Friday, April 29, 2005

A comment on Safety

This note by Andy Ellison appeared in the DS Yahoo Group.
I have his permission to republish it here.

Thats quite a topic Fred. First I'd better qualify myself to discuss what I'm about to write.
A few years ago in the UK we had a very nasty death. It's the one that led to all the arguments about factory set PCM failsafes etc.
I was tasked at short notice to form and chair a small 'safety' committee on behalf of the BMFA, CAA, Coroner and Police, in order to 'investigate' the circumstances leading up to the accident and delever our reccommendations to the parties concerned. We did so and changes were made. However the story rumbled on as I think you'll agree. Getting killed by a model aircraft (especially in such a graphic way) is a damn unusual way to die. The press stories rumbled on and on and I got dragged deeper and deeper in until my committee was responsible for changes made right up at FAI level.
However as a result of all the above public perception and safety is still an issue that interests me greatly.

You yourself are not long in the UK so are probably not so aware of the amount of press coverage something like this accident can bring about. It is a fact that we kill a kid about once every ten years in the UK. Compared to other pastimes this in not a significant amount, but it could be less. Whilst aeromodelling was still reeling fromthe tragic loss the worst thing possible happened. There was another fatality. This time the death was of a young girl on a public access site. Not associated with any club as most of the other deaths had been, this time it was a member of the public. You thought the turds had hit the ventilation before!
The results of this death have cascaded down through society and legislation is chucked at clubs flying from within or near public access land. The story is not that old and only recently the girls mother had sold her story to a ladies magazine. It seems this one is constantly in the public eye. We are not as litigation minded as other parts of the world :-) but there is a lot flying around relating to this case and some bodies won't let it drop. It could be argued that they shouldn't.
We are a much more cramped country than the US. Many of the pubic have been exposed to model aircraft but there perception of it is that of a noisy two stroke motor blitzing around disrupting thier quiet sunday afternoon. You'll have touched on this whenever you've been out sloping and been asked by a walker "how does it fly if it's got no engine?" I'm sure many have been there.

The fact is that Ades probably right. If you're doing something different people will complain. I think its the lack of understanding. I've had other fliers diss me about DS but the reality of that argument is that they can't do it!

A tag of our own BMFA (your AMA) is "seen to be safe" and whilst we know that in reality there are other areas of model flight far more dangerous than DS it is difficult to perceive the safety of a model feet from the ground doing 150mph+ in small circles!

Andy Ellison

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Update on CL Nats and CLASA AGM from Percy Attfield

2005 CL Nats Program
2005 CL Nats entry form
April 2005 issue of the Roundabout
2004 CLASA AGM minutes

Ludwig Steyn on the Bredasdorp Fly-in

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May

Bredasdorp / T Vos Fly-in.

Any airworthy RC plane is acceptable. Format will be as for a fly-in but we will try to have slots of interest to accommodate various interests, such as warbirds, aerobatics, turbines, glider tows, fun-fly's (maybe a couple of fun competitions?(I would love to see a mock-up pylon race. Theo. How about it? ). Emphasis on the fun! Some spot landings, Number of vertical rolls ( turbines?), etc and I can maybe get the shops to sponsor a few prizes. (How about it guys. You know were to contact me)

Only SAMAA members and normal SAMAA safety rules will apply.

Frequency control by peg on system and a peg board will be in attendance. (Philip 'Gestapo' Fourie will run the safety aspect for the weekend)

The AFB Bredasdorp has a strict environmental policy so no refuelling on the runway without a receptacle to catch overflow fuel. No fuel spills on the tarmac!

I believe that the local air force guys will offer boerie rolls and drinks for sale during the day.

Accommodation needs to be found in the surrounding area due to the security sensitivity of the base.

(I have a list of all accommodations in the area. Please contact me with your fax no for info)

Flying times: Saturday, 21 May 2005 09h00 to 17h00; Sunday 22 May 2005 09h00 to 15h00. Pilots briefing 08h45 on Saturday.

