Friday, March 03, 2006

Houston, We REALLY Do Have a Problem

We have a wonderful modelport here in Salt Lake City! It is actually a Utah State Park. We can purchase a yearly pass to all of Utah's state parks, except for two for around $70 a year. The runway is paved, we have a nice frequency shack and a large pit area. Access to the flying field is just off of I-215. Everything is great except for radio interference.

I probably fly more than anyone at the Utah Modelport and I lost three airplanes this year due to radio interference. The first was my own design, the Venture which is featured on my website. The second was toward the end of the summer flying season, my Bridi Killer Chaos. The third was only a few weeks after my Killer Chaos, it was my customized Bridi Utter Chaos. Not only have I lost airplanes but radios and engines as well. I have also seen several others lose control of their airplanes at the modelport resulting in severe crashes. Many of these were by pilots who are very experienced.

A young man that works at one of our local hobby shops looks at me like I'm crazy when I tell him we have some serious interference going on, intermittently, at our field. I work with a fellow who is the president of an RC club in Davis county, a few miles to the north of us and they have also had the same problems.

While getting a haircut from a barber that is learning to fly RC, we were discussing this problem when another patron told us his son works for a communications company that is about a half mile from the modelport. He thought that might be the source of our problem.

- - - - - - - - - BREAKING NEWS - - - - - - - - - -

John Byrne, one of our local RC pilots was informed by Toole county's radio repairman that we do have a serious interference problem at the modelport. John had told him of the problems we have had so this fellow took his radio gear to the modelport. He said that there is a tremendous amount of radio "noise" and there were some severe spikes in the 72 mhz band. I called the communications company nearby and they said all they use is microwave equipment. The man I spoke to suggested I check with the Utah Air National Guard who is even closer to us than they are. The Utah Air National Guard does have a lot of satellite dishes and antennas. I will have to call them and see if they can check their equipment to see what is going on. Until then, everyone at the modelport flies at their own risk.

It is nice to know that I'm not crazy! We have been very lucky that someone has not been seriously wounded or killed by uncontrolled radio controlled aircraft. I am hoping that the radio technician can bring out his directional antenna so we can find the source of our interference. If we don't, someone could easily be killed by a runaway plane.

Jay Mc