MAM safety Articles

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Macon Aero Modelers Safety Thoughts March 2010

Winter's over and it's Time to Think Flying Again - but first....


Safety Coordinator, Macon Aero Modelers

            The calendar says it's Spring but how come I've got ˝ of snow on my deck? Several intrepid flyers have already been out to OTX and more are coming each weekend. I'd like to touch on a few Safety reminders to get us in the right frame of mind.

            First, remember that to fly at OTX you need a current AMA membership; we still have some of last year's members who haven't renewed. Same with membership with Macon Aero Modelers—you must have paid your dues. As Larry the Cable Guy says—"Get R done!"

            Second, post your AMA license on the frequency board and take a frequency pin for your transmitter. We realize that more of our members are going the route of 2.4Ghz transmitters and perhaps at some point we can do away with the pins but for now we still need them. If you see three guys flying and only two cards on the board, please make the point to remind everyone to post their AMA card.

            Third, do yourself a favor and go over your aircraft just like it was a new build or a repair. On our web site ( we've posted a 10-Point Checklist that may remind you to do things like check servo wires and charge receiver and transmitter batteries. If your servo connections are green with corrosion it would be wise to disassemble and clean.

            Lastly, we seem to still have the occasional problem with a 2.4GHz setup. Again, we have several articles addressing various issues on the web site.

            My experience has been to size the receiver to the aircraft, to size the receiver battery to the load, and make sure both transmitter and receiver batteries are fully charged. The antennas on the 2.4GHz receivers must be properly oriented 90 degrees to each other. Don't try to use a small receiver intended for Park Flyers on a six pounder.

            Don't skimp on your receiver battery. When I started the hobby with my 72MHz radio, a 600 MAh NICAD battery was just fine. The 2.4GHz receivers need a minimum or 3.8 Volts. My Spektrum DX-7 instruction manual states: "Do not fly below 9.0V on the transmitter or below 4.7V on the receiver. To do so can crash your aircraft." Many flyers advocate NIMH batteries of 1100 MAh capacity and even 5-cell 6 Volt instead of the old 4-cell.

            If you look at the guys who fly the big planes, the name of the game is redundancy. Their airplanes have multiple receivers, multiple batteries, and even voltage regulators to protect their investment.

            Now certainly the smaller nitro and electric airplanes most of us fly cannot carry that kind of weight and redundancy, but we can do voltage checks before or between flights to make sure our receiver battery has enough voltage.

            For more on the subject, see the excellent article:
Possible Receiver Battery-Pack Problems,
Model Aviation, April 2010, page 9.

            "Happy Flying"


           Bill Duncan


            Safety Coordinator

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