Scrutineering

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Gary Boardman
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Scrutineering

Postby Gary Boardman » April 5th, 2013, 8:29 am

I read in the Journal that scrutineering has gone the way of the Dodo and it’s now our responsibility to ensure our models are fit for flight, which has always been the case as far as I’m aware.

Having a model scrutinised was always a bit of a hit and miss affair, depending on who was doing the job and a cause for some arguments and delays but it did mean that another set of eyes were cast over the model from a safety perspective and for this reason alone I think this is a mistake.

One assumes this is all about insurance and stating that a model is safe to fly transfers the risk from the pilot to the show organisers in some way.

Will the next move be to say that flight line and flying safety is also down solely to the pilot and remove the need for marshals and flight line safety officers? Still this will mean that all that’s needed is a slotting list and for pilots to synchronise their watches at the beginning of the day.

Also if we are abandoning scrutineering why bother with a failsafe check? Surely this is the responsibility of the pilot as well?

Some of the above is tongue in cheek but I still seriously believe this is a retrograde step as I would rather have a second experienced opinion on my model prior to flying in front of thousands of people.

Alan King
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Alan King » April 5th, 2013, 9:33 am

I must agree with this even when a scrutineer is pedantic about something it could well be that his eyes identify an overlooked issue, perhaps the next best thing is to have a fellow pilot/competitor check your model as a safeguard.

I would say that scrutineering should be seen only as a safety issue, the scrutineer is there to identify a potential problem and in no way is he liable for any problem that does occur, based on the issue expressed it would mean that any form of scrutineering is placing the scrutineer at risk of being held liable, this means based on this argument that soon all forms of scrutineering will need to stop and the driver, rider, participant in any event is liable for his own identifiction of issues.

I believe this can easily be overcome by the scrutineer being there only to check that all relevant regs have been met such as, working failsafe at the time it is checked, all links being as prescribed, prop being safe ( correct material ), model and pilot meeting all requirements, ie sober pilot, pilot wearing glasses if needed ( very easy to check based on drivers licence ), model meeting conditions as per permit to fly.

this means that the scrutineer can then sign off saying simply that the A/C meets requirements and the final decision to fly rests with the pilot, just the same as a MOT states that although having passed an MOT it does not mean a car is roadworthy and the driver needs to confirm the car meets standards before he sets off.

Quite simply there is a safer route than removing scrutineering and we all know that pressure to please others can cause bad decisions to be made, if this was not the case then many full size A/C accidents would never happen as the pilot would not have to make a decision based on his ego to fly, i think the real danger is that often planes are flown in conditions which do not meet safe standards including weather conditions, general wear and tear and damage, this is true for model and full size.

Rewrite the rules change the wording but keep some form of scrutineer.

Cary Bailey
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Cary Bailey » April 5th, 2013, 10:32 am

Chaps, I'm relatively new to the LMA & have read this thread with interest regarding scrutineering. My reasons for replying is that my background is from motor racing whereby for our own safety & that of others our vehicles were scrutineered by "certified" scrutineers to ensure that the vehicle was fit for racing. Ultimately the responsibility lies with the owner/driver of the vehicle & the scrutineer was, as Alan said "only being there only to check that all relevant regs have been met".
As the LMA perform in front of the paying public I believe simply for that reason that a scrutineer should inspect the aircraft certainly before but even after flying as a "check". I also agree that someone building a model (even the experienced modeller) may overlook something simple that a scrutineer could spot and save the model from an issue, damage or danger to the public. (I have witnessed an F3A plane crash & the pilot has immediately stated he forgot to tighten the wing bolt)!
My own opinion is for safety, the owner pilot is responsible but a "respected" scrutineer can be a great comforter to the modeller especially if he finds an issue that the modeller has overlooked.
My own experience when driving a particular race car, the scrutineer whilst going through his checks found that my race seat was coming adrift from one of the mounting brackets. This was not on my radar as I was more focused on the geometry & engine of the outfit. His awareness of this saved me from an accident should my seat have come adrift whilst potentially cornering at over 140mph & pulling something like 3G! That would have hurt not only me but potentially another driver if I had been racing in a bunch for position.
I apologise for my opinion & I probably think there are folk out there that will disagree but in today's society safety is vital.
Cary

Dave Hayfield
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Dave Hayfield » April 5th, 2013, 11:18 am

