The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stearman revisits the Southern Ents

First flight of the day went wonderfully. Took the Stearman up, toodled about a bit, shot some practice approaches coming over the fence to land into the east wing. Decided it was time, came in, and realised I was a little more hot than I wanted to be, a touch higher. I should have made a missed approach, but opted to try the landing. Realized that was a mistake, powered up to go around, a good option, except I was on a lean battery and the power punch I needed wasn't there. Pulling back, pulling back, she's nearly hovering on her prop, looks like she might clear the trees, but still very high alpha (nose up), lost her behind some closer trees, and WHACK! She struck the tree nearly bottom on at slow speed, but the whack was wicked loud!

I trudged into the woods, with one of the guys (Greg or Bobby) gunning the Stearman's motor so I could locate it. I found it in the highest tree. Its in this pic. Can you see it?

Here's a closer look, can you see it now?

Greg came in with a chainsaw (he was working on clearing out some of the highest trees to open up the approach from the south, and this tree was slated to fall). He had the clever idea of cutting it down bit by bit, starting at the bottom. The tree fell, but the brush held it up a bit, so he cut again, it fell a bit more, repeating this several times.

Finally it tipped enough she fell out of the highest branches into the brush and I was able to grab her.

I set her down, and lucky me, she was essentially intact! Neither the crash or the piecemeal decent of the tree eating plane caused much more than breaking the ends off the prop (from running it in the tree), and a few poke holes in the cote!

Here she is with some packing tape over the pinpoint holes and one 1/2 inch tear, with the new (and old) prop. I took her up after checking her out, and she flew wonderfully for the rest of the day!

Thanks Greg Castellan for helping me recover the Stearman!

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