A R20 donation by each pilot for the Bredasdorp AFB R/C Flying Club development fund. This is to assist their development program of previously disadvantaged youngsters in the area.

Please pre-registered by sending an email or SMS to me with your SAMAA numbers and flying frequencies. This will give an idea of the numbers attending and also assist the Air Force with security arrangements.

Right of Admission is Reserved. This is a legal formality so we can ground people who misbehave.

(Who on earth will misbehave?)

Lets hear from all you guys.


Ludwig Steyn
Helderberg Radio Flyers
021 8548027
082 9511874

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Louw Smit on the 2005 EP Aerobatic Championships

Marcel Viljoen from Worcester (the same Worcester of Klippies Sauce fame) winged himself up to Uitenhage ('you-10-haigh' in the Colonial dialect) last year in his six-seater, and came back with a glowing report of the event. For the benefit of those who do not know about these things: If the Cape Town City authorities were in control of that part of the world, then PE would be a small suburb of Uitenhage... Anyway, we wanted to see for ourselves, and found ourselves (eventually - but that is another story) at the PERF field late on Friday morning. And NO, Koos, PERF actually stands for Port Elizabeth Radio Flyers... But boy oh boy, do these boykies have a setup! A 200m tarred runway - all flat and smooth, an old house being refurbished as a clubhouse with (sometimes) electric power, and grassed areas all around - and all on their own property to boot! And just to confirm what a classy set-up this is, Mr Botha (Burt to those who know him) comes practising in his business suit and tie. Jeez, these PE people really know about style... Do I sound just a teeny bit envious? Even the wind was 'just right' and thanks to Pierre Marais (who with SA-style knickerbockers and wife Amanda schelepped all the way down from Egoli) and Burt, some niggles with Josh's Swallow was sorted out. This already made the trip worthwhile.

Come Saturday morning, and the world is all out of shape due to a howling gale. Even the birds were walking to where they wanted to be. A few planes had to be tethered to flight boxes to stop them from going AWOL. I really don't want to know the story behind the following incident, but our esteemed Donners from Cape Town (Christo and Kas) were seen doing their own Judge's warm-up flight - with a Shotgun fun-fly nogal. The fact that the Shotgun was gathered in various arms-full after the warm-up flight, had no bearing on matters of course - or so I was led to believe at any rate. I rest my case, your Honour. Pierre had a serious case of the mutters regarding the wind that a certain party had allegedly dragged along from Cape Town, just like for the Gauteng Champs last year.

The actual flying eventually got underway, notwithstanding the fact that the anemometer (try that one after a few drinks, Koos) that Rick flashed around every now-and-then, went into overspeed mode, due to the wind velocity. If this instrument had wings, it would have taken off like a jet, complete with little screaming (wind) turbine. But needless to say, aero muddlers are a hardy (if not stupid) bunch, and some very respectable flying routines were delivered. Rick had a good tussle with the youngsters Wesley and Joseph in the Sportsman's category, but Wesley had some issues with a recalcitrant throttle response which threatened to cause the motor to quit most of the time - actually did once, too. Dad Dave tweaked and tweaked, but the classical Murphy's Law prevailed. Brett, Edward and Josh squared up to one another in the Advanced category. Brett unfortunately discovered in the first round that 'gravity sucks' and did not have much left of his kite after the earth rose up to meet him halfway. The remaining two had a very tight running battle. Edward showed just how it should be done when the chips (and feathered birds) are down/on the ground - if you catch my drift in this wind, ek sê. Although Josh just managed to pip Edward in the final flight on Sunday, I believe that we have a very serious contender in young Edward for great things in model aerobatics. Finally, I am not sure what the F3A category was all about, but it was clear that Pierre and Burt had a whale of a time (how does a 'whale' creep into aerobatics?). I believe that, as the 'senior' aerobatics pilots on the day, they set an admirable example of what competitions and competitiveness should be all about. Well done guys.

