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Old Jun 21, 2004, 11:29 AM
BuzzBomber is offline
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Newton, NJ
Joined May 2003
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Talk about ego deflation!

Well, it's been a few months since I had anything qualifying as a crash, so I knew I was overdue......Yesterday, despite the wind, I attempted to commit an act of flight, specifically the maiden of my newly finished axi powered GWS spitfire. The end result was, well, somewhat less than optimal. On first hand launch, she was on the ground before I could get on the elevator--not enough up trim, and too noseheavy. Damage: broken prop and dented chin cowling. I went home, adjusted the elevator linkage, fitted my last good apc prop, and went back out. I set up a launch mix (up elevator) and tossed her, upward this time, and flicked off the up-trim. Flew about 1 1/2 circuits of the baseball field, with a little porpoising, started to turn back toward me, leveled the wings, and then it happened. Nosed over at full bore from about 25' and dug a nice hole hear the pitcher's mound . Damage: broken prop, tore front wing mount loose, fuselage exploded at wing LE, Axi clicking, front cell in CBP 650 tore heatshrink upon contacting motor shaft. I had to hack the nose off at the "firewall" to get the axi out for inspection, and after blowing out the clay infield mix, it appears OK--the clicking is no more, and it spun up fine on a new prop. Some 5-minute epoxy has returned the fuse to most of its former glory--I'm glad I didn't bother to paint it before the first flight. Yoda, my pilot, survived without injury (I figured he'd be a good pilot since he's green, has the force, and is about as scale as the rest of the plane, anyway).

I feel like I'm writing an "Aftermath" column for "FLYING" here. Probable cause: The pilot's improper preflight procedure (I forgot to range check and it is possible the sudden nose over was either a gust or a radio hit--I know I didn't command it), combined with adverse conditions (winds variable in direction and velocity, 5-10 kts), and failure to recover from nose-down attitude.

Anyhow, I've got noboy to blame but me. I learned A) don't be so dang impatient to fly, B) have someone else hand launch on maiden flight, C) be realistic about when conditions aren't good enough for flight, and D) alway, ALWAYS range check. Of course, I knew all of these things already, I just let my ego take control and smother my conscience(which knew better).
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Old Jun 21, 2004, 11:32 AM
headless is offline
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Tallahassee, FL
Joined Sep 2003
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Sorry to hear about the unhappy spitfire

Good lessons -- it took me a long time to step down and let my flying buddy's hand launch on maidens but i'm sure it has saved me a crash first-thing several times - can't beat having your fingers on the sticks before the plane is airborne!
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