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Old 07-19-2004, 08:59 PM   #31
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In the very old days, "plank" flyers were also self-taught, and it was every man for himself at the field!
hi Ronm,
You're absolutely correct.....and this is modern times, learning techniques are vastly different, especially with the advent of simulators, good books and manuals. Free help is available everywhere provided you are willing to look and drive to it. I often see helis hovering steadily after a few tanks of fuel through little help of my own other than a check out. The today guys follow instruction manuals, read up ask on fourms etc. Then they pass it along to the next guy who asks. I have rarely needed to run from student helis. What happens is when aircraft are flown past ones limits above our heads then things can go real bad. More MAAC rules are not the answer, additional common sense and reliance on one another might be though.


Planks, choppers, helis, fixed wing, copters, helicopters, planes, rotary wing, they all get the point across. So why is it not ok to use these terms? Is it because we disagree and you feel a need to bring this up. Oldfarts, the world has em and I'm personally getting close but I keep the younger guys close to fend it off.

Align R/C, OS Engines, Futaba, Great Hobbies, Hatori, SGP, Morgan Fuels, Castle Creations
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Old 07-19-2004, 09:38 PM   #32
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Wow. I had no idea my question would spark this discussion. Thanks Ronm for the info BTW. I was in no way trying to start anything or suggest anything about Helis and safety. I am not anti heli, in fact it is definately on my short list of things I want to learn in the hobby.

My only curiosity was that MAAC has an established set of guidlines for clubs to use (and modify if felt neccessary) to check on student's progress as well as declare proficiency and I had noticed that it only applies to (is useful for) fixed wing pilots. In the absence of such a guidline I was simply curious how other clubs trained and or checked out new heli pilots. I am not advocating more rules, just wanted clarification

We are fortunate at our club to have a few very skilled heli pilots who are also top notch fixed wing pilots and instructors (these guys are also some of the most diligent pilots I've seen regarding equipment and safety). If we have a new heli student we have the talent in the club to teach and check them out and if any of these guys say a student is competent and ready to fly on their own I would have no problem trusting their judgement on the issue.

I'll admit that when I first started flying I did find heli's a bit intimidating. They tended to fly closer than I was comfortable with and seemed less predictible in flight (vs a plane which you can pretty much count on moving somewhat forward most of the time ). As I began to understand them a bit more and trust the guys flying them, the fear diminished somewhat. I still tend to keep back a bit if a heli is hovering with it's blades a neck level (or head, body, legs, etc.). However this is no different than avoiding the prop arc on an airplane which I do as well (you never know when something's going to break).

I think if I witnessed a dozen or so heli mishaps in a short period of time as another poster was describing I would probably get a little anxious too (as it seems some of their members did). From my experience though this is the exception as opposed to the rule. For the most part as Stephen stated, some mutual understanding, and common courtesy go a long way to help the situation, and with it there shouldn't be any reason that "plank" flyers and heli flyers can't happily co-exist.

Just this plank flyers .02

If you don't have time to do it right this time, how are you going to have time to do it again?
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Old 07-19-2004, 09:58 PM   #33
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Colin-Stephen You guys should register under separate identities makes it easier to address the right person. I really don't care one way or another whether we agree or not. I don't know what point your trying to argue it doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway. There are guys out there who consider when the heli guys refer to their aircraft as planks it belittles their craft and skill. I have watched a heli pilot talking under the shelter about his helicopter and all it takes is a reference to fixed wing and their pilots as planks and plank flyers and you see the look pass among some of them and soon most of the guys wander off. Soon word spreads among them and their friends that he doesn't think to much of anyone who doesn't fly helis and he proceeds to get the cold shoulder from these guys. Argue away I don't have time for much of this. I would like to see helis develop at our field but it doesn't seem to be a go at this time. I will tell you this though. In our club some of those old farts have been at this game for well over 30 years and are still active today. Some of them are highly skilled at building and flying. Refer to them as plank flyers, their aircraft as planks those old farts would tell you where to put that heli. If you want to discuss a workable system that would address a reasonable way to express the skill level of each flyer and their discipline fine. After all that was the subject of this thread. This arguing about who is safer is just plane silly.

