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-   -   Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-helicopter-general-discussions-129/1247983-very-sad-news-helicopter-kills-man-houston.html)

kevinf2501 11-03-2003 09:01 AM

Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Man killed by model helicopter
07:01 AM CST on Monday, November 3, 2003

By Jeremy Desel / 11 News

HOUSTON -- A bizarre accident with a model helicopter killed a Houston man Sunday afternoon.

The victim was watching the radio-controlled aircraft at Tom Bass Park in southwest Harris County.

The helicopter that killed the victim is fuel-powered and radio-controlled.
"They can get up to some pretty high speeds," said Sgt. Hudson with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Traffic was grounded after the accident as sheriff's investigators tried to figure out what happened to cause the death of 41-year-old Ronald Kyle of southwest Houston.

"He was going through some flight maneuvers with the helicopter and he turned the controls over to the student and the helicopter got away from him," said Hudson.

Kyle was an instructor.

The student, who police did not identify, owns the model involved in the incident.

Some children were reportedly in the park when the accident happened and may have seen it.
Its 2-inch wide blades are made of fiberglass, but the engine spins with enough power to make them dangerous -- especially if the craft gets out of control -- which appeared to be the case Sunday.

"Came back toward the two individuals and the helicopter struck the deseased in the throat area," said Hudson.

The impact of the crash killed Kyle almost immediately.

Investigators say the man operating the helicopter had been in one of this areas ten chapters of the Academy of Model Aeronautics for about nine months. That organization has more than 170,000 members nationwide.

We are told the student was working toward a flight certification -- but had yet to complete it.

There are designated areas for flying and for watching at the park. Both men were in the operations area at the time.

hou_ge2000 11-03-2003 09:53 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Ouch...the blade to the throat...that's horrible.

I guess he was practicing way too close to the helicopter. I hope things like this doesn't happen much or else the R/C heli would be banned.

staraero 11-03-2003 10:28 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
I don't know all the facts here, but by all indications this was not a radio problem which caused this horrible event. I would guess that flying to close with others standing around did. This is only a guess based on the limited information we have so far.

Each one of us have an answer which will and won't apply. Depending on the circumstance. The actual fact in the matter is helicopters today are more powerful then ever, and now use in many cases very strong wood blades, or almost indestructible carbon blades. I hate to make this next statement because I am a strong defender of our hobby.

We all need to be very aware of the distance with these fast, strong blade, high powered helicopters. I am as guilty as anyone else concerning this problem. Taking all the issues and facts into account, including the equipment we are using today, my next statement must be considered. We are all exposed to considerable danger when operating the high powered RC helicopter of today. I hope I am wrong, but I am afraid we will visit more issues like this in the near future.

My, and many others sincerest sympathy and regrets, go out to the family and the freinds.

Bob Pinto

goliath-RCU 11-03-2003 11:36 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
The trainer was killed, so either they weren't using a buddy box, or were maneuvering to close or both?

Furyflyer2 11-03-2003 11:46 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
I don't think they were using a buddy box.

FLYBOY 11-03-2003 12:27 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Just think of all the guys who get on here touting that they don't need help. How many more of these are we going to see?

It is very tragic, but brings home the message that these things are dangerous. You need to get the right help, fly them in the right places and make sure noone else is around or in close proximity.

MHawker 11-03-2003 12:38 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Considering I just purchased my first Heli, I can tell you that I wouldn't want to get behind the controls by myself even with an instructor right next to me. Things just happen too fast. I would definitely want to be on a buddy box. While we don't know how long this student had been flying (i.e. how many previous flights) I would assume the instructor was confident enough in his training and the student's progress (assuming he was the person who had been training him all along) to give him the controls.

Sad news.

MustangFan 11-03-2003 01:02 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
This will bring out many questions.

Should we be "required" to use a buddy box when training?

Helicopters are dangerous as are 30 Lb. models with 5+ horsepower flying at 100 mph.

It's always sad to hear of accidents, and the AMA needs to be more proactive with good field rules (authors opinion).

It will also be interesting to see if home owners insurance or AMA insurance covers this tragedy, and if the AMA tries to find a loop-hole to get out of paying anything.

DocYates 11-03-2003 01:21 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Wonder if we will see a waiver proposal for helis, like, the one the jet guys have to go thru? How tragic, makes you appreciate how dangerous these machines can be.

hou_ge2000 11-03-2003 01:47 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
What are "buddy boxes"?

MustangFan 11-03-2003 02:14 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Buddy Box:

Two Transmitters hooked together.
One as trainer, one as trainee.

