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Serious accident

Old 08-29-2004, 04:30 PM
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F106A
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Default Serious accident

Hi everyone,
Here's a letter that was posted in the Jet forum, but really belongs here.
Jon

Subject: Accident

Dear Members of the IMAA Board

I have been notified of a horrific accident that happened over the
weekend in Wakeman, Ohio. A good friends of mine Casey Rowe and Brian Striker
who have flown together for years encountered what we have all talked
about at our Board meetings for months, What if one of these 42%
aircraft hit someone? Well Brian had a 42% Oracle Bi-plane as it took
off he lost control of the aircraft. Casey who was over 300ft away
sitting under his tent, stood up and looked at what was transpiring and
before he know it, tried to leap away from the incoming 47# 80 mph 42%
biplane but to no avail. He was struck in the back the carbon fiber prop
cut through his back into his kidneys, severed his leg almost completely
off. They called 911 and he was transported by life flight to Cleveland
metro where he is in stable condition. I talked to Casey today and he
wants everyone to know that his can happen to anyone. These guys are
professional RC pilots and use the best equipment!! Casey is lucky to
be alive and is very shaken by the whole incident. I wished him our
best on behalf of the IMAA. I would like to work with the AMA safety committee
and really look into a way to police ourselves. We and Casey are lucky
no one was killed. If we do not put restrictions and more failsafe
measures in effect on ourselves then I feel the FAA and other government
agencies will do it for us. I feel this was our wakeup call I hope we
can all work together on these issues.

Sincerely,

IMAA President
Tom Hayden # 5138
Old 08-29-2004, 04:40 PM
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Stick Jammer
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Default RE: Serious accident

That is truly a horrible accident and one that nobody likes to hear. I wish Casey well. The possibility of a terrible accident occurring is not limited to GS, a .40 size plane can kill someone just as easy.
Old 08-29-2004, 06:26 PM
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Tired Old Man
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Default RE: Serious accident

And HAS done so.

I hope that Mr. Rowe is able to make the fullest possible recovery. This is a very sad and troubling report.
Old 08-29-2004, 06:33 PM
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NOVAflier
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Default RE: Serious accident

I heard about this today at the field, that is horrible...Best wishes for a recovery to Mr. Rowe.
Old 08-29-2004, 06:55 PM
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GreaTOne_65
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Default RE: Serious accident

I would also like to wish Mr. Rowe a speedy and complete recovery. My sympathies also go out to Brian. Nothing you can say to him will help, nothing is more traumatic than to lose control of your plane, I know, I and maybe some of you have also lost control, by either mental error or radio failure.

The one single thing we must all keep in mind(and I'm sure we all do) these gas powered airplanes are anything but toys.



Big is better, but above all fly SAFE!

Dale Walker
LM85-IMAA
90677-AMA
Old 08-29-2004, 08:12 PM
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rcflyguy_26
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Default RE: Serious accident

We all here in Findlay Oh wish Casey a speedy recovery!!!

Casey is always a joy to be around!! I hope to see him soon!

I know that alot of guys are still shocked...

Get well Casey!!

Scott
Old 08-29-2004, 08:18 PM
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sillyness
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Default RE: Serious accident

And I quit flying heli's because I thought they were dangerous and I scared myself once. Are motorcycles safe? Maybe I'll try them instead.

In all seriousness, my best wishes to Mr. Rowe and his family. That's really heartbreaking to hear. After reading about the extensive damage in the original post it really is hard to believe that he is still with us. Truly a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
Old 08-29-2004, 08:57 PM
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Balsa Duster
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Default RE: Serious accident

I know both people well. but I know Casey better. I have talked with a couple of people about the accident. I found out that he is doing OK all things considered. Casey almost bled to death waiting for 911, He was first taken to Oberlin hospital but was soon life flighted to metro Because they did not have to equipment and staff to handle his extremely severe injury's. His leg was broken in at least 3 different places. I believe he almost lost his leg.
Old 08-29-2004, 09:59 PM
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FormerCA.
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Default RE: Serious accident

Sorry to hear about that injury-hope he makes it alright.


