Turbine Policy

MRCF Turbine Pilot Qualification Requirements and Procedures

This document outlines the requirements for operating turbine-powered model aircraft at the Miramar Radio Control Flier’s (MRCF) facility at MCAS Miramar (San Diego, CA), and defines operating and safety procedures as well as a ‘tiered’ pilot certification program based on airframe characteristics and demonstrated pilot experience level. “Turbine aircraft” or “airframe” shall interchangeably include both fixed and rotary wing models, unless otherwise specified. Effective 2/2/2011, no pilot may operate a turbine aircraft at the MRCF facility unless all requirements of this document have been met.

General Turbine Operation Requirements

NOTE:  The AMA has amended the Safety Regulations For Model Aircraft Powered By Gas Turbines as of April 9, 2011.  Please review the amended items in bold here:   http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/510-a.pdf

 

– All AMA regulations and safety guidelines must be followed at all times; specifically, the AMA Safety Code and related Turbine Safety and Waiver requirements (available at http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.pdf, http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/510-a.pdf, and  http://www.modelaircraft.org/documents.aspx#Turbines).

– Pilots must keep and maintain a flight log of turbine operations as defined by AMA turbine waiver regulations (see http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/510-a.pdf).

– All turbine operations require a minimum of one, 2-1/2 pound “BC” or “ABC” rated fire extinguisher to be present and available in the starting area and/or near the flight line. The extinguisher must be filled and in working order. Turbine operators must provide their own  extinguisher; while MRCF provides several water-filled extinguishers in the pit area, these have been installed for emergency use only, and should not be used for turbine operations unless the turbine operator’s own extinguisher has been emptied in use.

– All turbine operations require a minimum of one portable five gallon liquid extinguisher (example – ‘Indian’ water backpack or similar) to be present on the flight line and available for immediate access and “one man” transport (via backpack carry or wheeled transport  – i.e. cart, wagon, back of car, etc). This liquid extinguisher must be filled and checked for operation at the start of ALL turbine operations on a daily basis. MRCF provides two water storage jugs in the on-field (white) utility shed; the shed lock combination is the same as the MRCF entry gate.

– No turbine flight operations are allowed without an experienced safety spotter/observer present; “experienced” is defined as either an MRCF member signed off for solo flight, or a guest with a current AMA membership and turbine waiver.

– Static ground operations (i.e. test runs) without a spotter/observer are allowed, but all fire safety equipment must be present and prepared for immediate use. “Dynamic” ground tests (taxi tests, etc) require a spotter/observer.

– No first flights (“test flights”) of newly constructed or rebuilt/major repaired airframes are allowed at MRCF until the aircraft has been inspected (scrutineered) for potential safety issues by an MRCF member holding a current AMA turbine waiver. Any issues deemed  as presenting a safety risk must be addressed before flight at MRCF.

o In case of dispute, a second MRCF member/waiver holder can be requested to scrutineer the airframe. Both scrutineers must agree that the issue is resolved before flying that airframe at MRCF.

o Due to the rarity of rotary wing turbine waiver holders, a rotary wing aircraft may be scrutineered by a fixed wing waiver holder, and vice-versa. Any safety issues that are specific to a rotary wing airframe may be referred to an experienced MRCF rotary wing pilot for comment and  review.

– First flights or test flights of all turbine airframes should be performed when there is limited activity, such as early morning or late afternoon.

– No turbine operations are allowed during periods of high fire risk, to be determined by the US Forestry Service and the NOAA as a “Red Flag” condition for the immediate area encompassing MCAS Miramar. Red Flag status must be checked every day prior to turbine  operations, and is the responsibility of the turbine pilot to confirm or verify before flight.

o Red Flag status may be checked at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sto/cafw/index.php or http://www.nws.noaa.gov/.

Should any MRCF member see a turbine aircraft operated in an unsafe manner, or operated outside the requirements of this document, they should report any incident to the MRCF Turbine Administrator and the MRCF Board for review. In consultation with the Administrator, the Board shall be the final authority for determining any response or taking appropriate action deemed necessary to maintain safe turbine operations at MRCF Miramar. Any changes or modifications to this document will be managed by the Administrator, with review and approval by the Board.