I was going to bring this matter up at the AGM last year but was advised that this was under discussion with the Committee. I am a firm believer in independent checking of models having checked a few in my time and found faults that were potentially disaster laden which the pilot was totally unaware of. Don't forget that we have the safety of the inexpectant general public to take care of as well as participating flyers who would, probably, be more aware of a model out of control. Full size practice is to have an aircraft finally checked off, after maintenance, by a competent individual, he will not be liable for anything that occurs later. I believe we ought to think again about this one.
Thanet Model Flying Club
LMA 520

Alan Cantwell 1131
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Alan Cantwell 1131 » April 5th, 2013, 2:18 pm

I was waiting for this thread the to start, :D
I once walked around with the late great Mike Jackson, while he was model checking, generally, all was tickety boo, but the odd one was glaring, generally, control surfaces pulling off, and in general, the owner was quite greatfull for it being found, its easy to miss something, and i too think there should be a check, but, lets look at it under a differant tack,

model is flying around, a part, any part, falls off, models goes into the crowd, there are injuries, pilot states that the checker signed that aircraft as fit for flight, does the onus transfer to the checker? to be honest, in these days of claim and blame (thanks america) i can see where the commitee is coming from, another thought, pilot has missed something so has the checker, model crashes, has the pilot a claim against the checker? its a minefield, is it not?

Gary Boardman
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Gary Boardman » April 5th, 2013, 2:41 pm

No, the pilot is still responsible. This should not be a risk transfer activity but an extra check, rather than the only fit for flight check. Anyway the check is only valid at the time of the check.

In fact surely the opposite would be true in the fact that the organisers didn't check to ensure the aircraft was safe to fly. They have the duty of care to the paying public.

Analogy: Car passes MOT then in the future hits another car due to brake failure, does that make the MOT station responsible?

Also why bother to check the failsafe, especially without a running engine?

Why do I need a B or proficiency certificate to fly. Do the committee take responsibility for any crash I have due to poor flying? This is a scrutineering check is it not?

Alan Cantwell 1131
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Alan Cantwell 1131 » April 5th, 2013, 2:58 pm

i agree, but i am only trying to show another side, and another train of thought

Mike Booth
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Mike Booth » April 5th, 2013, 4:05 pm

I too believe this is a mistake, independent scrutinisers are essential,
As long as everyone knows that ultimately the pilot is responsible from an insurance perspective.

Tony Fagan
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Tony Fagan » April 5th, 2013, 5:26 pm

I can't see how such an absurd idea to do away with independent inspections ever came to pass.
Common sense surely must prevail. There were sound, valid reasons why independent inspections
were introduced. Nothing has changed since!

Keith Mitchell
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Keith Mitchell » April 5th, 2013, 6:13 pm

I have to say I agree with the concerns being expressed here. If the practice has been right for the last 20 years, then it is even more needed today with the average size and complexity of models having grown over that time.

I think 'Jacko'' might be turning over in his grave at this one ....

Bob Thompson1894
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Bob Thompson1894 » April 5th, 2013, 8:02 pm

Tony Fagan wrote:I can't see how such an absurd idea to do away with independent inspections ever came to pass.
Common sense surely must prevail. There were sound, valid reasons why independent inspections
were introduced. Nothing has changed since!

Ah, common sense. I remember that! Time to reconsider this one, Committee?

Cary Bailey
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Cary Bailey » April 5th, 2013, 8:25 pm

Gents, may I make a suggestion? I have a very good friend who just happens to be a qualified scrutineer from the Motor Sports Association (who are part of the FIA Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) that I could invite along to a committee meeting and he would give a presentation as to how they deal with scrutineering? He could shed some light on the issues they have to deal with to help us.
All I can add to that is a Scrutineer potentially saved my life!
Cary

Ken Bones
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Ken Bones » April 5th, 2013, 9:00 pm

I have been flying at shows every year since 1995, my models have been checked over and so far nothing has been spotted as being wrong.
But, If this new rule is to stand for the comming season then I will get my model checked by someone just to be on the safe side.
I would rather my models were given a once over, as one day I may miss somthing.
I too have been involed in checking models on the flight line that have been presented as ready for flight,,, blury scarey to be honest!

Bonzey.

Phil Clark
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Phil Clark » April 5th, 2013, 11:06 pm

Since starting flying at LMA events in '96, the scrutineering things has always baffled me somewhat.

Models have control surface waggled (which I HATE seeing as some scrutineers I've witnesses are far from gentle and said waggling can put unecessary force on servo gears), engines & props yanked about and a quick 'external' once over of hinges, horns & linkages.........that's about as far as it goes if we're honest.

