Helicopters welcome?

Helicopters welcome?

Some time ago, we asked fixed-wing pilots how they felt about flying with helicopters. Some were very accommodating while others wanted a total ban on helis at their flying fields. As a heli pilot, have you ever felt unwelcome at an AMA field? What’s your solution to flying with “plankers”? We want to hear the heli side of the story.

Here’s the original post:

Recently at a flying field, I overheard a few club members talking about implementing a total ban on helicopters. We aren’t talking about restrictions on flight times, or relegating helicopters to the side of the field, or even asking them to keep to the flight pattern; they wanted a NO HELICOPTERS ALLOWED rule.

Why can’t helicopter and airplane pilots just get along? A few years ago, helicopter pilots were invited to the Top Gun Scale Invitational that we cover every year. These machines were museum-quality scale gunships and civilian choppers with handmade rotor heads and intricate landing gear, and they flew in a very realistic manner — no 3D moves here! Yet, as much as you could see the mutual respect for craftsmanship between the heli and plane pilots, they were two very distinct groups … the helicopter pilots held their event a quarter mile away (same field, a landing strip for full-size aircraft) and, during the flight portion of the event, pilots on both sides complained about the other “flying over their airspace” or “too high into the traffic pattern.” There weren’t any mishaps, but that was the first–and last!–time helicopters were in attendance.

If mature scale enthusiasts can’t get along at the same event, I wonder if there’s any hope for the rest of us sport and 3D pilots. It’s unfortunate if helicopter pilots aren’t welcome at flying fields because, in large part, they represent the new generation and are a growing segment of the hobby. On the other hand, helicopters do make me more nervous than prop planes, and I wouldn’t want to have to fly a pattern around them. What’s the solution? Tell us what you think.


Updated: May 16, 2012 — 10:51 AM


  1. A similar rumbling is happening here in Connecticut at our local RC Club. Just a few members (who have never even considered trying Helis,) are working very hard to ban helicopters at the club’s flying field. I disagree with this completely. Intellegent people should be able to work things out. Rotor-heads and fixed winged RC pilots should live together for the good of our entire hobby.

  2. For 20 years I flew exclusively fixed-wing aircraft, primarily warbirds. Five years ago I dipped my toe into helis, and they have gradually taken over my life. I’m fortunate in that both my local club fields have been very accommodating, but I too have seen opposition to helis at other club fields. This opposition seems mostly based on the view that helis operate differently from fixed wing aircraft, so they shouldn’t be allowed.

    Heli flyers are not without fault here, and I’ve been to more than one field where a guy was hogging the center of the runway doing close-in 3D acro. For this reason I strongly believe that helis (and 3D fixed wing) should have their own flying area if the field layout permits it. If it does not, there can be heli time slots as there are at many indoor events.

    I tend to straddle the middle ground here. After all, I mostly fly helicopters these days, but I fly them more like fixed wing aircraft – flying a large scale-like pattern and doing more airplane-type acro. My main interest is scale, just as it was when I was flying entirely fixed wing.

    I’ll close with this cautionary note to the fixed wing guys who want to ban helis: You may wish to ban them because they’re of no interest to you and because you think they’re more dangerous than fixed wing models, but these are the exact same arguments a soccer mom puts forward when she proposes closing down your flying field and converting it into more soccer fields. The RC community needs as many voices as possible, and we need those voices to be united.

    The sky is big enough for all of us.

    Jim Ryan
    Electric Flight

  3. At my field, we have three different areas for flying; the main runway is for the fixed wing power aircraft. At the end of that runway off to the side, we have the helicopter landing area. Behind the runway is the glider strip. So far, we all seem to get along just fine and I have not seen any issues arising from everybody flying together at one field. But here in the hi-desert we do have a lot of sky.

  4. at the club where i fly we have a large grass patch for planes and each side and a little behind we got a grass circle on each side which does work well most of the time we do get the odd heli pilot on the main plane patch but he is very good and normally worth watching and he does only do it when no planes are flying
    so if your going to ban helis what do you count autogyros as ?