One question tho--

Could the pilot have hit the kill switch, since the plane traveled 300+ feet?, or was this a total radio failure?

My fail safe is set to kill the engine.

Just curious.
Old 08-30-2004, 06:37 AM
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JBrannon
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Default RE: Serious accident

I wish a speedy recovery as well. We all have had to duck from errant planes tho never one that big personally. My real concern is the Carbon Fiber prop. If a wooden prop had been used would the injuries have been as severe. A wood prop most likely would have broken and unlike the "stronger yet lighter than steel" carbon fiber prop that will contunue to cut flesh and bone untill the engine stops.

Joe Brannon
Old 08-30-2004, 07:34 AM
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papermache
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Default RE: Serious accident

This was indeed a tragedy, but I think we all need to sit back and take a good look before jumping into a lot of restrictions and failsafe requirements.

The first thing that must be ascertained is exactly what happened to make the pilot lose control. Was it interference?, did something break? Was a control reversed? There are many things that COULD have gone wrong. We need to figure out what DID.

At 80 mph it takes 2.5 seconds to cover 300 feet. That means that the pilot had maybe 4 seconds (considering that he was taking off and not at full speed) to notice that he HAD a problem, try to correct it, realize that he could not and then try to activate any fail-safe device or kill switch he might have had. Could any device have activated in enough time to diminish the damage caused?

We can restrict and require things until we're blue in the face, but enforcement of any regulation remains a problem in our hobby. The best thing each of us can do to prevent other tragedies like this from occuring is to keep our own side of the street clean. That means that we have to THOROUGHLY inspect our aircraft before use and NOT FLY if there is anything wrong. This goes for everything from park flyers to turbines. We also have to use appropriate safety devices where they are practical and needed. This means we have to keep ourselves up to date on technical developments in the hobby. If each of us takes a few steps like this, we can have a much safer hobby.

papermache
Old 08-30-2004, 10:42 AM
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rc-sport
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Default RE: Serious accident

I flew yesterday at a fun fly with a friend. He recently had 2 incidents where he lost radio control of 2 of his 35% planes and crashed them (safely). This really spooked him so he installed a fail safe device to kill the motor should he lose radio contact in his 46% Ultimate. He went to start his motor and the fail safe malfunctioned so he could not start the motor, he had to disconnect it. My point is how good are these fail safe switches if they fail also. Do we need to fail safe the fail safe?
Old 08-30-2004, 02:12 PM
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GaryMC1
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Default RE: Serious accident

As a reply to RC-Sport. I should point out that 'fail safe the fail safe' is an oxymoron, in a way. No disrespect intended. Your friends issue with not being able to start his airplane because the kill switch/fail safe system failed proves that the FAIL-SAFE worked as intended. In a failure mode, FAIL-SAFE means just that, that whatever is protected by the fail safe system will not create a hazardous condition.

As to this incident over the weekend, until such time as an investigation, either by the AMA, IMAA or local law enforcement agencies has been conducted to determine the cause of the accident, it will remain classified as such. For all we know, some jerk could have unthinkingly turned on his own radio on the same frequency to test something out, and caused this crash. Right now, we don't know. In that case, as I understand 'fail safe' devices in the radio system, because the receiver was receiving data, it could not 'fail safe' because it *was* receiving data. If indeed, that was the case.

If the situation was a receiver failure, or servo failure, or mechanical failure, then fail safe devices would not protect anything.

We need to find out the cause of the accident first, if it's possible to reconstruct the data, and see why the plane went out of control. Then, we can determine whether or not a Fail Safe system would have been able to intervene.

For now, it was an accident, a terrible one, no doubt, and my prayers go out to Mr. Rowe and Mr. Striker as well as their families and friends, but it *was* an accident, until proven otherwise.

Gary
Old 08-30-2004, 02:29 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

Gary, the fail safe device not work as it was suppose to. The radio was on, the receivers were on but the fail safe did not allow the motor to start. This in turn made him disconnect the device, so what's the point of having one?
Old 08-30-2004, 02:45 PM
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John Redman
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Default RE: Serious accident

RC-Sport,

Is it possible the radio was in failsafe, hence causing the failsafe system to operate correctly? We have a very sophisticated failsafe unit built into our ECU on our JetCat turbines. When activated you cannot start the engine. If the failsafe isn't programmed correctly inside the pcm transmitter you will not notice it untill you try to start.

