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Old Oct 13, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Wellington, New Zealand
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Double check before flying

On the back of my transmitter I have a slide switch that sets the RF output to normal or low power. I installed this ages ago for testing antennas, receivers and installations so that I didn't have to walk 100m for each test. On the low power setting with the TX antenna half collapsed the range is 5m good to 8m nothing.

Before flying I check the switch is in the up (high) position. But a few days ago my check failed and I launched the plane with the switch set to low with the TX antenna fully extended. The plane flew off as planned and at about 100m out and 30m up I started a gentle left turn. It didn't feel right; the plane was very sluggish to respond but otherwise seemed OK. I thought maybe a servo problem and continued the turn to head back. After landing and checking the control surfaces again, I found the switch was set to low power.

I wouldn't have done this test deliberately as it's too high-risk and I wouldn't expect more than 50m or so. I was pleasantly surprised it worked out past 100m and that loss of control was minimal and gradual. A lucky save.
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