RC modelling has been a very popular hobby and a sport in Australia dating from 1930s. It has also been a very safe hobby, with MAAA/VMAA clubs boasting an exemplary safety record. This record is a result of a very careful management of the flying activities by national, state and local organisations (CASA, MAAA, VMAA, RC Clubs) as well as constant improvements in the technology used in our models.
GMAC is an active member of MAAA (the largest RC plane association in Australia) and VMAA (State) and our flying field has been registered with CASA. We have been operating operating for 50 years and in the Yarrambat area for over 40 years, sharing the space with other local clubs. Over this period we have seen and managed constant change that includes approach of the residential areas, changes in radio technology and other. Safety of our members and public has always been our priority. While GMAC has all the legal rights and approvals to operate our models within the registered area, in order to minimize the impact on our neighbors the Club has voluntarily designed and implemented club rules that further restrict the flying activies in order to minimize the impact on our neighbours:
- Restriction of the maximum noise (there is no federal, state or local restrictions in this space). Our noise levels are at par or lower than a background noise in a typical neighborhood.
- Restriction of flying time, especially for internal combustion engines.
- Restriction of flying area moving it away from populated for much more than the legal 30 m.
Our hobby has seen constant improvements in the technology, especially in the control electronics. Days of simple transmitters with long antennas and crystals are gone and now all pilots use advanced digital systems. Most of the developments in the mobile phones technologies (transmition protocols, sensors, batteries) has been successfully adopted in our equipment. The result is a very safe and reliable transmitters and receivers, frequently with built–in redundancy:
- Advanced transmition protocols that can effectively operate in a crowded radio space over long distances
- Sensors and telemetry that provides the pilot with information from the model like battery status, etc.
- Redundant radio links and receivers that provide the pilot with reliable control over the model
- Redundant batteries and servo overload protection that secure control over the model
- Multitude of sensors, gyros and autopilots that stabilize the models
- Electric motors have become very popular and greatly reduce the noise level
All MAAA member clubs are required to adhere to strict procedures for pilot training and model certification, and GMAC is no exception. This approach mandates that only pilots with required level of skills may operate larger and faster models. Larger models must be certified for safe operations and it is performed by approved and trained officers.
A lot of thought, effort and care go into flying safely at GMAC on many fronts. We very much understand that there are members of the public unfamiliar with the hobby, who may hold concerns regarding its safety. Our extra safety measures are very much driven towards creating harmony with those around us. Above all, though GMAC is run by members for members, we have an open door policy for anyone who wishes to know more about our models and operations – feel free to drop in anytime we’re flying.
We understand for the casual observer the sight of a radio controlled aircraft in the vicinity may be cause for concern. Aeromodellers are practiced in judging altitude and location of aircraft, and understand the difficulty this presents to the untrained eye, having gone through the same difficulties ourselves. Many factors make it difficult: distance, angles, model size, speed and perceived noise level. We hence welcome any opportunity to share our knowledge, and help anyone concerned with the question, “How close was that model?”, to aide them in determining the answer accurately for themselves.