Model Plane Crash Kills Two In Hungary - Page 2 - RC Groups
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May 14, 2006, 09:27 PM
Use the Force!
LBMiller5's Avatar

Similar Incident that I Witnessed!

About 10 years ago, I was invited to fly in the Costa Rica Fly In that is held each year in that country. I am not sure if the the RC situation is the same now as it was then, but things were a little "Loose" at this show.

At that time, there was only 1 RC club and 1 hobby shop in the whole country! The RC club was on the property of the Country Club in Costa Rica, so to be a member of the RC club, you first had to be a member of the Country Club. That's right! And the initiation fee to join the Country Club was $3,500.00. Yep, $3,500.00! Then there were yearly dues on top of that of around $500.00. And remember, that was 10 years ago.

At any rate, I flew in the event along with a few dozen other pilots that came from the US, as well as a couple dozen club members. There was a combat competition with .40 size planes, scale models, Formula 1 pylon demonstrations and general sport flying. Don Lowe, who at the time was the President of the AMA, was there and just cringed at the set-up of the field.

The field had a paved runway about 300 feet long and 20 feet wide if I remember right. The flight line was set up about 50 feet away from the edge of the runway with the pit area on the runway side of the flight line. This put the pits about 30 feet from the runway. There was another flight line about 100 feet away from the opposite side of the runway with spectators lined up on both flightlines. To top it all off, there was a "VIP Tent" that was about 20x40 feet set up in front of the pits to give the dignataries and honered guests a "Front Row Seat". That's right, the front edge of the tent was about 20 feet from the edge of the runway, right at show center. To get a picture of what I am talking about, here is a diagram that shows the field layout.

This is a very big event in Costa Rica, and ther were probably around 3000 spectators spread out on both sides of the field. During the Combat Competition, the flight took place directly over the spectator area on the far side of the field. Nobody there seemed to care, or be concerned about safety much at all. Poor Don Lowe could be seen just shaking his head and muttering under his breath, since the AMA had no jurisdiction there, and there was nothing he could say or do.

The one thing that they did have was an ambulance and an EMT team standing by in case something happened. It is a good thing they were there! About 2/3 of the way into the day of flying, a pilot from somewhere in South America was flying a .60 size Sig King Kobra during the general flying part of the show. I could tell that he was a relatively new flyer by the way he flew, and probably should not have been flying in an event like this, but none-the-less, he was flying. I was on deck to fly next during his flight, and I was standing in the location noted by the "X" on the map above. I was about 15-20 feet to the right of the VIP tent, just about even with the front edge.

The pilot of the King Kobra was coming in for a landing, and his alignment on the runway was not right, and he was coming in very hot. He tried to land, hit the runway hard, bounced up and started heading towards the VIP tent. Instead of doing what a seasoned show pilot would do, feed in full down elevator and bury the plane to save the spectators, he went to full throttle and tried to go around. The plane missed hitting me by about 2-3 feet. I could have reached out and touched the wing as it went by me about 4 feet off the ground. The plane went right into the VIP tent about 4 feet off the ground. The man that was sitting in the corner seat turned and tried to jump out of the way, but the plane hit him right in the back. Fortunately, the left wing of the plane hit the corner tent pole and sheared off the wing dissipating most of the plane's inertia before it hit the man, but the engine was running full throttle when it hit. The prop wrapped up in the mans shirt and the engine quit, but he sustained 4-5 lacerations to his back and one hell of a bruise where the spinner hit.

The EMT team sprang to action and was attending to the man within 20 seconds of the incident. Fortunately the lacerations were not very deep, and did not require any stitches. The EMT's put some butterfly bandages on his back and wrapped him up and he continued to watch the show after shouting some choice words at the pilot of the plane.

He was very, very lucky, and it could have been a lot worse. If it had happened here, I am sure an injury lawsuit would have resulted and possible loss of a flying field.

