The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flight Mode and Hold are not compatible

Whodda thunk? My beloved HK 500 died a miserable pilot induced death today. My favorite helicopter ever... I betrayed her today. So this is how it went down.
Lift off, hover, looks good, hit flight mode a couple of feet AGL. Wha'? POWER LOSS, tail drops, I compensate but over do it trying to auto and a blade strikes. It was over in seconds. 6S is a whole lot of power and she pretzeled something fierce. I was in shock. It was clear she went into hold becasue that's what happens when you hit the hold switch. As I thought about it I realized I had hit Hold and Flight Mode (opposite sides, same switch position index finger tip) and when she didn't spin up but instead spun down, my inexperience and lack of focus failed me and I flew her into the ground. Right now it looks like blades, tail boom, canopy paint cracked and chipped, missing tail boom support rod, split the landing gear (tube is fine), snapped a servo arm, but the servos seem fine. I will be surprised if there isn't something else broken... like my heart. Well, tomorrow morning I will start on her rebuild.
I have everything I need to rebuild the HDX 500, but am not looking forward to the labor of taking it completely apart to replace the frames. I love that old heli, so I am sure it will be next on my list.
I took the EXI 450 Sport out, and for some frickin' reason her tail belt is binding. Plan to take the tail apart and figure that out tonight, if I can find the energy.
Lastly, I flew the ill fated Sbach. I flew her with a 3S and she seemed anemic... she was twitchy on 20% rates, but once I got her trimmed she flew pretty well. She had a strong tendency to dive despite her CG being centered. Adapted. Powered off, she glided fair. I did a touch and go, seemed fine. I flew around a bit more and when I came back around on final I stalled her in a turn (she got rocky in the turn) and she landed belly down, stripping her gear, poked a whole in the wing, and that was it. Her gear are not well secured after multiple pairs, but still, it was a pretty abrupt landing. I fixed that this evening. They are held in with epoxy, no real wood to wood contact. This thing is almost ridiculous... Tomorrow I will fly her with a 4S, and try to remember to land her hot. More so because she will be heavier with the bigger battery. I honestly don't expect it to come out well.
At least I met some great guys today! Frank, Don and Jerry were there and made me feel welcomed. I need to work on learning how to line up with the paved runway, and to come down lightly as the runway is not as forgiving as grass. But then, it is sweet landing smooth instead of watching the grass try to pull the gear off. Add to this that I am not flying as much as I was, and my skills are way behind the plane. Practice...
It was not my best day of flying. I am having trouble adapting to my new field, all psychological. Working on it.
ADDENDUM (9/30/12): Oh, almost forgot. I also flew the PulseXT 25e. I had a problem keeping her steady on final, I think coming in too slow, and she would drop her nose and prop strike the ground. Went through a couple of props (12x8e), in fact the last couple I had. I also skinned the wing tip. So proud of myself.

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