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Lithium Battery Safety
Lithium battery safety is a subject that can never be stressed enough, even after all these years of battery progress and an impressive safety record within our hobby. Because you cannot see inside a LiPo there is no way to inspect for internal damage or defects that could eventually ruin your day. Always remember, unlike NiCad and NiMh batteries, LiPo batteries are more sensitive to overcharging. Also, overcharging one or more of the cells during the charging process is possible if you do not properly balance LiPo battery packs. Thankfully, all of today’s quality LiPo chargers are capable of balance charging.
The following are the AMA’s suggestions for safe LiPo battery practices:
- Store and charge in a fireproof container; never in your model.
- Charge in a protected area devoid of combustibles. Always stand watch over the charging process. Never leave the charging process unattended.
- In the event of damage from crashes, etc, carefully remove battery to a safe place for at least a half hour to observe. Physically damaged cells could erupt into flame and after sufficient time, to ensure safety, should be discarded in accordance with the instructions which came with the batteries. Never attempt to charge a cell with physical damage, regardless of how slight.
- Always use chargers designed for the specific purpose, preferably having a fixed setting for your particular pack. Many fires occur in using selectable/adjustable chargers improperly set. Never attempt to charge Lithium cells with a charger which is not specifically designed for charging Lithium cells. Never use chargers designed for only NiCad/NiMh batteries.
- Use charging systems that monitor and control the charge state of each cell in the pack. Unbalanced cells can lead to disaster if it permits overcharge of a single cell in the pack. If the batteries show any sign of swelling, discontinue charging and remove them to a safe place outside as they could erupt into flames.
- Most important: NEVER PLUG IN A BATTERY AND LEAVE IT TO CHARGE UNATTENDED OVERNIGHT. Serious fires have resulted from this practice.
- Do not attempt to make your own battery packs from individual cells.
2015 AIAA Design Build Fly Contest Results
The 2015 AIAA/Cessna Aircraft/Raytheon Missile Systems DBF competition flyoff was held at the TIMPA field the weekend of April 10-12. Sixty-five different teams representing 65 different universities attended the flyoff. In all, over 650 students and faculty were present. Excellent weather allowed for non-stop flying the whole weekend. Of the 262 official flight attempts, 121 resulted in a successful score with 56 teams achieving a flight score – a new record! Twenty-three teams successfully completed all three missions. First place went to the University of Ljubljana from Slovenia, the first time a team from outside the US has won DBF. Second place went to University of CA Irvine and Third place went to Georgia Tech. The Best Paper Award for the highest report score went to Georgia Tech with a score of 98.50. For more pics go to the TIMPA Facebook page.
Another weekend of great weather makes for a spectacular Desert Heat rocket launch. While it got a bit warm during the afternoon, it cooled off nicely for the night launch. This is a spectacle that you have to see! The sights, sounds, and smells approach sensory overload. See the pics on the TIMPA Facebook page (follow the link above).
Good Times at the Tucson Jet Rally
Great weather and a great crowd made for one of the best Tucson Jet Rallies in recent years. Over 40 pilots brought their jet aircraft out to the TIMPA flying field this year. There was a mix of electric jets and turbines that seemed to be right around 50/50 with the smallest being electric and the largest being turbine powered. But that is not to say all the electric jets were small. The largest electric jets have the same power as the smallest kerosene burning turbine engines and can exceed 120 mph in a straight line. For more pictures visit the TIMPA Facebook page by clicking on the link above.
Warbird Races – Pilots Soldier On
Timpa normally hosts the first and last Warbird Race each year. The February 28th race was no exception. Unfortunately the weather had plans of it’s own and the race was cancelled due to powerful crosswinds in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 mph. First thing in the morning the winds weren’t all that bad. But after the pilots put their planes together and all the equipment was set up and the flying matrix posted the winds were starting to blow pretty strong. After John Gonzales (CD) passed out last years points winner trophies, a vote was taken and it was decided to wait a while and see if the winds would die down. They didn’t! In fact they got stronger and stronger! The race was finally cancelled, but not before the brave souls in the Bronze class gave it a go. 5…4…3…3…1…zero – it was on! To say it was exciting to watch is an understatement. The pilots had all they could handle just to keep the planes on course. The 10 lap race was completed and it was time to land, or should I say “make a controlled crash landing”. My hat’s off to these guys. Every one of them managed to get their planes safely on the ground and only one plane was slightly damaged. Good job by all. Thanks to all the workers and volunteers that came out and helped knowing the weather was probably going to be bad. The last race for the 2015 season will be in December, weather permitting.
Time to Renew TIMPA Memberships
It’s that time again. Time to renew for 2015. The Board has decided to reduce the yearly membership to $70, however, if payment is received before December 31, the fee is only $60. Make sure to renew your AMA for 2015. TIMPA can check for AMA renewal online so you do not need to send a copy of your AMA card. If you are renewing a family member or youth member, make sure to send a separate application with their information. Renewals can be made in person at the flying field or mailed in to the address on the renewal form. Be sure to mail a self-addressed-stamped-envelope so that you can have your card mailed back to you. Remember, the deadline for TIMPA renewal is January 31, 2015. Click on the form below to save or print.
Great Big Airplanes at the Giant Scale Fly-In
The weekend of Nov. 8th & 9th proved to be a great way to celebrate the craftsmanship of building and the fun of flying radio control airplanes. Pilots from all over the southwest brought over 30 scale aircraft to the TIMPA Giant Scale Fly-in and put on a great show. To see pics of all these awesome airplanes click on the image and it will take you to the Facebook photo album.
Cub Scout Aviation Day Camp
Local Cub Scouts braved the heat this weekend, coming out to TIMPA and having a blast taking their turn at flying R/C airplanes. Eldon Callen, John Gonzalez, Mike Balog, Dave Binns, Steve Steward, and Daniel Kelly manned the buddy boxes and cycled 65 Cub Scouts through the flight line, giving them an opportunity to try their hand at flying a Hangar 9 Alpha 60, a Hobbico NexSTAR and a Sig Sr. Kadet. Other activities included model rocketry, pneumatic paper rockets, plastic water bottle rockets, Frisbee golf, and the classic Space Derby. About mid-morning, Fred Thompson thrilled everyone with a demo flight of his giant scale Extra 330. Check out the photos on the TIMPA Facebook page.
Board & Officers set for Upcoming Year
The TIMPA Board and Officers have been set for the upcoming year. Mike Cummins will remain as President, John Gonzalez VP, Ralph Kestler Secretary, and Deb Sherrow will be back as Treasurer. Many thanks to Ed Julia for taking on the job of Treasurer over the past year. Ed helped TIMPA work through a transition period and his efforts are greatly appreciated.
Wow! Another spectacular Desert Heat hosted by TIMPA and put on by the Southern Arizona Rocketry Association. The attendance was outstanding, the awesome weather drew hundreds of people out to the TIMPA field to watch rockets ranging from a few inches long to over 10 feet tall blast off into the clear skies over Picture Rocks! It seemed an equal amount of people participated in launching rockets in this open event. The Saturday evening Night Launch was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. Check out TIMPA’s Facebook page for pictures.