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WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Old 10-02-2006, 09:07 AM
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DadsToysBG
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Default WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I own a LHS. I sold a used trainer to a 14 year old. At the field Sunday he brought the plane and after checking it out and test flying it for trim, we tried to use the buddy box and found that it wouldn't work. I know the box works because i had used it on other planes that day. I told his mother we could not fly until we fixed the radio or fly and hand the radio back and forth. The boy wanted to fly real bad so we flew the plane. Another member flew with him the first time and never had to touch the radio. The boy flew the plane dry. I took him up the second time and had to do nothing ( he's a real natural)
On the third flight about half way in he got in a flat spin and before I could get the radio away from him it hit the ground. Now when his mother came back I got a real mouth full from her about the cost of the plane and not protecting him and the plane. I'm sure it the the boy felt real bad.

Now this is what I'm going to offer when they come in and I'm sure they will.
(1) I will but a new plane together at no labor cost.

(2) I will send the radio in to have it fixed so we can use the buddy box
But i don't think i should carry the cost. I want them to pay for materials.
What do you think?
Dennis
Old 10-02-2006, 09:17 AM
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drone pilot
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Dennis, I vote for you....... Unfortunately there are those kind of people around. If the boy had flown the plane for a month and then crashed, the Mom would still come after you.
You liability is limited, and she should understand that. She is really setting a good example of personal resposibility for her kid...[:'(] If there is a next time, I would suggest getting an understanding on paper.
Old 10-02-2006, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I make a 100% money-back guarantee on each and every plane I sell to other pilots.

I will give them 100% of their purchase price back if, and only if, the plane is returned to me in the same condition it was when they got it from me..

That is to say, un-flown, un-modified and un-crashed.

Caveat Emptor.
Old 10-02-2006, 09:59 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Having been an instructor for many years, and the operator of a LHS, let me put my .02 in.

NO instructior, unless he does something that causes the crash, is responsible for the loss of a student plane. You said "before I could get the radio away from him...". Did he fight you for the radio or resist in any way you taking it? Was he too low to recover from this condition?

If he resisted you taking control, you are entirely off the hook. A couple of students resisted me taking control and I simply walked off. "OK, YOU fly it." After they begged me to come back and rescue the plane, they didn't resist a second time.

If you let him get too low, then you might be construed as being at fault.

Separate your instruction from your LHS. The hobby shop itself has absolutely NO responsibility to repair or replace the plane.

The MOST I'd offer is to fix the plane - charge no labor but charge materials, and send the radio off, they pay postage.

After all, he DID consent to fly without the buddy box, too.

Dr.1
Old 10-02-2006, 10:50 AM
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P-51B
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?


ORIGINAL: DadsToysBG

Now when his mother came back I got a real mouth full from her about the cost of the plane and not protecting him and the plane.

What do you think?
Dennis

I think you should charge her baby-sitting fees also.
Old 10-02-2006, 10:59 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I think you should charge her baby-sitting fees also.

The kid isn't the baby here.

Dr.1
Old 10-02-2006, 11:10 AM
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P-51B
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?


ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

I think you should charge her baby-sitting fees also.

The kid isn't the baby here.

Dr.1

Correct, but the effect is still the same.
Old 10-02-2006, 11:16 AM
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DadsToysBG
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

He had stepped in front of me for a moment and I lost sight of the plane when I moved over to see the plane it was already going down. I had to reach around him to get at the radio.
I will wait and see what they say. Really don't want to loose this kid, he was having to much fun and will easy to teach.
We don't have a lot of people that want to teach here. The few that do are covered up. Some tell me that because i own the store I should't teach for this reason' but if i don't who will?
In the past when a child wants to fly and the father is not involved too this happens, all the parents see is the cost and the crash.
It's a shame this hobby can offer the child a clean and fun way to spend his time instead of on the streets and all the parents see is money.
Dennis
Old 10-02-2006, 12:10 PM
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Red Scholefield
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

And people wonder why we don't have more young people in this hobby. It is partially because they come with parents like this one. [:@]

My hat is off to the stalwart few who do the training in spite of the PITAs.
Old 10-02-2006, 12:26 PM
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Mike in DC
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I know most of the previous posts see this a case of "no good deed going unpunished", and I agree that there's a bit of that here, but I suspect the truth is more complex.

