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Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Old 12-01-2005, 05:32 PM
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Default Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

I wrote my response to a safety warning/reminder letter but balked at sending it. If I do reply, I’ll probably read it at next week’s meeting. That may be appropriate since the warning has been a major topic at two meetings! I’ll not share the letter since I don’t have the author’s permission, but the violations as listed below may give you guys with experience in AMA club politics enough info to advise me - please. What do you think? Should I stir it up or let it go? Is this kind of stuff reported to the AMA? Is it reported if they decide to hang sanctions on you? Depends on the club? Thank You.

Dear Officers,
Regarding your letter reminding me of three club rules, let me say that I understand and agree. The general nature and non-accusing tone of your letter are appreciated. In a way, I feel like the club is letting me off easy but on the other hand, I do not think that this matter was handled in the best possible manner so I’m compelled to advise you of my concerns. Two other members received the same letters. I have met with them and there are some points we agree on. No club member or officer voiced their concerns regarding these specific infractions directly to us, a consideration that is allowed for and encouraged in the bylaws as the duty of each member and as I believe, is a primary responsibility of the Safety Officer. There is a big difference between being addressed personally and having a motion passed in your name. We have reason to believe that accusers made these issues known to certain officers or members prior to the meeting. The three of us and three officers were all present at the field just two days before the meeting, and yet we were not approached with these safety violations. Also, by not defending our positions, we are concerned that accusers may be allowed to repeat inaccuracies and pass motions that could take this issue to the next level. Beyond that, I can only speak for myself and my own flying habits. I feel that it is important to be as accurate as possible once names are specified, so I’ll address each violation as follows:

• Flying planes without having placed AMA membership card on the frequency board.
I cannot admit to this infraction. It’s something that I’ve never done, not even by accident, not even while flying alone at the field.

• Flying below 25 feet and crossing the road.
It’s possible, but unlikely, that this could have happened on a very limited basis due to misjudgments or errors in perception and taking into consideration that the road is in the path of take-offs, landings and common flight patterns. I tend to fly high and 25 feet is almost too low to allow for errors, in my opinion, when crossing a busy country road. At that distance from my usual position on the flight line, altitudes below 25 feet would place the plane on the horizon, or at least in line with background objects and I prefer to see my models against the sky.

• High speed passes over the runway.
I will admit to this violation with the understanding that the runway is about 100 feet wide and aside from routine take-offs and landings, it is included in every member’s flight pattern as observed by myself and others for both fixed wing model aircraft and helicopters. The rule does not specify altitude or speed so I’ve used the 25 feet from the previous rule as a guideline. It is possible that lower passes, if any, were unintentional and infrequent. My models are not particularly fast or overpowered. All are powered by 2-stroke glow engines of sport level performance with the fastest plane being capable of perhaps 80 or 90 mph in level flight and I have not flown any models that did not belong to me over the past season.
Old 12-01-2005, 06:00 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

I'm sure someone will jump in here and tell me I'm wrong, but here goes. The AMA stays out of this kinda stuff. We had a guy here who gave the box to a guy who should not have been flying and crashed his plane. He blamed the club the world and God knows who else. He went as far as calling everyone at the AMA who he could get a hold off and would listen to his B.S. Well were still here and flying. Its a shame that things just get outa hand. A simple "please don't do that again" should be enough. I'm sure the "eyes" will be on you for while. Good Luck. Mike
Old 12-01-2005, 07:01 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Hmmm.... as a club president myself, I feel obligated to say that though the individual club officers never addressed you personally, if it had been brought to their attention by a member in good standing the issue would have to be addressed. However, any sanction against any member in our club would be done privately and through the executive board only. There would NEVER be a motion on the florr and I would NEVER entertain any use of someones name in a negative manner,true or not, in an open forum of discussion. I cannot be at the field all the time and so I depend on people to tell me what I do not see. But I certainly take this into consideration before I take any action at all. I further take into consideration the person making the complaint and that of the person being complained about.

I hope this helps

Chris
Old 12-01-2005, 07:04 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

At some point, you should have been supplied with a copy of your club by-laws. Those by-laws should spell out some grievance procedure. Without knowing the exact content of the letter you received, and the grievance procedure for your club, it is hard to guess at how that procedure may have been complied with.

