Jun 22, 2007, 12:21 AM
Costa Mesa, CA
Joined Feb 2007
Well, I finally made it back to the field again after what seemed like forever of no flying.
I took my SkyMaster out with the new lights, new props, and new LiPos. My first two flights were during the day and were pretty much noneventful. Those lights on the wing were so bright that I could clearly see them with the airplane far away and the sun almost directly overhead.
I left my stuff at the field, went out for dinner, and then returned for some dusk/night flying with my new lights. When I returned to the field, there were a lot more people that came out to fly.
I took my plane out for a 3rd flight. I turned the plane over an area known to cause unexplainable interference and my plane started twiching. It has never twitched over this area before. I got scared and quickly brought it in for a fast landing. I didn't even wait for the plane to slow down; it came in fast and the landing was great!
I moved over to a new area and took off again. I was still climbing on runway heading over to the cliff where some new teenager pilots were slope soaring. All of a sudden I got another twitch of full up elevator followed by full right aileron. I yelled "interference!" and screamed to turn all channel 58's off. The guys nearby helped me shout it even louder. Within the next 2 seconds the throttle was going up and down, and the plane rolled itself inverted. I was fighting the sticks, but whatever input I gave didn't seem to matter. The nose pointed straight at the ground and then there was a big, spectacular explosion of foam that soon followed.
Ouch! That didn't feel good at all. I'm sure those of you that have been keeping up with this blog probably feel close to the same way right now.
I made the short hike over to the crash site and it became immediately clear that this now marked the end of the SkyMaster. I spent about a minute just looking at the wreckage, and the new pilots at the cliff's edge by the wreckage were just looking at me, not saying anything. They just had that look of, "Damn, that sucks".
I gathered up all the pieces and had to make that walk of shame back to where everyone was hanging out.
The was one guy flying over by the picnic table that no one really knew. I checked in with him and he was on channel 35.
Now, what I forgot to mention was that just last night, I was running the motors in my room - breaking in the LiPos - and I was getting some crazy, full down elevator glitches. However, I did a range check at the field today before flying, and I had no problems. Also, my two flights before dinner went perfectly well.
I started thinking that perhaps that glitch was back. But the glitch from last night was only full down elevator. Today's fatal glitch was full up elevator followed by right aileron, followed by total loss of control.
Also, the glitch got worse as I flew closer and closer to the new teenage pilots. Several people mentioned that they saw those guys walk straight out from their car to the cliff.
I put two and two together and caught up with them just as they were walking back to their car.
"Hey, what channel are you guys flying on?"
"We're on 58"
I kept my cool while talking to them for the next few minutes. Here's the low-down:
-They admit that they did check the frequency board.
-They admit that they saw my pin, with my name on it, on the Ch. 58 marker.
-They say they asked around to see who was on 58, but when no one answered, they assumed that someone forgot their pin on the board. They did not replace my pin with another pin. They simply didn't have a pin for the board.
-They are new to the field, and to the hobby.
-They don't have a permit to fly at the field, which the city now requires, nor did they know they needed a permit.
-I explained how to get the permit, (by showing proof of insurance at city hall) and they were shocked to hear that you need insurance for these planes.
-I asked them to cover the $58 I payed for this plane, but they are both broke and need to fill their car with gas.
Best of all, they swear they would not have turned their transmitter on if they had known this would happen.
The guys at the field that were with me during the crash all say that they saw the teenagers go straight out to fly, without checking the board. No one said anything to them.
What can I do? I gotta bite the bullet on this one. It sucks that it had to end this way. A mid-air would've been cooler and more redeeming, but I gotta bury this plane due to interference from newbies.
From now on, nobody walks from their car straight out to the field without me saying something. The worst response I'll get is "Sorry I'm on 2.4 ghz". I don't want to be a hardass, and I'm not, but at least I know I'll be saving someone who bothers to follows the rules.
Don't let it happen to you.
Okay, now for the good stuff! See the pics below.
Thanks to all for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it.