The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trash day...

It was no way to end my time flying out of MCRCC. I move next week so likely won't get to fly here again. It was a great day right up to the point that it wasn't. Attention to detail, my forte, was no where to be found and I paid grievously for my failings.

This pretzel is my beloved Align Trex 600e Pro. At least it was a spectacular death! I took off and made a turn, there was a pop and she flipped instantly front over back doing a complete 360 degree 3D style flip and slammed into the ground feet first. I hit hold as soon as I saw her flip knowing I did not do that and that 2+2 = impending crash. It was one of the fastest crashes I have ever seen! The damage is to the tail, torque tube assembly and the landing gear, blades. Otherwise she looks at first glance to have come through pretty well, though I don't know what the shafts are like. I don't plan on repairing her until after my move. Oh, almost forgot: the good news is in the flight before this one the tail mods worked perfectly and I had no problems with the tail blades striking!

Not sure what the pop we heard was... maybe the air cracking as the blades suddenly changed pitch? The servo linkages were all displaced by the crash, but the elevator ball link was disconnected from the elevator control. It was NOT stripped and screwed back on nicely. I failed to inspect the airframe prior to flight as I had just rebuilt her. I retrospect I recall during that rebuild noting the elevator link was almost completely unscrewed and meant to screw it back in but didn't. I think it worked loose, the swash dropped back and she flipped as if commanded full elevator. This loss is all from not screwing in a small but significant fitting... Pilot error.

The last pics before the crash of the 30cc Sbach. More inattention on my part. I always refuel before a flight. Sometimes I refuel and someone else flies so I have to wait. Or I just take a break. This is a bad habit: I should and will always refuel just before takeoff. So I was flying around like crazy and the motor, which has been running fine, quit. I realized as we did the post-mortem with a pretty dry tank that I must have failed to refuel her... I got another 7 minutes after the previous 10 min flight. I was low when the engine quit, but really still had space to get her safely down. I turned downwind, a little too close to the runway, turned out, then turned final, looking good. I brought her around to align with the runway and she suddenly just stopped flying, dropping flat onto the ground from about 10 feet up. And I mean straight down, wings level.  I suspect too much elevator as I came in with a plane that does't tolerate errors on dead stick...

Butcher's Bill: Broken wing tube, wings with minor punctures from the wheel pants but otherwise intact, landing gear are fine but broke clean off with their attachment. The bottom of the plane around the gear is gone, fairly easy fix. The motor pulled the firewall off shattering it; that's gonna take some time. The cowl was crumpled but intact, unrepairable. I just bought a new one to replace it, so no problem there. She basically pancaked from failure to maintain airspeed on deadstick approach: pilot error. Some minor fuse damage but the fuse is otherwise pretty fine. I just don't have the time or energy to fix it before my move...

Helluva day.

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