The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Sunday, August 26, 2012

That's how its done!

Out to Wingmasters again this morning, and it was a blast! I was the only one there for the first hour, which was what I hoped for. Last time I flew here was the first time. I was nervous, new field, new friends. Today I took the Alpha Sport 450, my first plane, my trainer, my go-to when I get dumb thumb and loss of confidence. She did not disappoint.
I flew five packs, one after the other, practicing basic airmanship, learning the edges of the field, working to conquer the ever present cross wind. It all came back! Again and again, takeoff, landing, basic maneuvers, some basic aerobatics. Crabbing and slipping into the corsswind for sweet landings. Loved every minute of it!
By then some guys had shown up, but no problem, my confidence was back. Took the newly repaired Pulse up and flew the crap out of her. I tamed my inner beast! I decided to go back to flaps with her after coming in with spoilers, and set what had been spoilerons back to flaperons, with much more success. I am getting used to finding the runway. And... I found out where the tree that stands out at the west end of the runway really is. I was turning in when bang, it reached out and grabbed the left wing with a loud crashing bang, turning her 360 in a flat spin. The guys yelled, "You got her! You got her!" and I realized I did! She was saucering down in slo-mo. I firewalled the throttle, leveled out the control surfaces and she was still flying, coming out from under the trees! I completed the turn between the trees staying focused and clamer that I felt, and took her up to altitude checking out control. Everything seemed fine. Brought her back around, away from the tree, and landed her perfectly. Taxied over, checked her out, pulling a stem out of the elevator. A few minor dents on the left leading edge, but no damage! Took her back up and kept on flying! Sweet!
I broke out the HK500cmt, realizing I had not brought the higher C 3S 3300's I connect in series, so threw a couple of the 25C 3S 2200's together. I started her up, took her to hover and made sure I felt comfortable. Gotta love the BeastX for stability! Perfect in line disk! A bit of a breeze, total control. Took her around for a few laps, figure 8s, hands shaking like crazy, then hovered her back in for a spot on landing as the batteries waned; short flight of about 5 minutes. I counted my blessings, and put her away.
All in all, a great second day! Got my thumbs back! Next time I plan to take the cantankerous Stearman out to play.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

First day, first flight, first crash

Today I loaded up for flying! My apartment living requires I adapt to loading my car.
I took the Ultimate with its funky rudder and the Pulse which seemed fine and headed out to Wingmasters field. Met a handful of members, all with really good skills and pristine aircraft... Nice, welcoming guys!
I set up my stuff, and took the Pulse up. There was a brisk crosswind, but nothing I have not flown in before. It was like I had never flown in my life... I took off heading askew down the paved runway, and managed to putz her around in the pattern. Then well before she was due, her power started to drop off, and full throttle did not give me much. I had checked the battery before flight. I was at the wrong end of the field. I brought her around, and managed to head her into the wind, AND SHE WOULD NOT COME DOWN! I was so psyched out by my poor flying that I failed to try the spoilers. She overshot the runway and I knew I did not have enough power to go around. I put her down, not too hard, nice and flat, but the off field cabbage has big chunks in it and she tore off her landing gear, which as always rolled under her and punctured the wing, this time taking out a spar... Her battery was actually fine at 3.75V per cell. WTF.
Crap. Very first flight. Surely they think I'm a twit.
She threw the gear forward after rolling over them.
You can't tell but both wings were punctured through and through by the wheel pants flipping underneath.
Fours hours of work and she is no longer pristine, but looks pretty good:
The Tail vert stab was cracked, I think before the flight, but loosened in flight. I replaced it with one I had from a previous Pulse. I am out of 12x8 Xoar eprops, so I put a 12x6 on her. Wonder if thats a mistake? Ordering more 12x8, and it will be a while until I can fly again.
Mike, Steve, and Jon (and one other guy whose name I missed) were kind to me, and I decided to take the Ultimate up, and flew her better, but still without confidence or my usual skill, for several packs. She survived and I handled the cross wind much better. I learned to put her down on the runway, which while not particulalry narrow, required a finer degree of airmanship than landing on a wide field as I have been acustomed to. It also required better to touchdowns as the asphalt is unforgiving.
Thank goodness I did not bring a heli.
Now that I have my "first Tee jitters" behind me, hopefully my next flight will be more enjoyable!

Will it work?

Rudder straightening. I tried to get the twist out of the rudder during the repair, but it still has a wave. Between setting the frame and shrinking the cote, I got most of it straight. I set this up. Popsicle sticks and clamps overnite. Will it work? Better ideas?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oh, the humanity!

I realized that I haven't yet shared the outcome of my move on my aircraft. The helis survived without any issues because I packed them. My airplanes were suposed to be individually wrapped and packed, and the ginormous 60 sized Hanger 9 Sopwith was to be crated. I should have watched the packing. Every plane took a hit.
The mover's truck would not start the morning after they crammed everything in, so he rented a U-Haul trailer and put what wouldn't fit into the back of a pickup...This is how my stuff came up. In the truck from Biloxi to Jackson, Mississippi. Like this from Jackson to Dayton, Ohio.

Yup, that's really how they packed them.
The rudder is wacked, and the left elevator is fractured.
Nearly every plane had damage. I repaired all of them, and they are all in flying condition, but the Hanger 9 Sopwith was badly damaged, more than shown, and the wing is torqued. It is flyable, but not in a funway, si right now its hanging on the wall in my office at work. The most damage was to the Ultimate, which I repaired tonight. Still trying to get that twisted rudder straightned out. I still need to fix the tail on the Skytrain. Bad, bad, bad.
But I packed the helis...
Arrived in perfect shape, every single one.
I charged the mover a couple hundred for the damage. The rest of my stuff got here in perfect condition, and he was already losing money on the move. I chose not to dicker with his insurance and we trimmed the bill. All fair.

Welcome to Wingmasters, Dayton, Ohio!

Well, I am settling into my apartment and my new job, and today made a trip out to Wergerzyn Gardens and the Dayton Wingmasters field. It was cloudy and a tad drafty, no one was there and the gate was locked. I marked it on my GPS, and called The Hobby Shop, which is an application center for the club, and learned I could drop by, pay my fee, show my AMA license, and receive a key to the gate. Another key, given apparently only by the club, is required to access the electric power station. So, I am charging my batteries and fixing the badly damaged Ultimate, with a plan to visit the field tomorrow and fly the Ultimate, the Pulse and a heli, weather permitting.
What I could see of the field was impressive. The grass is green and cut, the strip is dark and lined with white paint, and the building structures are clean and well kept. I don't recall seeing a closed in walled structure, but that's okay. I am not sure if there are bathrooms either.
I am really looking forward to flying tomorrow! Its been a couple of weeks, so I will take it easy. I am most nervous about bending a heli... but I really want to take one up. I hope to meet someone there!