HKRCSS The Hong Kong Radio Control Soaring Society

Main HK F3F League Typhoon Race Results and Records Rules Safety

May 11, 2015. rev0.3
1, Revised links to HKPA web site.
F3F Safety Rules

F3F competition involves models flying at high speed and close to the slope. The models used are specially built that are strong, large and heavy. While handled correctly, F3F is not as dangerous as it look. There is no mid-air in the competition and the model is inherently more controllable in any wind condition. To enhance the safety of F3F activities, we hereby request all the pilots who would like to join F3F observe the following safety rules.

1, Know your ability - F3F models fly fast and turn close to the slope. There is no place to play. You must be a competent pilot before taking part in a competition. Flying in cross wind or strong wind (over 20m/s) is not uncommon in F3F. If you have difficulty in keeping the flying course or landing, get more practice first and seek help from experience pilots.
2, Know your model - The CG range, control throw, ballast range, stall characteristic and turning radius in different wind conditions. Take the time to test your model before putting it into extreme.

3, Know your radio - A proper F3F setup would include many mixers and flight modes. Carefully test all the switch and button combinations on the ground so that it will not give you a surprise in the air. Always have a helper at your side when you are tuning your model in the air. Set up proper fail safe so that butterfly is deployed with a small amount of rudder. This is not to save your model but to try to lower its speed to keep damage or injury to the others to a minimum. For traditional VHF (35, 40 and 72MHz) radios, always do frequency check before turning on your transmitter. Strictly follow the frequency control rules of the local flying site. Modern 2.4G radios are virtually interference free, but be noticed that due to the much higher frequency used, these new radios have different handling requirements than traditional VHF radios. Read the manual and don't skip a single step. Do a proper range test with the model in different orientations. Modern 2.4G radios are reliable, but they also demand more attention from the user.

4, Use reliable components - F3F models operate in a much higher stress then the other sailplane models. Components that were working normally in other simple models may not be able to withstand the stress. Don't skim on the radio, battery, wire harness, glue or even the screws. Use only reliable and proven parts. Trusted brands usually stand for the specification they stated. They are only a small fraction of the total cost of the model but the life of your model and the other people rely on them.

5, Battery maintenance - Know the maximum flying time the battery can support. For a new or repaired model, check the current on the ground first. Make sure that there is no abnormal current drain due to blinded linkage, etc. For the first time, fly not more than half the time you used to, then check the battery power remaining to get an estimation of the maximum flying time. Repeat it until you have a good confidence of the maximum flying time. Don't fly longer than 70% of the maximum time so that you have a good reserve if necessary. On board low battery alarm or telemetric Rx battery alarm are highly recommended, but make sure that the alarm voltage was set correctly so it would not be too late to warn you. Do regular battery cycling to keep track of the health of the battery.

6, Midair avoidance - Midair is very rare in F3F because it is supposed only one model at a time in the competition. Midair usually happens during practice where many models are in the air. Please try to avoid taking off if there are already models in the air. There is risk of midair and you are just wasting your battery power waiting up there. We suggest the pilots agree on a time window, say ten minutes, and practice one by one. Keep only one model in the air at any time. This is safe and is more efficient.
7, The last advice we would like to give: be a responsible RC pilot. If in doubt, don't fly.
Safety notes on F3F flying in Ma On Shan
Ma On Shan is one of the best slope soaring area in Hong  Kong. The long easterly facing ridge, the big air space and the large landing site make it the most favorite F3F flying site. In Ma On Shan, the air space is shared by both model glider pilots and paraglider pilots. Please be reminded that a collision between model and paraglider can cost life. Any mistake or carelessness can cause a tragedy. This is very serious and we request all model pilots who fly in Ma On Shan observe the following safety rules:
1, General safety rules
i, Paraglider has the priority over model gliders - Paragliders are man carrying aircrafts. They have priority over model gliders in all circumstances. Do not expect a paraglider can avoid a model glider. Model gliders are fast and small compared to paragliders. Not only is it hard for a paraglider pilot to notice a closing by model glider, but paragliders also do not have the ability to make any avoidance maneuvers.
ii, The "blue sky rule" - Keep a "blue sky" between your model and the paragliders. Never let your model visually overlaps a paraglider. Distance is hard to estimate when both the objects are far away from you so don't guess. Always assume your model and the paragliders are on the same course. Pay attention to the nearby paragliders and adjust your course early to leave a "blue sky" between them.
iii, Keep a watch on the paragliders - Unlike real aircraft that the pilot is sitting in the aircraft, model pilot is watching the model on the ground so he is actually not watching the air space in front of the model. When the model is flying close to the pilot, he may not be able to notice the closing by paraglider and it is very dangerous. Therefore we request a watcher must be present to watch for any closing by paragliders and warn the model pilot if there is any paraglider that could enter the model glider's course.
2, Flying area
The left (north) slope under the Pyramid Hill is the F3F flying track. The right (south) slope with a big platform is the paragliders take off and landing area. We do not encourage model pilots to do any F3F practice at the middle slope (the old F3F site). This area is reserved as a buffer area for the landing course of both model gliders and the paragliders.
When the lift is good, paragliders are usually hanging around at the Pyramid Hill far from the F3F flying track. We should pay attention when the lift is weak, that the paragliders may not be able to fly out of the F3F flying track after take off. They may also need to turn around at the ridge several times to gain height. They could fly close or even entering our flying area. Our understanding is that HKPA does not recommend the paragliders to take off in the weak condition. Nevertheless, we should be prepared that there could be paraglider entering the F3F track at any time.
3, HKPA's instruction for paragliders flying in Ma On Shan
Please read the following instructions HKPA provided to its members about the avoidance of RC models flying in Ma On Shan:
HKRCSS and HKPA had been sitting together and worked out these procedures. We believe that understanding is important to avoid any conflict. We cannot expect everyone to follow the rules but let¡¦s start doing it right from ourselves.
Fly safe and Enjoy!