  5. depends whether they are taking off, flying about or landing :*)

  6. Our club is fortunate in that we have zero conflict between our heli pilots and our fixed-wing pilots. We’re small enough that we usually only have one aircraft (of any type) in the air at a time, so have no need of separate flying areas. One of the larger clubs just to our south has just that, a dedicated fixed-wing runway and separate dedicated areas for heli flight and control line.

    Banning any type of flying is the absolutely wrong approach. The solution is for everyone to sit down and discuss what problems there are and how they can be resolved. Maybe it’s dedicated flight areas, maybe it’s time slots – or it may be as simple as common courtesy.

  7. I absolutely agree with Jim Ryan. Currently, our beloved past time of model aviation of all types is being threatened by the FAA largely because it is misunderstood to be “dangerous”. Luckily, the good folks at the AMA are fighting this proposed legislation and hopefully will result in continued enjoyment for folks like us of all ages. Without a doubt, we absolutely should not ban heli’s at the fields, but rather, make some rules, organize time slots, designated areas, etc. so that ALL of us “flying nuts” can enjoy life even more by watching our kids learn how to fly planes, heli’s, sloper’s, weird foamie creations, etc.
    Handshakes, burgers, and sodas for everyone!!!
    Best regards – Jon Dawe –

  8. It seems only obvious that there should be time slots. Why does it always seem as though people cannot be adults when playing with their toys. Compromise is the word that comes to mind…. that’s when one party gives up a little for a little in return and the other party also gives up a little for a little in return as well. Basically, there is no “My way” attitude. Also, if a heli pilot is flying 3-D manuevers in the middle of the airspace while others are flying a pattern is simply ridiculous. That individual person, not the entire group of people, is to blame. Place a restriction on that individual, not the entire group.

    1. I would add “Consideration” and “Courtesy” to your words that come to mind. We have our field in a public park, so anyone with AMA membership can fly – they don’t have to be a club member. We have very few helicopter pilots, but the few we do have are very considerate of others and very courteous to those using the field. As a matter of face, we have had more trouble with hot shot 3D fixed wing pilots hogging the runway, flying close to other planes, violating the flight line, and generally making a nusiance of themselves. Close in 3D aerobatics, whether heli or fixed wing, should not be performed when the rest of the pilots flying are performing traditional circuits and pattern style aerobatics. The issue is not one of aircraft type, but of personalities. Keep the heli’s, but ban the inconsiderate a**es who refuse to be considerate of other pilots.

  9. I am currently a member of 4 clubs in England, 2 mixed helis and fixed wing, a fixed wing only club and a heli only club. The last 2 used to be a combined one but split. The main reason for the split was that a number of the heli pilots were top competition flyers and if the flight line was free – they used it for more practice. It was a small field and it did mean that the noise of 3D heli flying was always there and close in. The number of members was origianlly small and after the split even smaller with 2 of us becoming members of the 2 newly formed clubs. In the 2 years since the split both clubs have suffered from low membership numbers. The fixed wing club has now turned the corner and has sufficient members to survive, however the heli club would appear to be about to close down due to dwindling numbers now only 6!
    One of the mixed clubs is fortunate in having the space to have totally seperate areas for fixed wing and helis with no issues what so ever. The other club uses the same strip for all disciplines, but adopts the mature approach, that all flying is important to keep our sport alive and that everyone has something to contribute as well as the ability to teach others.
    It is very sad to think that a club may close through lack of numbers when as a combined club, using one field we could have survived.
    Let’s not lose any more clubs and flyers through the lack of common sense and realistic and sensible negotiation.

  10. I was a competitor in the 2002 Top Gun and won Critics Choice with my Vario Bell 47. There are some inaccuracies in the original post. First, helis were in TG in 2001 (non-flying) and 2002 (flying). We did fly the heli events at the end of the runway used by the fixed wing. The fixed wing pilots welcomed us to the event quite warmly, one of my personal high points was showing the details on my 47 to Bob Violett & Dave Platt. We would watch them fly and they would watch us, it was a very symbiotic relationship. The only incident we had was on Saturday, when a fixed wing crashed right in the middle of our traffic pattern while Jeff Green was flying his final round. The pilot immediately came down and apologized to all of us for the interruption.
    As to why Helicopter TG did not continue, Mr Tiano wanted a guaranteed 20 pilots in the event and sponsor contributions, which we could not do.
    As for airplanes and helis happily co-existing, yes we can, if the club members work together. Yes, helis crash, so do airplanes. Our club had a fixed wing EDF lose it and crash on the back side of the pilot safety fence, causing two other pilots to crash their IMAC planes. It is not the type of aircraft, it is the pilots.