We take safety a little for granted over here, but in many foreign countries, they have sort of a "Wild West" mentality when it comes to safety. Lessons learned are the stark reality that as RC pilots, many times our flying creations can do great bodily harm if they are not handled properly, and need to be treated with the utmost of respect at all times!

Be Safe!

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May 15, 2006, 01:42 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by treehog

rechecking the mti hungarian news site and this headline is there
but you need to be registered to read it

Killer model plane's German flyer taken into custody
5/14 16:28

Cant say that is good for that German modeler but is what tends to be the process in Europe when there is an accident from cars to boats to planes
This is SCARY.
May 15, 2006, 02:46 AM
Given up counting
alexeames's Avatar
Originally Posted by manse
This is SCARY.
And not entirely true either. In most of Europe where there is a fatal accident and no grounds for suspicion, the police will release the driver after questioning. Sure, if you've been drinking or something, you'll get arrested.

However, in Hungary we have an former Soviet state that is still transitioning and still has a lot of 'old-thinking' in government (so I've read).

But I bet pilots will think twice about accepting invitations to hungary to fly now. It's a pity. I bet he felt immense pressure to fly even though he may have thought the safety situation wasn't great.
May 15, 2006, 03:57 AM
Tally Ho!
kusunokimasahige's Avatar
Sad to hear about that accident but even with this news, model flying is as safe as you make it yourself.

follow the safety guidelines also imposed on regular air shows, and always abide the rule to never fly towards the public.

i was expecting more accidents to have happened, also with jets...... which are totally lethal.

maybe an idea for a new thread on this forum? model flight safety and accidents...?

lets start one!

May 15, 2006, 04:47 AM
Registered User

that this is news shows how save it really is

With all respect but if the people woeld have died in there cars on the way to or from the airshow it would not have been the big news as its now.

But lets make shure it stays as save as it is.
May 15, 2006, 05:43 AM
UN Earth peoples true enemy
treehog's Avatar

Accident procedures for non nationals all over Europe are very differnt

Accident procedures for non nationals all over Europe are very differnt along with laws and attidues to non nationals and lots discover this the hard way when thier car is involved in a collision where people are hurt or property is reclaim costs have to be organized

But as a rough rule most Europe law is totaly different to Uk and foregien nationals are in a bad situation in that they do not have a perminant address in that country tourists seldom do
which in most EU countries is an offence in itself
and to have been instumentaly involved in a serious accident without said permenant address will be subject to being held in the local jails as that will be thier address until that issue is resolved
this type of legal logic applies heavly in France followed by Belguim Italy Spain And reallly good at enforcing this is Germany and most of all Greece

With that logic we should,nt drive by car to any other EU country as we would be in a legal status vagrants and not as we presume tourists
so now you know what angle the cops are coming fom you dont pay thier wages only the local resident do

But thats where Embassies step in and help sort things out and usualy get the address issue changed to C/O embassy or some such solution accept in some counties that takes hours and others like Greece have been known to take weeks or months and if your in dought check out what happens if your rear ended in Athens
you go to jail until you pay up
or what happens to the forgien motor cyclist who Insurance papers are not in spanish verson in Spain they impond your bike at 100 per day
and it takes weeks to get papers made into spanish police acceptable papers and forget it in spain if you crash you car and people get hurt
so we dont even have to go to Hungry to get problems

Germany and Hungry have a special relationship from Austria Hungarian empire days that still old reminants remains in thier respective laws and so I suspect the process wont be too long some hours to days with some luck and a requirement to return to court case at some date in the future or some speeded up trial hearing depending on Hungrys laws but its probably better not to be a Mexican modeller in this type of situation

Other sports such as rally cars tours have special legal teams to help smooth out these types of problems where events go pan Europen and and as such where accident freqently happen and spectators are still regretably killed or injured and property damaged but they have accrued a lot of experience in reducing the risks reducing thier accident rate and reducing the legal nightmare issues that can result

Other sports such as Golf have had to have tunnels built to cover the high ways and special fences erected to protect nearby walkways

Safety and legal issues are always in transition and last years acceptable safety is next years no no

