AMA Summary of Model-Full Scale Bipe Collision [VIDEO]

On August 14, 2010, a 43% AJ Slick collided with a full-scale biplane over a private air strip near Denver, Colorado, marking the start of numerous finger-pointing online forum discussions. A number of clips surfaced on, including a very detailed and clear video of the point of impact and immediate aftermath.

As most modelers and pilots expected, both, the AMA and FAA began investigating immediately. While the FAA is yet to realease an official report, the AMA has published their findings via the AMA Today monthly newsletter. In it, Rich Hanson explains the events and decisions leading to the mishap. Apparently the event coordinators decided to allow full-scale and model aircraft activities to resume at the same time, guided by a man with a transceiver communicating with the biplane pilot in the air and verbally with the model pilot on the ground.

As the biplane returned from another event, it came in for a low pass and went around the traffic pattern to land. The RC pilot resumed flying over the runway in a 3D hover. As the biplane came around, the pilot decided to abort the landing and make a second low-pass without informing the person with the transceiver. Since nobody knew this guy’s intentions, the RC plane continued to hover at the end of the runway at about 30-50 feet high. By the time the biplane’s pilot saw the RC model, it was too late and it split the $8000 model in half with its lower left wing, causing minor damage to his airplane and landing safely.

No one was injured but the irresponsibility shown by the FAA-certified pilot caused some guy a very expensive model and lots of hours of work. Being granted that this event wasn’t sanctioned or the lack of a spotter on the ground, this has to be blamed on not a single individual but a few bad decisions by a group of people. Lesson learned. Read the summary and make your own deductions.


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