A couple of years ago, the AMA decided that each club needed to have by-laws. Part of the reason was to assure that each club had some sort of due process available to the club and it’s members. This was in reaction to a situation where members were removed from a club on incorrect information.

Usually, part of the grievance procedure is some sort of a form that must be submitted by a member. Usually, it requires a witness or two. None of this is set in granite. IF such a form was filed, it is really difficult for the officers, safety committee, or whatever group your club uses to enforce the procedure, to ignore it. If they were to do so, and then an accident took place, they might have personal liability. They pretty much have to take action of some kind.

From your description, it sounds as though the group took the least offensive method possible to inform those who were accused of rules violations, assuming there is ANY truth to the allegations. A reminder is pretty mild. Some clubs, including mine, have a procedure which treats the first case verbally, but that will vary from club to club. It seems to me, that since the reminder was in writing, and is probably required to be kept by the club, it is reasonable for you to respond in writing and ask that it be kept with the reminder by the club. The whole point of due process is to insure fairness, and this seems a reasonable way to do so.

Depending on what the by-laws say, the club has does what the AMA intended and as a result the AMA is not going to have much to say. If on the other hand, it was action taken in violation of those by-laws, you might call the AMA and see what the have to say. Personally, I would not be in a hurry to escalate this entire issue. Your letter makes is sound as though your field may violate enough rules to bring the charter from the AMA into question. Beware of unintended consequences.

All this is just my opinion.
Old 12-01-2005, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Even if we were to assume that you did indeed break all three of those rules, I think the way your officers handled it is was not very friendly in the least. There is not one single officer at our Club who would have a problem comming up to me and expressing a concern if they felt I was doing something inappropriate. They would discuss their concern as one friend might tell another, and they would expect me to do the same thing if roles reversed. The concern would be discussed on the spot, and rectified on the spot. Making a motion to send out a warning letter like you got should only be considered if that person has been verbally warned several times, and is in clear repeated violations of the rules. Your case to me sounds like some board members who are just wanting to make a few examples of a few people. This will only cause hard feelings and tension on the field. A friendly little man to man talk could have solved the problem instantly and without hard feelings by either party. I am a strong advocate for safety, but personally I would be finding another club that is more like a gathering of friends and family, and less like a meeting of business associates all competing for a bigger office!
Old 12-01-2005, 07:55 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Methinks there are a number of people in this club that have too much time on their hands.
Old 12-01-2005, 08:35 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Who posts their AMA cards, people would be forgetting them at the flying field left and right.
Old 12-01-2005, 08:40 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Red, Your right on target. Mike
Old 12-01-2005, 08:44 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: jeffk464

Who posts their AMA cards, people would be forgetting them at the flying field left and right.
Our club does, and yes every once in awhile one gets forgotten. Most people hang there keys with their card that way it is impossible to drive off without both.
Old 12-01-2005, 09:41 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: ckangaroo70
Our club does, and yes every once in awhile one gets forgotten. Most people hang there keys with their card that way it is impossible to drive off without both.
[sound of light bulb warming up . . . ]

That's such a fundamental notion I can't believe I've never heard it stated before <he said, not admitting having failed to think of it himself>.

I'm off to find a copy of our club suggestion form . . . .

THANKS !!!

Old 12-01-2005, 09:43 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: SSRCCPREZ

Hmmm.... as a club president myself, I hope this helps
Sitting too far from the monitor again ?
Old 12-01-2005, 10:23 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Whether religion, politics or government, some people just cannot resist the urge to make rules to go by and if they don't have rules, they feel lost because they don't know how to run things and can't resist an overpowering urge to control others. I wonder if the rule makers aren't sometimes people that are hen-pecked at work or home and need to regain control.
Unfortunately, it turns an otherwise fun sport into a stressful session for other members.
Once this thing gets started, you might as well drop out of any club that does it.
I'm president of our club of 45 members and we did have one member who got furious when we asked him to renew his AMA and he dropped out. We were happy he did.
But, our members all know the rules and can't recall a single safety violation in years.
Yes, we had a couple of spectator fly-overs but that was entirely an accident. I think I could best describe our club as being a great group of guys who look out for each other and no one intentionally breaks the rules. They are all gentlemen.