So what about everything that's on the inside that cannot be seen without removal of wings, servo hatches, etc etc? Electrical connections & battery retention are never checked, neither are any of the linkages attached to servos that aren't visible on the exterior of the model. If the linkage at the control surface end is good, what's to say the one on the other end is of identical quality & condition?

If I'm told......'well the insides is your responsibility & your's alone'.........then surely the outside is as well. If the builder/pilot is left with sole responsibility for the insides (which is generally always more complex and crowded than the outside, so harder to check over and possibly spot things)......then I do not understand the reasoning behind having a second pair of eyes look over only the outside.

I suspect that a scrutineer at a motor racing event, plus the above mentioned MOT test checks A LOT more than is ever checked at an LMA event.

Personally, if you're ganna do it, do it properly, not a quick 2 minute external check per model.

Phil

Bob Thompson1894
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Bob Thompson1894 » April 6th, 2013, 7:49 am

Phil- its basically the stuff we should be doing ourselves, yes, but in the stress of getting ready for flight at a show, its easy to forget. I know it is only a cursory check, but that, to me, is better than nothing. I do sympathise about rough scrutineering, I have seen this myself, and a bit of care should be taken, especially with flaps, etc. Its better than having engines fall out (which I have seen) though, etc.

stewart clifford
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby stewart clifford » April 6th, 2013, 9:03 am

I agree with Phil, far too often I've seen scrutineers be quite brutal with the models. I always make sure I'm with my models when they're checked. In the past I've seen aircraft trodden on and kicked and on one occasion Chris FW190 was put out as static before it was completed and when he came back to it it had passed scrutineering even though it had bits missing. As for pulling flying surfaces up and down whats that all about? only a complete nugget would do that to a servo and personally I won't allow it to be done to my models, it would be better to have the owner there with the radio switched on then they could show everything working. I check my models externally before and after every flight, I'm yet to see anyone else do that. If a scrutineer can easily pull out a flying ssurface I think it shows that the owner hasn't checked the model at all, so why are people like that even flying at shows? Perhaps when one takes their proficiency test their building, maintenance and storage methods should also be taken into consideration?
On the pro scrutineering side who will be there to stop some of these absolute heaps of krud appearing on the flightline?

Alan King
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Alan King » April 6th, 2013, 10:09 am

I am going to be pedantic and explain how scrutineering should be done.

I personally have been involved with Motor X, rallying, Drag Racing, carting to name a few.

the scrutineer should always have someone from the team or the driver, rider, pilot etc available item is scrutineered, the intention of scrutineering is to ensure an extra set of Knowleagable eyes have examined the item being scrutinised, this means the scrutineer has to know his beans.

I have been involved with greenpower racing here in UK and the scrutineers I have met have been engineers not layman (who have no knowledge of the subject) this means they can be subjective and also make decisions based on prior understanding not a set of regulations only.

The above does not preclude anyone from being a scrutineer it just means the scrutineer must understand and know what he is talking about, we have lots of trusted people in the LMA we can use. I personally have seen scrutineering by persons less than able to the task and this is beyond dangerous, i have also had scrutineers who are so anal that an enema would have no effect on how they work.

the fact is besides all this hassle we need to have someone available to check things as when we are caught up in the excitement of the moment we can miss things, I have seen this in Drag racing where the scrutineer noticed a severely frayed parachute cable, we had spotted it but with the engine rebuild before the race it had been forgotten and even though wrtien on the service board it had been overlooked, a failure of a top fueler parachute could have meant a severe accident and possible death for the driver.

so the scrutineer must :

1. Know his subject.
2. Follow a set procedure.
3. Always scrutineer with pilot or member of team. ( certain questions need to be asked to ascertain if the pilot is aware of safety etc )
4. Be part of a solution not seen as part of a problem.
5. challange shortcomings.
6. Be respectfull but firm.
7. Be safety focused not show focused.

The scrutineer in racing saves lives, he helps find problems not only by seeing but through questioning, such as when last did you check bolts on the prop or engine mounting bolts. the simple fact is many models are lost through simple things hoing wrong ie something being overlooked and that is why the scrutineer is there no other reason.

Now based on your argument of scrutineering and possible legal cases then it means all crutineering must be stopped as legal issues could attach to the scrutineer, sorry i cannot buy into this, if the scrutineer is legally responsible then so is the organiser, the person owning the airfield. the CAA for giving an exemption certificate, the person checking the airframe to confirm the model is safe to fly and the list goes on, ultimately simple answer is keep the scrutineer just have a signed aknowledgement from the pilot that the final decision to fly is his, this will be the simplest safest way, take away the scrutineer and I am prepared to place a bet on the accident rate increasing.

