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Pilot box

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Old 03-15-2013, 11:56 PM
  #1
ross.felix
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Default Pilot box

Hi all,

I was not sure where I should post my question, this is a question from down under and may not be under the AMA but MAAA in Australia.
At our club a number of members feel it important to have a pilot box that has a fence of some description. This is not to big a problem and it does have some safety merit however the arguing about its design is a nightmare!

We have a paved area for pilots to stand when flying. They now want to build a fence around the area

My question is do many clubs in the US have a fenced pilot box.?

Do more people get hurt in the pits or on the flight line?

I must admit I would rather just stand on the grass.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:17 AM
  #2
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: ross.felix

Hi all,

I was not sure where I should post my question, this is a question from down under and may not be under the AMA but MAAA in Australia.
At our club a number of members feel it important to have a pilot box that has a fence of some description. This is not to big a problem and it does have some safety merit however the arguing about its design is a nightmare!

We have a paved area for pilots to stand when flying. They now want to build a fence around the area

My question is do many clubs in the US have a fenced pilot box.?

Do more people get hurt in the pits or on the flight line?

I must admit I would rather just stand on the grass.

Thanks in advance.
Here in the US, you'll find that most clubs do have some sort of "safety" fencing in front of, or around the pilots stations.
How they are designed and constructed is left up to the mentality of "those in charge", and may consist of everything from portable
PVC piping frames wrapped in plastic netting (like our club), to full on chain link wraparound affairs to protect the pilot from 3 sides.
Of course, most of them I've seen are only 2.5 to maybe 3 feet tall, and other than keeping errant take-offs and landings from distracting pilots,
they obviously do little to protect from high speed falling objects.

I would hazard to guess that by far, most injuries occur in the pits.

I've noticed at our club, if only one or two pilots are flying, we tend to stand at the outside corners of the fences.
But they do make the safety officers feel better.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:02 AM
  #3
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Default RE: Pilot box


Quote:
ORIGINAL: ross.felix

Hi all,

I was not sure where I should post my question, this is a question from down under and may not be under the AMA but MAAA in Australia.
At our club a number of members feel it important to have a pilot box that has a fence of some description. This is not to big a problem and it does have some safety merit however the arguing about its design is a nightmare!

We have a paved area for pilots to stand when flying. They now want to build a fence around the area

My question is do many clubs in the US have a fenced pilot box.?

Do more people get hurt in the pits or on the flight line?

I must admit I would rather just stand on the grass.

Thanks in advance.

Take a look at these:

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:13 AM
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Default RE: Pilot box

Yes, we have a 3' high chain link fence in front of the pilot stations. No, we've never had anyone injured while on the flight line (because all the errant airplanes that would've injured someone were stopped by the chain link fence)
We've had numerous airplanes, to many to count, take a hard turn on throttle up, or landing and end up in the chain link in front of the pilot stations, we have one fence pole, set in asphalt, that's loose because it's been hit so many times and we've never had anyone injured while on the flight line. Saw a 140", twin engined powerd giant scale airplane flown by a very experienced scale competitor kept from coming into the pits and spectator area at the Scale Masters qualifier at Phoenix 3 weekends ago by chain link in front of the pilots stations.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:45 PM
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Hoss-I am happy to see the young lady in the first picture is teaching you how to fly finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!









Actually-this is what it is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:39 PM
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double post
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:49 PM
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Default RE: Pilot box

I have mixed feelings about the fence. Back when I started flying RC we didn't have the fence. And I enjoyed being able to move around a bit. Like walk out to the side of the runway to take off or land. In all my days back then I never saw anyone get hit by a plane. In the pits, when someone was starting a glow engine, they had hold of the plane. We would start the engine with the plane facing toward the runway. Then we would taxi the plane to the runway, lineup into the wind and take off. Now days with electrics, it's really easy for someone to connect a battery with the motor and the motor come alive and eat someone up.

I don't dislike the fence, but just have mixed feelings for it. Maybe if we had a steel pipe frame chain link fence, I could at least lean on it while I was flying.

Back when I was young, we would take a chaise lounge chair out to the side of the run way. We would just lay back and let our glider or old timer just float around while we sipped Iced tea (beer).

Those were the days!!

