That’s really sad. I imagine that he probably never thought of the possibility that a toy helicopter could actually kill him. I probably wouldn’t expect that the blades would be strong enough and sharp enough to slice someone’s head.
Model helicopter rotor blades are not really ‘sharp’. They have an airfoil shape. But someone commented that the rotor span was something like four feet. That’s a lot of energy being swung around. It’s hard for me to imagine how he would have had the top of his head ‘sliced off’; but I can certainly see his scalp being removed, a concussion, or a fractured skull.
That’s also not a ‘toy helicopter’ that’s a ‘model helicopter’ or whatever you want to call it when (RC Helicopter) it goes beyond then $15-$100 ones you buy at Toys 'R Us and turn into the $500-$3000 ones you buy at the hobby shop. The ‘toy helicopter’ that you fly around in your bedroom isn’t going to chop anything. The one in the picture probably runs on gas.
It’s funny that you said we all did stupid things when we were kids. I was listening to a podcast the other day when one of the people mentioned how kids these days are so protected. He went on to say we all did ‘dangerous’ things when we were younger and kids these days practically need helmets just to go to the bathroom.
Yeah, his helicopter was anything but a toy. It probably produced several horsepower. It’s a flying lawnmower. If he was as experienced as the reports say, I doubt he was under any illusions about the damage the blades could do to a person. He may have been under illusions about his exact degree of skill and reliability of the hardware, though.
I was playing with an RC helicopter several years ago when I crashed it into my leg. It was a small, low-performance model:
-rotor diameter of maybe 2 feet
-balsa rotor blades
-I chopped the power just before the blade hit my leg
All of that meant there wasn’t much momentum in the blade at impact. It hurt, but it didn’t break the skin; the leading edge of the blade crushed just a little bit, effectively blunting it and spreading the impact.
The victim in the news was an avid stunter. One article showed a video of his in which he was flying a gas-powered model. Add in the aerobatic performance, and that means his model probably was:
-larger rotor, maybe 3 feet or more
That represents a lot more momentum, and a stronger, thinner, sharper leading edge on the blade.
Even if it didn’t take his head completely off, whatever it did do was enough to kill him (“instantly,” according to the article); that’s a pretty dangerous toy.
Still, it’s a gruesome story and not one I’m really interested in contemplating. But I’m trying to determine if the phrase “sliced off the top of his head” implies that it cut into his skull. Perhaps it just cut his scalp?