The team at RC Heli Pilot wants to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of fellow RC helicopter hobbyist, Raymond Pirozek, Jr. The tragic death of a talented and enthusiastic young RC heli pilot breaks our hearts and puts safety concerns at the forefront in our minds, just as a similar incident did earlier this summer when Executive Editor, Erick Royer, wrote the Editorial that happens to appear in our current issue. We can’t know what steps, if any, might have averted these tragedies. However, in the hope that the basic information contained in Erick’s recent piece for the magazine can be of any help to someone who is new to RC helicopters or might want to review some basic safety information, we wanted to share it here.
BE SMART, BE SAFE, DON’T FLY ALONE
I love this hobby and everything about it makes me happy, from watching people fly, to flying myself. I love talking with others about the hobby and sharing my knowledge with the newcomers. Sadly though, there are rare occasions when I hear something about the hobby that makes me sad and concerned. This was the case when I heard about the death of 41 year old man last month in Lucerne, Switzerland. According to reports that I have read online, a pedestrian found a man’s body which had severe head and arm injuries from being struck by a helicopter that he was flying. No official reports were made as to exactly what happened, however the media made sure to mention the brand and model of the helicopter which is totally irrelevant. The main fact from this tragic incident was that the man was flying alone which is dangerous.
Radio control helicopters are not toys. Even the smallest machines can hurt someone if flown recklessly. The massive growth in our hobby can be attributed to abundant selections of models and lower pricing. This makes it easy for just about anyone to take up the hobby. As a newbie (and experienced modeler), you are so excited about getting the model into the air that you don’t take the time to read the warnings in the manual; no one really does. However, if you took the time to read the warnings from just about every major helicopter manufacturer, you will read about all the safety precautions you should take before, during and after you fly a model helicopter. Items like looking over your machine to ensure it is safe and not flying close to yourself are often overlooked by eager pilots. One of the biggest things that pilots often overlook is to NOT to fly alone!
Helicopters are very mechanical and from time to time all things mechanical can fail. When a helicopter fails mechanically, it can lead to the model flying out of control and crashing into someone or something. There are no guarantees that failures will not happen so it is important to fly in a manner that you (and others) will remain safe in the event that something happens. I see people flying within inches of themselves all the time which can prove to be fatal if there is a failure or if the pilot simply has a lapse in orientation. You should always fly with some distance between you and your model and ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Flying alone is foolish. That is not to say that if a model went out of control that you would not get hurt if you had someone else there. However, that person could be instrumental if something did happen and medical attention was needed. The gentleman from Switzerland apparently had something happen causing his helicopter to fly into himself. Had someone else been there, depending on the situation, he might have had a chance to survive.
I’m not here to lecture you, but I want all my fellow hobbyists to be safe and enjoy the hobby. If nothing else, please adhere to the following safety items:
• DON’T FLY ALONE
• ALWAYS PREFLIGHT CHECK YOUR MODEL
• DON’T FLY CLOSE TO YOU OR OTHERS
• RESPECT YOUR MODEL – IT IS NOT A TOY!
Be smart and be safe! I hope I never have to read about another fatality or even injury from model helicopters again. If you don’t take away anything else from this magazine, please keep the above four items in mind when you fly.
Be safe and have fun!