I live very close (<1mile) from the location of this accident but did not visit the site or verify the registration. In fact on the evening of the accident while getting into my car to go out, I was curious to know who was burning stuff 'cos the smell was a bit odd
The heli was based around Glencree/Powerscourt or certainly operated regularly from here. I am involved in a club that operates Radio Controlled fixed wing and heli's on the south west side of the Great Sugarloaf mountain in Wicklow. On more occasions than I have fingers and toes to count them this heli flew (in my opinion) dangerously close to or right through an area populated by R/C models.
While we are all aviation enthusiasts in the club and love to see full size as much as anybody else, top of my list of things-to-do was to contact the registered owner of the heli to point out the potential hazard to his heli or more importantly whoever was in it.
I guess I can scratch this from my list then
Were your R/C flying activities and schedules NOTAMed or published anywhere that the helicopter owner could look them up and and be aware of them? There is occasional R/C flying near my local airport at weekends and if you are in the vicinity, ATC will make you aware of it, other then that I don't believe it is NOTAMed, therefore anyone else flying outside controlled airspace but not talking to ATC would be unaware of it!
I have as yet very limited full size experience and zero navigational training so I don't speak the speak. I am reliably informed that the location of all registered R/C flying sites held by the Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland, MACI is published in some relevant docs or books to avoid potential hazard. In fact one of our midst and a very qualified pilot and CIAM delegate has pointed out that the location of these sites is available to pilots.
I was not having a go at the guys that operated this heli for being irresponsible. I had it on my list of things to do to let them know of potential danger as I am secretary of the club. It falls on my shoulders to type & send letters or emails on behlaf of the club or to make contact whth whoever necessary. It had come up in many conversations that "whoever is flying that Enstrom wouldn't last long if he met a 10-20Kg moving object by accident" or words to the same effect.
The fact that the R/C club has flown in the area for 53+ years is well known but we could never assume that it is universally known either. We all like to see aircraft operating but would not like to be complicit in any form of incident.
As a guideline, models should operate below FL500 as far as I am aware, please don't quote me on that as I am not certain. It is not easy to judge as your only input is visual, different sized machines make judgement even harder and we have no instrument feedback to know for sure. It gets even more difficult too when your line of sight is a 3D vector. How far out or up is the model? Very subjective?
I think you could probrably see where the "under 500feet" logic comes from though.
I hope you can see that I am far more positive than negative on this thread and only posted for our mutual good...I don't have a bad word to say and it is not my style to do so either
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