Finally (again), an event like this does not happen by itself. Glyn Rose-Christie seemed to have gathered a bunch of very capable bodies around himself, and organised an event to which we will definitely return to next year, all things being equal. During the course of both Saturday and Sunday, eats and drinks were available, capably handled by Dave and wife Lynn. Thankfully Glyn also managed to arrange for a power failure on Saturday evening, which allowed (most of) the party goers to engage in (meaningful?) conversation around the braai, which was held during the evening at the clubhouse. The catering was certainly up to spec. On Sunday afternoon at the prize giving ceremony, I was amazed at the quality and quantity of the prizes presented to the winners in the various categories - just about everybody who participated walked away with something (or so it seemed...) - even if it was only of limited capability like a six pack of beer. Just cast an eye over this lot:

Atlas Security
Port St Francis Estates
Calibra Security
Hobbies International
Brian's Hobbies

The sponsors of the prizes did the organisers proud - especially those entities whose activities are not even directly related to the passion erm, hobby.

Roll on 2006...

PRF Cape Town

Monday, April 25, 2005

ETB F3B bash, April 2005, photo by Evan Shaw
Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Andre on NimH batteries

I have noted some warnings on SARFLY about the use of NimH receiver packs. As I have been using a 650 mAh NimH receiver battery pack in my 40 size Acrow Wot without any problems for the past 2 years, the following comments may be helpful:

Be aware of the fact that NimH batteries have a higher self-discharge rate than Nicads. Recharge your NimH batteries on the day that you intend to fly - my GP 3300 cells normally take another 400-500 mAh charge, even if I charged them the previous day. My el cheapo (Uniross) 650mAh NimH receiver pack normally takes another 100 -200 mAh to full recharge after standing for a few days. NiCads have a lower self discharge rate, and thus stay fully charged for longer.

Note that the voltage drop under load on NimH batteries are higher than Nicads - which may slow down your servo response under heavy loads. My suggestion would be to use a 5 cell battery pack if using "El Cheapos.

The discharge curve on NimH batteries is steeper than Nicads - gradual loss of power vs sudden drop with Nicads. May be a good thing though - if your plane becomes sluggish, consider landing. If you were using Nicads, you are in trouble as you should have been on the ground already!



Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The acting chairman of the SAMAA management committee

Recently there have been some significant changes to the SAMAA managment committee.
Rob Hearn asked if I could post some info on Joe Coetzer, who is acting chairman until the election of a new committee.

Here is what Joe has to say for himself:

