Safety Issues and Concerns
From the Safety Coordinator
There’s always something good in MODEL AVIATION (MA) magazine and the September 2009 edition has several good topics. The “Safety Comes First” column highlighted electric flight and the need to “make sure that aircraft batteries are removed, disconnected, or otherwise disarmed.” We sometimes think electric powered planes are harmless since we can’t hear the noise from the engine. We forget that the prop is still as sharp and dangerous as a nitro or gas powered model. Any member who flies electric has probably experienced a prop that started spinning because we mistakenly advanced the throttle. Be cautious and disarm the battery as soon as you land.
MA columnist Dave Gee also discussed the importance of making sure you have the proper center of gravity (CG) for your plane. He mentioned how he had made a mistake using his CG balancer that resulted in his plane being very tail heavy and doing a vertical climb-out and almost losing the plane. A recommended secondary CG check is the old-fashioned “finger tip under the wings at about 30% behind the leading edge.”
A good pre-flight inspection is also important. He discusses an airplane that took off, flew over him, and smashed his car’s windshield. The likely cause—a bad servo or stripped or broken gear teeth. I can relate to this! I recently was going to fly my .60 size “Twist”. On the flight preparation bench I initially had a no-start problem that I traced to a hole in the small fuel line that runs from the high-speed needle to the carburetor. Once fixed, the Evolution .61 started right up. Next I performed a flight control check on the bench and noticed the rudder was hesitating moving left. It moved fine to the right. I initially thought it was minor and was even considering trying to fly it. Fortunately I did the right thing and put it back in the car. When I got the airplane home and put it on the bench, I found the rudder servo had a broken plastic tooth on one of the gears. I also found the same problem on one of the aileron gears. The lesson here is simple. We all transport our planes to the airfield in our cars and sometimes we don’t pack them well….resulting in damage that may be hard to find. A good pre-flight check of all control surfaces is important to saving your plane and maybe preventing property damage or injury to a fellow club member. Do the right thing---do a good pre-flight!
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