We need to be checked, some may check themeselves but again the proof of reality shows no matter how well trained at a certain point people become lax and overlook safety, if they did not then we would have less "accidents" of all forms. I site the following well known example.

Pilot of a twin arrived at the airport with two friends, all other folk were deicing their A/C this gent decided to scrape the ice off with his credit card, he then climbed into the aircraft without doing a walk around and proceeded to start up and take off with his two friends, failing to carry out a run up or anything else, just after take off one engine cut and the plane rolled into the ground, all three died in the crash, cause was determined to have been water in the fuel, something he would have detected if he did a walk around.

Bob Thompson1894
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Bob Thompson1894 » April 6th, 2013, 11:47 am

stewart clifford wrote:I agree with Phil, far too often I've seen scrutineers be quite brutal with the models. I always make sure I'm with my models when they're checked. In the past I've seen aircraft trodden on and kicked and on one occasion Chris FW190 was put out as static before it was completed and when he came back to it it had passed scrutineering even though it had bits missing. As for pulling flying surfaces up and down whats that all about? only a complete nugget would do that to a servo and personally I won't allow it to be done to my models, it would be better to have the owner there with the radio switched on then they could show everything working. I check my models externally before and after every flight, I'm yet to see anyone else do that. If a scrutineer can easily pull out a flying ssurface I think it shows that the owner hasn't checked the model at all, so why are people like that even flying at shows? Perhaps when one takes their proficiency test their building, maintenance and storage methods should also be taken into consideration?
On the pro scrutineering side who will be there to stop some of these absolute heaps of krud appearing on the flightline?
The reasons why it needs to be done, in my opinion. If we are doing away with this, whats next? The Proficiency test? Dont need that, its up to the individual to to fly safely, isnt it?

Phil Clark
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Phil Clark » April 6th, 2013, 9:26 pm

My earlier comments were not against scrutineering full stop......they were against the current format of scrutineering.

I too have had a model passed to fly with bits missing (a prop!!!!!!) and have also had personal experience of a scrutineer who was so anal about a particulat 'issue' it was unreal. I mentioned to him what I said earlier about 'was he going to look at all other linkages inside the model as well'..........he backed down and passed the model.

I will explain this one................

Control linkage on the rudder on my 85" Banshee.......in particular the M3 'metal' clevis on the rudder horn. I was picked up on the fact the clevis did not have a fuel tube 'keeper' on it.

I never fit keepers on metal clevis as they are not necessary. This 'idea' is a throw back to 25-30 yrs ago when we used nasty plastic clevis's that were prone to popping open under load. To remove an M3 metal clevis, it's normal to need a small tool to open it to pop it off the horn (good quality metal clevis's (eg :- Kavan) are very stiff. This requires a side to side force, one that is at 90 degrees to regular control surface forces. If the clevis is correctly fitted, is correctly aligned to the servo (no side loads) and is not binding on anything (as should always be the case), it will not pop off the horn on it's own accord. If anyone comments that it's to prevent against vibration popping the clevis off.......if the model is vibrating to such an extent that there is enough force to remove metal clevis's, then there are other far more serious issues that need addressing before we start worrying about fuel tube keepers.

If a clevis is loose on the horn and needs a keeper to hold it together, the clevis has been forced open too far at some point, is not springing back to it's ideal position and should therefore be replaced. Do not rely on a keeper to hold a clevis together......if it's been over stressed and is not able to keep itself tight on the horn, the clevis's strength has been compramised and a fatigue failure could well occur further down the line. A keeper will not prevent a failure and depending on which 'arm' of the clevis fails, may not prevent a complete linkage failure either.

If a keeper is incorrectly positioned (too close to the horn attachment point), all will be well when the control moves in one direction (angle between horn & clevis increases), but when moved in the other direction, the keeper can bind on the horn introducing undue stresses and possibly preventing full and free movement of the control surface. A 2nd issue is that if the keeper were to slide down (or be accidently knocked and pushed down) the clevis, and said linkage is exiting quite a tight fitting exit hole in the servo cover, the keeper could jam in the exit hole....again, preventing full and free movement of the surface.

Anyway.......a possible suggestion as to where we go now moving on from the statement in the journal regarding 'random' models being checked.

1) I agree 100% in the above statement that all scrutineers should know their subjects, so maybe the 'panel' of scrutineers should be made up from our 20kg inspectors, as they probably do more 'in depth' inspections of all aspects of our models than most.

2) Do away with the 'quick 2 minute' inspections.

