucky guy. Driving with such an injury while seeming prudent at the time, needs to be avoided. You might want to fly with friends in the future or make sure that you have good phone service where you are flying at. I really hope your eye gets better real soon and that you use this experiance to better prepare in the future on the oft chance you get hurt again. With this hobby that we love, an injury can happen at any time no matter how careful you are, and pre planning is a must. Once again, get better soon and happy flying, Dave....
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:35 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Well, I normally do fly with friends but this time was the exception. And you are right, driving doesn't sound like a great idea, but when you are worried about permanently losing your eye sometimes you can be a little rash! Don't worry, I was drivin' slower than grandma's grandma... I did make sure I had phone service, and I made several calls as you might imagine. What I really could have used was a first aid kit. There will be one in my truck today.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:55 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

I fly alone in rural areas a lot and what happend to you is my worst nightmare. Two things I always have on me when the prop is running, either sunglasses or safety glasses on, since I have had a share of rocks and other debis fly into my eyes, and my cell phone with 911 set on speed dial just in case. I also make sure somone always knows I'm out and where. The first aid kit is also a must and should be within a hands reach. Make sure there is plenty of fresh saline to irrigate and pressure bandages, since it seems our accidents always end up with the release of lot of blood[:@] However, flying alone is no different than those who hunt, fish, or do other outdoor recreation alone and all it takes is good planning for contingency.
Sounds like you will have full use of your eye again abiet a painfull recovery and wish you the best.
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:57 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

I shudder every time I read the title to this post.
I am so glad you came out of this as well as you did, and I hope nobody else has to go thru it. Those props are lethal, and it always scares me when I see people that just assume the prop will stay on a motor. When people mess around in front of ( or next to ) a running motor any more than they have to I just cringe. Over the years I have seen a few freak prop incidents such as yours, but thankfully they never impaled anyone. I have seen props hit, and JUST miss people.

I know sometimes people hate some of the rules about when and where you start your plane, but I hope they never see what can go wrong, even when the rules are followed.

Best of luck to you with your recovery.

i wanted to edit this in..., I am not implying you took any risks that were your fault, because unfortunately anytime anyone is next to, or in front of a running motor there IS risk, and we all hope that freak accident never happens , and all you can really do is limit the time in that dangerous zone in relation to the prop.
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:09 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Firepower Thanks for sharing this. I'm a newb and always fly alone. I'm not trying to be cavalier about what happened to you with questions and am very sorry this tragedy has happened to you.

Could you share where you were in relation to prop when it broke? and do you have any idea why it broke?
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:57 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

i cringed reading your story... glad your sight will return
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:29 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Update

My Opthalmologist has given me a clean bill of health... it is amazing how fast the human eye can heal. My eye still looks kind of bad, and it will for a while due to the broken blood vessels in the sclera (white part of the eye). I have had more time to think about this incident and going over this thread it seems that I have left a few important things out (thank you guver!).

Several people were aware of my location... this is routine for me to do. Always a good idea like scottrc mentioned.

Next, I almost always have safety glasses on, but sometimes I goof. I was standing in the shade and had lifted my glasses to see something better and forgot to pull them back down! When the prop broke I was standing fully erect over the model, doing the typical "straddle the fuselage" stance while running up the motor. I was leaning forward slightly trying to hear if the battery was sagging under full load when it let go. Yes, this means it travelled back slightly in it's trajectory into my eye. Why it did this, I don't know. Maybe it bounced off the concrete or something else.

The airplane "jumped" vertically a foot or so then proceeded to try to beat itself to death after the prop let go. I don't remember bringing the throttle back down, but must have done it at some point. As for the prop, I now know EXACTLY why it broke. The previous day I had unknowingly stressed the prop in a minor crash, actually, more of a nose-in, and had missed the tell-tale signs during the inspection that followed (this brings up something else, my vision needs correction, according to the doc). The prop has multiple stress cracks in the area that it fractured, but they are hard to see unless you really look hard. I don't really want to name the MFR of the prop since it isn't their fault, but remember this guys: This was a Slow Stick! A measly electric Slow Stick. So yes, even those small electric park flyers can present hazards most people don't think about. All models deserve respect in this matter... I shudder to think of what a big gasser prop could do.