    1. Thank you for the clarification, Dan. I had forgotten the incident you mention and remembered ony the “grumblings.” Those helicopters were amazing!

  11. As a younger member of the R/C community I think it’s important to remember that stick and tissue folks are becoming fewer and fewer. I love building up from scratch but even I will admit that the idea of a perfectly detailed kit that only take me 3 hrs to get in the air is very nice. A little instant gratification never hurt anyone.

    All of my buddies love heli’s and 3d the crap out of them. I don’t think that 3d foamie’s can even hang with the maneuvers that are performed by a talented heli pilot. I believe you will really see heli’s become very dominant at most flying fields as they get more and more user friendly. It’s all about pushing yourself to the next level. Like everything go big or go home.

    Times are changing don’t force the next generation of flyers who dream of ultra hi tech gadgets, the next composite material, and push the limits of what can be done that much further, fly at the baseball diamond down the street from a real field. Change is part of all hobies it’s how they grow, anyone who wants to exclude segments of the hobby is really hurting it.

    PC doesn’t mean politically correct anymore, now its personal computer

  12. Mark S…you have a good point…but then in the same email…you explain to everyone as to why the older generations doesn’t get along so well with the younger ones. LOL. This is really quite funny…and illustrates the point perfectly. “go big or go home” is something that the younger generation would say. The older generation generally doesn’t subscribe to that belief. To some of the 75 year old aviators at my club…”go big or go home” equates to “wreckless and dangerous.” Hence forth…you by accident…illustrated the big generational issue.

    At this point I am still a hyper 40 year old…and I like to throw down 3D with Giant scale planes…Foamies…and heli. But…I would caution …younger folks cannot alienate the older crowd…without causing problems.

    Frankly…I am not sure I can fix this generational issue….nor do I have the bandwidth to try. That being said…our flying site…which is now AMA chartered…maintains two runways…which we designate 3D/Heli and the other “standard fixed wing.” We can change these based upon wind direction. We make it very clear that the activities in these two areas are separate…and the rules within the airspace of each is different.

    I cannot make the generations love each other…but I can try to keep to happy with their own runway and airspace. Then they can each lunch at the same BBQ…and swap stories.

    – Richard Carlton
    Lagoon Valley Electric Flyers

  13. As a geezer from the 50’s who has seen Control Line sites, R/C sites and even small airports closed or ground into business lots and golf courses because of noise or lack of money to the city coffers, I think it is very foolish to even think of banning one type of flyer over another when strength in numbers is vital to the survival of both clubs and flying sites. Like little children, we need to learn to get along and SHARE.

  14. I don’t like the ease with which most heli pilots seem to think that their planes are not death dealing instruments. Full throttle places extreme stress on rotating blades and support structures. It is my feeling that a blade could be vectored towards a spectator at any moment, that safety concerns – at least as understood by a great many heli pilots, have not been appropriately addressed and understood. Debra, you have shown very good sense to have become nervous.

    Next, I have watched heli pilots simply walk out to open runways for takeoff, and then occupying the space in which many people usually use for flight patterns. I have seen this syndrome in indoor flying areas also.

    Unless heli pilots quickly adopt manners and behavior patterns that better accommodate the existing model community, there will be more and more restrictions on helicopter flying.

  15. Very provocative article Debra which obviously got a lot of us thinking and has resulted in some good comments. Our club experience here in Florida is as follows; we evolved into a number of fliers using the field in the morning — mostly airplane guys, and later in the day the helicopter guys are more dominant. But we identified our club as a fixed-wing club early on with over 100 fliers in that category, and about a dozen helicopter guys flying late afternoons. There have never been any issues. We each respect others flight times and very often share the flight line by simply asking each other “hey, can I have a flight?” Shared time is the key at our field, and mutual respect.