Was your buddy using an FM radio system, and if so are the two compatitple? I believe you and your buddy need to ensure the system works correctly before you try to fly. For example, on our JetCat systems, after programming hte failsafe on the transmitter, you then hook up a data terminal and verify the ECU is seeing a failsafe and is programmed correctly. Maybe a reprogramming and then a short engine run followed by turning off the transmitter to verify the engine shuts down is in order. Most people who install devices of this sort initially believe they are bad out of the package (myself included here) before rechecking with the manufacturer on installation practices and such to verify we have done it right.

Not meant to upset you with this post, just a little help. I too fly 33%'ers and am interested in this system you are talking about. Where did you get it from?
Old 08-30-2004, 02:54 PM
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smokingcrater
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Default RE: Serious accident

I agree with GaryMC1 entirely. bypassing a failsafe is the equiv to sticking a penny into a fuse socket in your home. If the failsafe fails, figure out why, don't bypass it...

yes it is tragic this happened, but it does sound like there were some lapses of good judgement that caused it, and could have been avoided.
Old 08-30-2004, 03:37 PM
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Doug Cronkhite
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Default RE: Serious accident

Nobody is suggesting wild knee-jerk restrictions. What I would suggest however is education. Most anyone who flies large scale aircraft is likely to invest in a high-end radio. I think it is our responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to ensure safety and adherence to good safe practices. Failsafe on our radios is just one aspect. I for one have my radio setup to pull the throttle to idle in the event of it goes into failsafe. I would much rather lose the aircraft than take the chance of something like this happening. I don't know that this would have worked here.. but better safe than sorry IMO.
Old 08-30-2004, 06:07 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

John, good point. He never had the chance to check because after 2 flights he was approached by another flyer who was interested in the plane. He traded it on the spot.
Old 08-30-2004, 06:30 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

That is a suprising story, I am glad the Casey fellow is not hurt(critically) I guess it goes to show it could happen anywhere at anytime, just like at JoeNall I glance in the air about every 6 seconds or so, chances are something would hit me anyway but you never know, a person might get lucky and have a chance to jump out of the way, but anyway glad he is ok..
Old 08-30-2004, 06:40 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

A couple of points to consider before you give up flying. We did have a student pilot killed with a 60 size plane in 1981. He was hit in his liver and died on the operating table some hours later. The widow sued everyone involved with the plane, engine, radio etc. She settled out of court the day of the trial. The accident was just that. It was a lone plane in the air that had been repaired and had a structural failure in flight. Secondly, the US CPSC ( United States Consumer Product Safety Commission) tracks deaths and injuries for all types of consumer products including those related to RC. The serious incidents that are RC related are extremely small when considered to other products. This isn't intended to diminish the pain and suffering of those who are hurt but fortunately they are very few compared to many others. I wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to his family and friends. Regards BobH.
Old 08-30-2004, 06:54 PM
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Nick Yuhasz
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Default RE: Serious accident

I would like to give you my first hand account of what happened to Casey Rowe at the Wakeman, Ohio gathering and correct some of the inaccuracies surrounding the incident.