So here are changes I will make to my routine as a result of all this:

Have a couple clear pairs of glasses on hand for those situations where the tinted ones are too dark to see small details
911 on speed dial (as rec'd by scottrc)
first aid kit in truck at all times
a couple large towels (many uses here)
EXTRA thorough inspections of props and spinners between flights
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:32 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

p.s. I'm back in the saddle- I flew a couple hours yesterday evening and it was great!
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:16 AM
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Good for you!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:40 AM
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Glad to hear it firepower..
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:29 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

The retina in the back of your eye is connected directly to your brain. If you get struck hard enough in the eye it will give the brain a shock. That is why you got knocked sensless for a moment. The fact that you coul see light is very encouraging. I had a similar injury years ago, I was struck with the metal hook on a fully stretched bungee cord. When I came to I could not see anything out of my eye, total darknesss. I thought I lost it but slowly over several months and a lot of medical treatment the vision slowly returned. My vision in that eye has been poor since the accident but at least it came back. You may notice things looking a little strange until your brain readjusts to the injury. I recently developed a type of cataract (scar tissue) as a result of the injury and will have it removed in a few months. There is a good probabiliy that you will get one of these also but I hope you don't.

I had a half of a prop fly off and hit me in the arm one time and it cut pretty deep. I always inspect the propeller as the first thing on my pre flight check routine after learning that lesson.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:50 PM
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Glad you are healing fast. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:37 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

This is something I can relatevto very, very well. I lost the sight in my left eye when I was four due to a stupid accident. The cornea was penetrated by a sharp stick that also penetrated the lens and retina. When it happened (1966) ther was really nothing that could be done to repair the damage. The lens was removed because it was totally destroyed. I can still see out of the eye but all I see is colors and blurry shapes. I'm lucky to see that much.

Protect your eyes, folks. Losing even partial vision in one or both is something that changes your life drastically and permanently.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:54 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Glad to hear that you are back to flying. Lets all take this accident and learn from it. Just like the Cub Scouts, we need to be prepared. Once again, glad you are back to it and good luck, Dave
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:50 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP


Quote:
ORIGINAL: Firepower R/C

What I really could have used was a first aid kit. There will be one in my truck today.
And don't forget your safety glasses, I had a similar incident. Fortunately I was wearing safety rated sun glasses. The prop piece put a scratch right dead center on the left lens. I never fly or mess with models without eye protection.

I rarely say anything about it, but I see MANYpeople at the field working closely with their running models on the bench, and not wearing any eye protection of any kind. It sounds like you don't need prescription glasses, so they may sound like a hassle, but I assure you, they are worth 100 times their weight in gold.

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Old 10-26-2011, 06:11 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Thanks for the friendly mention Hunkajunk, but check my post. I use tinted safety glasses (which I will admit that I forget sometimes), but had moved them up on my head to see something in the shade then forgot to pull them down. They don't do any good on top of your head! So from now on it is clear safety glasses on the ground, and tinted ones for flying. The hard part will be getting into the routine of doing it. It also looks like I will be getting prescription ones too, as the doc said my vision is not the greatest. But at least it won't be an eye patch. Curse this getting older thing!!!

Oh, and thanks for the kind words everyone. It means alot to have positive support from others in the hobby! I almost didn't post about this due to personal embarassment & the bickering and negativity that goes on here lately, but then again if it helps someone save their vision I can deal with being called a dum dum. Nobody's perfect!
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:48 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Wow, what a story. You are very lucky and I am glad everything worked out for you.

I do a lot of flying at night. 95% of the time there is nobody out at the field. We have a first aid kit but I feel better by keeping my cell phone in my pocket. I also make sure my family knows where I am and when I will be home.

I love being out all alone flying in the dark but man it can go wrong in a flash.
-Andrew
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:02 AM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

Good lord imagine the odds!? in the full 360 degree area the prop could shoot, and it shoots INTO your eye.. I'm sorry to hear anything like this happen. Thankfully the worst that's happened to me through the years is a pretty good slash on my arm from a brushless motor spinning a 3D prop, IMHO electrics are more dangerous then fuel driven props. First, they can start up instantly, and second, if a glow prop hits you, it will probably stall (after doing some damage to you!) but an electric motor will continue spinning as long as the ESC is telling it to!
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:44 PM
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Default RE: ALMOST LOST MY EYE TO A PROP

might i recommend a tourniquet for those who fly alone (i have one in my car) or those who fly in general. Heaven forbid something happened that seriously cut a limb or sever an artery this device would at least give you a fighting chance. I can just imagine a 50cc or larger engine throwing a prop and hitting someone. Heck even a .46 spinning at 14000 rpm would cause some serious damage if it hit the underside of your arm. I cringe when I see people standing in front of planes that are running, it happens way too often at my field.


http://www.amazon.com/Tac-Med-Soluti...0208301&sr=8-3
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