5 Reasons to Wear Protective Eyewear Around RC Aircraft

While the dangers of commercial helicopters are probably obvious with the possibility of debris getting into eyes, not to mention the dangerous blades whirling above the machine, the dangers of recreational or remote control helicopters may not seem as apparent. Even though remote control helicopters are not as dangerous Quadcopteras “real” helicopters, they still call for employing safety procedures and donning safety gear. Unfortunately, some simply view them as toys and fail to do what’s necessary to keep both operators and onlookers safe.

While no one wants to eliminate the fun, we must admit that mom was right when she said, “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.” And there are a lot of ways to get injured by remote control helicopters.

Before reviewing those ways, let’s first understand some of the “forces and velocities involved in a 30-size helicopter with average wood blades at 1800 rpm” as provided by Heliguy. First, each spindle, blade holder and nylon nut screwed to the helicopter must hold 270 pounds (122Kg) to keep the blades from flying away. And second, the tip speed of each blade is about 250 MPH or 413 KPH.

The force that the blades have is like having someone who can throw at about 50mph (81 kph) hit something with the tip of an 8 ft. (2.5m) ruler as hard as possible. If that something is a person, they would be in pain. The point being that the force of these blades, while not likely causing death, can do some serious damage. Heliguy also says to “remember, these statistics are for 30-sized helicopter blades. 60-sized helicopters are much more powerful, and their blades are considerably longer and heavier.”

While the strength of impact varies from one machine to the next, these numbers at least indicate a need to be cautious when operating and simply when near remote control helicopters.

Looking at this in a practical sense, what specific sorts of dangers can these types of forces present?

  1. Rotor wash: Air turbulence caused by a helicopter’s rotor can send flying debris into the air and likely into the eyes of the operator or nearby spectators. That is, unless eyes are properly protected.
  2. Inexperience: Quadcopters are very easy to fly for novice fliers, and most Quadcopters can hover automatically. Unfortunately, inexperience often leads to mistakes which lead to injuries. Making sure an operator isn’t flying a machine he isn’t ready for increases safety for both the operator and spectators.
  3. Location: Quadcopters tend to be closer to the operator than traditional RC aircraft, so the chance of being hit is increased. Also, some aircraft are made for indoor operation, which increases the chance of injuries like corneal abrasions (scratches to the surface of the eye).
  4. Adverse conditions: Outdoor weather conditions and malfunctions often lead to errors and accidents, especially when not taken into consideration prior to takeoff.
  5. Maintenance: Every landing, general use and even minor crashes put stress on aircraft that can lead to breakdown. While having a maintenance program makes logical sense and many pilots implement them consistently, they can get neglected as adrenaline from the excitement of the sport flows.

In addition to common sense, taking time to learn how to operate the aircraft, and making sure aircraft is properly maintained, wearing protective eyewear helps ensure that the most likely injuries don’t happen.

What’s the best option that doesn’t compromise style or comfort and take away from the enjoyment of the sport? And what options work best for indoor operation?

Goggles provide whole-eye protection by eliminating any space through which debris can make its way to eyes. Perhaps goggles aren’t your thing as you’d like to wear something a bit more fashionable. Then safety glasses with good wrap-around protection provide a solid alternative. Some are even available with a foam-lined lens, which provides protection from flying debris, similar to a traditional goggle. There are a lot of lens options as well that make wearing protective eyewear just as functional indoors as outdoors.

Taking time to plan for safety can keep the sport of flying remote control helicopters – and most other sports for that matter – safe and fun.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Trick or Treating Safety Tips

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Cold Weather Safety

chainsaw winterWith the onset of colder weather in many areas comes the need to consider the safety of those whose jobs (construction workers, for example) expose them to cold environments on a regular and/or prolonged basis. In addition to those who work in cold environments, those who play (snow sports, for example) in such environments would do well to consider aspects of safety too.

When considering cold weather safety, understanding the factors, danger signs, preventative measures and emergency situations can prove immensely helpful in keeping individuals who are exposed safe and healthy.

Factors

When exposed to cold environments, realize that factors such as the actual temperature, presence of winds and humidity in addition to contact with cold water or surfaces all play a role in the safety of working or playing in cold environments.

  1. Temperature. Know the temperature and be smart about the length of time of exposure accordingly.
  2. Wind. Wind speed can decrease the actual temperature your skin actually feels exposed to, so know the wind chill too.
  3. Dampness. Add rain into the mix, and even a chilly environment feels colder. Being damp and cold can create unsafe conditions even when the actual temperature isn’t extreme.
  4. Contact. When coming into contact with a cold surface, realize that your body heat will transfer into that surface making staying warm a bit more difficult.

Just one of the above factors can cause unsafe conditions, but be especially aware of environments where multiple factors exist.

Danger Signs

Anyone spending a lot of time in a cold environment should also know the danger signs for when exposure becomes unhealthy. OSHA lists the danger signs of being over-exposed to cold environments to include the following:

  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsy movements
  • Fatigue
  • Confused behavior

Unfortunately, individuals experiencing these signs may not be aware of them, especially when confusion hits. For this reason, using the buddy system when working or playing in cold environments can be one of the best safety procedures to practice.

Preventative Measures

Fortunately, simply employing a few preventative measures keeps most individuals exposed to cold environments safe & healthy. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the following preventative measures when working and playing in cold environments.

  1. Proper clothing. In a word, this means layers. Start with a wicking layer followed by a layer to provide insulation and topped off with an outer layer to protect against wind and rain.
  2. Short breaks. Give your body time to warm up in warm, dry shelters periodically.
  3. Rest well. Rest allows the body to avoid exhaustion that can lead to lack of energy needed to keep muscles warm.
  4. Drink often. Avoid caffeine and alcohol and focus on warm, sweet beverages that provide quick energy.
  5. Eat heartily. Finally, a great excuse for consuming high calorie foods without guilt! Foods like pasta help stock the energy reserves needed for working and playing in cold environments.

Emergency Situations

Being prepared for staying safe in cold environments also includes knowing what to do if an emergency situation arises. The most common emergencies in cold environments include cold water immersion, trench foot, hypothermia and frost bite.

The following tips can help minimize damage and even same limbs or life in emergency situations involve exposure to cold environments.

  1. Call for help. Have access to emergency help when spending time in cold environments.
  2. Get dry. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing or blankets as quickly as possible.
  3. Create heat. Create muscle heat by moving limbs, or place warm water bottles or hot packs in arm pits, groin areas and neck and head areas if movement isn’t possible. Avoid heating too quickly though as this can lead to fatal situations.
  4. Be gentle. Especially when frostbite is suspected, use warm water to slowly warm tissue. Too much heat too quickly can actually damage the tissue.

Training & Education

The basics of cold weather safety outlined above will allow most people – those spending occasional time working and playing in cold environments – to stay safe. For those spending extended periods in cold environments, additional training and education beyond these fundamentals becomes necessary.

Take the time to get the necessary information – that which fits how much time you spend exposed as well as the type and extremeness of exposure – for staying safe while working or playing in cold weather environments.