3dbob
Old 12-01-2005, 11:05 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: the-plumber


ORIGINAL: SSRCCPREZ

Hmmm.... as a club president myself, I hope this helps
Sitting too far from the monitor again ?
Think how big his Planes would have to be for him to be able to see them? Just kidding!
Old 12-01-2005, 11:32 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Thanks to all for the help but I still haven’t decided to respond or not.

JR – I have the bylaws and one of the articles is Sanctions but there’s no mention of what these sanctions could be and no real procedure on how to get to that level -but because of this entire hubbub, amendments are now being drafted.

Currently, the bylaws place much more emphasis on the verbal warnings which didn’t happen. I did get a warning that the letter was coming – a call from the prez, a great guy who seemed genuinely concerned about how I felt about this.

Other than the lack of verbal warnings, there are really only two other things that bug me about this. Firstly, it seems like they picked three guys and three infractions for examples and didn’t check the facts. Yes, it’s possible that between three people, three rules (and maybe even more) were broken but when it gets personal, I think it is important to be accurate. Second, I think there are personal issues with the accusers that have nothing to do with flying habits and I wouldn’t want them to have the ability of taking this to the next level by repeating inaccuracies.
[:@]
Old 12-01-2005, 11:44 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

It would seem reasonable that if the club is going to change the by-laws that they should "start over" counting any past violations. If the president of the club seems to be a reasonable person, ask his opinion and then offer it as a motion when the by-laws motions are to be made.

There is a "suggested" set of by-laws on the AMA site. You might supply the address or a copy of them to the club officers. For what it is worth, I doubt that there are very many clubs that have used those guidelines exactly, but they make a good starting point.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/535-A.pdf
Old 12-02-2005, 08:13 AM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: ckangaroo70


ORIGINAL: jeffk464

Who posts their AMA cards, people would be forgetting them at the flying field left and right.
Our club does, and yes every once in awhile one gets forgotten. Most people hang there keys with their card that way it is impossible to drive off without both.
On a lighter note, have you had anyone walk home because they couldn't find their keys?
Old 12-02-2005, 08:23 AM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

O.K. I deserved that,sorry for the HUGE FONT.
Nonetheless, rsponding in a diplomatic and proper manner to sanctions placed on you is never wrong. However it is in the way in which it is done that is most important. If the response is going to trigger a @#$%^ storm and only further degrade the situation, and cause further problems than just let it go, however, I have seen all too any times people get lawyers in on this and then everyone loses. I just got the overwhelming impression by the statement of facts that you presented that there is an underlying reason for the sanctions, maybe we do not have all the info..... Just seems a little peculiar to me.
I have seen these situations go on as well, when a member has a bee in their bonnet about another member and then that member can do no right and is generally squeezed from a club,typically after a plane or two has been shot down...oops I mean after a TX has been accidentally left on.
Old 12-02-2005, 08:49 AM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: Epoxy Moxy


ORIGINAL: ckangaroo70


ORIGINAL: jeffk464

Who posts their AMA cards, people would be forgetting them at the flying field left and right.
Our club does, and yes every once in awhile one gets forgotten. Most people hang there keys with their card that way it is impossible to drive off without both.
On a lighter note, have you had anyone walk home because they couldn't find their keys?
Nobody has walked home yet, but our Club is located in the heart of BFE, where any place from there would be a marathons run[:'(]! Nothing but Corn and Beans where we are at.
Old 12-02-2005, 09:22 AM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?


ORIGINAL: Wings of Peril

Thanks to all for the help but I still haven’t decided to respond or not.

JR – I have the bylaws and one of the articles is Sanctions but there’s no mention of what these sanctions could be and no real procedure on how to get to that level -but because of this entire hubbub, amendments are now being drafted.

Currently, the bylaws place much more emphasis on the verbal warnings which didn’t happen. I did get a warning that the letter was coming – a call from the prez, a great guy who seemed genuinely concerned about how I felt about this.

Other than the lack of verbal warnings, there are really only two other things that bug me about this. Firstly, it seems like they picked three guys and three infractions for examples and didn’t check the facts. Yes, it’s possible that between three people, three rules (and maybe even more) were broken but when it gets personal, I think it is important to be accurate. Second, I think there are personal issues with the accusers that have nothing to do with flying habits and I wouldn’t want them to have the ability of taking this to the next level by repeating inaccuracies.
[:@]
I have several problems with this and some concerns about what your comments imply since they sound too familiar.

