We have had a few requests from R/C
club safety officers about how they can best accommodate turbine models at their
The following guidelines are the result of our many years
of experience in this arena and are offered to help promote the safe and
considerate operation of turbine powered model aircraft along with conventional
Guidelines for safe
at R/C club fields
by Bob Violett (3/20/02)
R/C models are different from conventional piston powered models in that they
are faster and the incidence of fire upon crash is higher if the engine is
running upon impact.
A CO2 or Halon fire extinguisher should be close
at hand for every engine start up. Should it be necessary, apply the
extinguishing agent into the model's inlet for a fully enclosed system, or
directly to the engine if it is a fully exposed installation.
fire extinguishers are the most effective for grass or brush fires. It is best
to have (2) of the type described below and the physical capability to get them
to a crash site. Upon the first sign of smoke, use a cell phone to dial 911 to
get the local fire department alerted, then proceed to the crash site and apply
the water to the downwind perimeter of the fire. Do not waste the water on the
burning kerosene concentration area until the perimeter is controlled.
Strong wind and dry conditions demand fast action in controlling a fire.
Start Up area
It is best to start
a turbine model with the engine inlet pointed into the wind (if more than
5mph). The area behind the model should be clear for about 25ft. If this is not
practical, a blast deflector should be utilized. Spectators should not be in
the turbine wheel's plane of rotation for a distance of at least 25ft.
Range check the radio and frequency
A pilot of a turbine powered jet should be seriously
concerned about the proper operation of the radio control system. Thorough and
frequent range checks, as recommended by the radio manufacturer, should be
Special attention should be given to the R/C club field
frequency control system by both the turbine pilot and the other pilots at the
field during turbine operations.
Powered Model Aircraft
Turbine powered model aircraft should
be assembled to, and maintained at a high level of air worthiness. Special
attention must be paid to the airframe's structural integrity and the hinging
and linkages affecting the control surfaces. Jet models should not be operated
above the demonstrated red line speed (VNE) of that particular airframe.
(Consult the airframe manufacturer for the VNE.)
A pilot operating a turbine
powered model for the first time should have an experienced turbine pilot
assist for the first 5-10 flights. The experienced pilot should inspect the
model for safety of operation and counsel the new jet pilot on how to keep the
speed down to 120mph or less. The use of the "Pilot Link" or "Buddy Box" system
is very helpful for the first few flights. The use of an electronic speed
control device is also suggested for pilots who do not have recent experience
with high speed model aircraft. The most significant difference in flying a
turbine model is throttle management.
High speed passes should be kept
at a safe distance (a minimum of 100ft.) outward from the pilot/helper
Turbine pilots should know and observe any field boundary
or altitude limitations applicable to his R/C club flying field.
pilot operating a turbine powered model should have in his posession a current
AMA license and a current AMA Turbine Waiver and observe the pertinent AMA
Should the model or pilot experience a control
problem, he and or his helper/spotter should activate the engine shut down
switch immediately, before the model crashes.
When there are multiple airplanes in the air, it is best to fly
consistent race track patterns so as to avoid head-on conflicts. The pattern
shall be left or right as dictated by the wind
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