We may find that at model expositions acceptable distance for spectators from runway will vary a lot from country to country mayby Germany has 100 metre rule and Hungry has 25 metre rule I dont know as I dont organize events

As events go more Pan european we will need a code of best practices for events where general public are to be spectators and code where flying modellers and family friends in tow are the particapants but I would hate to see the drastic solution acro world championship 2003 did in Ireland where only competitors were allowed on field as this removes valuable publicity possibilities and will if copied probably kill the sport as every sport needs to attract new commers and supply some high profile events to publice thier sport as in to witness the BULL drink world acro planes events where real acro planes fly under briges skimmiming along the river at 300 mph in major city centres of Hungry or Holland

But there is for sure one rule we cant elemate all accidents but there probably is a few basic rules which will reduce risks a lot

I would not believe a Thread on the issue would be a pratical solution

I figure a seperate forum section such as in Model event Safety would be best where stickys of AMA and FFAM and similar organizations such as last years organizer event xxxx write up on incidents close calls and lessons learnt (the airline industry figures close call incident ratio is best guide line on probabilty of accident in future)
and could mayby update the event organizers latest best practice rule so as not to get lost in a sea of conflicting suggestions half baked ideas and sometimes comply wrong info

At the moment world wide every year we have hundreds of modeling events in lots of countries and remarkably few accidents where death or injuries occour compared to other sports of high risk but that the myth that that slow scale biplane is less risky than the high speed jet dosn,t apply and even the high wing 40 trainer fuse in free flight without its wing when the rubber bands snapped is a 100mph plus out of control missile that has enermous potensial to cause a serious accident if it falls onto people in the area

May 15, 2006, 05:57 AM
Tally Ho!
kusunokimasahige's Avatar
true Ralf, we have the same here in the Netherlands on our largest model forum, there the KNVVL and RLD also talk about safety and law.......

hopefully someone on the forum can start a separate section.

May 15, 2006, 06:40 AM
Registered User
Like others who have written I'd have to offer my condolences to the family.
Without getting into the argument over what will or can do the most damage we aeromodellers should always stop every so often and take stock of both where we are going and what we are doing and what the consequences could be. In my 50+ years of participating I've seen modelling go from the point where a motor of 10cc was "big" to where 100, 200 or 300cc can and are being flown. Where 6 to 7 pounds was big to 100 pounds not being uncommon. I recently noticed that the latest Plettenberg Predator electric outrunner is 11 kilowatts and can swing a 30 X 10 prop.
Now I'm not criticising any one of these things but the obvious sometimes has to be stated. First, no matter what sytems are being employed we all rely on that most tenuous of connections a radio link. This can be subject to interference, no matter what the frequency, or it can fail due to some other circumstance.
Next, there is the human factor. Both at the point of building and in the flying. If human errors did not occur full size aircraft would not crash, nor would formula one racing cars or space shuttles. I cite these because hundreds of thousands of man hours go into their care, maintenance and preparation. In piloting I've been present when an experienced model flyer suffered a minor (fortunately) heart attack which resulted in the total loss of his aircraft but without harm to anyone or anything. I've also shared (not for long) fields with those who think it macho to fly like idiots.
I'm sorry if I sound hard hearted or a kill-joy but as model sizes, weights and power increase so then, proportionately, will the damage or injury caused when the occasional but inevitable crash occurs.
At times we all think ourselves immune but I've written off my share of models very fortunately without harming anyone but quite enough to let me know that whether it's our (my) fault or nothing more than sheer bad luck the worst can happen.
Does anyone recall the crash of the Italian Freccia Tricolore team not so many years back or the two Sukhois? These things are never far away and over time we've probably got away with more than we should.
May 15, 2006, 07:15 AM
Given up counting
alexeames's Avatar
Originally Posted by treehog
Safety and legal issues are always in transition and last years acceptable safety is next years no no
In the past, you had to have a special paper as a bail bond in order to drive in Spain. Now you don't. Things have changed. Believe me over here they preach the gospel of fear. If there was a problem for Brits driving through Europe, we'd have been told about it. Thousands of people from UK drive to continental Europe every year. I know there used to be such problems in Spain, but as far as I am aware it's no longer the case.