Contrary to general opinion in the family I was not born in a nest, but from my earliest memory all things that could fly fascinated me. My earliest contact with the hobby was pre-school, my mother confirms that I built my first model plane out of solid balsa at the ripe age of five years; I remember only the accidental cuts on my fingers due to inexperience with an old razor blade.
I quickly progressed to stick and tissue models and built everything, from simple gliders to jetex models. Control line was the in-thing for many years and an ED Diesel my favourite engine.
After a stint in the Army, I bought a single channel Pixie radio set from Hal Snow at the then Eloff Street branch of Redleys in 1965. This was also my introduction to Jack Immelman, who became a lifelong friend. The pixie was quickly followed with a Climax 4 channel analogue set. I soloed shortly after that under the expert eyes of Hal and Jack.
In 1966 I moved to Pretoria and established the Silverton Model Flying Club (of which I was Chairman for 15 Years). This was also when I met Dries Welgemoed and Monty Malherbe. Following a strict morning of testing, Monty certified me as a grade 1, SAARF Instructor. In the years that followed I taught numerous RC pilots to fly, including Andre Stockwell, who went on to establish himself in the aerobatic annals of South Africa. Alan Fraser is also one of my well-known protégés from the early years of RC flying in Pretoria.
Rob Street got me involved in gliding in 1973 and I have to admit that after having caught my first thermal, I was hooked on gliding, which have been my passion ever since.
I got involved in the SAARF (predecessor to SAMAA) in 1975 and became Vice Chairman in 1977. In 1978 I attended the CIAM meeting in Paris. Work commitments forced me temporarily to put the hobby aside in 1980 and although I never stopped building or flying on an individual basis.
In 1997 the gliding bug again bit seriously. At this stage I had a Flamingo kit in the workshop for years and this became my vehicle for re-entering the gliding scene.
In 1998 Silverton Model Flying Club decided to offer the Gliding Section R5000-00 plus all the relevant gliding equipment, to enable the section to form an independent gliding club. This lead to the establishment of the Silverton Gliding Club and as first Chairman, I got pulled into the Model Gliding Association (MGA), which operated under SAMAA as the gliding division of SAMAA with a seat for the Chairperson on the SAMAA Management Committee.
Within a year I was elected Chairperson of the MGA and, after many years, again became involved with the management of the national body for aero modelling in South Africa.
The Committee requested me to revise the Constitution, which through the years became outdated. In actual fact a number of clauses in the existing Constitution were being flaunted due to the laborious processes required to change them.
In drafting the new Constitution I provided for the system of Special Interest Groups (SIG'S) and a flexible Constitution based on enabling clauses which would allow the Management Committee to manage effectively the "national" issues, such as frequencies, safety, airspace and insurance. The SIG'S and Clubs would be empowered through delegations to do their "own" thing, under the over-arching oversight of the Management Committee. Another important facet of the new Constitution is that the majority of the members of the Management Committee are elected by means of a fully democratic ballot. The composition of the Management Committee also provides for a Dealer representative to be designated by the dealers themselves. Similarly, a Club and SIG representative are to be designated by the Club's and SIG's respectively.
In March, following Bob's resignation, I was elected unanimously by the SIG Chairpersons, Club representative and the members of the Management Committee to serve as Chairman, until the new Committee is constituted and in a position to elect a new Chairman.
I am committed to serve the membership of SAMAA during my tenure to the best of my ability.

Joe Coetzer

Friday, April 15, 2005

WHRF Electric Fly In -- Malcolm Siebert

Hi Guys,

A big thank you to everyone who pitched up and made a memorable day for all concerned. We were blessed with perfect weather conditions and a good turnout from the electric fraternity. Not quite sure how many planes were there but it was a lot.

It was amazing to see the huge variety of flying machines gathered for the event. Singles, twins, ram jets, shockflyers, helicopters, warbirds, gliders and so on and so on. Smallest prize must go to Johnathan for the micro racer he brought along. You need good eyesight and even better reaction time with that one.

As part of the fun, a speed trap was set up and guys could get a measure of what speed they were able to develop. There were quite a few comments from pilots along the lines of; "Never thought it was that quick" or in some cases, "I know my plane is quicker than that!!" Outright speed goes to Adriaan with his new Zoom F5B ship which was clocked through the traps at 248 Kph. Now that's moving!!

We also ran a F5J competition during the day. Despite a good number of entries, two motor burnouts, 2 gearbox failures and one set of batteries which just gave up, only three guys completed the task. Well done to Malcolm, Gert and Justin who finished in that order.

The braai and cool drink stand did a brisk business throughout the day and there were always people hanging around the vendors tables so we hope they did well too.

So once again, thanks everyone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Evan Shaw's Shongololo
Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Andre on Lipo batteries

It seems that there are no pills for stupidity, but in all fairness the dangers of Lipo cells are grossly exaggerated, and are probably newsworthy because we are now using them in our day-to-day life (cell phones, rechargeable drills, etc.)

I even saw an article in SAMAA news a few issues ago, expanding on the dangers and hazards. With all due respect, it seems that we are repeating the same message without questioning or testing the validity of the statements. I do not want to underplay the dangers of incorrect Lipo use, but that should not scare us away either.