  16. Hi, My name is Jorge Gonzalez, live in Medelin Colombia, and in our Flying field (Gavilanes) we had split the time to fly each kind of RC, including FPV, it works fine here, if you want to fly planes, you have to go in the morning, if you want to fly helis, you have to go after 1:00 pm, and soo on…

  17. Personally, I favor sharing the hobby with all kinds of flyers, be they rotary wing or fixed, but my club had a few bad eggs who apparently took pleasure in tormenting some of the fixed wing guys, and the bylaws were rewritten to exclude future heli pilots. This bylaw change had to be voted on, and it was passed overwhelmingly.

    This situation came about mainly because the rotor heads mainly flew in place over the runway, making themselves obstacles for any one else trying to fly the pattern. By the same token, pilots of 3D fixed wing planes who fly in a similar manner are generating buzz that is starting to sound a lot like the anti heli buzz you have heard. 3D pilots, be aware.

  18. I agree with those that have stated it’s more about the pilot and their flying style than the type of aircraft they fly. There’s nothing less safe about a 25lb 1/3 scale plane with a 150cc gas engine doing a torque roll on the deck than any Helicopter doing 3D stunts. Both are capable of causing serious injury if flown beyond the pilots skill level and/or too close to other pilots or spectators. If you’ve ever seen someone fall out of a torque roll and try to recover while flying straight at the pitts, you’ll know the potential danger fixed wing planes can have is just as high and just as distracting to someone flying scale patterns.

    I have flown both planes and helicopters for many years and our club in southern California is fortunate enough at the present time to have enough room to separate planes and Heli’s so we have no conflicts at our club.

    Given that many planes are just as capable of flying 3D stunts close to the ground, there’s no difference between heli’s and planes in how than can be flown. You could just as easily have someone flying a large scale helicopter in a slow controlled flight get taken out or distracted by someone crashing a 1/4 scale plane into the heli or into the pits as having a heli crash disturb an airplane pilot.

    So it’s all about the pilots and their style of flight. If someone is going to fly 3D maneuvers with a plane or heli when others are trying to fly scale patterns there’s going to be a potential for conflict. This applies to airplanes flying 3D at airplane only fields as much as Heli’s flying 3D at Heli only fields. Even without “mixed” fields the same problem will exist.

    Common courtesy is what is required. Let the 3D guys fly together and let the scale/pattern guys fly together.

  19. In our club in Singapore, we built a helicopter flying zone behind the main runway. It can be used for hovering and practice of specific 3D maneuvers.

    When it comes with flying schedules such as the F3C maneuvers and 3D schedules, the helicopter pilots will use the main runway. Our members will wait for them to finish their flight while enjoying the aerial display. So they all take their turns to share the limited air space.

    With this arrangement, the fixed wing and rotary wing pilots have coexist amicably since.

  20. I feel that Helies should be flown further away from any croud or near any flight line. The carbon fiber blades can do a terriffic amout of damage to a person. Guys that fly them are doing wild fast tricks close in and putting their own safty at great risk. I am sure its only a matter of time before one goes into a croud in the manner they fky them now. I seen a Heli crash once and the engine kept going and the Helie did a “chicken dance all over the place. There has got to be more rules placed on them.

  21. Seems like it comes down to a matter of courtesy. On one field I know of, one of the early helicopter pilots seemed to just like to hover over the middle of the paved runway, blocking fixed wings from taking off or landing. That field ended up banning helicopters for a long time. If he hovered well over to a side or 50 feet farther out from the flight line, I doubt anyone would have minded the helicopter. However, that person also physically assaulted me one time when I nicely asked him to put his radio back in impound, in compliance with field rules, when there was another club member waiting for the frequency. So, I don’t think the real problem was the helicopter itself.