Treehog, I sincerely hope your info is out of date. I'm not saying it is - I don't know. If you are right, then I agree with the person who posted "that's scary".

Of course we can expect the situation in Hungary to be a bit behind as it's only been in the EU for a couple of years.
May 15, 2006, 08:43 AM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
At our Club E-Fly Saturday we had an incident (no one hurt) with a Micro-Jet. This plane was flying very well and very fast off a nice bungee launch ( my son was flying my MJ ) . Anyway he flipped it on it's back for a low inverted fly-by (for one last pass before landing) and something bad happened and lost control .. In a 'blink' the plane blasted between two people in the pit area and dove into the back of a pickup. The only vehicle damage was a torn canopy screen as it smacked the side window and proceeded to disassemble itself. It was a 'loud' THUMP! Lipo was immediately found and removed to an open area (one cell was ripped open) .... Could have been much worst. As my son said, "why couldn't have the plane have turned away from the pit area" .... These foamie electrics can be just as dangerous ..... And luckly no one was hurt in this incident.... No really fast planes for us for awhile either ...

Sorry to here about the Crash that killed someone ..... Heart goes out to them....
May 15, 2006, 09:05 AM
Frequent Flyer
wattsup_kz's Avatar


This was on

Condolences to the family and friends of the victims.
May 15, 2006, 03:23 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
A very terrible tragedy for all involved and a sad event for the hobby.

I was trying to recall the other fatal acidents that I got to see stories on when I ws involved with SFA in the mid 1990s. If I remember correctly, the total in the US was around 9-10 at that point. I know of at least a couple since then. (the helicopter accident in Houston and the scale warbird pylon accident in Arizona.)

One of the pre mid 1990s fatal accidents was the infamous Flying Lawnmower accident that killed a spectator in Shea Staduim when an AMA airshow team was involved. Another was a semi famous TV personality (an R/Cer) that was killed when the horizontal tail failed during flight on an Andrews Aeromaster biplane being flwn by another modeler, as I recall...I think this accident was in the greater DC or NoVa area. I think one other fatality involved a Formula One racer in years gone by. The rest, I can't recall.

I have heard of at least a couple in the UK and I am sure there are more.

Our safety record has been very good to date, but we have had lots of luck as well.

Let's be careful out there.

and issues cross all model aviation boundaries, making it an appropriate subject for general discussion.
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May 15, 2006, 03:27 PM
Homo Modelicus
BaZsiX's Avatar
New information about this accident.

The police let out the modeller. He collapsed I think It wasn't his fault... He can't leave our country. The inspection will continueing for weeks. I think it will be a very long procedure, it is not a common accident (not in my country).

The model was a new designed Spitz S-12. Wingspan 2.7m and its weight was 20kg.

Experts thing it was an old TAXI CB radio which can cause this accident. The model was very close to the spectators (50m) when the modeller lost the control over the model. The spectators meanwhile think it is a maneuver.
May 15, 2006, 09:09 PM
UN Earth peoples true enemy
treehog's Avatar

This is not a good situation for any pilot from any country to face alone

This is not a good situation for any pilot from any country to face alone even with the help of the German Embassy

From my limited knowlege of the German system the Embassy might even present him with a large bill for their services as very very rarely is nothing is for nothing with the German system and so like many Germans he might have chosen not to use their services and go it alone as most Germans opt to do in France or Spain that I met if they get into a spot of trouble as the prefered solution

And most other Embassies in Europe seem to nowadays take a more hands off to inter European local events such as car accidents etc with a shrug and well Europe is one big country Like the USA now and learn to swim or you will sink and Embassies nowadays are really just there for trade and commerce reasons and your little car accident or similar problems are for your insurance companies to sort out and if they give you a jail sentence we got recipical agreements so you can serve your sentence in your own country

