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Old Jul 02, 2012, 12:52 AM
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cityevader's Avatar
United States, CA, San Jose
Joined Mar 2012
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Mowing the lawn!

Darned if I couldn't find an appropriate forum for this, so, since I was flying a little pocket rocket F4F Wildcat I figured here's as good a place to post as any!

Inverted flight, low passes, and general "precision flying" have always been my nemesis- perhaps I just don't have the proper reflexes - killed my brother's electryfied "vintage" Topflite (?) Quickie, putting it to a rest into God's green Earth attempting inverted flight - so this morning I decided to practice a bunch of low passes. It was a new "bandit" site with a long, raised, paved road near-perfectly aligned with the north/south wind , a freshly summer-vaction-abondoned high school football field to the east where the morning sun glares, junkyard/farmland and housing to the north and south separated by approx 1/4 mile, and "endless" plowed fields about 5 ft lower elevation to the road to the west allowing planes to be perfectly illuminated with no glare. A glorious site... except for a breeze of 6-12mph even in the morning. There's great thermal opportunities if the hawks are right, but my Radian Pro is barely flyable and completely unenjoyable in these winds. The warbirds do wig-wag a bit, but the F4F Wildcat is so stable it's still fun in the wind!!
Anyhoo, I was talking about something else wasn't I....OH, so I made a nice low pass and yelped out something silly like "WHOOP! that must have been six inches off the ground!" after yanking quickly into a vertical climb...not wanting to say the truth "Whoa! I nearly lost it again at 3ft off the deck and barely yanked it back in time!" So a rolling vertical and some random stupid looping corkscrews to shake off the adhrenaline and hmmm...maxing out the right aileron trim. Something's wrong. Not bad. Have control. Breathe. It's just the aileron trim. So I make a pass and start LAUGHING! An eight inch length of straw or hay type grass was streaming behing the left wingtip... I mowed the lawn!

After that session, we ate lunch and drove 45min north the Coyote Hills to slope fly. I had just recently swapped out radio gear in the Speedo my brother gave to me from 4ch FM to a Dx6i and knew it would be a "maiden" flight with unknown trim settings. First two throws went straight down into dirt 8ft away. A whopping 4 friggin beeps of up elevator solved it. (turns out I forgot to reset endpoints and it had so much throw that the 4 freakin beeps of trim were huge!) A decent first flight to get everything set right with a typically mediocre non-precision landing. The second flight was with a bit of lead as it was 17-22mph and I got in about 3 turns when it went straight down with uncommanded, zero control. It looked to be out far enough to go straight into the nasty stinky algae lapping against the shore of SF bay. My first thought was the non-optimal 2.4 antenna angles interacting with the carbon tow in the fuselage. At T minus 1 to impact, it appeared to respond a bit and it slingshoted back up and towards me in repeated command-no command situation which improved as it got closer. I was, obviously, yelping at the other three pilots that I may not make it, and will be making a very fast downwind landing straight towards us wooAAEEhhh..whimper whimper... So what happens??? I grease it in with the best landing I've ever done and slide it in 5 steps away!!! Why can't I land like that when my controls are fully functional?! Turns out the little ni-cd pack I thought I had cooked while charging really was hard-boiled. 35 minutes of sorting through a couple of backpacks and came up with a li'l 5a ESC with wrond battery connections, my buddy's random 300mAh lipo, a makeshift connector, and my butane soldering iron and I was flying again!!
It was a windy day but with only moderate lift, but it ended with another great landing. I ALMOST tossed it out again when my friend reminded me it was late, so I jumped on the idea of ending on a high not and NOT doing the dreaded "one last flight".

Anyhoo, sorry if i'm rambling and in the wrong forum, but after an entire day flying and sun and wind and dinner I didn't have to cook and beers, well, I just had to type!!
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Old Jul 02, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Edge767's Avatar
United States, TX, Spring
Joined Jun 2005
1,495 Posts
Sounds like you had a lot of fun! It's funny how beautiful landings sometimes come to us and other times they elude us. I had a few greasers and a few bouncers this weekend. I didn't do anything different (that I know of) to cause the different results. Go figure.
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