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Ever hit a model aircraft?

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Ever hit a model aircraft?

Old 23rd Apr 2008, 20:59
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Grrr Ever hit a model aircraft?

I'm not trolling for a debate about the nerdiness of the hobby, but wondered if anyone had any good stories about near misses or collisions with model aircraft.

Surely more and more of a danger as they're getting very big and fast!

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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 21:57
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At the Large Model Aircraft rally at Cosford a few years back there was a Tiger Moth, er, model that the announcer claimed was big enough to carry a smll child
Is it right that these things actually need to have CAA build and airworthiness approval as they are, effectively, aeroplanes rather than mere models?
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:07
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The Large Model Association website gives details. Look under "Information" >> "Over 20kg Scheme"
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:12
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Above a certain weight limit (mass, for physicists) - between 7kg and 20kg models cannot be flown above 400 ft unless cleared by ATC (I think this only applies to controlled airspace - I doubt they expect you to provide your own ATC facility in the back of beyond), and you have to keep 150m from congested areas.

Above 20kg you need a CAA 'Permission to Test' exemption certificate, which lasts 12 months, before you can fly the critter. In addition, the model must be inspected during the build (there's a countrywide list of examiners apparently) to ensure it's constructed correctly, an examiner then supervises a test flight to check the 'pilot' is competent. The certificate okays named 'pilots' to fly the aircraft, all named pilots have to have flown a saitsfactory test flight with the examiner.

There's probably other bits and bobs involved - there's a Large scale aircraft club (LMA?) of some sort within the auspices of the national club (BMFA), and they all take the construction and proof of competent handling very seriously indeed.

Saw a Gloster Gladiator in an article, I think it was 1/3 scale, and looked quite capable of providing a 5 year old with that authentic 1930's 'wind in the hair, bugs in the teeth' experience.

Looking for a kinetic energy kill, an alternative is to buy one of the modern jet models instead - you can buy them ready made too, I've seen a few advertised...F15's and the like going for up to 15 grand a pop....I suspect one of them going full chat up an intake would do every bit as much damage as a 20 kilo DC-3....

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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:29
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Not a Model... But nearly...

Flying practice instruments in winter NE of Odiham and NW of Farnborough I thought I saw something skip into a cloud a mile or two ahead. I alerted the LHS to my "feeling" and we watched out. Turned out I was neither hallucinating nor drunk...

Some eejut had decided that it would be a brilliant idea to :-
  1. Go skipping in and out of clouds at 3500', (pretty much the perfect mid-level for practice IFR between two busy(ish) airfields)
  2. Do it pretty much on the two main runway headings, (departure heading of Farnborough and approach heading for Odiham)
  3. Do it in -10C temps, (so no-one would expect him to be there 'cos he'd have to be mentally deficient to do so)
  4. With no radio
  5. Being almost invisible to all radar
on/in his frigging Microlight...

Bearing in mind there were both Chinooks and Pumas in the air at the time the resultant collision would have been the much the same as hitting a model with the welcome addition of some nice "squishy, coloured stuff".
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:38
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On two occasions I've had very near misses with large model aircraft. On the closer occasion, whereas my steed was audible and visible for probably about 8 miles, the model, which probably had a 6-8ft winspan was invisible until it was within a couple of hundred yards or about 3 secs away. The resultant hard, aggressive manoeuvring at 50 agl just avoided a collision. Having seen the damage a small bird can do, I'd hate be in the cockpit when the engine block of one of these things comes through the windscreen at about 200kts.
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:47
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I remember a few years ago at the RAF Model Aircraft Championship at West Raynham, having a Tornado fly through up the runway pretty low.

Would / should the the champs have been NOTAM'd?
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 22:58
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There's certainly a model flying club on an airfield in Lincolnshire which is often directly overflown by aircraft in the LFS (seeing as it's bang in the middle of the Cranwell/ Coningsby gap). I can't ever remember seeing it in Notams or marked in the local warnings.
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Old 23rd Apr 2008, 23:24
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Wroughton is used quite often by aeromodellers, They APPEAR to tell Lyneham ATC as we get plenty of warning about them ..

Seems a sensible thing to do IMHO.

Came close to hitting a smallish model - 4 ft wingspan ?? - some years back .. whilst lowlevel, always wondered how much damage one would do if the mighty Allison partook of a snack ......
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 00:15
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Missed one by 3'-4' over disused AF (Metheringham?) just N of Cranwell / Coningsby gap some years back.... 250'. I ducked, and the HUD video caught it

Within 2 mins the formation #2 (GR7) had ejected and crashed in the gap. He had not been within 1NM of Metheringham, and the "problem" that led to ejection had probably occurred a little earlier, so modellers @ said AF were likely inncocent

However, given the modeller(s) seeing their model get v close to (and probably not surviving) a GR7, and then seeing on the news a GR7 (30M?) crashing <10NM away at the same time, they put 2 & 2 together, and unsurprisingly, the BoI never got any modeller to admit flying that day

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Old 24th Apr 2008, 03:18
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Holland, mid-eighties.