Frank
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:46 AM
  #8
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Default RE: Pilot box

I can see the merit of an ankle catcher style fence to prevent getting smacked by an errant takeoff or landing.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:02 AM
  #9
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: PLANE JIM

Hoss-I am happy to see the young lady in the first picture is teaching you how to fly finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually-this is what it is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Jim! However she had a BIGGG Job trying to teach me how to fly. She must have given up on me as she never showed up again. So Sad!
(It was one of those Kid's Days things.)
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:05 AM
  #10
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[8D] Any of you who use 2.4 GHZ and fly from behind a chain link fence take heed ;

If the fence gets between the line of sight of the TX's antenna to the receiver's , a possible loss of control could result !

At the club field where I fly my engine powered stuff , just such an incident did happen . Several folks , in fact , had similar control issues at different times but only one resulted in a crash . (And no , it wasn't only Spektrum , one Futaba 2.4 user experienced it as well ) . We found that by putting a plane some distance away during a range check that all was good till the TX was brought behind the fence and then radio contact with the model was lost . The simple solution is to just hold the TX up high enough to not let the fence be between it and the model , but if no one knows there could be a problem it's usually too late by the time it's figured out by the poor guy yellin "I ain't got it!!". Our fence is about waist high so no problem with keeping the TX up high enough , now that it's known to us to be an issue . How do folks who fly from behind taller fences deal with this I wonder ? Our fence may be a bit better of an RF shield because our field is VERY marshy land and the soil is always really damp . Maybe drier climates aren't quite as affected ?
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:43 AM
  #11
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Default RE: Pilot box

Some other options to consider.

As posted above try to leave a way out of what ever type of barrier you use. The controlling types in our club wanted a true 3-foot high plastic fence box all the way around each pilot station. When someone pointed out that it would be dificult to get out of if a plane was coming at you they didn't feel that would ever happen. Then the biggest controller of the crowd had knee surgery and all of a sudden an open side was a good idea. From four individual boxes the protection evolved into one long fence infront of the four pilot stations. There is a second shorter fence that protects the inner two pilot stations from possible run-aways in the pitts. But in ten years that has never actually been needed to catch a plane coming the wrong way. Our club fence is only meant to stop an errant landing plane. It is made of landscaping logs and tennis netting . It has stopped 20 pound quarter scale birds from hitting the pilot stations.

Also our runway is 250 feet long. One other policy that helps is to start your takeoff roll at mid runway. That way when the airplane is up to any considerable speed it is already passed the last pilot station and no longer a threat to the other pilots. Image of the field may be found here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

or Lat Lon search at 35.54865, -97.589608
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:22 AM
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Default RE: Pilot box

we fly behind some bales of hay...
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: BarracudaHockey

I can see the merit of an ankle catcher style fence to prevent getting smacked by an errant takeoff or landing.
That's why we built our safety fences a few years ago...just to prevent getting hit from the waist down by errant planes either in front of the pilot, or behind. The fences in no way obstruct view. If an errant plane is higher than waist level, the fence gives pilots a place to duck while hopefully still maintaining control of their plane. I have had to duck a few times, and nothing ever hit that close to me, but it was a welcome barrier to protect me. The fence has indeed been hit a handful of times that I can remember. We have the steel pipe frames and orange plastic mesh...I have repaired several breaks in the fence caused by planes with engines running and props spinning. Several members left the club when we first put the safety fences up, just because they could not or would not see the benefit in it, and they were negative old dogs that liked to control the club. Our club has been safer and happier with the safety fences and without those coots.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:46 AM
  #14
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Default RE: Pilot box

We got rid of the fence like some clubs use. We went with much taller grass in the width of 6 feet or so. I am not sure why thi was done but it works great.

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Old 04-02-2013, 10:37 AM
  #15
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Default RE: Pilot box


Quote:
ORIGINAL: s3nfo

Yes, we have a 3' high chain link fence in front of the pilot stations. No, we've never had anyone injured while on the flight line (because all the errant airplanes that would've injured someone were stopped by the chain link fence)
Same here... I don't know how many take off and landing tragedies I've seen our chain link fence prevent.

Since our club holds a few public events, having barrier fences ( they do not form a box of any sort ) adds to the safety.

Members get into the habit of shouting their intent of walking onto the field whenever they will cross the fence line.

Expatriate members from other clubs, not used to this, have been problematic, particularly from those clubs that have no established flight-line.

They are used to wandering all over their field, and we have to remind them to stay behind the fence line except when retrieving a plane.

We've had a couple storm off in a huff because they deemed it "to restrictive"... sheez.



