A mistake that a lot of people make in this hobby, is they think of what we do as "flying or driving TOYS". I'm here to tell you, these things are NOT toys! Maybe the little bitty 3ch coax heli's that you can get in the mall are toys, but anything from an mCP-X to an 800 Trekker can and have been proven to be lethal. The same goes with planes. I have seen quite a few people with massive scars or missing fingers because they got their hand or arm in the prop. I have seen pictures of what can happen when something goes wrong on a helicopter, and lets just say, it's not pretty.
If you think about it, no matter if you are flying an airplane or a helicopter, they are flying lawn mowers in the air. I bet you never even get your hand close to that spinning blade on your mower, do you? Well a heli or a plane is no different. You have a blade, or blades, and this time, there is no shroud with the classic picture right above it.
So the dangers of this hobby brings me to the point of this article. Pre Flight Inspections!
Before you fly, be it a helicopter or an airplane, you MUST do a pre flight inspection of ALL items on that aircraft. I had slacked off for quite a while and didn't do any of my inspections on any of my aircraft. This almost cost me dearly. My 50" Edge 540T had a battery tray that was coming loose. If I hadn't have seen this before taking off, I would have done a snap roll and the battery would have flung about the fuselage. If it stayed plugged in, my CoG would have been shifted WAY to the rear, making the plane all but impossible to bring back down in a controlled manner. If the battery would have come unplugged, then all you can do is just sit there and watch it slam it's self into the ground and hope like hell you don't hit anyone or anything.
The very next day, I decided to toss my 450 in the air that I had just flashed to V4.0. It needed a test flight to verify the settings and see if it was stable on the ground. The day before, as stated, I had flown this heli and it just felt off and I landed it after a very short flight. Upon taking off, even with the new firmware in the gyro, it still felt off to me. Even though I was oblivious to the issue that this heli had.
Again, it was a short flight testing it out, and I started to walk inside to post my findings. As I was walking, I had the heli by the head block, and I felt it moving and I walked. Thinking the crap Corona servos were to blame, I held it up and started to wiggle the blade grips. It was not my servos (even though there is a lot of play in them). The swash ball that connects to the DFC link arms had started backing out. Once inside, I found out that there was only about 1.5 turns left and it would have fell out. If I had done anything with hard collective or cyclic, this could have ended in tragedy.
Between my planes having issues, my heli almost taking me or my cars out, and the horrific tragedy that happened in New York, it is a MUST that you do your pre flight inspections! I will bet money the heli that killed the guy in New York had a flaw that most people would have over looked if it had not been for a pre flight inspection. I"m sure this guy did a pre flight inspection, but over looked this one little flaw. Be it a cracked link end, or like me, a swash ball that was coming out.
Please, every time you get ready to fly, sit the aircraft on a bench or table, and physically touch every part of that aircraft. wiggle the blades, wiggle the swash, check the tail, pull on the battery, wiggle the wings, check all control surfaces and make sure you don't have a broke hinge. Once YOU feel safe that this aircraft is not going to fall uncontrollably out of the sky, then go out and have a blast.
And when you are done flying, you are done trying to rip the blades or the wings off the aircraft, check it over as you are pulling out the battery and shutting it down. These things are not toys, they are machines. And they have proven to be just as deadly as a machine in the last couple weeks.
Stay safe and have fun. That is the name of the game!
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