Did anybody sit down with the Mom and kid before they bought the plane and explain that the life time of the plane MIGHT be just 30 seconds through no fault of anybody? Did anybody tell them that a balsa plane can be destroyed with a hard landing, and while the radio equipment would probably survive a crash, the engine might not? Did anybody explain to them that not using the buddy box greatly increased the risk that they would lose the plane and perhaps the engine and radio gear? Did they know that even with the buddy box they might lose the plane? (I didn't know a trainer was even capable of a flat spin, so I wonder if there was an equipment malfunction.) Were they told that "natural" or not, they would probably destroy one or two planes before soloing (or soon after)?

If the risks were not spelled out, then I recommend offering to give them back all their money (in exchange for getting what's left of the equipment back), and trying to salvage what you can from the pieces. Hopefully, they will refuse the offer, and you can take the opportunity to honestly explain the risks and costs of this hobby to the Mom. I think it's wonderful that you want to help a youngster, but personally, I don't think it's an appropriate hobby for a 14 y.o. unless there is significant parental commitment.

Sorry to be hard nosed on this, but this is a pet peeve of mine, people who are drawn into the hobby by well-meaning enthusiasm, but are not told the reality of it because it might scare them away. Folks who cannot afford to lose a plane should probably not be in this hobby. If I've got the situation wrong, then I apologize. If the risks were spelled out to the family ahead of time, then you have no moral or ethical liability, and you are to be commended for being so helpful at the field.

Also, another reality check: You are NOT saving this kid from a life of crime on the streets, and the Mom does not only "see money". Plenty of kids do fine without flying R/C, and the Mom has a legitimate beef if the risks were not spelled out to her.

Old 10-02-2006, 12:30 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

What kind of trainer goes into a flat spin? I prefer to train without a buddy cord but you need to stand on the students right side so you can reach the right stick with your right hand.

The only mistake you made was not having a clear understanding with the mother ahead of time. Do whatever you have to so the problem is resolved to YOUR satisfaction but then talk to the mom and let her know that these planes will crash and you can not be financially responsible when it does.
Old 10-02-2006, 12:45 PM
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carwood444
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Number 1 although they used to do it that way in the old days. I mean no buddy box, not a good idea. Also if the buddy box was not working but it had earlier in the day that should have been a clue something was wrong. That would have set the stage right there for not flying until the problem had been resolved.

I can not tell you how many times I have had someone on a buddy box and they got in trouble and if it would not have been for the box the plane would have been toast. Things happen so fast up in the air, passing a TX back and forth takes an eternity.

Number 2 no matter how bad that kid wanted to fly, this would have been a good lesson right off the bat, you don't take chances.
I won't even consider flying if everything is not 100% before take off no matter what it is. It is alot different when a problem developes up in the air as opposed to one that is known on the ground.

Personally I hope everything turns out good for you and the kid. It is a shame to lose even one new beginning pilot.
Old 10-02-2006, 12:53 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?


ORIGINAL: Mike in DC

If the risks were not spelled out, then I recommend offering to give them back all their money (in exchange for getting what's left of the equipment back), and trying to salvage what you can from the pieces. Hopefully, they will refuse the offer, and you can take the opportunity to honestly explain the risks and costs of this hobby to the Mom. I think it's wonderful that you want to help a youngster, but personally, I don't think it's an appropriate hobby for a 14 y.o. unless there is significant parental commitment.
You got that. At age 14 I had just graduated up to control-line from flying Gillows rubber-band powered or 0.049 powered free flight. (But then, my first used but real car cost less than a four channel transmitter would have back then). We had to earn our stripes . . . usually with a paper route or mowing lawns. (Yeah, I know, and walked uphill both directions to school where there were weekly blizzards and fierce cave bears year-round ).

When I got back into R/C a few years ago I had an experienced pilot take my plane up for the first time (club policy). He caught a side gust on approach and dug in a wing tip, ripping out the wing bolt blocks. He felt awful, but I absorbed the learnng experience and got some additional building/repair experience. He was a volunteer and giving his time and talents freely.

If you charged for the lessons, I'd say it was on you. If you went to help out a kid I'd say it's on Mom. The instructor's duty is to keep the model high enough to allow for errors (especially sharing one box).

