Many people have a misconception that a radio-controlled helicopter is nothing more than an expensive toy that is fun to fly. While RC helicopters are fun to fly, there are far more than just a toy, and the failure to realize that when flying can result in serious injuries to yourself and others, and possibly even death.
Radio-controlled helicopters are extremely powerful machines. Even a mini electric heli packs a powerful punch that can cause injury to a person if they are hit by one. Larger size gas, nitro, and turbine helicopters can cause severe lacerations and break bones. A person hit by one of these helicopters in a sensitive spot, such as in the head or a major artery, can even be killed.
Due to the powerful nature of these machines, it is of the utmost importance that heli flyers always practice the highest level of safety when flying. You often see videos posted on the Internet of people flying their helicopters indoors or performing insane stunts in highly populated areas. These are things that a responsible RC helicopter pilot should never do under any circumstances, due to the high level of risk it involves.
There are certain safety measures that should always be considered whenever you start your radio-controlled helicopter. When flying your RC helicopter, you should always follow these guidelines:
Take off and land at a safe distance, at least 10-20 feet away from you.
- Do not fly your helicopter close to other people.
- Do not fly your helicopter near power lines, trees, buildings, or vehicles.
- Do not fly in weather conditions that are beyond your skill level.
- Do not fly by yourself. Always have someone available to help you in case you are injured.
- Always have a cell phone handy, in case an emergency occurs.
- Do not fly indoors.
- Do not let those who are inexperienced (such as young children) fly your helicopter.
When it comes to radio-controlled helicopters, there are other safety concerns that you must consider as well that have nothing to do with flying your helicopter. Primarily, you should ensure that you have proper storage facilities for items such as batteries and fuel that your helicopter requires.
If you use lithium polymer batteries in your RC helicopter, you should make sure that you have safe storage for them when they are not in use. These types of batteries have the potential to be quite volatile, and if not stored properly can cause damage should they explode. To ensure the highest level of safety, you should store your batteries in a fireproof container away from anything flammable. Whatever you do, make sure to never, ever keep your battery in your helicopter if you are not flying it. A battery pack can be replaced quite easily. But if it catches fire in your heli, the entire thing can go up in smoke costing you a fortune!
If your RC helicopter runs on the fuel of any kind, you should of course also take precautions when storing your fuel. Do not store your fuel in areas where any sparks may occur, such as near a furnace or hot water heater. Furthermore, do not store your fuel near any appliances that produce heat or open flames. For the highest level of safety, you should store any fuel in a cool, shaded location, away from direct sunlight and open flame, as well as out of the reach of children.
Flying RC helicopters is definitely fun and exciting. But it is a hobby that should not be taken lightly. Radio-controlled helicopters are powerful machines that need to be taken seriously. They are not toys, and they can seriously hurt you if they are considered that way. However, just by following a few simple safety guidelines, you can have a great deal of fun with very little risk of danger.
by Donny Vredenburgh