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Multirotor crash results in brush fire at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale Ca.

#21
Let's just make this clear. Anything that you do now days is dangerous. The battery in your car has much more energy than anyone ever cares to realize. Starters take anywhere from 300-800amps to start your car. Yes you read that right... And diesels take even more energy! If you short out your car battery it will explode and cause a fire which is why you will occasionally see a car fire as a result of an accident on the freeway. And when that happens what do you do? See that there is a fire and just walk away because you are scared???? I really hope not because that is a crime since you are leaving the scene of an accident. This fire may not seem like that big of a deal and had the person that started it stayed to tell their account of what happened then things would be different. However when you leave the scene of an accident you are going to be perused by the authorities. I urge the person that started this fire to fess up to the authorities and let them know what happened so that there is no fall out for the rest of the responsible RC pilots at Baylands. I have been flying there since 2008 and have had a hand full of crashes that resulted in me making the walk of shame. The first thing that you do is unplug the battery and make sure that it is not shorted out. Secondly you pick up all of the pieces that were associated with the crash and take them away from the area. If you have a damaged lipo then you have to spend all of your time making sure that it is contained and if possible get it to the BBQ area and leave it in the BBQ pit where it will away from all ignition sources. These are all basic rules of thumb that any one of the locals could have helped with had this person actually stopped and talked to someone...

One thing that really irritates me about situations like this is that the people who show up and do the wrong thing will actually mess it up for the people that have been there forever and always done the right thing. We all are here to help and had I been there I would have helped this person deal with the situation... The last thing that we need is attention like this due to someone being afraid to fess up to their own actions...
It's clear you have a good knowledge of the field, but it's important to understand. The report is that when the pilots got over the fence and made their way to crash site, the fire was about a foot in diameter.

Here is the report:

They were flying from the grassy area but their craft was over the 'wetlands'.

An ESC shorted/failed mid-air and the hex tumbled. They jumped over the fence to retrieve the hex and as they got close, they saw smoke. There were two points of ignition - the battery (shorted as a result of the failed ESC) and the ESC itself. The battery (separated and a few feet from the hex) was picked up and did not catch the dry grass on fire - the ESC did.

Although the fire was only about a foot in diameter upon their arrival, it was clear that after maybe 10-15 seconds they could not put out of the fire and they could see that people were already calling 911
So the 'normal', 'expected' process in dealing with a crash like this was started, but because it happened over the fence in the 'wetlands' (which are bone dry right now) they got to it about a minute too late.
 
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nerdnic

nerdnic.com
Mentor
#22
In this video the pilots are walking away already and the fire isn't even that huge. It would seem the fire was pretty small when the multirotor was recovered. (skip to 2:20)

 

RAM

Posted a thousand or more times
#23
I looked at the video. To me, the fire looks pretty big compared to the size of the people near it at that point. Without tools I don't see how they could have put it out. Either way, it is disturbing to think that it could happen to any of us.
 
#24
. . . it is disturbing to think that it could happen to any of us.
And it's not limited to multi-rotors.

See this thread about a Phoenix 2000 remote crash

Yes it is disturbing. I was flying my Zagi HP (with inrunner brushless powerpack*) at Baylands Park yesterday and was trying to get the hang of launching it from flat ground (I usually fly it from a hill). After several failed launches, I did get it up in the air.

While preparing for a launch, I noticed that the motor wasn't coming up to speed uniformly, then noticed that it was very hot to the touch. I've noticed that it gets hot before, but never this hot. I'm not an expert, I'm just learning to fly electric gliders after a 20 year gap. ESCs, LiPo Batteries, and Electric motors are new to me (I'm glad that in that 20-year gap, we've gone from CompuServe to the World Wide Web in 2015).

So I'm VERY AWARE that it could happen to me. I'm cautious, but it's very sobering.


It dampens my enthusiasm for the hobby, but strengthens my resolve to learn everything I can. I don't want to have to face the crisis of conscious that the two pilots faced on Saturday.
_____________________________________________
* checking the Zagi website, I notice that the ESC in the photo on the website is a 40A ESC, and the one that I received is a 100A ESC. It's time for me to call the number on the Zagi Instruction and get some more education.
 
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#25
In this video the pilots are walking away already and the fire isn't even that huge. It would seem the fire was pretty small when the multirotor was recovered. (skip to 2:20)

Here are the after effects... It all could have been avoided with a little bit of resourcefulness... but then again not many people are willing to ask for help or fess up when they make a mistake. that grass is easy to put out... especially if there are 2 people... no excuse for just leaving either....





 

RAM

Posted a thousand or more times
#26
Here are the after effects... It all could have been avoided with a little bit of resourcefulness... but then again not many people are willing to ask for help or fess up when they make a mistake. that grass is easy to put out... especially if there are 2 people... no excuse for just leaving either....
I'm not going to judge. I wasn't there so I don't know the facts. It's just a good lesson for all of us and luckily nobody was hurt. We all think we are responsible hobbyists but I doubt many of us carry around the equipment needed to fight a fire. Apparently they knew others had called 911 so it makes sense that they did not. Leaving the scene is a concern but I wouldn't want to mess with the fire at that stage (from the video).
 

sethml

Junior Member
#27
While it's easy to condemn the person who started the fire, it's also important to acknowledge that any of us flying anything other than an unpowered glider could crash and start a similar fire. Care in aircraft construction and flying can reduce the risk, but not eliminate it.

