Is a 25-Year-Old Plane Safe to Fly?
Is a 25-Year-Old Plane Safe to Fly?
Would it be safe to fly a UAV or aerial vehicle into power generators in remote areas? Some day soon we may see autonomous operation of aerial vehicles and aircraft, this may well herald the future of flying vehicles. We already know that it is not difficult to shoot down a remotely piloted aircraft (or drone) using a UAV. Will we be able to control planes while in flight too? How about with an RC-model airplane?
“Is it safe to fly an RC-model airplane into power generators in remote locations? Many pilots have discussed this as a means of avoiding the use of larger, more complex aircraft in populated areas. One approach they use is the Radio Controlled Model Airplane (RC-model). Radio controls essentially replace the switches and dials required for flight in a conventional aircraft. They allow the pilot to manipulate the aircraft through the use of a hands-free radio transmitter and receiver device.
RC-model airplanes are extremely simple machines. There is no complexity of controls, as the transmitter will not move unless the throttle is released. To start the radio controller’s operation, all that is needed is to hold the transmitter near the throttle link and pull the plug. In addition, one can use a pre-built transmitter or design their own. There are a number of kits available for RC models and most beginners begin with the battery operated transmitter. The battery packs are small and usually last a long time.
In addition, there is a lack of complexity with the operation of UAVs, compared to airplanes. The reason is that a UAV does not need to be monitored constantly by a human being. If a problem is spotted by the human eyes, the pilot can just turn the airplane away from the airport and continue the flight. The on-board computer system (CMS) will detect the problem and correct it manually, or if needed, will give the pilot a list of fixes, and if one is needed, will automatically give him or her a checklist of them and their steps.
For an RC aircraft to continue flying after a problem is spotted, its sensors must be able to pick up on the unusual movements in the atmosphere, regardless of how high or low the altitude is. Humans can only see the top of the atmosphere. To do this, the aircraft must be high enough to have adequate eyesight to notice the disturbances, but low enough to avoid radar stations or air traffic control radars that might enforce a landing due to a missed signal.
What about landing? Are landing fields still clear? Can we land without putting up with barriers and debris on the runway? How about taking off on runways that aren’t even used very often? Does the runway still pass by commercial airports that we may never use?
Landing isn’t easy, nor is it as easy as it would be for an electric or gas engine. It requires advanced planning and precise landing gear. Pilots must also have a thorough understanding of how to operate any type of aircraft before they can safely get onto a runway and begin the process of taking off. Many factors go into making sure that an RC airplane makes it off the ground. When is a 25-year-old plane safe to fly in the air?
If you have your mind set on building your own RC airplane, start with some of the more simple models first, like a radio controlled trainer airplane. You can get great results from this approach. The same goes for building an electric or glow engine RC airplane. If you want something more substantial, you can build a nitro-methane powered plane. But the trick is, you need training and practice to master the techniques of radio controlled flight. And the only way to do that is with lots of flying!