District II: Health and Safety at Clubs

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Written by Eric Williams
District II
District News
As seen in the November 2020 issue of Model Aviation.

New Jersey, New York, Europe

This month’s column is focused on health and safety and comes from District II Health and Safety Officer Leonard "Max" Smart, from Morrisonville, New York.

Hello, fellow pilots! I am thrilled to be asked to take on my role as the new District II health and safety officer. As a certified aircraft mechanic, custom automotive fabricator, custom painter, and a model jet aviator, among other things, I’ve learned that our health and safety are something we should always be aware of no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

I was lucky enough to receive safety training when I was in the military. As an airframe and powerplant instructor, I taught safety and respect as the two most important topics in aviation and also in life. I have always treated safety as a close friend or companion you can always lean on.

This year, 2020, has been a short and unusual flying season and there are so many topics I could discuss. When it comes to health and safety at the flying field, defibrillators are always a good topic to start with. Perhaps you have a defibrillator at your field or one of your members is carrying one around with them ready to use when needed. Statistics prove that defibrillators save lives. In fact, more than one AMA member owes his or her life to a defibrillator after becoming ill at a flying site or elsewhere.

A defibrillator is a worthy investment. Keeping a close eye on its surroundings so that it is always in perfect working condition is important. Keeping it out of the 100° heat and the bitter cold of winter is also important, so following the manufacturer’s recommendations is critical.

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If you don’t have a defibrillator at your flying site, you can apply for funding through the AMA Flying Site Grant program. You should have regular discussions at your club meetings about safety. Your club defibrillator, or discussing such a purchase, should be included.

Knowing how to use a defibrillator is important! If you who have friends in volunteer fire department or the medical field, see if they can assist you at one of your meetings for instructions on how to operate one properly.

This also goes for your flying site’s first-aid kit. Make sure that you check it regularly to see that everything is there and not dried up or missing the essentials. (This is a good task for the safety officer to check monthly.) You never know when those pesky propellers decide it’s time for a bite, or a hot muffler decides to give you a permanent tattoo! Never pretty!

It’s also a good idea to be aware of your fellow modelers’ health issues. This can be helpful if a member becomes lethargic or is acting strangely at the field. Having a heads-up concerning a member’s health issues is a great way to help save a fellow aviator. I can tell you from personal experience, it comes in handy in an emergency.

Lack of fluids, food, not taking medications, heat exhaustion, and other issues can be dangerous. Getting a call from a club member telling you someone had a problem on their way home is not good. Hearing someone say, after the fact, that I should have said or done something isn’t a good response either.

Keeping a sheet containing medications, allergies, medical conditions, and contact information for each member in a binder at the field is a good idea in case of an emergency. This idea came from my wife, solver of problems. She’s fond of saying, while pointing at her head, "It’s not just a hat rack!"

We must all be diligent and always know where to go and what to do in a crisis. Every minute wasted can be detrimental.

I hope this wasn’t too heavy for my first time out of the hangar, but a little bit of information every now and then goes a long way. I look forward to writing more articles on health and safety, but most of all, enjoy each other’s company and be safe out there! Until next time, fly it like you stole it (if you can). I know I do!

Remember, it’s not about what you fly, it’s about the friends you make.

eric williams
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Eric Williams

Vice President

4242 Amanda Ln., Schenectady NY 12303

(518) 356-2057


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Dennis Andreas, Freeport NY; (516) 379-0135; danandreasdhqhsd@juno.com

Frank Costello, Somerset NJ; teams3fpv@gmail.com

Chuck Davis, Sayville NY; (631) 589-7690; cjdavis60@verizon.net

Gary Fitch, Delevan NY; gmfitch@hotmail.com

Gene Gavin, Staten Island NY; (718) 967-0598; Gavin1957@aol.com

Frank Granelli, Rockaway NJ; (973) 625-4995; granellif@aol.com

Bill Hauth, Hamburg NY; (716) 649-8582; toolmkr2000@msn.com

Tony Jensen, Binghamton NY; (607) 644-6873; tjravenpilot@gmail.com

Ron McGrath, North Chili, NY; ronmcgrath@rochester.rr.com

Thomas Murray, Basking Ridge NJ; (908) 766-5656

Anthony Rossi, Somerset NJ; (917) 320-2665; p510851@gmail.com

Leonard Max Smart, Morrisonville NY; (518) 563-6878; hotrodsbymax@charter.net

Alexander Szemere, Kendall Park NJ; (732) 821-5641; drszemere@aol.com

Michael Wong, Mahwah NJ; kingmeow@verizon.net

Herb Ziegler, Baldwinsville NY; (315) 857-6266; herbz1957@yahoo.com


Tony and Trish Jensen, Binghamton NY; (607) 644-6873; tjravenpilot@gmail.com


AMA Headquarters, Competitions Department; (800) 435-9262, Ext. 252; cpierce@modelaircraft.org

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