I feel like it would be a very good time for everybody who flies at Baylands regularly to show their appreciation and support to the city of Sunnyvale for allowing R/C flying there. I suspect that a donation to the parks department and/or the fire department would be a very good way to show our appreciation.

I've made a request through the Sunnyvale City website to find out the best way to donate. I'll report back here with their response.

sunnyvale request.png
 

Julez

WOT and going nowhere
#29
it would seem that there’s a need for something that can put out *larger* fires. In this case the fire might be too big to stomp out and too big for fire extinguishers, but something should still be done to help prevent it from growing too much before the fire department can get there. A large fire blanket or multiple high- capacity fire extinguishers might be a good idea.

Maybe we can get Peter to build a few more of those firefighter Y6’s and keep one or two around clubs. :D A multirotor could certainly provide a faster response time than going back to the club shelter to get the extinguisher and then drive back out to the fire...
 
#30
If some of us were to approach the fire department and ask them for advice on how to put out a 'small' (1 foot diameter) brush fire . . .
 

sethml

Junior Member
#31
While it's easy to condemn the person who started the fire, it's also important to acknowledge that any of us flying anything other than an unpowered glider could crash and start a similar fire. Care in aircraft construction and flying can reduce the risk, but not eliminate it.

I feel like it would be a very good time for everybody who flies at Baylands regularly to show their appreciation and support to the city of Sunnyvale for allowing R/C flying there. I suspect that a donation to the parks department and/or the fire department would be a very good way to show our appreciation.

I've made a request through the Sunnyvale City website to find out the best way to donate. I'll report back here with their response.
I got a response from the city to my request - see below. It looks like they were very aware of how the fire started, and R/C flying is very at risk, and now would be the time to act. My suggestion would be to put together a nice kickstarter and start collecting donations, but I can't do it right now. A big advantage to that over private donations is that something like kickstarter makes it very public how much money was contributed and by how many people, so it's a nice thing to point to and show them that the R/C community cares.

Anybody want to put something together?

From: Parks <parks@sunnyvale.ca.gov>
Date: Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 8:15 AM
Subject: Re: Request #38909 - Baylands Grass Fire
To: "sethml@ofb.net" <sethml@ofb.net>
Cc: XXX

Dear Seth LaForge

Thank you for your input on the fire that occurred at Baylands Park. The fire is under investigation and any cost recovery will be billed to the person(s) responsible. In light of this accident, the Parks policy for the use of model cars and airplanes may be reviewed. The wetlands area where the fire occurred is a restricted area to protect the wildlife. Use of model cars and planes are not allowed in this area.

Any donations to the Parks Division can be mailed to:

City of Sunnyvale Department of Public Works, Parks Division
221 Commercial Street
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Donations to Public Safety can be mailed to:

City of Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety
700 All America Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

After the donation is received, a receipt for the donation will be returned for your files. Thank you again for contacting the Parks Division. If there are any questions, please contact me directly at 408 730-7539 or meccles@sunnyvale.ca.gov and I will be happy to help.

Thank you,
Mike Eccles
Parks Manager
DPW Parks Division
(408) 730-7539
meccles@sunnyvale.ca.gov
Department of Public Works
parks@sunnyvale.ca.gov

Your request's status is now 'Closed'. To sign in and rate our reply click here.
 

sethml

Junior Member
#32
If some of us were to approach the fire department and ask them for advice on how to put out a 'small' (1 foot diameter) brush fire . . .
That's actually a good idea. In my experience firefighters are really very enthusiastic about teaching people how to put out fires. And set fires. And put them out again. I suspect if you volunteered some old LiPos to put on fire, they'd be extra enthusiastic about practicing putting them out, too.
 
#33
That's actually a good idea. In my experience firefighters are really very enthusiastic about teaching people how to put out fires. And set fires. And put them out again. I suspect if you volunteered some old LiPos to put on fire, they'd be extra enthusiastic about practicing putting them out, too.
And I think it would show that some of us are very serious about being responsible.

As to the letter from the DPW Parks Division Manager:

. . . Use of model cars and planes are not allowed in this area.
I would say, yes, that makes sense, it's clearly marked as a restricted area, but the airspace above it is not . . .
 
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#34
While it's easy to condemn the person who started the fire, it's also important to acknowledge that any of us flying anything other than an unpowered glider could crash and start a similar fire. Care in aircraft construction and flying can reduce the risk, but not eliminate it.

I feel like it would be a very good time for everybody who flies at Baylands regularly to show their appreciation and support to the city of Sunnyvale for allowing R/C flying there. I suspect that a donation to the parks department and/or the fire department would be a very good way to show our appreciation.