MRCF Turbine Pilot Requirements

In addition to requiring current AMA membership and AMA Turbine Waivers, all new pilots desiring to fly a turbine aircraft at MRCF must also be approved (“signed off”) for turbine operations by an MRCF club member that also holds a current turbine waiver. Recognizing the great variety of turbine airframe types available to the modeler, and the greatly varying level of experience required to safely operate these aircraft, MRCF has created a tiered classification system for turbine aircraft types, pilot experience required, and sign-off procedures for each tier level. (Note that this is for fixed wing aircraft only – there is no tiered requirement for rotary wing at this time). The approved MRCF Turbine tier level will be indicated by the appropriate tier level written on experience level color sticker (i.e. blue, green, orange, etc.) of the member’s current club membership card (see http://www.miramarrcflyers.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=43&Itemid=69 ).

MRCF Turbine Pilot tier levels, definitions, and sign-off requirements for each are defined as follows:

Level One

– Aircraft requirements

o “Trainer” or transition type aircraft with basic flight controls (rudder, elevator and ailerons or elevons, throttle, flaps, retracts) such as Reaction, Kangaroo, Boomerang, JetMach, etc.

o No complex control functions (i.e. scale functions, spoilers, slats, swept wings, etc.)

o Ready to fly weight under 30 lbs. (wet)

o Wingspan and/or length of 81” or less

o Wing loading of 35 oz/sq. ft. or less

o 28 lbs max thrust (single engine only)

o Top speed of 150 MPH or less

– Pilot requirements

o AMA waiver and minimum of one year of fixed wing wing flight experience with at least 50 flights within the prior year.

– Flight demonstration and sign off requirements

o Perform a Demo Flight that is witnessed and signed off by a MRCF member holding a current turbine waiver and signed off for Level 2 or 3 turbine operations.

o “Walk through” and discussion of aircraft setup, specifically addressing pilot knowledge that control system (servos, control linkages), fuel system, electrical system (battery type and capacity vs. current draw and surge requirements), and airframe (strength, design, CG location,  and measurement method) are adequate and safe for flight.

o Successfully and safely demonstrate a flight sequence consisting of the following maneuvers:

 Preflight inspection, Startup, and Taxi to runway. (Look for preflight check of battery and fuel status, safe starting practices, and ability to control residual thrust with steering and brakes.)

 Takeoff maintaining 5’ lateral distance (either side) from centerline and transition to cruise flight (gear and flaps retracted, establish straight flight downwind). (Look for ability to maintain track, smooth rotation, ability to manipulate secondary controls, not overspeeding flaps/gear.)

 Two racetrack laps demonstrating ability to maintain stabilized altitude (within 30’) and flight track parallel to runway. (Look for ability to maintain speed and attitude through turns and staying within field boundaries.)

 Missed approach/slow flight. Perform simulated approach to landing, below 50’ and staying above 10’, with slow flight (gear and flaps down) pass down runway centerline. Safe transition back to cruise flight. (Look for ability to smoothly control airspeed via throttle and attitude     control, manage multiple tasks, awareness of thrust/speed/drag interaction, ability to manage slow flight).

 Landing pattern/Approach to full stop. Demonstrate safe landing from upwind leg to full stop landing, staying within 5 feet laterally of centerline. Look for ability to maintain stabilized attitude (i.e. no large changes in attitude or speed), alignment to runway, and smooth flare and braking.

 Demonstrate safe taxi and shutdown procedures.

 

Level Two

– Aircraft requirements

o Higher performance sport and/or basic scale aircraft, such as KingCat, Bandit, L-39, F-15, F-16, F-86.

o Scale functions limited to non-flight controls (except speed brakes, if equipped).

o Ready to fly weight under 40 lbs. (wet)

o 38 lbs max thrust (single engine only)

o Wingspan and/or length of 96” or less

o Wing loading of 45 oz/sq.in. or less

o Top speed of 180 MPH or less

– Pilot requirements

o Current AMA waiver with two years of fixed wing flight experience, with at least 50 flights within the prior year.

– Flight demonstration and sign off requirements.

o Perform a Demo Flight that is witnessed and signed off by an MRCF member holding a current turbine waiver and signed off for Level 3 turbine operations.

o Successfully and safely demonstrate a flight sequence consisting of the following:

 Preflight inspection, Startup, and Taxi to runway. (Look for preflight check of battery and fuel status, safe starting practices, and ability to control residual thrust with steering and brakes.)