  22. The heli guys at our field fly very aggressively while too close to the other pilots at the flying stations – unless you have nerves of steel, it is too hard to concentrate on your plane while a loud flying table saw is only feet away from you going through violent gyrations. There has not been a bad heli accident yet resulting in personal injury, but it is bound to happen the way they are flying so close to others.

    I understand we need all the fliers we can get, but the heli guys could help themselves by exhibiting better behavior too.

  23. Our flying field is doing much better now. There for a while the members were considering it. At the time the heli flyers hogged the flying field. They would line up 5 or six deep at three far apart spots and kept the field locked up the entire time. It was very frustrating. But after a few meetings they are sharing much better now with something like time slots where planes fly and then helis fly, etc.

    1. Sounds like you have a busy field! On those few days when our field is busy, we had a similar problem. We have designated flight stations from which all pilots must fly and a “Queue Bar” at the frequency board. Since every pilot is required to display proof of AMA membership on the frequency board while flying (a requirement to fly at our field), they simply put their clip with their AMA card on the vertical queue bar (actually a dish towel bar mounted vertically). The pin at the top flies next and moves the rest up. When pins are on the queue bar, you take a flight and get in the back of the line. If the field is busy, it’s busy. If you prevent the heli’s from flying because they are hogging the field, then aren’t the fixed wing then hogging the field from them? By the way, I fly only fixed wing.

  24. At my flying field, Helo pilots don’t like to put their transmitters under the frequency control board, usually loocated at the fixed wing site.

    1. That makes no sense. The transmitters for heli do not require any different facilities than those used for fixed wing. Unless your heli area and fixed wing areas are over 4 miles apart, then there should only be one frequency board used for both. Sounds like an attitude problem to me.

  25. In India space is a huge constraint and finding a field to fly at is itself a challenge. This is something that was also discussed by us at our field, the main reason. They fly in the middle of the field and do not normally fly more than 30m away from the pilot. Thus making the runway unavailable for a plane to land. We also have cars at our field and this as you all know can be a problem, we have worked together to make an area for them as well (the noise can be a bit f a problem but this is something we accept)
    Despite this we worked together and have made an area available for the heli pilots and car drivers so that we can all enjoy the same field.
    Come on fellow pilots work together to enjoy this fantastic hobby

  26. The helis vs fixed wing planes is a problem we are having in my club in British Columbia, Canada. For over 30 years our club was fixed wing only. Then a young flyer brought out a helicopter. Several of the older members poo-poo’ed him, and he eventually went away.
    Our problem exists because there are now enough heli flyers wanting to fly that we are having problems.
    Our club membership, by design, is less than 40 people. We have a 500′ x 50′ grass runway, separated from the pits by a 500′ long taxiway. We have four flight stations. No flying is allowed to be done behind the pilots on the flight line. Adjacent to the pits we have a heli practice pad, approx. 50′ sq. We have an 8′ tall protective barrier between the helis and people in the pits and picnic area. The practice area is not to be used for aerobatics or for flying higher than the top of the barriers. All other heli flying is to be done from the flight line.
    We have a rule in our club that no helicopters can be flown at the flight line while fixed wing planes are being flow. Conversly, no fixed wing planes can be flown while helicopters are being flown from the flight line.
    I am the club’s Safety Officer.
    Our problem arises in that, when I am not at the field, or when no member of the Executive is present, heli pilots are convincing fixed wing pilots that it is OK for them to fly at the same time. This is a problem that could have serious health and other consequences. We, the Executive have to deal with this problem head on before an accident arises. Banning helicopters has not been discussed nor do I believe it to be the way to go.
    We may have space to build a heli take-off and landing area, but that place would, by nature of our field layout, put the helis at the side of or behind the flight line.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  27. This is outrageous. You can’t say you believe in advancing this hobby if you’re willing to completely ban helicopters just for the convenience of the plank-fliers. It strikes me as extremely selfish and I just don’t buy the safety issue thing. Obviously they should be flown responsibly, respectfully, and according to the rules; but then again so should planks . . .

    Perhaps this is just my youth speaking; but it also strikes me as stereotypical of old people set in their ways, not wanting to change with the times. Things need to keep advancing and evolving for the good of the hobby.