This incident took place on Saturday, August 14th about noon. Some of us got together at a friend’s house to have a picnic and fly. This is a large estate complete with lake and large, standalone workshop. Bryon Striker was flying his father’s Miles Reed Challenger II Giant Scale Biplane. This plane had flown quite a few times before. I was spotting for Bryon at the time. BTW, Bryon is a very accomplished Giant Scale 3D flyer and his father is an accomplished Giant Scale builder. Bryon took off and flew the plane uneventfully for about 4 minutes. This quote from a previous post is not an accurate statement “Well Brian had a 42% Oracle Bi-plane as it took off he lost control of the aircraft.” I then flew the plane for about two minutes. Bryon once again took over and flew the biplane for about 2 more minutes. He was making a fairly level pass (perhaps slightly descending at about 150 feet) flying north to south over the lake when I heard the throttle go to full. I assumed Bryon was preparing to enter a vertical maneuver. Bryon immediately shouted that he did not have control. I said, “You didn’t do that?” He said no, and began shouting again that he didn’t have control. At that time I looked around and everyone outside the workshop was looking up. The plane proceeded south with the engine full throttle and level. As it passed beyond and over the workshop, it began to slowly turn east and began slowly descending. As it came back over the workshop I decided to run towards the workshop since it appeared it would continue flying towards where Bryon and I were standing. I was looking up and running when I saw the plane slowly roll over and head for the ground almost right at me. As I was running I heard a “thud” and felt debris hitting the back of my legs. I stopped and turned around and saw that Bryon was all right and then noticed Casey on the ground by the tents. He had apparently exited the tent to try to locate the plane in the air. We administered First Aid, I applied a tourniquet, and the other people called 911.

The plane had a JR 700 PPM receiver (not PCM) and I believe on Channel 50 from the Frequency Board. The receiver was purchased new just for the biplane. No other person had a radio with that channel. After the incident, I witnessed testing the battery pack under load and the voltage regulator, which checked out OK.

Just to put things into perspective, previously the closest I had ever seen anyone being in danger of being seriously injured by a flying RC aircraft was a 40 sized trainer crashing vertically into a chair that was occupied 30 seconds before the crash and a helicopter crashing approximately 10 feet from the pilot and spotter (both incidents were when the pilots lost orientation).

I just got off the phone talking to Casey and he is scheduled to return home this Wednesday. He is in good spirits and wants to thank everyone for their kind remarks.

Nick
Old 08-30-2004, 07:03 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

Thanks for the accurate update. Perhaps the admins here can combine the two threads discussing this?
Old 08-30-2004, 07:37 PM
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FormerCA.
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Default RE: Serious accident

I completely agree with Doug Chronkite, and I did not mean to imply that we should be further regulated. My fail-safe also idles the engine, as I too would much rather replace a plane than hurt someone.

In my opinion tho, a gas engine equipped model airplane needs a pcm and a programmed fail-safe, and a fiber optic kill switch. That's how I set my big planes up.

Fail-safe, pcm radio eq., F/O kill switch, very thorough preflight inspection, careful attention to detail-all these are no guarantee, but they do aid us in getting toward what each and every one of us should be after-and that is a SAFE and enjoyable flight.

Anyone that would intentionally by-pass a fail-safe measure is just asking for it.
Old 08-30-2004, 08:24 PM
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GaryMC1
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Default RE: Serious accident

Nick,
As I am new to R/C, with only two flights to my name, I am very curious as to why a perfectly functioning airplane would do that. Did Mr. Striker have *any* control over the aircraft at all? I'm going to assume not, because if he had, he would have attempted to steer it away from disaster. To me, that implies radio failure. Either the receiver died, or the transmitter died. Has anyone been able to test those systems, or was the receiver not salvageable?

While I wouldn't think of second guessing anyone in this matter, I can see a definate need for pilots to protect themselves and others around them from a situation like this. Would a 'fail safe' device have worked in this incident? Unknown if the receiver was unsalvageable. Even if it was, and doesn't work, there is no guarantee that it wasn't irrevocably damaged at the time of the crash.

But, if the AMA, or IMAA or other governing body declares that PCM radios and receivers with fail safe devices be installed in this class of airplane, then at what point to they draw the line? Is it 'only IMAA qualifying' airplanes. How about .60 trainers with wingspans of greater than 80", or sport planes with gas engines, or...

I am very glad to hear that Mr. Rowe is on his way home, and I hope that he will recover fully.

But, we need to consider what future requirements, if any, that need to be addressed from this unfortunate incident, and if they do, how far ranging? Is everyone, within a year, going to be flying PCM radio systems with engine shutdown systems? Imagine that on a .25!

Gary
Old 08-30-2004, 09:03 PM
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Default RE: Serious accident

I'll be building my first gasser this winter, a small on albiet, it will definitely get a PCM radio and a fiber opic kill switch.

My best regards to Casey for a speedy and complete recovery.

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