The trainee can only control while the trainer holds a "trainer switch" on his/her radio.
When the trainer releases the switch, he then has control immediately. This eliminates the time spent transferring the radio to another person. It also lets the trainer take control the minute
(s)he thinks the trainee is in trouble.

A good system ... some problems with cable type connectors at times ... but a good system.

Spaceman Spiff 11-03-2003 02:40 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Even with some experience things can and do go wrong. Get one of these beasts sliding sideways or backwards, loose orientation, and it becomes hard to get it out of trouble. i've chopped myself up quite a few times on the simulator.

We had a guy get killed at my club a couple years ago. he flew into the sun and the plane turned tward him. Its rare to have somthing like this happen, but it does happen now and then.

Rick S.40 11-03-2003 04:00 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
A Buddy Box was not being used. This was a tragic accident!!

AtomicFrawg 11-04-2003 12:24 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Please guys dont speculate
Read this

Also there are links to help out the families involved


hanna 11-04-2003 01:10 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Re post 8- Why will it be "interesting" in regards to whwt AMA does. If there were no safety code violations they have to cover any claims and I have no problem with that at all. Mike Krizan

STLPilot 11-04-2003 01:50 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
It says turned over the controls to the student. Can someone confirm that there was no buddy box being used. I know there are plenty of Houston pilots on RCU. Looking for a witness. Not to be nosy ... feel bad for the guy. But more important is to be educated.

lomcevek1 11-04-2003 03:34 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
This is my first time into the Helicopter message boards and I offer my sincere sorrow for our loss.

There is a problem going on the the 3D aircraft arena with the AMA rule of no part of an aircraft shall intentianlally touch the ground except for the landing gear, ie no tail touching. Then I heard about this accident and wanted to express my sadness

I am sorry :(

DocYates 11-04-2003 08:33 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
I apologize for introducing the comment. I simply meant to imply that with every one of these incidents there seems to be an ever increasing tightness by the AMA in regards to our insurance. I just spent several hundred dollars and considerable time trying to get my turbine waiver, not that it was a bad thing becasue I feel like I am capabale of handling the aircraft and I learned a trmenedous amount of information in my pursuit of getting this waiver. And I have been fling for almost 18 years. My heart goes out to the family, and again I apologize for the inappropiateness of my comment.

Rick S.40 11-04-2003 08:58 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
The info in my previous post was not speculation! Do not pay attention to everything you hear on the news. As some of the report was not accurate. There was no buddy box being used. What they mean by handing over the controls, is Ron hovered the heli to check it out and then gave the Transmitter to Billy to hover the heli. Then the accident happen. Just trying to keep you guy's on R.C.U. informed!!

DustOffUH1 11-04-2003 12:12 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
My deepest condolences to his family & friends [&o]

diceman 11-04-2003 05:49 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
This is a very unfortunate situation especially for the family of the person who died. It's redundent, but all of our thoughts are with the family and the other person involved.

We as modelers, will all be presented with questions about the safety of our hobby regardless of what segment we participate. Even the safest of hobbies or sports can claim a life or render a person serious injury. It's a fact of life, that no matter how safe and cautious we believe we may be, we are never imune from an unexpected inicident. Life is that way.

R/C modeling is a safe activity. Where else does one have so much support from others to assist in all phases of the process. We teach and try to further educate regarding all aspects of what we do.

Paint fumes in your garage or work area may cause serious sickness, or even death if not properly dealt with. Your latest plane in the back of your station wagon could be a missle in the event of an auto accident if it were not properly secured. And, we havn't even arrived at the flying site yet.

The situation at hand is troubling because we may never know exactly what happened, and why. I don't understand why someone would choose a "60" size heli to learn on, if that is the case. That's kinda like using a 40% Extra as a trainer. But, that is not the point. We simply can't protect against every possibility.

All of this being said, it's important that we don't go off on a "witch hunt" trying to find someone to blame. We don't try to add ten new pages to the rule book creating regulations no person could follow.

It's still mostly about common sense and paying attention. If one does not do that, then they may pay a price.