And I'm as curious as BasinBum to know how he got a trainer in a flat spin. I have sport models I have to fight into a flat spin. Sure it wasn't simply a spin? They lose altitude much faster. If you can't let go of the sticks and self-recover from a spin it's not what I'd call a trainer.
Old 10-02-2006, 12:56 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Dennis,
As our clubs chief flight instructor and youth program instructor I believe what you are offering is sufficient. In all the years I've instructed I cannot count the number of times I've saved a plane, both on the buddy box and by playing pass the box. If an instructor intentionally damages/destroys a students plane then of course the instructor has a responsibility to reimburse the student. However if the loss is an accident I feel that the student has to take the risk. After all this hobby, like life is not without risk. I explain this to the students, and their parents, time and again. If the instructor is going to have to be liable for every students plane no one is going to offer FREE instruction.

Having said all that I would say that as a small business man myself, no I do not have a LHS, I would not instruct any customer that purchased from me. The customer is going to see your business as being responsible. In America today too many people think all small businesses have deep pockets and we should support their errors in life.

Best of luck I hope the outcome is better than you fear.
Old 10-02-2006, 01:56 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Here's how I see it...

You are in no way responsible. Period.

That said, you said yourself that this kid is a natural, he enjoys it, and you don't want to lose him. As the owner of a hobby shop you must have access to some cheap, used airframes, so why not bite the bullet and get this kid a new one?

I'm willing to bet that a bunch of us would even kick in a few bucks if you needed it.
Old 10-02-2006, 06:00 PM
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YNOT
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Assumable risk of the hobby is that they crash. You owe them nothing.

Old 10-02-2006, 06:11 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

The MOST I'd offer is to fix the plane - charge no labor but charge materials, and send the radio off, they pay postage.
I think that is fair
Old 10-02-2006, 07:04 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I'm in the camp that says you owe them nothing. However, I also recognize that doesn't cut it for you, and I respect that.

Your offer is generous. If they choose not to take it.... do you really want a customer like that mother? I mean, how much effort do you want to put out, to keep her coming back? On the other hand, if she accepts, I think you should hand over the remaining instruction to a different instructor.

My preference is to use my instruction plane. That way I can guarantee no risk to their plane. If they insist upon using their plane, I make sure they understand the risks.

Now, go back to enjoying the hobby, and running your business.
Best wishes,
Dave Olson
Old 10-02-2006, 09:26 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I agree with the majority opinion that you owe them nothing, but you are the one who will have to decide how far above and beyond you are willing to go. IMO what you have offered to do is already in the above and beyond category.

On the other hand, if this is a nice kid and you want to keep him in the hobby it might be worthwhile to do even more. As MinnFlyer mentioned in post 15, you might even get a helping hand from some RCU members if needed.

If cost, not principle is the issue, post your story in the Pay it Forward thread in the Beginners section. http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_34...25/key_/tm.htm Lots of gear has been donated in that thread to what our members have considered worthy causes.
Old 10-02-2006, 10:43 PM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I was chief flight instructor at our club one season.

First thing I did:

On the very first day of flight training in the spring, I held a quick meeting in the pits. I welcomed everyone and told them to keep in mind that it was supposed to be fun. We all introduced ourselves (instructors and A&P inspectors) and the new pilots introduced themselves and we all got aquainted for about 10 minutes.

Then I asked them, "Who doesn't think they can handle it if they crash a plane tonight?"

About 30 hands went up.

"Then take it back home and hang it up in the garage. They ALL crash. Some of them last 3 seconds. Some of them last 3 yrs. and hundreds of flights. But, they ALL crash eventually. It's part of the hobby. If you can't handle crashing it, and your gonna get mad and throw stuff and cuss and holler--then go home--this hobby isn't for you. Try RC cars or paintball or trains."

Some laughed. Some looked at each other cautiously, but no one went home. We had a great season and managed to solo about 25 guys that year. We did loose 3 or 4 planes that year, but those guys went right out and bought new trainers. Myself and some other instructors went to their homes and helped them put the new planes together. We got those guys back up in the air and got them soloed. Not one of them took it hard. Some of them made comments about my speech on the first day and said that their first impression was that I was full of it. They took it with a laugh and a pat on the back and never looked back or had any hard feelings about it.

I think thats the best way to deal with it when your addressing newbies. Young and old. I don't like being lied too. Tell me the truth and I'll either figure out a way to deal with it and work with it--or I'll decide not to deal with it and I'll go do something else. But, tell me the TRUTH. Thats how I treat people, and I think thats how newbies should be treated. Make them fully aware that they are most likely going to smack a few planes in the first year and let them decide right then and there if thats something they can handle. If they can't handle that--then it's time to take up paintball or woodworking. But, spell it out for them up front.

