Insurance & Safety
Please sit up and take notice!
I’m serious! Do not overlook this extremely important aspect of the hobby. Model planes can be dangerous, especially if you do not treat them with respect. I don’t wish to dwell on this point but deaths have occured through accidents caused by pilot error and component failure in model planes.
Again, I make no apology for suggesting that you join a local club. Nearly all organised clubs provide insurance against third party liability for damage and/or injury caused by model planes flown by their members. Now I appreciate that some of the smaller park flyers and indoor models, made from very lightweight foam materials, are unlikely to cause any major damage but in our case we are looking at planes that, fully loaded, will weigh anything from 4lbs to 6 lbs (2kg to 3.5kg).
I want you to imagine the pain you would feel if a rock weighing 6lbs (3.5kg) travelling at 50 mph (80 km/h) were to hit you in the face. Now add a propeller whirling round at 10,000 rpm and imagine the damage to flesh and bone that it would cause.
If joining a club is not realistic for you then unfortunately the onus is on you to provide your own insurance cover. Do not overlook this responsibility. Although your plane will not be insured against sustained damage, anything and anybody you cause damage to will be covered.
I recall some years ago one our club members lost control of his plane which crashed into my car. the resulting damage cost over £1,000 to repair. He was so glad that his club membership and insurance covered him for this damage!
When you are operating a model plane there are a number of things you need to be aware of that affect safety considerations. These include the following:-
Where you fly.
Those around you.
Securing the model whilst starting and tuning the motor (glow motors) or checking performance of motors on the ground (glow & electric motors).
Correct, secure fitting of propellers.
Using approved methods and equipment to start glow engines.
Keeping ones fingers and other body parts well away from revolving propellers.
Ensuring you have no lose fitting garments that can become engaged in the spinning propeller.
Keeping glow fuel well away from any source of ignition.
Making adjustments to motor settings from behind the propeller arc.
Ensuring your plane is pointing away from others during start up and tuning.
Safe charging of Lipo batteries to avoid the risk of fire.
These are just some of the things you need to be aware of. This list is by no means exhaustive.
When you join a club there will be a set of club rules and operational proceedures designed to protect you, other club members and the public at large from any danger caused by avoidable accidents or carelessness. The flying site will have been carefully selected to ensure all local bylaws and national laws governing model flying are complied with.
You need to know and fully understand the implications of these rules and laws before you launch skyward.
There is, and always will be, an on going debate regarding this issue. Some feel that, as responsible adults, we should be free to chose whether or not we fly alone.
Those who do so take a calculated risk that they will never do anything that will make them incapable of dealing with injuries and/or circumstances that may befall them during their lone flying session.
The other train of thought is that one can never be certain that an accident will not happen to cause what might be life threatening injury. Should this happen during a lone flying session, who is to say that the end result may not be a fatality.
Now I know that this represents an extreem opinion but, speaking from personal experience, I recall an accident that caused a severed tendon in my index finger, I was extreemly grateful to my club colleagues for their assistance in getting me to hospital and saving my finger. Had I been alone, I cannot imagine how I would have coped with the situation.
We all have choices in life and some believe that risks are worth taking. I for one would not now take such risks but the choice is yours. Many clubs have a strict rule forbiding such practices. If you join such a club, the decision is taken away from you when abiding by their rules.
Here endeth the lesson!!