00000000000000 11-04-2003 07:47 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Supposedly it was just a gust of wind, and the chopper was a bit too close. I tried reading the thread about it at http://www.runryder.com/helicopter/t70830p1 but the posts were coming in as fast as I could read! I'm sure Ron had an AMA membership, so his brother will get $10,000 accidental death coverage insurance. Enough to bury him is all, and that kinda sux. I just feel way sorry for Billy the student Ron was helping, the kids that witnessed it, and the nurse that tried to save him. Having both jugular vein and carotid artery cut really makes it a no-win situation though. This really was tragic. - Joe

Twobeers 11-05-2003 07:40 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
I don't know exactly about AMA, I think its pretty much the same with a little bit of difference here and there in the wording to MAAC. Here in Canada you are covered up to $5,000,000 in liability when flying at a "Approved Field" or with written consent of the property owner. So if the Tom Bass Park was a sanctioned flying field then the pilot will be covered, if it turns out that the "Park" was a public park and flying was not sanctioned at this site. Well that's another whole other thing that the lawyers and courts will have to sort out. Not to second guess anybody but my gut feeling is that the student took it up into a hover and it got turned around on him somehow and reading that he was just starting out in the hovering stage probably instinctively pushed the cyclic forward to move it away from himself. We all know the terrible tragic outcome. I saw my life flash before my eyes at my first attempt to hover nose in. Re the $10,000 death benefit for Ron's family. If the site was indeed sanctioned the family probably will end up taking the insurance carrier of AMA to court for a settlement and may also get a much higher award due to the liability aspect.

staraero 11-05-2003 09:55 PM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
Hello Everyone,

Does anyone know the exact situation concerning the obligation our AMA insurance has to care for these families? I am hearing things on the order of, there was no coverage, to the family will only get 10,000. in relief. Can anyone supply us with the real facts concerning this insurance coverage.

If there was ever an insurance issue where checks should be written to cover a claim, this is it. I for one would like to know exactly what the benefit is for the families of these two men. There are millions of dollars paid to the AMA every year through our dues and memberships. Much of it is supposed to be ear marked for insurance. The insurance issue is the main reason we are all forced to join the AMA by our local flying clubs anyway.

I would like to know exactly what the AMA insurance intends to do in respect to providing real relief for these families. If 10,000. to 50,000. is the bulk of the coverage they provide for an occurrence like this, the insurance was essentially worthless to these men, and has the same value to all of us. I sincerely hope the AMA organization does actually provide real coverage for these people. Just from the bits and pieces I am getting here and there, it's beginning to sound like the insurance benefit provided through the AMA is not worth the paper it is written on.

Will someone who understands this issue step in here and explain to us all exactly how this works? Many of us, including the men involved in this tragic accident, were under the impression we have real coverage when operating our models. What concerns me and many others is the rumor that the AMA is already coming up with a list of exclusions concerning this incident. $50,000. of coverage won't even service the lawyers and many sorts of property damage which can occur today. This amount of benefit is even without taking into account the needs of a family at a time like this.

Again, would someone jump in here and set us all straight on this insurance issue, and benefits these men will receive through their membership of AMA? Like each and everyone of us involved in the hobby, these members believed through their AMA membership there was good solid insurance coverage for an occurrence like this. If there is really a problem with the AMA insurance, and you want to help these men, there families, and anyone of us who could experiences a problem in the future now is the time. We as a group need to understand exactly what the insurance benefit is concerning a tragic occurrence like this. We all believe we have real coverage. Most AMA memberships are based primarily on the insurance issue. I hope these are just unfounded rumors. The AMA should be made to perform for the families involved here. As they are paid to do by it's members through the collection of our dues. Someone on here must have factual knowledge concerning this. Anyone?

Bob Pinto

DSA.308 11-06-2003 09:52 AM

RE: Very sad news. Helicopter kills man in Houston
I think especially during the learning curve the helis are especially dangerouse. I say this because durng the learning phase, having the model close to you is essential, due to the inability to view orientation from a-far for a new-be, and even experienced pilots for that matter. I have had to jump out of the way a couple times, and when flying at non-AMA airfields constantly tell people that my model isnt "nearly as safe as it appears".... The problem is only made tougher by the fact that servos can fail, radios can get interference, ETC. My main fear even after now being able to pick and place my model about anywhere I want to, is just that....flight failures. I think this accident verifies what many of us have allready known......these things are like flying lawnmowerblades, and have the ability to do just as much damage. I am not claiming to have ANY answers....just verifying wht I had thought all along. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the accident now, and I hope allthough steps are needed to prevent this in the future, rights arent trampled on by the AMA or any government organizations. We as the pilots of these models take the responsibilitys that come with them in our own hands each time we decide to fly.....Its our responsibility to make sure we are being safe and taking the right precautions when flying, to avaid these types of incidents to the best of our abilities. Even being as safe as we can be, these things will continue to happen, due to flight failures, and carelessness. I guess when, and if, the AMA makes flying them at AMA fields impossible, I will simply do what I have been doing lately....flying mine where-ever I feel like it. Public parks, parking lots, and anywhere else there isnt people or life and limb to be lost. Thank God there isnt any laws against playing with toys.....yet.

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