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Safety Matters

Old 03-31-2010, 01:16 PM
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Default RE: 2 death 4 wounded in model airplane crash


Still curious about this. People have repeatedly suggested PCM lockout, I'd ASSUME that a model like this had a PCM recieiver...and that failsafe would be set to kill the engine on lockout...looked to me like the prop was turning the whole time? Or no?
I think that's an invalid assumption. All too often, people set failsafe to "hold" rather than to kill the engine. I've had endless debates with RC pilots about this, and there are unfortunately a very large contingent of people who think that if they just set "hold" then maybe the aircraft might be able to "fly through the interference" and they can re-establish control afterwards. They think only of how PCM can perhaps save the aircraft in some scenarios, not how it can perhaps save a life.

My wife was hit by a Midwest Hots that locked out at full throttle and up elevator, and the model did about half a dozen "strafing runs" looping through the pit area with people running around trying to get out of its way. She was in pain for months, and I tried to use that incident at the local club to convince people that their PCM setting should cut the engine, not hold the throttle, but you simply wouldn't believe how many people responded with "but if I kill the throttle, the aircraft will probably crash! I don't want that - this is an expenseive model !!". The incident with young Adam Kirby in the UK several years ago involved interference, with PCM being set to hold on a 60-sized pattern plane. The coroner's report, and the BMFA report that followed, both indicated that the "hold" PCM settings were an aggravating factor that contributed to Adam's death, and yet despite the fierce debates that that ignited, there are still leauges upon leagues of people who insisted that they did not want to set the failsafe to kill the engine because they refuse to think in terms of reducing the model's killing-power and can only ever focus on the "but I want the engine to keep running so that I can keep flying the model after the interference stops" pipe-dream.

You know what - if we did not have engine kill mandated in our turbine regs, I guarantee you that a bunch of turbine planes would also be flying without engine-kill being programmed. I simply don't know what approach is needed to get past the very closed mind-set that some people have towards failsafe settings.

It doesn't help that most PCM sets have "hold" programmed as the default. The BMFA asked manufacturers to reconsider this ; to my knowledge thusfar, there is only one manufacturer (JR) who has seriously looked into this.


NOTE - I'm not saying that this guy did not have engine-kill programmed - just that I don't think it's valid to *assume* that he would have,

Hi Gordon Mc,

Thank you for your comments, they are much-appreciated.

I am Adam Kirby's brother, Ian - and have been working for a number of years to get things "tightened up" in the UK. I am a television presenter/host for the Discovery Channel, which is why I have got the support I have this far. Following the inquest into my brother's death -the UKGovernment pledged to look into the management and safe operation of RC aircraft in Britain.

However, not wanting to leave it there, and with the national newspapers on my doorstep every morning because of my radio/tv work, I approached the UK Prime Minister - at that time Tony Blair - who guaranteed his administration would look into making things safer. Unfortunately the BMFA also have the Queen's husband - Prince Philip as their Patron and he proved a little harder to crack!

You can see what we forced the BMFA to do here:http://www.bmfa.org/news/bulletins/bull2_99.html

The press coverage is here: http://iancashmore.net/adam/media.htm

I cannot understand the mentality - that it is better to set the failsafe to hold than throttle back/off. How many people are going to have to be hit and killed by model planes before modelflyers grow up?

My brother was killed in 1999 in Colney Heath in Hertfordshire, UK but his loss is felt each and every day. I am actually doing a 2 hour bit about it on the BBC in mid-april which will be 'listenable' from the BBC website if you like! Let me know if you have broadband access and I will give you the link to listen (or re-listen!)

I don't know, but I just thought I felt from your postings that you might have an inkling of what I am trying to do - which is not stop model aircraft flying, but get a decent universal policy on how to do it safely.

Many thanks,
Ian Cashmore

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