I was witness to a chopper pilot flying inverted 1 ft from his head a few months ago. I was in charge of a large group, but I passed the command over to a subordinate and walked way WAY away. You chopper guys are brilliant, but I am scared to death of your machines.
After we had the big insurance issues in Oz, I noticed a few club sites putting up screens or cages for Heli's. But they seem to have disappeared. These high profile cases aren't going to do much for the clubs, but then, who wants to advocate a nanny state.
I received a pair of Carbon Heli Blades that span 1.5 meters from Hobby King when they used to give away something with some orders. I don't have a machine to fit them but if I did I can tell you I would not operate it from closer than 100'. Might as well be juggling 2 live "Light Sabers"! I got rid of my Little (Esky Big Lama) Copter when it showed a tendency to shed blades in flight more than once. Even a 6" piece of sharp plastic can be deadly!
I've totally given up on any chance of having reflexes to just hover the dang thing. I know competent pilots that can do amazing things with them. They're all just one glitch away from disaster BUT they didn't start flying in the 70's like when every CB jockey with a 'slider' would knock you out of the air every 15 minutes. If you went to the field and got home without a serious 'hit' you had a good day.
But modeling deaths in total are fairly rare. Usually it's just one of the old rule makers that gets so upset with actual flyers that they stroke out.
I know the Test Flight guys don't like the helis much either, but I remember an friend joined me at the flying field once and as she was watching a scale Cessna 172 with an OS 120 engine (pretty big model) it broke it's nose gear on take off and swung hard towards her just as it lifted, it was like it aimed for her head. Thankfully she was looking that way and jumped to the floor just in time. This hobby can have it's moments...
I absolutely hate this. Prayers for him an his family (realizing it was some time ago now)
Being a fairly avid heli pilot... People need to remember, skill doesn't mean anything... People make mistakes, and these machines are not toys... The amount of force those blades carry is tremendous, and they are very stiff...
I lost a plastic blade grip in flight once, it was an esky belt cp, the blade cost me over 400 dollars in the milli second it took to sail cleanly threw my garage door.
Helis are not the only dangerous things in the hobby. One of the old timers at our local club lost two fingers to a gas plane.
At my local rc speed way last year a guy broke his ankle in the parking lot when a man lost control of his losi 8 buggy.
These accidents are few and far between, at least serious ones, but regular less we should all work a little safer around these machines...
The single most scary part of piloting rc helis is how quickly things can go wrong... These are very high performance and it takes fractions of a second to loose control.... I even program a pitchless profile in my transmitter so I can check blade tracking with the machine stationary... Doesn't keep you safe from failing blade grips..