 Takeoff maintaining 5’ lateral distance (either side) from centerline and transition to cruise flight (gear and flaps retracted, establish straight flight downwind). (Look for ability to maintain track, smooth rotation, ability to manipulate secondary controls, not overspeeding flaps/gear.)

 Two Figure-8 laps demonstrating ability to maintain stabilized altitude (within 20’) and flight pattern parallel to runway. (Look for ability to maintain speed and attitude through turns and staying within field boundaries.)

 One high speed pass, safely performed over far edge of runway, no more than 75’ and no less than 20’ in altitude. (Look for ability to safely establish line up and maintain altitude and alignment, smooth control inputs, and transition to cruise flight).

 Missed approach/slow flight. Perform simulated approach to landing, staying below 50’ and above 10’, with slow flight (gear and flaps down) pass down runway centerline. Safe transition back to cruise flight. (Look for ability to smoothly control airspeed via throttle control, ability to manage multiple tasks, awareness of thrust/speed/drag interaction, ability to manage slow flight).

 Landing pattern/Approach to full stop. Demonstrate safe landing from upwind leg to full stop landing, staying within 5 feet laterally of centerline. Look for ability to maintain stabilized attitude (i.e. no large changes in attitude or speed), alignment to runway, and smooth flare and       braking.

 Demonstrate safe taxi and shutdown procedures.

 

Level Three

– Aircraft requirements

o High performance sport and “heavy metal” scale aircraft, such as Firebird, Ultra Bandit, F-4, F-100, F-14, Tornado, etc.

o Any/All scale functions, including operating slats, speed brakes, swing wings, etc.

o Ready to fly weight under 55 lbs. (wet); AMA “Experimental” class turbines are not allowed at MCRF

o 45 lbs max thrust for single engine, 50 lbs total for multiple engines

o Wing loading unrestricted

o Wingspan and/or length unrestricted

o Top speed of 200 MPH (limited per AMA requirement)

– Pilot requirements

o Current AMA waiver and three years of fixed wing flight experience, with at least 50 flights within the prior year.

– Flight demonstration and sign off requirements.

o Perform a Demo Flight that is witnessed and signed off by an MRCF member holding a current turbine waiver and signed off for Level 3 turbine operations.

o Successfully and safely demonstrate a flight sequence consisting of the following maneuvers:

 Preflight inspection, Startup, and Taxi to runway. (Look for preflight check of battery and fuel status, safe starting practices, and ability to control residual thrust with steering and brakes.)

 Takeoff maintaining 5’ lateral distance (either side) from centerline and transition to cruise flight (gear and flaps retracted, establish straight flight downwind). (Look for ability to maintain track, smooth rotation, ability to manipulate secondary controls, not overspeeding flaps/gear.)

 Two Figure-8 laps demonstrating ability to maintain stabilized altitude (within 20’) and flight pattern parallel to runway. (Look for ability to maintain speed and attitude through turns and staying within field boundaries.)

 Pilot’s Choice, depending on aircraft type, capability, and airspace requirements:

 One high speed pass, safely performed over far edge of runway, no more than 50’ and no less than 20’ in altitude, followed by a half-Cuban 8, Derry turn, or half-Immelman. (Look for ability to safely establish line up and maintain altitude and alignment, smooth control   inputs, and transition back to cruise flight.) – OR –

 Perform one loop, 4 point roll, and inverted flight in any order. (Look for ability to maintain orientation, attitude, altitude, and recovery from unusual attitudes.)

 Missed approach/slow flight. Perform simulated approach to landing, staying below 50’ and above 10’, with slow flight (gear and flaps down) pass down runway centerline. Safe transition back to cruise flight. (Look for ability to smoothly control airspeed via throttle control, ability to manage multiple tasks, awareness of thrust/speed/drag interaction, ability to manage slow flight).

 Landing pattern/Approach to full stop. Demonstrate safe landing from upwind leg to full stop landing, staying within 5 feet laterally of centerline. Look for ability to maintain stabilized attitude (i.e. no large changes in attitude or speed), alignment to runway, and smooth flare and braking.

 Demonstrate safe taxi and shutdown procedures.