    1. Nick your remarks show the real root of the problem – a respect for another’s preferences. You refer to your flying preference as helicopters and use the seemingly derogatory term “plank-fliers” for those who prefer to fly fixed wing aircraft. This is similar to one of the other posters calling helicopter pilots “rotor heads.” When you start out your debate with insults, then your opinion is severly discounted. If you really want others to listen to you and take you seriously, then you should show others the same respect that you demand they show towards you. As for changing with the times, most of the “old” people I know have done very well with that. As you read through these posts, you will see that the main issues are not with the technology, but with those who are not considerate of others. And, yes, the more emotionally mature people, regardless of their age, will have more consideration and cooperation.

  28. I’ve been flying fixed for about 30 years. I have flown helis, poorly for about 5 years. I pilot outrigger boats, and drive cars. I dig the heck out of sailplanes. I even shoot some pretty big rockets. I have never, ever enjoyed the club experience. Keep your club politics, and cliques. Bicker about whatever. I don’t care. Fly with me if you see me out. I always have fun.

    Pete B

    1. Peter, I agree with you that club policies and cliques can be very tiresome and frustrating. We have those in our club, to a greater extent than most of us would prefer. Our field is in a public park and anyone with AMA membership can fly – you don’t have to be a member of the club. There are quite a few pilots who use the field that do not belong to the club for those very reasons. Just remember, though, that is is these clubs that make the policies and have their cliques are the same clubs that make that field available for you to fly on. If you are grateful for having the field, perhaps you should assist in making it possible instead of considering the fruits of the labors of others as one of your many entitlements. You might change your tune if you lived in an area where there weere only private fields. Just as the AMA is working for all modelers, even those who are not members, with the FAA to allow us to retain or rights to fly our models, the local clubs are working to make sure that we have somewhere to fly them safely. Speaking for the club members who maintain the fields in your areas, you are welcome – keep having fun.

  29. Suits the heck out of me. The heli pilots are a nuisance and they fly n the landing and take off pattern. They don’t need the room that airplanes do and they can do well elsewhere.
    Aboout the same as having elelctic car people run up and down the runway…they need to go elsewhere too. OK, so I am an old griper, but they really are a danger and interfere with the planes.
    I wish our club would do the same, but we fly on City property and have no means to enforce anything…so obviously we have problems, even with some of the newer pilots who will not observe rules necssary for safety.

    1. I believe that I fly at the same field as you and have NEVER had a problem with a heli pilot. I have, though, had issues with 3D fixed wing pilots and dissimilar sized fixed wing craft flying at the same time. When you have a micro plane, a .40 size glow, and a 50cc size plane flying at the same time, you have very similar issues. We have very few helicopters flying at our field, so few that we no longer maintain a separate hovering/practice area for heli pilots. The field is never too busy to allow different types of flying to take turns. I have to thoroughly disagree with you.

  30. Our clubs’ official policy is to give the heli pilots 15 minutes an hour where they have the runway to themselves. If they want to fly when the fixed wing are up they have to fly the pattern. Unofficially many times we are visiting and bench flying and if a heli pilot wants to fly it doesn’t bother anyone. We do have problems when a heli pilot or more than one heli pilot wants 15 minutes each so they are dominating the field. If it becomes an issue they will be asked to fly elsewhere. The majority of our club are fixed wing pilots and they feel if we are giving them a quarter of the flying time the heli pilots need to honor the rules.

  31. As an old-time fixed wing pilot, I can’t help but find rotary wing craft scary! To think that these gadgets are just one non-loctited screw away from disaster is kind of sobering. Doubly worrisome because the heli moves readily in 360 deg of azimuth, where non-3D fixed-wing usually has an obvious flight path. And the enthusiastic, mostly young heli pilots don’t really inspire confidence, either

    Recently at our field, a heli threw (literally threw) a blade with instant disasterous conseqences– no one hurt thank heavens, but a frightening experience for all.

    Best solution? ‘Separate but equal’ facilities. If the field permits, assign an area away from everyone to fly the helis. Not, for heavens sake, behind the flight line (I’ve actually seen that), but physically remote from other activities. (Won’t work, though– no audience!).