National Gliding Centre, Terlet, near Arnhem. ASK-13 in the circuit on downwind at about 500' AGL collected an RC model in the front cockpit. The front-seat student lost an eye.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 06:48
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a squad mate of mine hit an RC Model plane while doing simulated gun runs on a Hawker Hunter. I do not know the speed at time of impact,since I did not fly Hunters, my guess would be around 400kts.
The Modell hit the nose slightly on the side then got (luckily) diverted to the leading edge, just out of the engine air intake!! and destroyed the external wingtank completely.
He made it back with a Mayday call to homebase, some 50nm away.
The a/c looked pretty bad.
Had it been a F-5 or a Hornet we all agreed it probably would have been a total loss.
Good old brit steel plane...
Guess what Air Force??
Tally Hoe!
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 06:58
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You are quite right; Wroughton and a number of other sites local to Lyneham advise them when they are operating. This is due in main to the ATC Sqn having worked hard to build a good relationship with the clubs and the UK's governing body in writing Letters of Agreement over conduct of model flying ops.

It always works if a good relationship is built between the various parties
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 08:23
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Pull up hard

Did it turn the wing tank into Swiss cheese by any chance?!
Do you think he'll crack my code?!
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 08:44
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I wouldn't think so Bob, it sounds more like he has been gardening.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 09:50
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I have come over a ridge and found myself in a melee of model aircraft at Membury, which was not NOTAMed. It seems that it's all down to how professional the club is - there always used to be a near-permanent NOTAM for model flying at Henstridge (and of course the unmanned captive baloon at Pershore, which was NOTAMed for about 20 years continuously but I never once saw it).
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 10:18
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Reminds me of an incident involving a Harrier mate who had a low-level birdstrike through the plexi and still managed to land!! IIRC the phots were something else. Well done fella, whoever you are!!
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 10:40
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When I used to do RC model flying up to the age of 17, it used to be quite a specialist hobby. Most models had to be built yourself, the radio equipment and engines were pretty expensive and the best route in was to join a club.

My local club at Tempsford was always pretty strict on flying rules, no overflying the parked cars or pits etc. But the cardinal rule was that if a real aircraft seemed to be looking to do a fly by or circuit then all models were to be landed immediatley, no matter what. This obviously wouldn't have been much help to a fast mover coming in at low level as we would probably only had 3-5 second warning but for the stunt pilots that made regular visits and also the wonderful John Jordan (our chairman at the time) in his wonderfull Stearman, it was easy to get all models down.

The trouble now is that with the advance in electronics and the introduction of ready made models, it is now quite easy for anyone to just go out and buy a fast model of about 40-50" span for about 100 and then fly it in the local park /common /sport field.

Model flying is no longer as centralised to specific flying clubs and models and it doesn't have the same safety standards either.

The electric models on sale now have a motor and battery that will probably weigh about 1 - 1.5 lb and that popping through your windshield could focus the mind. Also the batteris will be Lithium so if they get damaged they will catch fire or explode.....which is nice.

By the way, someone mentioned a 6-8 ft model as being large, that is a pretty standard size model now, large models now consist of 1/2 scale SE5a's and Fokker Triplanes, 30ft span Hercs and B-29's, 1/10th scale C-17 and also a 40% scale Pitts Special.

Last edited by GPMG; 24th Apr 2008 at 13:07.
Old 24th Apr 2008, 10:48
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Nearly hit one near Wellington, Somerset

Looked initially like a real aircraft and therefore seemed a lot further away.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 12:21
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I've been involved with building and flying model aircraft since I was a small lad. All the clubs that I have been involved with took safety very seriously indeed. To fly at a club designated flying site we all have to be a member of a prefessional body such as the BMFA, LMA, SAA etc, they provide safety training schemes and 'Pilot' proficiency tests, also all members are fully insured against accidents. Unfortunatly like most things in life you get rogue elements who just buy a ready made model, try and fly it without proper training or supervision and are probably uninsured. These people dont care where they operate and will happily try and fly next to an airport or built up area and give the hobby a bad name. At the site I currently use (near Banchory in Scotland, well outside Aberdeen's controlled airspace) we do occasionaly see low flying fast jet traffic flying near by, sadly at the speeds they travel at they have passed before you even hear or see them so it would be impossible to try and avoid. Having said that we dont fly large aircraft which means that we dont fly very high (less than about 150 feet on average) as you simply would lose sight and be unable to control them at greater heights.

Some probably do think its a nerdy hobby, each to their own I say, pretty harmless and far worse things we could do! Quite a few professional Pilots that I know also take part in this activity and one or two ex RAF chaps at our club (one is even ex CFS) so they tend to bring a good safety culture to the hobby. It's not as easy as some may think, it does require teaching from somebody competent or you can gaurantee a black bin bag full of broken model by the end of the day!

In summary: most model flyers are pretty sensible and operate well away from full size aircraft. Responsible, designated clubs should notify any nearby airfields of the activity, I'm pretty sure that our lot have told the RAF so they can mark it on the charts. Sadly the minority make it worse for those of us enthusiasts who just like to play with aeroplanes whether big or small.
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