3) Introuduce a FULL inspection both inside & out, this would involve the model being broken down into it's main component parts as per storage/transportation. Props and engine cowls to be removed as well as all servo access hatches etc....This would require the pilot/owner to be present so a decent discussion could take place between the 2 parties....something that doesn't happen now as the scrutineers regularly walk the line and do their job regardless of whether the pilot/owner is present with their aircraft.

I fully appreciate that an inspection such as this is a long job, especially on some of the more complex over 20kg models. So.......at the start of each show or fly-in day, all aircraft present are put into a hat and 10-12 are pulled out for that days inspection. The aim is to try and ensure that every aircraft seen at a show or fly-in has at least 1 full inspection every season. If one aircraft is pulled out multiple times over the same weekend, or even back to back weekends........another aircraft is picked.

If such a scheme was introduced and all pilots/owners are informed of what is going to change, then I'd hope more emphasis is put on the pilot/owner to thoroughly prep his/her model before every outing in order to make the full inspection as painless as possible, both for them and the scrutineer. If pilots/owners know their models are going to go through a 'nuts & bolts' inspection, then I'd hope they would pay a little more attention in their own maintainance and not be quite so 'blase' (sp?)

The 10-12 daily inspections would happen throughout the day at the pilots/scrutinners convenience so as not to interupt the flying programme and prevent them from making their slot times.

Just an idea................

Phil

Cary Bailey
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Re: Scrutineering

Postby Cary Bailey » April 7th, 2013, 9:33 am

Alan King wrote:I am going to be pedantic and explain how scrutineering should be done.

I personally have been involved with Motor X, rallying, Drag Racing, carting to name a few.

the scrutineer should always have someone from the team or the driver, rider, pilot etc available item is scrutineered, the intention of scrutineering is to ensure an extra set of Knowleagable eyes have examined the item being scrutinised, this means the scrutineer has to know his beans.

I have been involved with greenpower racing here in UK and the scrutineers I have met have been engineers not layman (who have no knowledge of the subject) this means they can be subjective and also make decisions based on prior understanding not a set of regulations only.

The above does not preclude anyone from being a scrutineer it just means the scrutineer must understand and know what he is talking about, we have lots of trusted people in the LMA we can use. I personally have seen scrutineering by persons less than able to the task and this is beyond dangerous, i have also had scrutineers who are so anal that an enema would have no effect on how they work.

the fact is besides all this hassle we need to have someone available to check things as when we are caught up in the excitement of the moment we can miss things, I have seen this in Drag racing where the scrutineer noticed a severely frayed parachute cable, we had spotted it but with the engine rebuild before the race it had been forgotten and even though wrtien on the service board it had been overlooked, a failure of a top fueler parachute could have meant a severe accident and possible death for the driver.

so the scrutineer must :

1. Know his subject.
2. Follow a set procedure.
3. Always scrutineer with pilot or member of team. ( certain questions need to be asked to ascertain if the pilot is aware of safety etc )
4. Be part of a solution not seen as part of a problem.
5. challange shortcomings.
6. Be respectfull but firm.
7. Be safety focused not show focused.

The scrutineer in racing saves lives, he helps find problems not only by seeing but through questioning, such as when last did you check bolts on the prop or engine mounting bolts. the simple fact is many models are lost through simple things hoing wrong ie something being overlooked and that is why the scrutineer is there no other reason.

Now based on your argument of scrutineering and possible legal cases then it means all crutineering must be stopped as legal issues could attach to the scrutineer, sorry i cannot buy into this, if the scrutineer is legally responsible then so is the organiser, the person owning the airfield. the CAA for giving an exemption certificate, the person checking the airframe to confirm the model is safe to fly and the list goes on, ultimately simple answer is keep the scrutineer just have a signed aknowledgement from the pilot that the final decision to fly is his, this will be the simplest safest way, take away the scrutineer and I am prepared to place a bet on the accident rate increasing.

We need to be checked, some may check themeselves but again the proof of reality shows no matter how well trained at a certain point people become lax and overlook safety, if they did not then we would have less "accidents" of all forms. I site the following well known example.

Pilot of a twin arrived at the airport with two friends, all other folk were deicing their A/C this gent decided to scrape the ice off with his credit card, he then climbed into the aircraft without doing a walk around and proceeded to start up and take off with his two friends, failing to carry out a run up or anything else, just after take off one engine cut and the plane rolled into the ground, all three died in the crash, cause was determined to have been water in the fuel, something he would have detected if he did a walk around.


+1 from me!


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