    1. So, George, you are saying that helicopters and 3D fixed wing planes should not be allowed to fly at fields with non-3D fixed wing aircraft? Should inexperienced pilots flying their trainers be relegated to another separate area as their ability to control their aricraft at all times is limited? Maybe we should have only one craft in the air at a time so we don’t have a chance of a mid-air collision that causes one of both craft to go out of control? No, George, your solution is not the best solution in my opinion. Full scale craft fly from the same airports by folowing procedures that make it safe to do so. Our model fields shold be able to achieve the same thing.

  32. Sadly, At a 35 year old R/C flying site, Heli’s were often being hit in midair by old clunker r/c planes. I guess heli’s are just magnets for beat out old junker airplanes. Anyway, there are no more helicopters flying over our 500 foot paved runway anymore. Problem solved.

  33. We at our fields (we have two of them) in Burlington, ON Canada considered banning heli’s a few years ago when it seemed that the heli pilots weren’t abiding by our safety rules (MAAC). Many of the fixed wing pilots we unnerved as some of the heli pilots where flying 3-D inside the flight line and not paying any attention to the flight patten when other aircraft where in the air. Just to let you know, our fight line is defined as at least 23 feet out from the flight station. However, to be frank, this is also a problem from time to time with the fixed wing pilots.

    We didn’t ban heli flying and some of the pilots are very good and can put on quite a show. We have a very good wings program and flight instructors themselves are also educated, so at least they are on the same page.

    In my opinion, and I’m not a heli pilot yet, Heli flying whether 3D, sport or scale is part of the hobby and I enjoy watching it! Although I’m not crazy about 3D heli flying, I love watching a scale helicopter do it’s thing. In particular whether flying fixed or rotor wing, I love watching the the fun the pilots have doing their thing. Isn’t the other half of the hobby is watching other pilots fly? – whether heli or fixed wing.

  34. We must fly all in same field, on a separated areas/pit points, following safety procedures.
    This is the right way to grow the hobby: cooperation, respect, means exactly what human been is suppose to do !
    Roney from Brasil

  35. Here in Chicago, we have adopted a “TAKE TURNS” approach. Heli’s have the field, then planes, etc. Since most run out of fuel or batteries in about 10 min., it’s not much of a wait.
    -Mike V.P. radiosignalmodelers.com

  36. I fly at Tomcats here in northern california. Like Gerry we had a similar situation here where a few members who never tried helicopters had some very strong feelings about it.
    Slightly over a year ago, another local club that was primarily focused on helicopters lost their field. Our club offered our field to all their members until year end with a suggestion that thereafter they join Tomcats as members. Since then, helicopter flying has become a regular – and welcomed – activity at our field. Club officers have gone a step further and we will be reconfiguring part of our field to add a designated helicopter area to allow practice and help beginners with learning without interfering with the main runway.
    A little bit of cooperation and a positive attitude has created a great enhanced environment for everyone to enjoy the hobby and go in the direction that suits them.

  37. It was really interesting to read through all the post and see that initially it seemed there was very little concern with helis vs fixed wing.  Then the real story started to show.

    In my club in Manitoba, Canada we encourages other club members from the surrounding area to bring whatever they have (fixed wing, jets, helis, gliders, etc) and enjoy our field. There has not been any really issue.

    Those who feel a dislike for the heli community might want to learn a bit about what is required to fly a heli. No one wants to wreck a heli an more then a fixed wing flyer wants to.  The heli flyers might want to be a little more respectful to fixed wing guys and understand that not everyone likes to feel the flutter of the wind right next to them. Most important, follow the local rules and regulations. I can’t believe this needs to be said.

    I have been in this hobby for a great many years and have seen, and been a part of the heli revolution. I have also seen more many fixed wing flyers fly their aircraft well beyond their skills resulting in more destruction then what I have ever seen from a heli flyer.

    I like to fly both fixed wing and helis and would never discourage anyone from enjoying this great hobby of ours regardless of their flying skills.