Dennis Pratt
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:23 AM   #34
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The Brits solved many problems years ago by setting up proficiency levels in each category of r/c - fixed wing, heli, and gliders. When you pass the program for the aircraft type, your certificate is acceptable at all Clubs. If you have the advanced level certificate, you may perform at public events. The testing criteria is straightforward and not really open to interpretation by different examiners, and focuses not only on the flying, but all aspects of safety as well. Check it out at
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:58 AM   #35
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Yes. Register like this
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:59 AM   #36
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Or then again like this..... and we won't be confused.
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:11 AM   #37
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Actually Dennis I fly both types of machines. The difference is that the wings spin. I shall call em fixed wing or planes now when addressing you directly to make you feel more comfortable and sorry my slang offends you. As people mentioned if you are concerned with someone's behavior it needs to be addressed professionally (group level) when the personal touch fails. I've found most chopper and plane guys open to changing proceedures..heck they are your flying buddies. I do my best to make sure no one ducks for the car when the copter comes out of the trunk. The more guys that fly both the better the fun is my feeling...hopefully every club will safely succeed with both machine types.
The rules should not be the same as planes and you did state over a dozen helis hit the fence. I assume this was the runway fence that planes fly next to and that the plane fence prangs are lower. A beginner heli nor any heli for that matter should not be close to a fence and you should never trap yourself between a fence and the copter. Typically we fly 75 feet out from the pit fence and 15-20 from the hover point, learning new manouvres are further away. When we are at funflys we fly at the fixed wind station and we space ourselves as far as we can reasonably from a fixed wing operator. Since wind direction matters only for autos we can fly the inactive runway as needed. We don't come screaming down the runway center we scream down further out. We follow the pattern or we find a safe and isolated part of the sky to play tricks. If we only hover we use a clean dust free non-conflicting spot. Helis don't like dirt...lots of tiny bearings and moving parts.

Funny thing is the last big funfly a few chopper guys were bitching about the site not being user friendly. We had no clean secure area to hover test helicopters and offer setup assistance. When I asked about it, an authority figure stated that all helis must be pre-tuned before using the field. He obviously did not understand our needs, but that was not the time for a pissing match or reorganization of that site. Some serious comments were made from heli flyers like: they felt ignored, left out, second class flyer rights etc. I spoke to them and mentioned that it was most likely because the organizers did not fully understand their specific needs. I also mentioned that next year they need to put in suggestive requests to make the situation better. Isolated heli flyers paying big bucks for equipment come to these events for assistance access. People are sometimes funny as I wonder if the suggestions fell on a few deaf ears on both sides? So the moral of the story is make an effort, pick your ears carefully if you want things made better. To clairify has little to do with age or experience level, more to do with isolated genetics or major unhappiness I suspect.

As for the same user name, we share the same home, same computer, and to automatically log on and off means a windows reset, we both belong to many fourms etc numerous passwords-user names get confusing. We share the same tools, field box etc as we are very close to one another thanks to this hobby. If one of us makes a technical error or omission the other can fill in the blanks/repost as we are a team. We always sign our names below. So if you don't want to read the full message just look at the bottom.

Hope this clarifys,

Stephen Bell
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:45 AM   #38
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Stephen, just to clarify, you said the authority figure said "no untested helis", while at the last big fun-fly.
This is in the MAAC safety regulations, untested aircraft are not to be flown at fun-fly events.
If your authority figure is referring to no untested helis at the field at any time, this would be unreasonable.
Ron Mattiuz

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"Flying an airplane is just like riding a bike...except it's harder to put cards in the spokes"
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:45 AM   #39
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Amazing...Ron M and Dennis in the middle again...... good luck Steven..
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:50 AM   #40
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Some "interesting" discussion here....

Lets see if I can add some info....

First off, MAAC has (or at least had) a heli "blades" program equivalent to the wings proficiency program. I was able to get a copy of it several years ago. It definitely pre-dated the advent of more reliable gyros and shows this on several points. I recall some dicussions on newsgroups with other people about updating it but lost track of the thread long ago.

I re-introduced/integrated helis to the Ajax club several years ago. We have a separate hover setup/training area and, when a pilot demonstrates the necessary skills to the CFI, they are welcome to join with the rest of the traffic on the regular flightline.

Yes 3D (and other extreme aerobatic forms) does involve a less familiar flight envelope and, is best performed without other 'unlike' traffic in the air ... but this is true for any form of 3D flying including fixed wing. At less congested sites, other pilots are often quite willing to grant some free airspace/time for someone to practice alternate forms of flight, or maiden that special aircraft or .... This only becomes a problem at more congested clubs where time at the flightline is at a premium. But this is a different issue.....

When pilots (regardless of aircraft type) practice safety, follow the rules of the flightline, and practice common courtesy, there are (and should be) no issues.
MAAC# 12719
Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere - (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
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