I have been a club officer for over 10 years and have seen one member with his own personal problem attempt to railroad other members out when they did things wrong. I have seen the case where this guy claimed a club member seriously violated some flying regulations and after careful investigation found the claimant was not even at the field but was passing on a story he heard from another who did not even know the violator who was not at the field that day. In short, bad accusations are made and it is the club officers job to ask questions and get the facts. In the case I worked, the accused never even heard about it from me or others unless they violated confidence. From that note, your approach looks to be proper because it appears your officers may have taken the easy road.

That all being said, it occurs to me that you may have caused this problem by bending, breaking, or seriously pushing the limits of the rules. I suggest you think seriously about cleaning up your behavior at the field and try to stop this bickering before it tears you and the club up. I don't know who you angered or how you managed to do it, but I suspect it has something to do with flagrantly disregarding some local rule (flying low over the road?). Changing and making the new you obvious to whoever "they" is will challenge you. I recommend you think about it carefully and try to fix the problem before you find yourself at war with the entire club.

The problems your actions may be causing may not show up right away, but others can see the train coming and they are beginning to look for ways to make it hit you rather than the club. In my case, we are pretty sure my club lost a major great flying site over the bad actions of a handful of arrogant fliers. Our landlord did not say that but the field loss notice was delivered within 90 days of the first incident. Unfortunately part of that bunch of fliers was the guy in my case and another was the actual perpetrator of the infraction (flying low over a federal reservation and people) that particular day. Oh by the way, we prepared a much more structured 'crime and punishment' procedure in an attempt at stopping these actions by these guys.
Old 12-02-2005, 09:53 AM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

Two of the three rules are too subjective. Many clubs have the rule of leaving your card on the freq. board, but the two concerning speed and altitude are too open for argument.

You have a busy road at the end of the approach pattern? What is the risk of a flare out into traffic? why 25 ft? Why not 24'-23/4"!? What is too low? In otherwords, if there is a risk of a plane going into traffic, then the club needs to look at repositioning the runway, not make some open-ended rule that leaves it up to individual interpretation of height and distance.

The same kinda goes for high speed fly-bys over the runway. At what altitude? Again, many clubs do have this rule, but also have wording describing the traffic pattern and differentiate between low and high altitude fly overs.

Scott
Old 12-02-2005, 03:07 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

There are always three sides to every story! My story.....your story....and the truth! So I would be curious to hear what the other side would have to say! Would they say that they have warned you several times verbally about breaking a few rules? Would they say that you have a arrogant reckless disregard for safety, and deliberately or purposely bend or break the rules? What story coud they tell that would justify them sending you a warning letter without first discussing their concerns with you? What would be their reason for not approaching you to see if the problem could be rectified on the spot? If someone else turned you in, then what was the boards reason for not getting your side of the story before they decided to warn you with a letter? Does the letter state that these were actions brought to our attention, and we would appreciate if you could respond with your account of the accusation? From your story it just sounds like to me that the board just decided you were guilty of something, without offering you a chance to defend yourself! If this is indeed the case then I would have to say the way they went about it is pathetic even if you are indeed guilty on all three charges. Sounds to me like they are trying to build a mountain from a mole hill! In other words....................trying to make something simple into something much more complicated! I would really like to hear their side of the story!
Old 12-02-2005, 03:30 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

"That all being said, it occurs to me that you may have caused this problem by bending, breaking, or seriously pushing the limits of the rules. I suggest you think seriously about cleaning up your behavior at the field and try to stop this bickering before it tears you and the club up. I don't know who you angered or how you managed to do it, but I suspect it has something to do with flagrantly disregarding some local rule (flying low over the road?). Changing and making the new you obvious to whoever "they" is will challenge you. I recommend you think about it carefully and try to fix the problem before you find yourself at war with the entire club."

Nothing like deciding that their guilty until proved innocent.

How about this scenario. Someone parks in a spot that is an old timers "favorite" spot to park. The old timer gets mad and makes this crap up. Then the cowardly club officials that don't have a pair of cajones between them handle it this way rather than walking up to the guy and saying "Did you do this? if so, how about not doing it anymore? We have a rule and please don't violate it."