I've made a request through the Sunnyvale City website to find out the best way to donate. I'll report back here with their response.

View attachment 53917
You are not doing anyone a favor by saying what you said. When you tell a city govt official that you are willing to donate then you are making it as if you are admitting guilt... Why not actually talk to the people that spend lots of time at baylands? Wouldn't it be a little more selfless to do that instead of putting your own ideas ahead what everyone else has already been doing?My group has spent well over $2,000 in park rental fees this year and our group of 30-40 people all have season passes.... we have done our part... And I am not speaking out of happen stance here... We have been able to keep things under control for the last 7+ years that I have been there and for some of the regulars over 20 years... And we actually have been in touch with the fire dept who will actually come out to the park to talk to us more about what happened and get more info for their investigation that is still on going... Also I urge those of you that do know who it is that is responsible for this fire to please contact the Sunnyvale Fire Department and give them the info that they need. They will get to the bottom of it eventually but it would be best if they just fessed up now... Stop dragging this out...

here is what I wrote to the city...

Hi,

My name is Ray Manuel and I have been an active RC pilot for over 30 years now. I moved to Sunnyvale in 2004 and have been a regular at Baylands Park ever since then! It started out as just a fun place to go with the family for walks, looking at wildlife or playing on the park equipment with my 2 boys. It wasn't until about 2008 that I realized people actually flew RC airplanes there and that was the beginning of a long standing relationship with the park. Not only have we spent lots of time there but we also get season passes at the beginning of every season. We love the park and pay for the season pass as a way of showing our support.

The group that I fly with is the largest at the park and we normally gather at Pickleweed Place. To us the most important aspect of this hobby is making sure that people do the right thing. By that I mean that we are the ones that will intervene and help out the newcomers to the park. We tell them about our own gentlemen rules of etiquette as well as the AMA guidelines for flying in parks. Stay out of the trees, away from cars, fenced off areas like the wetlands and that people as well as wildlife all have the right of way. Never get in their way or fly too close to them. Safety is paramount and we make sure that everyone flies safely.... And if not we get their attention and do our best to make them stop. We love the park and can't stand seeing anyone take it for granted. We clean up after ourselves and others as well! Since the park is usually rented by party goers on Saturdays, when we show up early on Sundays we actually help the park workers clean up from the previous day. Most of the workers actually know us and seem to appreciate this help as well. As I said we love the park and never take it for granted. In fact over the last few years we have pooled our funds to rent the picnic areas to show our support.. This past season we were able to save up enough to pay for 20 Sundays at $85 each. We have pooled lots of money already for this coming season as well... We love this park and are doing everything that we can to make sure that things are done the right way and that we are helping with keeping it going...

With that being said, this recent fire really bothers all of my group. None of the people that are part of my group are this irresponsible. We never venture into the restricted areas as stated above. Hearing that someone went out there and then made no attempt to extinguish a fire that was caused by their craft makes all of us very upset. We would have helped had we known that there was a problem but they never asked for help or voiced any concern for the area. All of the responsible RC pilots in my group are very upset and want the city to know that we are not the ones responsible for this. We take pride in our park and do all that we can to keep it as it is. Please don't let this one rogue flier put a bad mark on all of the other RC activities at the park. If you would like to contact me directly about this incident please feel free to do so. I can even arrange to have the group meet with you and the city should that be necessary. We are very happy to have Sunnyvale Baylands Park as a place to fly our planes and almost all of our interactions with others at the park are very positive. We are willing to help with this matter so please feel free to let us know what you may need.

Sincerely,

Ray Manuel


There are a lot of people that fly at baylands. Why not actually reach out to those people instead of just speaking on your own behalf? Showing support to the park by saying you want to donate is one thing.... actually doing your part through rentals and park fees is another. We have already done that and if you had talked to us then you may have knows not to better approach this situation...
 

kasra

Junior Member
#35
Baylands Fire 09/05/2015

Hello Guys,

I was at Baylands this past Saturday and Sunnyvale Fire Department stopped by. They are investigating the September 5th incident. If you were a witness or have valuable info, please contact me offline.

Thanks,

Kasra
 
#36
. . .


. . .
Ray Manuel


There are a lot of people that fly at baylands. Why not actually reach out to those people instead of just speaking on your own behalf? Showing support to the park by saying you want to donate is one thing.... actually doing your part through rentals and park fees is another. We have already done that and if you had talked to us then you may have knows not to better approach this situation...
When I read the post about donations, I thought, wait a minute, there is a $6/day use fee, aren't the RC flyers already paying their share to fund the park? From the looks of things, it's a big group and they must be a significant percentage of the revenue that the part takes in.

But I also thought about the situation I faced the Sunday Morning before the fire. I got there early, the gate was open, but no one was collecting fees. So I drove in and found around 20 RC Flyers already there and setting up.

So if you routinely go in when the gate is open, but fees aren't collected, then I guess paying an annual fee is the right way to go to contribute. No need to donate.