  38. I agree with you, Ray. I see heli’s flying with fixed wing as no more of a problem than a 50cc 3D aerobat flying with a .40 size trainer – or a .40 sized stick flying with a small park flyer. If you approach flying with respect, consideration, and courtesy, then just about any field should be able to accomodate all of us.

  39. At our primary flying field various types of flight have never had a problem:
    1) A Mid-Air is the fault of the MOST EXPERIENCED PILOT in ALL circumstances around new pilots. Experienced pilots are respected to man up & share the blame.

    2) Planes
    A) ALL aircraft minus thermal gliders stay IN FRONT of the pits at all times. no exceptions.
    B) ALL aircraft respect the field boundry markers angled down the runway from each flight location. Do NOT cross the angled markings.

    3) Thermal/Gliders
    A) ARE allowed in the pattern within reason (low traffic).
    B) Typically fly well ABOVE or BELOW the normal flight pattern
    C) Have their own area beside the runway, BEHIND the flight line if they wish safe areas for climbing/landing or use of a high-start without bothering everyone else

    4) Heli’s
    A) ARE allowed in pattern and ARE allowed to do with they want (Just as one pilot may want to practice touch-and-go’s, or low speed close in 3D. Heli’s have the same rights…)
    B) Have their OWN area beside the runway INFRONT of the pits for pilot location / takeoff / landing (polar opposite of the glider/thermal location and to the side of plane pilots)
    C) ARE NOT ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to “Learn your annoying bob up & down for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to hover” NEAR THE RUNWAY. “Hovering Practice” is given it’s own area well away from the flight line.

    This not only avoids mishaps, but it avoids hard feelings from pilots on the flight line having to incessantly hear heli’s hovering at WOT. (Obviously more of a problem with Fuel power, but annoying none the less)

    Frankly. To get everyone to play nice is simply use common sense. If you’ve got a new Fuel engine. Break it in at home… If you’ve got a heli learn to hover away from the flight line & GIVE A LOT OF ROOM to aircraft taking off / landing. Not “move a little bit” but move a lot.

  40. I’m sorry but they should be banned. Quite frankly they are a major nuisance when combined with fixed wing airplanes. Helicopters can fly anywhere from your back yard to your local schoolyard or corporate parking lot where fixed wing aircraft don’t have that luxury so why burden fixed wing props and jets with these annoying machines? There are fields that cater to helis so go there and stop annoying the rest of us.

  41. I’m starting to fly heli’s so I clearly don’t want them banned. That said, bigger outdoor heli’s scare me much more than planes and they must be respected. Big planes can do major damage also but at least they usually don’t change directions completely in a fraction of a second like a heli flown in 3d does. I agree with the separation of flying areas and believe distance from flight line needs to be enforced commensurate with heli blade size. (ie: read that as bigger heli’s must fly further away from people than smaller ones).

    Like others, I’ve seen the crazy stuff on youtube with 600/700 class helis that really is just nuts. Someone is going to die at some point for sure… 🙁

  42. At the field I fly at everyone lines up to fly. If you are flying a heli then it is one heli in the air at a time. If you are flying a plane multiple planes can go up at the same time if the pilot in the cue feels comfortable with others in the air with them.

    There is also a small hover only area away from the runway for heli pilots that are new and only hovering or testing setups.

  43. When one of the two local clubs where I am allow both FPV and heli’s I will join 🙂

  44. Any club field that restricts any type of mode activity should
    not be allowed to have AMA certification. This needs to be adopted in the AMA bylaws ASAP!! I fly at a county park that provides park grounds specifically for model aircraft operation. No club policitics to exclude anyone. Every type of model is welcome. It has been my experience in 40 plus years of modeling, club politics can be modeling’s worse enemy!

  45. I joined a local club looking for a place to fly my heli and found the members split on their acceptence of helis. Since then I let my AMA and club membership expire and now fly at various parks and locations.

  46. We have placed a total ban on all helicopters at our club and it’s the BEST move ever. No more conflicts, it’s simply wonderful. Fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft on the same flight line do not mix.
    We now have 65 very happy members.

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