The tearing apart of a club does not start when someone breaks a rule either accidentally or deliberately, it starts when people with no business being in a position of authority can't muster up the courage to have a face to face talk with someone and feelings get bent.
Old 12-02-2005, 05:51 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

I would not disagree with you too much at all. My comments came from the fact that this sounds exactly like some of the stories my club has heard by some of the folks who broke the rules with disgusting regularity. I heard about one guy for over a year before I was able to collect enough verifiable information to confront him with real evidence to discuss his actions with him and provide the education he needed. (I suspect he was one of the reasons we lost our second field last year, but I cannot prove that one either) Too many club members do not have the courage to face a rules breaker themselves and many won't even help but ask the club officers to do it blindly. I could have sworn I was explicit enough to make that possible situation clear.

That being said, your scenario also carries the water here but when folks go to make the rules more explicit it generally implies something else. However, I also would like to hear the clubs version as I take nobody's side without proof that will stand up in court.

As for your remarks about cowards in positions of authority, we are almost in agreement. Usually when there are leaders with less courage than the situation needs, it allows this sort of thing to grow all out of proportion and that leads to divisiveness within the club which is rarely good. Let me say it another way, find the problem and work toward fixing it even if it is just one person out of order. If that person is our poster, he can lead the charge at correcting the problem. If not, he STILL can be a leader and address the problem publicly within his own club.

Remember, club officers have to deal both the cowardly complainers and the reckless giant (35%+) folks doing things to generate heat for the other. Do not take that statement of fact as an indictment of any.
Old 12-02-2005, 05:57 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

cKangaroo - Pathetic may be a bit strong but it’s definitely wimpy. Like kids snitching on each other or calling the fuzz on your next-door neighbor for making too much noise without even talking to him first. I wouldn’t do that to anyone. I just wasn’t raised that way. As originally indicated, this was not a strongly worded or threatening warning. It was rather polite. No mention of sanctions and such. As far as presenting two sides to the story, arguments, proving guilt or innocence or trying to explain what goes on in people’s minds – this is becoming over-analyzed. I don’t expect anyone to believe me – just picture this scenario.

First of all, I’d give a guy the benefit of the doubt and entertain the notion that no verbal warnings were issued, by any member, for any of the three infractions. It's not hard to imagine because they would have been mentioned in the letter if they ever happened.

Now feature this. If verbal warnings had been given, it could be taken as proof of guilt, especially if the accused acknowledges, especially if the offenses were committed in the witness of others and especially if the warnings were heard by others. Even if you can’t bring yourself to assume innocence, if only for the sake of argument, it does make things more clear-cut.

Honking-off people by responding to these charges and causing a big fiasco? There are two possibilities. Because the rules strongly encourage verbal safety warnings as the duty of each member – and we have a safety officer, the response could make it seem like people weren’t doing their jobs - but I do understand. I know I feel funny confronting people, as it’s not my lot in life to be an R/C safety saint, but I have done it on occasion. The other thing is that the accuser(s) may take it as being called liars – but at least a response may tend to make them recall specific incidents.
Old 12-02-2005, 07:19 PM
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Default RE: Club safety rule violations. Reported to the AMA?

I'm not a club expert, not even a club member, but if you don't mind, I'll chime in with my opinion of someone looking in from the outside.

1: I don't see what the big deal is over leaving the card in the pin slot, as long as you have the pin, everyone should know not to turn on that frequency. I'm sure you have been with the club long enough for others to know you have an AMA card, but I could be wrong. When I attend other club fields, show the card, put it back in my wallet and fly, just make sure I have the pin. That's what the club members do.

2: Is the a 25 foot pole near the road? If not, I would suggest someone put one there if it's that big an issue. Personally, had I laid out the runway, people wouldn't be landing or taking off over a road, just common sence.

3: Where else are you supposed to do low, fast fly-bys? We've been doing it for years, fast, low and right down the middle of the runway. Maybe if someone was trying to take off or land, or perhaps someone mowing, I could see the point.

I'm sure I'll catch hell for this but I don't care. We have no pin board, NEVER had someone turn on a transmitter on an "in use" frequency. We all communicate, respect each other and use common sence, this is why we have never had an accident. Sounds to me like someone is just being petty.

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