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Old 08-04-2008, 04:25 PM   #1
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Ambulance Chasing Journalism

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If anyone else feels as strongly about this as I do, please write your zone directors. Here is what I wrote mine:

I have just returned from the Canadian Nationals IMAC contest in Sudbury and I am very disappointed in our MAAC President and his unilateral decision to allow RC TV to show and publicize a mid air incident in the name of Safety. Dispite the protests from some fellow pilots RC TV is going to televise the accident along with an interview with one of the pilots and show the plane damage. In my opinion this is "ambulance chasing" journalism and has no place in promoting our hobby or enticing new members to participate in IMAC. Yes the crashes are spectacular but they are also very expensive. Anyone contemplating getting into IMAC does not need to be reminded that his or her pride and joy of some $8,000.00+ may get distroyed in an unfortunate incident in a contest.

To allow the RC TV staff to show this incident will do nothing for promoting the safety precautions that all clubs are enforcing. It will only reinforce in the minds of the "uninitiated" and "uneducated" to the sport that we were lucky this time that the planes came down on the far side of the field. It is very difficult to obtain a field for these aircraft and even harder to keep the field. Our MAAC President should be sensitive to this issue.

There are so many other aspects of IMAC and the hobby in general that can be used to positively promote this pass time that there is no need to show the crashes. The excuss to allow the RC TV crew to show the video of the incident is nothing more than chasing an ambulance and showing the carnage on the highway on the news at 11:00.

I am disgusted that our MAAC President does not understand this and he has lost my vote and respect.

Ted Barrette
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:37 PM   #2
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

No offense intended, but its all part of the hobby. RC-TV loves to show the buggies when they go off a jump and roll down a hill, and the viewers love to watch it. Planes are no different.

One could say the exact opposite of your argument, and say that never televising the crashes wrongfully promotes the hobby, and people might get into it and be shocked to find their beloved plane in splinters.

I've smashed several good planes, and although not IMAC size or quality, I've had a good laugh at a couple, and kicked at the dirt over a couple more. Obviously the pilot didn't mind it being televised if he agreed to an interview. I don't think this is anything to get worked up over.

Just my opinion,

Ben Hindmarsh

"I keep planting planes, but they just won't grow!"
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:50 PM   #3
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

RC TV has no interest in promoting anything but their own agenda.
Last year they did a skit showing a drunk on the flight line being handed a transmitter.
Half the show is nothing but childish disgraceful antics.
You can bet when they show the incident it will hardly resemble the true facts of the crash.
These clowns at rctv turn more people off any kind of rc sport than attract to it I am sure.

Here is a link to what to expect from them.

Last edited by brad-a; 08-04-2008 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:38 PM   #4
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

Hmmm, how showing a mid air will promote/ educate one on safety doesn't make sense to me. Yes, I understand it is a rare but possible part of flying in general (more likely IMO at a fun fly where 4 or 5 planes are zipping around rather than a disciplined event like the IMAC Nats I also attended). The fact is, both planes landed (one in complete control, the more damaged one in a very exceptional way by the pilot considering the vertical fin and rudder were broken off yet still was flown in and landed upright).

I can definitley see, like guys watching NASCAR for the crashes, or even the RC crash videos you can buy, that the RCTV guys probably think it will be "cool".

I for one think it would be fine IF and ONLY IF it is represented 100% AS IT WAS. There were two guys flying in a VERY deliberite and disciplined manner. There was no hot dogging, and both pilots had a spotter. It was an unfortunate accident and nothing more. If it is presented as "cool" and just there to get a "wow" factor, then that would be in poor taste. Promoting IMAC as an event where you can lose your expensive plane will not do anyone any good. I think, like I said, you risk losing your plane more just flying at a club event or a sunday at the field with a few others, where the environment is more lax and pilots are generally not as aware.

Steve did an awesome job getting his plane back and down safely - that took imense piloting skill. Bravo!

Andrew Coholic -MAAC #26287L

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Old 08-04-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

The media only care about grabbing the attention of the audience/viewers.
It's quite normal for them to edit out anything that is dull, repetitive or not spectacular.
If they can't make it sound or look spectacular it is usually of little no interest to them at all.
Crashes, mid air collisions and even personal injuries are all fair game to them.

