Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Best Time to Fly and Airfield Safety Tips

The airfield is nominally open from 7am to 7pm. Check weather before coming!

The best time to fly are when the temperatures are moderate, winds moderate, with sunny or overcast skies during the day. A glance at the field's windsock will instantly tell you when it is sufficiently calm to fly.

These conditions are most likely to occur early in the morning and late in the afternoon (2hrs after sunrise and 2+ hrs before sunset). In the afternoon, the sun is behind the backs of pilots at the main 'flight line', making for ideal visibility.

As a rule of thumb, small electric aircraft require near dead calm conditions (or indoors in an arena), while gas powered planes can tolerate winds up to 30mph or more with an experienced pilot. Jets can do even better!

On weekends with good weather and low winds, the airfield is most likely to be busy. That is a good time to come out and meet the club's most experienced pilots, who often fly on these weekends.

In the event of congestion, it is possible to separate those who fly electrics from others flying gas powered aircraft by using different parts of the airfield AS LONG AS EVERYONE VERIFIES THERE ARE NO FREQUENCY CONFLICTS.

Avoiding Frequency Conflicts

Frequency conflicts are when two or more pilots try to operate radios on the same frequency / channel. This may result in loss of control of planes that are in the air or on the runway or other mishaps.

The club manages this potential problem with a 'frequency board' where everyone checks to verify that they are not using a frequency that someone is already using BEFORE they turn on their radio(s).

If there are other people on the field when you arrive, be sure you check what frequency / channel(s) they are on first and make sure you are not on the same frequencies / channel(s).

If you are entering this hobby with a 'Ready-to-Fly' electric plane, it most likely operate on 27mhz, a frequency that is rarely used by pilots flying larger aircraft. In a few years, high tech frequency synthesized radios that pick whatever frequency is available will become commonplace, making this issue moot.

On most weekdays (except long weekends), the field is usually deserted --- especially in the morning. That is the best time to fly for beginners and smaller electric planes.

The safest time to fly is when there is no one else using the field, so there is no risk of your airplane colliding with others or frequency / channel conflicts.

And for those who worry about it, at those times, there is no one to see you put your brand new $1,000 plane into the pond or convert the ready-to-fly plane back to kit form, or see your landings that are barely controlled crashes.

The field has no facilities (bathroom, water, etc.) so be sure to be 'self sufficient'. A camp toilet is recommended for small children.

If you see animals on the field (horse, donkey, goat, children), be sure you close the gate behind you after you enter.

The last person off the field is responsible for securing and locking the gate to the field.

Enjoy yourself!!!!!!!