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Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

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Old 06-09-2003, 03:45 PM
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tdwise
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

I've read several accounts of our fellow RC brethren completing long distance cross country RC flights while keeping pace along side with their road vehicle. I was wondering what logistics are involved with doing this namely, whether or not permission (permits) are needed or do you just go out and do it? AMA to insure? FAA notification?

Any help would be appreciated!

Ted
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Old 06-09-2003, 07:27 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

I sure don't know who would issue a permit!! Common sense is all you really need. I would plan the route carefully and make a drive through to check for wires, or buildings that might get in the way. I would suggest getting someone to drive the car for you

Just how long would this flight be? Here in the Midwest there are lots county roads that are empty most of the time. With a carefully planned route, I don't see how you would be breaking any rules.

Tom
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Old 06-09-2003, 08:08 PM
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tdwise
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The flight distance is estimated at about 90 miles, the route is fairly straight and "very" remote except for the initial take-off point. I've driven the route numerous times and as far as I can tell, the only real obstacles would be highway overpasses and the occassional cell phone tower. I'm just not sure if there's an "official" process that needs to be taken care of before a cross-country attempt is undertaken. Like I asked earlier, "Do you just go and do it" or does someone have to know that you're doing it? (I'd prefer the latter!)

Ted
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:51 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

Make sure everybody is insured (in case you hit a car or house or other property of value) and just do it. As long as you aren't blocking traffic and you aren't breaking traffic laws (see below) you don't need permits.

The hardest part will be the state laws that have come up in the last 10 years or so that says you can't ride in the back of a pick-up. It makes it easier if everybody has a convertible so you have seatbelts in the back seat.

The Sacramento (CA) Red Barons http://www.sacredbarons.com/
used to have a yearly cross country contest . Looking at the website it looks like one is coming up again on the 22nd.

There is also a yearly sailplane XC context in Siskiyou County (CA)...I wish I had the website handy...I'll look it up and get back to you. That way you can contact people who have already done it and ask all the questions you like.

Don

Found the Siskiyou website: http://www.xcsoaring.com/
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:57 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

90 miles, whow. I hope you have a full tank! A convertable car with 2-3 pilots to share the flying would be good. It sounds like a good stunt.

I don't think this is going down as the crime of the century! In fact, you could alert the cops, they might escort you out of town!

I assume there are no other RC fields on the route.

The cell phone towers aren't a problem as far as I know. If you're worried, you could do a range check in the area, but I've never heard that it's necessary to avoid them.

Tom
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:48 PM
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Default Cros country

Sterling Colo club has a cross country ever spring it is 100 miles from Ault Colo to Sterling usually in april or may. Might look up the club name & I am sure they will give you all the info you need.
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:53 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

I was associated with the Red Barons many years ago and I know they've been running their annual "Great Race" for more than 25 years. As mentioned
by Don (hattend) above, it's scheduled for June 22nd this year.

One of the rules for participating was that all traffic laws HAD to be observed. That means no speeding, stopping at all stop signs (the entire route was on rural roads), etc. I don't know if anything has changed in more recent times but there was no "permission" to ask for back then

In the past, they used pickups, convertibles and vehicles with large sun roofs (large enough to stand up through). But traffic laws have changed. In California you can no longer ride in the back of an open vehicle, and standing up would be a definite no-no (no seatbelt). That pretty much leaves convertibles, or trying to keep an eye on the plane while looking up through a sun roof while seat-belted in to the vehicle.

The scheduled "Race" this month is described as a 17.5 mile course - 2 laps (one in each direction). You don't want a model that's a speed demon that gobbles tons of fuel. Having a plane that will make each leg on a single tank of fuel is desireable. Otherwise, you'd be looking for a spot to set it down to refuel and, what's more important, to take off from. And don't you know the models ALWAYS choose to run out of fuel right when there's no good spot to land! Then you're left with the prospect of landing on the road - not always a good idea, especially if there's other vehicle traffic using the road. I think that would also be in violation of your AMA rules. In past years at least some of the rural course's the Red Barons used had a crop duster landing strip along the road as the half-way point - a good spot for landing and taking off.

A 90 mile trip could be done. In fact I remember reading in the model magazines years ago of trips being flown that were much longer (some lasting as long as from sun-up to sun-down). But the key is planning. You've got to have contingency plans for all possible scenarios along the way. Like what if you run out of fuel, or a glow plug craps out, or dozens of other "what if's". Also, remember your radio batteries may have to be changed along the way. If you're talking trying to do this cross country non-stop, standard batteries wouldn't last long enough. Lot's to think about and I'd definitely drive the route beforehand to formulate a plan.

Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:43 AM
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Default The Logistics

The quest is to do it non-stop if possible. That way we avoid landing and taking off in unfamiliar territory. The route is also all highway which if we could attain an average cruise speed of 70mph (which happens to be the posted speed limit), we're looking at about a 1-1/2 hour flight time. I'm under the impression that many of our RC aircraft routinely fly at that speed so if that's the case, we have to figure fuel burn and battery life. Fuel burn can be dealt with enough fuel capacity on board coupled with either a 4-stroke or diesel modified engine for power. The Rx battery might be in realm of 1100mah as well as the Tx. The Tx (along with the plane) could be a simple 4-channel without the need of a battery draining computer radio. Forgive if I'm wrong but I've noticed my computer radio just doesn't hold a charge as long as a non-computer radio. Just something I've noticed. Anyway, this is in the planning stages and as "linclogs" mentioned, there ARE alot of contingencies to deal with. Should be fun, though!

Ted
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Old 06-10-2003, 03:29 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

The longest one I have done was about 30 miles down a rual road in the middle of nowhere with a one school house town in the middle. WE had to land for fuel due to small planes and tanks. Was a blast though.

One piece of advice. Dont' fly right on the hood of the car. The next time you use the windshield wipers is a mess.
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Old 06-11-2003, 04:17 AM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

I would avoid the cell towers. They are usually well rooted and impossible to fly through!
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Old 06-11-2003, 11:09 AM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

Flyboy,
I didn't think of flying the plane in CLOSE formation with the car. That sounds pretty cool! How do you explain the body damage to your insurance Co? I guess you keep your head inside for this trick!

Tom
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Old 06-11-2003, 02:48 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

Actually, it was kind of a dumb thing to do looking back, but then we all do that once in a while. I was flying a wild thing with a .15 engine and it goes about 75 flat out. I got it pretty close to the front of the car, and when we went under a power line, everyone else went up, and I stayed low. I could accelerate faster than the car. Only problem would have been if the engine quit. I think it would have stopped faster than the car if it ended up in front of us. It is a blast doing 720 degree a second rolls in front of you like that.

The main thing you have to watch for is cars coming the other way. Give them lots of room. It is really fun. You will like it.
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Old 06-11-2003, 05:06 PM
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Default Cross Country RC Flight - Need Permits, etc?

Flyboy, I will only enjoy hearing about it. Much too intense for me.

I hope the driver knows to not watch the plane!

Tom
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