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Old 08-04-2008, 06:47 PM   #6
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

The media is what it is because that's what most of the consumers want. If consumers didn't watch/read/whatever it would change. Not going to happen any time soon.

suggesting rctv not be allowed to show the crash....well, that doesn't fly IMHO. It is still a free country last time I checked.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:53 PM   #7
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

Ted - I certainly agree that showing this in some sensational fashion does little to promote IMAC or the disciplined nature of the event. I am afraid that the "buggy bashers" which RC-TV seem to represent will exercise their rights to show it and if the MAAC President supports that then I agree with your disappointment in that decision. We all make bad decisions unfortunately.

It was a truly unfortunate event and many will analyse the thing to death in terms of what could or should have been done to prevent it. I saw a few other "apparent near misses" during the course of the weekend but it is always hard to tell how close in 3 dimensions or axes exactly how close the planes are to each other.

I am sorry for any damage done to Ivan's and Nicolas' plane and Steve deserves all the credit in the world for landing his badly battered plane without any other other serious mishap. We all know this is a risk when running multiple flightlines, but considering how many simultaneous flights happen over the course of an IMAC season it is a wonder this does not happen more often.

We need to understand that such an event is upsetting to the pilots and we all put a lot of effort into our aircraft. Considering what happens in many "road rage" events, thankfully we are all friends and colleagues and support each other when these tragedies happen.

Regretfully I don't think my Zone Director would understand the nature of the concern but I might write him anyway.

Bill Teeter
MAAC 5831 IMAC 3526
Hespeler Model Aviators Inc.
Assistant RD NCFR Ontario
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Murphy's Law #4 - If you fool around with a thing long enough it will break.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:14 AM   #8
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

Boy oh boy... This is a tough one...

As someone who has experienced a "mid-air" some years ago,[total loss for both planes involved] and lost a 8K+ 40%er last summer after being shot down, [with no one coming forward] I see both sides of this one...

The truth is we all risk our planes each and every time they are flown. There is an old saying in this hobby... "Itís not a matter of if... but when". We all try to minimize that risk in various ways, [proper maintenance, use of spotters... ect] and given the reliability of todayís radio systems, [got to love 2.4!!] the risk is pretty darn low, but it can and will continue to happen now and then.

Here is my opinion for whatever its worth...

If RCTV has the permission of BOTH pilots involved, then I would say they have the right to tell this story in a respectful and tasteful manner. If not, then I would suggest our MAAC President should withdraw his consent given to RCTV, concerning this incident. If the story is then aired without consent, or if the consent given is abused in a tasteless or sensationalistic manner, appropriate actions could then be taken.
Mike Clemmens

Last edited by 50%300SFlyer; 08-05-2008 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:54 AM   #9
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

Just to wade into the firestorm a bit.

Lee and I invited RCTV to attend this year's event way back last year - at the 400 Nats.

I had even forgotten that we had invited them until I saw them at the field.

Lee and I also spoke with Nik regarding the incident and I hope that RCTV uses the good judgement Nik promised Lee and me.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:10 AM   #10
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Re: Ambulance Chasing Journalism

This thread was drawn to my attention. I try to refrain from involvement in forums, but this time I have no choice but to respond.
1. I NEVER suggested that RC TV air the details of the unfortunate mid-air collision in Sudbury. I never gave any consent. I was aware that my consent, or lack of it, would make no difference to the decisions of RC TV.
2. I have no control whatsoever over RC TV.
3. I did talk to the president of RC TV and what I said was that if they air the details, it must be done in such a way as to indicate that mishaps occur in all sports. (I gave the examples of golf balls going into crowds and skiers breaking bones). The safety precautions taken at the event had to be front and centre in the program.
4. I was not the official who was interviewed with respect to airing the incident. I referred RC TV to the contest directors.
5. Every time I have talked to the president of RC TV, I have stressed that the reluctance of MAAC to sponsor the program has been largely because of the amount of "crash and bang"
6. I consider the initial post in this thread to be grossly unfair to me. I attended the event, and helped out in every way that I could, but was not there in an official capacity, other than being present for the cutting of a ribbon. I deplore the delight that the media takes in airing the gory details of any incident, but this is a country that allows freedom of the press. Let me state again. I have zero control of any kind over RC TV.

Richard Barlow
MAAC President

Last edited by Richard Lyle Barlow; 08-05-2008 at 08:26 AM.
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