Sunday, February 5, 2012


Model Helicopter
Safety Rules (Abridged)
Issue 1 2006 (amended)
Note: These rules are model helicopter specific and are to be used as a supplement to the
SAMAA National Safety Rules abridged parts 1 and 2 and the SAMAA National Safety
Code. In no way does it give a helicopter pilot permission to ignore the SAMAA Code.
1. Reserving your frequency is mandatory before switching on your transmitter.
2. A safety officer will be appointed at all helicopter flying events.
3. Only pilots actually flying and their instructor or observer may be in the flight area.
4. The use of an observer is strongly recommended, especially if two or more helicopters
are flying simultaneously.
5. Pilots shall keep a safe distance between their helicopters and all people at the flying
site, including themselves. These distances shall be;
5.1The pilot shall stand a minimum of 5 meters from a helicopter that is hovering.
The pilot shall stand a minimum of 10 meters from the helicopter, if a learner or
pupil pilot is flying.
The pilot and Judges shall remain a minimum of 9 meters from a flying helicopter,
when participating in a Competition.
A minimum of 30 meters if spectators are present or the helicopter is
participating in a Event, Airshow or Display.
6. Never under any circumstances fly the helicopter between yourself, the spectators,
other pilots or the pit area.
7. Pilots shall enquire about and adhere to all rules applicable at the flying site and keep
their model helicopters within the established flight boundaries of the flying site. There
shall be a minimum distance of 30m between the established flight line and any
8. Always ensure that the control surfaces are working in the correct direction before
starting your helicopter especially after any work has been carried out or radio adjustments
have been made. eg. -Aileron's, elevator, rudder, throttle and gyro.

9. If using a PCM receiver ensure that the failsafe function is set to at least reduce the
throttle to the low rpm position or to cut the engine completely. The other controls are
recommended to be set to the 'hold' setting.
10. Always ensure that the throttle is set to idle and any flight mode switches are set to
NORMAL / HOVER mode before attempting to start the motor.
11. When starting the heli always ensure that the rotor head is held firmly. Never release
this until you are ready to take off from the appropriate area.
12. Do not hover directly in front of other pilots. This is to ensure that they will have a clear
view of their own models.
13. Ensure that the blades are securely tightened within the grips. This can be checked by
holding the helicopter sideways with the blades opened; a gentle shake of the helicopter
should make the blades fall under their own weight. This can help eliminate boom strikes.
14. Ensure that the batteries have sufficient charge before making the flight. Note: -It is
advisable to fit a battery monitor.
15. Regularly range test the model and look for any servo glitching and if unsure then do
not fly. All new and rebuilt models must undergo range checks prior to flight. When an
'engine running' range test is performed, ensure the model is held firmly by the rotor head
and that your helper can kill the engine via an alternative method. i.e.: disconnecting the
fuel line or turning the ignition switch off etc.
16. Never spin the blades under power whilst in the pit area.
17. With electric helicopters, the main battery power to the speed control may only be
connected in the take off area when the pilot is ready to spin up and start flying. The power
will similarly be disconnected immediately after the flight and before the Helicopter is
returned to the pits.
18. Never leave a helicopter running unsupervised under any circumstances.
19. All models shall be airworthy. The pilot is responsible for the pre-flight inspection
before each session.
20. New and rebuilt helicopters must undergo a thorough inspection by the club safety
officer or in his absence the most experienced person available. This inspection should
preferably not be done by the builder.
21. Regularly check that all servos are not under excess load. This can be done by
removing the link from the servo and attempting to move the linkage by hand. This will
indicate if there are any stiff spots in the system. While the link is removed from the servo,
also check that the servo does not move more than the maximum limits of the control.
Note: -This check should be carried out in the workshop.

22. Regularly check for worn or damaged control linkages and chipped or damaged rotor
and tail blades.
23. When flying your helicopter with fixed wing aircraft present it is advisable to comply
with the following general guide lines.
At many fields, helicopters are only permitted to take off and land from the
designated helicopter area(s).
Helicopters are not allowed to fly in a manner that interferes with other aircraft
Only proficient helicopter pilots may join the fixed wing circuit and only if they
maintain forward flying speed in the same direction as the other aircraft.
The hovering of helicopters over the runway or in the flying circuit of the other
aircraft is forbidden.
Due care and consideration should be observed when fun fly, 3D type or park
flyers are flying.
It is advisable after announcing your intentions to land, to land, and there after
to state "helicopter "on" or "off" runway, taxiways or the designated helicopter
area. This is to avoid a situation where an aircraft needs to land (due to a dead
motor etc.) and a helicopter has landed on the runway and its rotors are
spooling down and the helicopter pilot is unable to move his helicopter from
the runway.
Note; The present legal maximum allowable all up weight of a model helicopter, is
limited to 6,5 Kgs. At the request of the Helicopter Sig a procedure is presently
being prepared, which will permit, under controlled and specified conditions, larger
proven helicopters, and suitably qualified pilots, to fly in the RSA.
This procedure when completed will be submitted to RAASA for acceptance, and
following this acceptance, SAMAA will have the Insurance policy extended to legally
permit the flying of these larger models.
Set out below are some of the conditions which will need to be observed by pilots
flying these larger helicopters;
Large helicopters (>1,8m rotor diameter) must always be flown with an observer
Large helicopters and Turbine powered helicopters must be fitted with a radio
controlled method to kill the motor, other than the throttle, i.e.: an electronic kill
switch or a fuel cut-off.
Large helicopters will be inspected during construction and test flown after
certification by an experienced and competent pilot.

28 Turbine powered helicopters, will have the required helpers, and equipment
present, before starting takes place. The helicopter must be well away from
spectators and other pilots, and in an area that has the minimum fire risk.
29 Turbine powered helicopter pilots must, in addition to the SAMAA and MHSA safety
rules, adhere to all relevant safety rules of the South African Model Jet Association
(SAMJA). This is to ensure the safe integration of a turbine motor into a helicopter.
. Chairman 2006

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