My experience is that any battery should be viewed as potentially hazardous, and treated as such. As far as stupidity is concerned, I have also have an experience or two that I would rather forget. Some were very impressive though, like the morning that I soldered a micro Deans plug to a brand new 910mAh Kokam battery pack. The solder bridged the two pins, and first thing that I noticed was that the pack was becoming unusually warm! I snipped the wires, but it was too late. Expecting a major explosion/fire etc. I tossed them outside. Fortunately the only result was a very impressive smoke ball, and a smell that kept the dogs away for days. The batteries (or what was left of it) did not ignite, but became hot enough to ignite any flammable matter that it was in contact with. I also have a variety of "fat packs" outside my workshop (on a pile of bricks) that show the extent of abuse that these packs can suffer without dangerous consequences. The one Lipo pack is about 3 times its normal thickness (came from a customer) and the other about twice its normal thickness (charged with a Triton charger that was repaired locally, but obviously the voltage cut-off function was not working). I also have some Lipo packs that have been in crashes (squashed to half their normal length) without disastrous consequences. Bottom line is that we should not cry wolf and over-exaggerate the dangers of Lipos, but at the same time be conscious of the dangers associated with the incorrect use of batteries, and take the necessary precautions.

As a matter of interest, we have some guys at our club flying planes that have an amp draw of more than 80A, and if I remember correctly you normally weld steel at about 60A!!!


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Pattern Chat Room part 1 -- Claude MacKrill

FOOD FOR THOUGHT....Monday, 04 April 2005

The reason for starting this sheet is to keep us pattern pilots taking. As pattern pilots we are doomed to a lonely existence, people who do not fly pattern think we need to be institutionalized, sometimes I think so myself, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of enjoying flying, the pattern always has a challenge even when you are at the top,.......... Andre & friends cannot relax for a moment, as the lead can easily be taken by someone else, as well as in the Sportsman class, in the Western Cape, Peter Kapp has been doing some sterling work at his Club & around the Cape encouraging Pattern, Cape Radio Flyers has now got 3 pattern flyers, & in our Club we have pilots in all the divisions,....But still one needs to swap ideas, or help with problems that we sometimes encounter, some problems may seem to be impossible but when you mention it to fellow flyer that looks at the problem from a different angle, solutions are soon found....So I would like to set up this forum for those who are not lucky enough to have fellow pattern pilots in their club......Any problems be it about flying, Competitions, Judging......just as a matter of interest this paper is circulated to a few judges, so if you want to ask the judges about 'stuff' e-mail me & I will past the matter on to them.....they will answer & if they don't have the right answers we will stop their bribes at the next comp......

So Now you have a forum that u can use to ask questions.....Just one thing...NO & I Mean NO Political Agendas......& NO personal attacks on anybody...Except Judges......& Helicopter pilots.....& Politicians .... & Dealers ( they are the same as drug dealers, as they sell OUR Drugs........ except that our drug dealers are more expensive & Live in mansions & Have X Type Cars & Holliday homes & Yachts ...&full size planes...I am so jealous)

Now I am busy putting together a 'moan' that has been close to my heart for a long time, the distance of the flight line from the judges, according to the book it must be 150 meters, but generally most flyers fly way of in the distance and are judged in my opinion not as harshly as a flyer that flies to close, but when flying further away you have a distinct advantage in that your flight line becomes much longer & especially for Rolling maneuvers some gain some serious advantage, but if you fly to close the judges hammers you & you have the disadvantage of having a rather short flight line, now my suggestion is than we have 2 distance markers for at serious comps, i.e. in fly-offs for the masters (i.e. the top 4) we have flagmen sitting at the 150 meter mark as well as on the 200 meter mark, if the pilot flies further than 200 meters from the judges he must be penalized heavily as he now has a serious advantage in that his flight line is very long & setting up rolling maneuvers is a lot easier......I'm not abdicating a zero score but a serious downgrade in the region of 4 to 5 points......if the flyer is to close he will be docked similarly but also has the disadvantage of a short flight line.....Double whammy.........
I have asked Louw Smit to work out the difference in the flight line lengths for every 10 meters you fly away from the 150 meter u will see that flying further than 200 meters should be judged as completely out of the box & score zero........I will send off those calculations as soon as I receive them from Louw....I could not do the calculations myself as I did no trigs in Standard 3
P.S........I did pass Standard 3 Maths on the higher grade.....


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