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NAR Reports Model Rocketry's First Confirmed Fatality.
#1
NAR President Ted Cochran posted this on the NAR Facebook page a short time ago:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2255560886/?fref=nf
Quote:I regret to have to announce that our hobby has experienced an on-field fatality. Based on initial news reports, a very experienced Boy Scout leader helping out at the annual Rocket Rave event in California lost sight of a rocket after it was launched and was struck in the face when it came down.
Please keep Michael Bentley in your prayers.
The most detailed report I have been able to find is here:
http://www.pe.com/articles/bentley-78642...event.html
I have no additional information at this time.
Please review safety procedures at your next launch, including your procedures for tracking, pointing at, and calling heads up for rockets that present a hazard to participants and spectators.

This was copied from TRF as posted by George Gassaway.

A GoFundMe account has been set up: https://www.gofundme.com/mikebentley
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NAR #100544

"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack." 
"The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Launching is Optional... Landing? That Depends on Trees.

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#2
Was about to post this myself.
Very sad day for rocketry.
It is something that is always niggling away at the back of my mind, particularly when I have my son with me.

Condolences and thoughts are with the family and young scouts that witnessed the incident.
AMRS #54
WARS #24
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#3
Beyond SAD....... We see close calls at far to many launches! To think this was a boyscout model rocket OMG!


Bill Clune L3 | NAR#88583
Been a launch Director
Founded a Club
MARS Club|SRC|MDRA - Forever
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#4
My prayers are with the friends and family of this fine man and also with the young scouts and their families.

I do hope that enough information on the incident will be made available to assess whether there is anything to be learned from this regarding our safety procedures. Rocketry has an amazing safety record, but we should look hard at any sort of accident to see what might have prevented it.
NAR #96751, Level 2
Mayhem Rocketry, LLC
That's a nice rocket you have there...if you're looking for me, I'll be under my car.
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#5
This brings up a topic that I would like to discuss.

At larger club launches, there is generally a PA system or loudspeakers, where some sort of "master of ceremonies" or "Range Officer" is conducting or announcing the details of what's about to launch. That's all well and good, but after a few of those announcements, the drone of the same voice becomes background noise and any number of people turn away to do other things: buy a hot dog, chase after the kid, work on their rocket, assist someone else....etc.

I'm thinking that it would be a better practice to require EVERYONE to stop at the moment of launch, and turn to the pad. It may not stop a CATO or a misfire from occurring, but it might also force people to track (or attempt to) the flight of the rocket, and so the maximum number of eyes will be looking up for the separation...and therefore, the maximum number of observers able to shout a warning if it's failed, returning, or veering off course.

(Now, I'm not sure that I could dodge a speeding rocket, but I'd like to think that I could dive for cover, or at least lunge one way or another if I had an inkling that something was coming at me. If I'm NOT looking at it, I've got NO chance. At least with this proposal, there's a chance that most people could see if a problem was developing. )

<I'm not suggesting that this could have saved the fatality in California that occurred last weekend, but it's made me wonder....>

Comments please...
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#6
Something I noticed at MDRA and we tried to implemented to some extent believe it or not, playing Music! When the music is playing NO rockets are launching! The LCO turns the music OFF and the speakers up. It is the job of the LCO or the assistant to track the rocket until it at least looks like it is in a "safe" place. If something is wrong he should be yelling "Heads up" over next to "Kens tent" (approximate location) and blowing a horn. The flyers around should be yelling "HEADS UP" in this case heads up seemed to be the wrong thing to have happen  Sad


Bill Clune L3 | NAR#88583
Been a launch Director
Founded a Club
MARS Club|SRC|MDRA - Forever
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#7
I'll go out on a limb here and suggest a change of thought. If a incoming rocket or parts are deemed a hazard have the RCO/LCO call out INCOMING! Telling people to duck and cover or at least protect yourselves as best you can, quickly.

To me the words Head's Up means I have the time to look around to see what is coming my way then decide if I need to do something about it.

Phillip Martin
Ketchikan, Alaska
Phil-AK
aka Phillip Martin
Ketchikan, AK
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#8
(11-17-2015, 06:42 PM)Phil-AK Wrote: I'll go out on a limb here and suggest a change of thought. If a incoming rocket or parts are deemed a hazard have the RCO/LCO call out INCOMING! Telling people to duck and cover or at least protect yourselves as best you can, quickly.

To me the words Head's Up means I have the time to look around to see what is coming my way then decide if I need to do something about it.

Phillip Martin
Ketchikan, Alaska

that is why you yell heads up.. Situational awareness...


Bill Clune L3 | NAR#88583
Been a launch Director
Founded a Club
MARS Club|SRC|MDRA - Forever
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#9
A rocket that has gone out of sight and is coming in ballistic is a scenario where looking and ducking probabaly won't help much. Cover may help but there isn't much around that I can crawl under quickly. I've always pondered whether moving from where I am would change my probabilities any. However, it's a case where we can only do our best to minimize the chances of such flights coming in near the flight line. Rod angles, wind direction relative to the flight line, announcements are all part of that.
Member of MDRA, NAR and NARHAMS;
Level-2 certified but mostly fly G and under;
Volunteer compiler of manufacturer's news for ROCKETS Magazine.
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#10
Instead of "Heads up!" we should be yelling "Heads down!" Taking a hit in the back of the head is probably less likely to kill you than one in the face. Not a bad practice to duck your head and clasp your hands over your head like you were being arrested.
John S.
NAR #96911
TRA #15253
MDRA
Level 1, 2014-Mar-15 -- Aerotech Sumo, H133BS
Level 2, 2014-Jun-21 -- Giant Leap Vertical Assault, J240RL
Level 3, 2016-03-12 -- MAC Performance Radial Flyer, M1101WH, 13,028 feet
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