RC Helicopters Still Safe After NY Teen Dies - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

RC Helicopters Still Safe After NY Teen Dies

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RICHLAND, Wash.- A 19-year-old male died in Brooklyn this week when his remote control helicopter fell from it's flight and the blade cut into his head. NBC Right Now met with some local RC copter pilots to talk about how they practice safe habits with their high-flying hobby.

"The number one priority for RC flying, whether it's helicopters or airplanes or anything else is safety," said Brett Bowen who pilots remote controlled aircraft competitively. 

Bowen is a pro when it comes to flying remote controlled aircraft he started with planes but recently went to copters the same copter models that killed a 19 year old in New York this week.

"It was a freak accident, but it's one of those things. It's extremely tragic and we're all devastated for him and his family."

While Bowen has read many negative comments about RC flying being unsafe this week, he says flying remote controlled aircraft is completely safe when you practice the right habits and follow regulation precautions.

"You want to have a spotter right behind you just in case somebody is landing when you're trying to land or if somebody gets out of control they want to give you a heads up."

Bowen learned everything about flying safely from his dad.

"Well first thing is you make certain that they understand that the spinning propeller goes round pretty fast. You don't want to be in line with the propeller," said Bill Bowen, Brett's father.

In fact the propeller can spin between 2,000 and 3,000 rotations per minute, making it dangerous and in some cases deadly. But as part of the Academy of Aeronautics safety code, Bowen stands a safe distance from the copter before the propeller starts to spin.

"What happened in New York is awful and it's so unfortunate that it happened but I do believe that flying remote control aircrafts in a controlled environment is still a very safe hobby."

If you think RC aircraft flying sounds like a fun safe hobby you can check out their competition all next weekend in Richland. It all starts on Saturday morning at 9 and runs until 4 p.m. and then again on Sunday from 9-2. Go to tcrm.org for more information about the field location and the Tri-Cities RC Modelers.

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