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Old 04-09-2013, 08:52 AM
  #16
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Default RE: Pilot box


[quote]ORIGINAL: opjose


Quote:
ORIGINAL: s3nfo

...Members get into the habit of shouting their intent of walking onto the field whenever they will cross the fence line.

Expatriate members from other clubs, not used to this, have been problematic, particularly from those clubs that have no established flight-line.

They are used to wandering all over their field, and we have to remind them to stay behind the fence line except when retrieving a plane.

We've had a couple storm off in a huff because they deemed it ''to restrictive''... sheez

EVERYONE who flys at our field gets a printed copy of our one-page safety rules which includes the need to call out "on the field" or "Clear, off the field" if you go past the safety line. They have to read and sign that they understand the simple, short, common sence guidelines.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:37 AM
  #17
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Default RE: Pilot box

Do I have this straight?

First, you make everyone stand half-way down the runway.

Then, you find that you need to build a wall around them, to protect them from errant models?

This new science of Health-and-Safety is truly remarkable.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:05 PM
  #18
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: bogbeagle

Do I have this straight?

First, you make everyone stand half-way down the runway.

Then, you find that you need to build a wall around them, to protect them from errant models?

This new science of Health-and-Safety is truly remarkable.
bogbeagle, usually there are many ways to make a pie or even a sandwich, or a good beer. As one who always had some method of protection while flying an RC, I fully agree with all that have some form of flight-line protection. Pictures are in my post above.
Kind of like if I came to your country (I've been there) I would have a difficult time to adjust to driving on the wrong side of the road, OOPS! That would be YOUR right side of the road or should I use the term "correct side" as for you. .

At most fields that I attend an event here in USA, the flight stations are generally in the center area of the runway, and one has plenty room to start in that area and land in that area. It works well. If I were in your country, I would adjust to YOUR method or definitely refrain from doing anything that would be upsetting to you and yours. So hang in there and come see us. We can find room for you!

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Old 04-11-2013, 02:44 AM
  #19
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Default RE: Pilot box

Well said Hoss. The so called pilot station has always been a study for me. Alright, flying fields and how they are set up is a study. Of the four clubs in my area two have some sort of pilot protection and the other two have pads marking a spot. One has a very elaborate fence barrier, one has a simple fence and the other two nothing. Does any of this make any difference? I don't know. Like so many other things about this sport/hobby it gives us something to talk about. Enjoyed the pictures and your explanation.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:52 AM
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I should have gave some dimensions. Our runway is also 250' long, all grass. The runway is about 50' wide, with another 8' or so of taller grass between the runway edge and our safety fence. The fences is about 150' long with big breaks in the ends and a 7' break in the middle for ingress and egress to the runway. Besides that fence, we have sections of fence BEHIND six areas intended for the pilot boxes. Each section is about 8' long, same height as front fence. These short sections help define the pilot boxes and more importantly help protect the backs of the pilots from runaway planes in the pit area where most engines start up. These six areas are scattered from one end of the long fence to the other, so pilots can choose their most comfortable spot to fly from. While we have six so-called pilot boxes, we only allow 4 planes in the air maximum. Rarely does that occur. Most guys like to take turns, which is okay for our small club of 50-60 members, of which maybe 25% fly regularly. Also, some guys don't like piloting from "inside" a box, and we let them stand anywhere behind the front fence, but never can they stand in front of the front fence unless they are totally alone at the field. The rules are real simple and pretty flexible and just designed to help us all stay SAFE. Jon
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:00 AM
  #21
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Default RE: Pilot box

Late to this discussion, but let me chime in.

My club did not have safety fences from the late 1960s untill around the early 1990s.
Between the mid 1970s and the early 1990s, I was actually hit by models twice while flying at the unprotected pilot stations. One was a Q500 and one was a .40 size sport low wing model. Once in the shins near my ankles and once in the knees. Luckily it was a wing strike in both cases and not a prop strike.

One model was airborne and knocked me to the ground. Was able roll with the impact and keep my tx in hand as I fell. Was able to reacquire my model and keep flying while laying down...

The other model was an out of control landing and hit hard enough to hurt near my ankles, but not hard enough to knock me down. I was flying then as well.

Never been hit while in a fenced flight station.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:53 PM
  #22
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: Thomas B
Never been hit while in a fenced flight station.
I'll see what I can do next time we're flying together.
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