I have questioned a lot of the exhibitors at these events and it was interesting in that most all of them had very little or no support from any organization and they went to many events using their own funds and at at a few events there might be free glow fuel or petrol and free food free camping and but rarely is there full compensation for all the costs incurred
one or two Germans have better support but it rarer than hens teeth

Normally when the event is finished they go back home to their regular work and continue to build or practice fly planes to prepare for the next event

Tragic as this event is there is the issue that if the pilot was a rally driver in some Pan European event and and some spectators were injured or killed he would have the whole force major of the world rally organizations legal and Insurance machinery there to support him and probably extract him back to his home country sooner with a view that he could get back to regular work at home and if nessary return to give evidence at some future inquest or trial

If we are not to see a complete abandonment of these types of high octane show pilots for events outside their own immediate countries we will probably need a similar pan european and better pan world governing body to operate in a similar manner to other risky sports to sort out legal and domestic issue for the parties caught up in these type of situations

plus we really do need to get the ball rolling on better non interference proof radios and UAV and other safety equipment to be one step ahead of the safety issue so as not be caught on the wrong footed side of some unforeseen events

This could be helped by clubs banning realy wonky bang bang radios with fuel soaked twenty year old high wing 40 s still seen at clubs by the el cheapo brigade who premote cheap and unsafe practices and worse often pass this onto younger members as the best way to do the sport

If we fly models we need to make all pilots aware that we are in the guided missile buisness and and we need to have the safest equipment and often this means usualy every decade binning realy old clapped out gear and be saving it to fly in year 3006

And if any body thinks that the reverse would be better as in a european would be in a good situation in America if they committed the same accident at some event there think again as friends of mine have found out the hard way tourists are status legally vagrants in America and even minor offenses cause them short to long jail times with a people you don't want your mother to meet later often found innocent or no charges presented and then realeased or deported and forget Embassy even Germans Embassy might is squat with the USA so if your not in your own home country you might be in a dodgy position if you are involved in a serious event

So we now know the model pilots out there on the world circuit are over exposed to unnecessary extra problems as we do not in this hobby have a well organized system to help pilots out anywhere outside their own country of habitation

Hopefully the Germans French English Spanish and Italians with their larger clout on the model aviation scene in Europe can kick start a pan European insurance and support program if things go pear shaped to aid pilots flying in Europe in events competition or tourist fly ins and maybe latter at world events and then they could merge with world or other regional organizations to make a nearly totally pan world solution for all pilots from countries where modeling is still allowed( some countries aero-modelling or even kites are still banned )

Bottom dollar all aero-modelers share one thing we fly models and we need and admire the top end stuff to keep this sport going even if our funds cant reach there now or we will be at only one chioce to fly one day wonders $30 Wall Mart RTF foamies and if the top guys pull out because there isnt support for them when they need it be they are from Mexico to Norway we will reduce our public exposure to this high octane sport and probably see shrinking numbers and increasing prices for anything that isnt a one day wonders $30 wall mart RTF foamies

And over and above these imeadiate issues is any more similar events of this type in Europe at big events or even local park lands where public use also could risk the full force major of the euro goverment seriously ristricting the use of models

and if you dought this look what happened to the Rally Car world and golf they had far too many accidents and they got thier wing severly clipped and lost a lot of venues as a result and dramatically increased their costs because they didnt get thier act together fast eneogh

This incident alone could risk that we might next year be unable to get any Insurance for model plane events where public are there at a sensible price in most European countries
This has thrown the worst possible spotlight we could ever have done on the insurance companies who are very quick to increase thier premiums at the slightest hint that modellers are not operating to the highest levels of safety possible

May 15, 2006, 10:12 PM
Registered User
rcelectfly's Avatar
Other than help you with communication back home your embassy can only make sure that you are afforded the protection under the laws of the country you are in at the time. Even then you would be required to hire your own lawyer.

Many people who have been held and then released choose to sneak out of the country and go back home thus becoming a fugitive.

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