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Old 12-06-2018, 08:11 AM   #1
Ken L
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Prop safety-please chime in.


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The Whitby Aero Modellers Club are contemplating mandating Painted Prop Tips for any engine powered aircraft.

We recently had a 'finger' incident at our field. The WAM member who got hurt was a competent, regular flier who was not being distracted etc. Strictly engine powered pilot. Just made a mistake.

You can remind people verbally, thru email etc till the Cows come home about all the dangers and that's is all well and good to continue to do but making something dangerous more visible cannot be a bad thing.

I also worry about liability. If there is anything EVEN CLOSE to a consensus in the RC world that it 'MIGHT' reduce the chance of injury that puts anyone in a position of responsibility in the target of any potential liability. I for one do not want to lose my house because ' I could have done more' to prevent injury. Learned this the hard way from a motorcycle racing lawsuit.

If painting tips MIGHT prevent an accident, why oppose it? This is a simple, easy to do fix, not a big infringement upon our flying.

What do you think?
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Last edited by Ken L; 12-06-2018 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:33 AM   #2
Cougar429
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

I agree that painted tips would enhance visibility, but to be sure should also be painted both sides so working from behind would still have some contrast.

Spinning black blades alone can disappear when spinning. However, even after 30+ years I found grey to be even worse in dull light.

On an additional note, I would suspect higher power electrics would need to fall into that requirement, as well. Remember watching a vid on Daily Planet where they showed the results of drone prop strikes on sides of meat.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:44 AM   #3
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

a safety person is going to put the blame on the operator. the question whould be how could this have been prevented. the paint will be oh yes great idea till the same person or some one else gets whacked with the painted prop. ive got 2 scars one 19 stitches one unstitched. 2 inches long. i know better. as long as its the person doing the unsafe act. and they get cut. maac safety rules will probably come into play.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:53 AM   #4
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

I cut my arm twice last year. It wasn't the prop visibility it was my reaching around the prop. I run large 3 D props. I now tie all my planes down even if I'm only running the engine dry. I've been flying a long time and my ground skills needed to be adjusted. I even told my wife if I get cut again I might have to give up the Hobby before some thing serious happens. The secret is having a routine that's works. I just had to make a adjustment after over 30 years. Our club has stands but I'm not comfortable when the engine starts backwards and then your reaching for the plane before it falls off the stand. Cheers Floyd
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:55 AM   #5
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

I should chime in and add that I have watched videos and personally seen many examples of people in the prop danger arc at high power.

Having experienced prop ejections from 4-strokes, (usually lean condition) can say how much energy they carry away with them.

ps. Been in the workforce for MANY years and accidents happen. Having said that also found you can try as hard as you can to fix stupid, but they just seem to grow bigger.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:56 AM   #6
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

I don't think painting the tips helps much with safety. I do it because it looks cool.

There is some inherent danger in most things we all do for fun. I think it's normal to get cuts and bruises now and again.
Maybe not a good thing to print into your rules but it's true.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:16 AM   #7
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

Unfortunately to enjoy our toy airplanes that have spinning propellers places in adherent danger and I think everyone of us has had an encounter with a spinning prop over the years. Painting the tips for visibility may prevent an accident but in no way assures it's prevention. These incidents of prop vs human flesh normally are due to lapses in concentration or attention that we as humans are prone to.
My opinion for what is worth
Painted tips are probably a good idea to possibly prevent an injury.
Having a rule in place requiring tips to be painted; Nope, not in favour of yet another rule controlling how I have fun.
Perhaps just a club safety recommendation would suffice?
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:21 AM   #8
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

How many newcomers to the hobby today understand props should be balanced? Particularly electric props that are included in a bind n fly model? Very few. Even experienced models seem to forget to balance the prop on a bnf model. How many will understand how much more important it is to balance the prop after painting the tips? It doesn't take much to create a prop so far out of balance that it becomes dangerous all on its own. I think you're trying to fix a problem by creating a bigger potential problem.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:33 AM   #9
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

I’d suggest that, if you proceed with this idea, that you just make it a requirement for all powered aircraft. In some ways electrics are worse: the prop hitting something won’t stall the motor.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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Re: Prop safety-please chime in.

a doctor that flys rc showed me the scar on his neck. a thrown prop from a 4 stroke cut his corotted artery. spelling not right but get the drift. my 19 stitch episode would have been fatal if the engine hadnt of stalled. wraped prop in my sweater. starting a 4 stroke with no spinner and electric starter is dangerous. you gonna fool with this stuff you run risk and take chances its not fool proof.
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