Model kills man in Houston - RC Groups
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Nov 03, 2003, 11:31 PM
Registered User
ptglass's Avatar

Model kills man in Houston

I know that this doesn't really belong in this forum, however, I think that it is important to remind all modelers that there is some inherent danger in what we do (much more so than we often consider). It was a horrible tragedy and although we belong to a different segment of modeling than he, he was our brother and we need to feel compassion for him and his family. Also, it is important to note that this horrible accident happened in a public park in Houston, TX. The park was a desigated flying site set aside by the city. This kind of accident could impact us when we ask to fly our planes in a public park. Park supervisors are always very concerned about someone being injured in their park, much less killed, by a model aircraft. I was able to persuade my city park to allow me to fly hand launch gliders, but they absolutely forbade me to fly anything with a rotating propeller on it. Here is what happened:

Houston man killed by model helicopter
12:09 PM CST on Monday, November 3, 2003

HOUSTON -- A bizarre accident with a model helicopter killed a Houston man Sunday afternoon. The victim was watching the radio-controlled aircraft at Tom Bass Park in southwest Harris County.

The helicopter that killed the victim is fuel-powered and radio-controlled. "They can get up to some pretty high speeds," said Sgt. Hudson with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Traffic was grounded after the accident as sheriff's investigators tried to figure out what happened to cause the death of 41-year-old Ronald Kyle of southwest Houston. "He was going through some flight maneuvers with the helicopter and he turned the controls over to the student and the helicopter got away from him," said Hudson.

(Name Removed) was an instructor. The student, who police did not identify, owns the model involved in the incident. Some children were reportedly in the park when the accident happened and may have seen it. Its 2-inch wide blades are made of fiberglass, but the engine spins with enough power to make them dangerous -- especially if the craft gets out of control -- which appeared to be the case Sunday. "Came back toward the two individuals and the helicopter struck the deseased in the throat area," said Hudson.

The impact of the crash killed (Name Removed) almost immediately. He was partially decapitated.

Investigators say the student operating the helicopter had been in one of this areas ten chapters of the Academy of Model Aeronautics for about nine months. That organization has more than 170,000 members nationwide.

We are told the student was working toward a flight certification -- but had yet to complete it. There are designated areas for flying and for watching at the park. Both men were in the operations area at the time.

I Have removed the name just as in other posts out of respect for the family. I am locking this thread up as I should be in Open and not cross posted in every Forum!.

Fred Bronk
Last edited by Fred Bronk; Nov 04, 2003 at 01:32 AM.
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Nov 04, 2003, 12:08 AM
Tee Sqaured
Thomas Manson's Avatar
This truely very sad. Accedents like this can happen in a flash and it's very sad that it took a life...

My condolences to his faimly and friends...

Nov 04, 2003, 12:34 AM
Around the World
cadconversions's Avatar
Very sad but a very good reminder to those that get careless with their flying. Although these accidents are rare, any accidents and deaths are one too many, but there are inherient risk involved with all activities including R/C. Everyone please be careful...
Nov 04, 2003, 12:34 AM
Master of the Wind
AIR MOVER's Avatar
Horrible ! if a gasser can do this what about the highpowered electric ones.. carbon blades, wood or plastic.. wonder if he was useing a buddy box. and if he wasnt .. maybe that should be a rule for training. Poor man Godbless him and his family..
Nov 04, 2003, 01:00 AM
Registered User
ptglass's Avatar
He wasn't using a buddy box. He had just handed the transmitter over to the student. The student started losing control - it nosed down and headed for both of them - the student jumped out of the way, but the instructor was too late. I'm sure it happened extremely fast. The student's wife and child witnessed the accident. The wife was a nurse and administered first aid, but it was hopeless due to both the jugular vein and carotid artery being completely severed. The accident scene must have been truly horrible. The poor child is being treated by a psycholgist.
Nov 04, 2003, 01:09 AM
Balsa Builder
Paul Susbauer's Avatar
This probably isn't the thread to debate this, but typically with heli's buddy boxes aren't really used when first learning due to the fact that you're hovering low and there isn't time to take control and recover.

There is a large thread over at RunRyder if you gentlemen feel so compelled, and I believe a trust fund has been set up to help the deceased's family.

Fly safely, fly further out, and don't turn your back.

Nov 04, 2003, 01:16 AM
Registered User
It is very sad to hear this....

Allthough, flying a gasser heli as a beginner, i would never ever fly with someone around me!

When i started flying heli, i just quit when people showed up, even only flying on the designated club flying field...

Man, this should not have happened! I feel for all of the people involved, this must be a horrible feeling, hard to cope with!

Hope these accident keep beeing rare.....

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