Old 10-03-2006, 01:34 AM
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Tired Old Man
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

My feelings are that you have already offered much more than you had to, since you had no obligation at all. Once the student decided that he was ok with flying without the buddy box the instructor ws out of the picture. The instructor does not bear liability or resposibility in any case unless personl injury or outside property damage should occur, or if the instructor is hotdogging the students plane. Ne ball game then.

The hard part is that you are the owner of the hobby shop and have to factor in for either a loss or gain in potential business. Do you believe that this student and his mother will increase business if you cave on this? If so, then how many more times will she act the same way and will that amount of gain in business offset her "losses"?

If there is the potential for loss, can you possibly estimate that quantity to determine it's value?

The final decision will be made by doing what your heart says to do. You know that, so do I.
Old 10-03-2006, 04:51 AM
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chashint
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This is a tough one for me. I can look at it from several different angles.
Technically you are not obligated to do anything. However in this particular case it does seem a little bit muddled.
A mom and 14 yr old kid show up and want to buy a plane and the dad is not involved. Well at best this is not a good situation for a lot of reasons (including potential stitches from a prop strike that the mom will blame on the closest person available) but what do you do, refuse to help them, refuse to accept their business ? Tough call.
I am sure every penny is important to them and you try to get them in at the lowest possible price point so you sell them a used trainer package, not sure this was a good idea either considering who the customer is, in spite of them needing to keep the cost low. Was this a consignment sale or was it something that you owned and sold ? As it turned out there was some kind of a problem with the buddy box operation. Now to make the situation even more messy you took the kid on as a student and when there was a problem with the stuff you sold them you went ahead and let him fly using the pass it back and forth method which resulted in ...................... He had stepped in front of me for a moment and I lost sight of the plane when I moved over to see the plane it was already going down. I had to reach around him to get at the radio............................................. ........
This is a 14 year old kid, is he taller than you ? Or was he doing so well that you allowed yourself to relax for just a moment ?
There are many many little things here that have unfortunately added up to you being in a strange situation (I have read many posts here that you have made and I have a very good opinion of you).
OK thats my blah blah blah. Now what to do about the broken plane ????
I don't think you should have to absorb the entire cost of helping them get into another plane, your offer to build it is generous too.
I think you should contact them and work something out they can live with and make it clear that this will be the only time you do this, all crahes not directly attributable to you in the future is on their own nickle.
Have the boy come and help you or at least watch so he will start to learn.
I looked on your website and you have several trainers listed at $79.99.
I don't know what your profit margin is, but if you are willing to sell it at cost I am with MinnFlyer and will kick in a little bit ($10, $15 or $20 your call) to help out.
PM me if you decide this is what you want to do.
Old 10-03-2006, 08:43 AM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I too think that even a lousy instructor isn't guilty when it's a volunteered one. A careless one might feel morally obliged to rebuild free of labour charge. As a shop owner you owes them nothing unless the product is defective, period. No one needs to warn them too even a 3 year old expects to see a model plane crash. However, your position as both makes it a real bummer from the receiving end's perspective. As with the buddy cord or any other invention your action of taking up both roles just set new standards otherwise one can't blame the shop or the instructor alone.

Just my 2 cents

Clement
Old 10-03-2006, 10:15 AM
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Thank you all for your input. To answer a few of your questions. Both parents were in the store when the plane was bought. I showed them new and used. I did give them the standard speech that a trainer is disposable and the question of crashing is going to happen the only question is when. And yes the boy is as tall as I am. And yes because of the way he flew the plane i may of relaxed some but tried to always keep my eye on the plane. At the field i did'nt get a chance to talk to the mother all she did was yell at me and I kept my mouth shut.
I'm a RC'er first and a owner second and i want to see new people in the hobby.
When I found out that the buddy box didn't work I talked with the mother and she had a choice. I didn't leave the decision to the boy.
After reading all your posts I will offer to buy back everything minus the cost of the plane (my cost) if they don't like the first offer.
Because it's a JR radio I can get fixed free. Maybe she has calmed down some since Sunday and I can talk to them. I will let you all know how things work out.
This is a issue we all face when we take on the job of teaching.
Thank you all again for your imput. If any of you guys are ever in the area stop and fly with us. Dennis
Old 10-03-2006, 10:17 AM
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pettit
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Default RE: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Whenever I either give a flying "lesson" to a newer pilot or test fly a new plane for someone else, I just say to them:

"I make no guarantees, expressed or implied"!

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