Bixler+GoPro almost lost
Today I barely escaped total loss of my Bixler with GoPro HD Hero with it. I am on a vacation and have made number of camera flights without a hitch. Today I saw the morning is nice and bright and so at 8am I was in the field ready to fly. I launched, there was not much wind on the ground level, but in height there was quite strong wind. I ascended as high as I dared (about 300 m I guess). It was pretty difficult to keep the plane's attitude and it was clear that the video is not going to be very good. Anyway, I switched off the motor and hoped some usable footage during gliding descent. Because of the trouble holding the plane flying straight, it was steadily drifting downwind. Very soon it was so far away, that I started to have severe trouble controlling the plane. Keeping the plane flying straight into the wind requires fine control which was impossible without seeing the plane clearly. I struggled for about 2 minutes trying to get the plane closer to me, but all I managed to do was to lose more height. I knew I was in trouble. Soon the plane disappeared behind the horizon.
I went home and consulted on-line map to see the crash area. It was mostly forest -- the worst possible case. Nevertheless, we searched for about three hours in vain, hoping to hear the plane's beeping. The outlook wasn't good at all. In the end I went to check one meadow and found the wreck there. The plane was mangled less than I expected and I believe the damage is repairable. More importantly, the GoPro camera was intact, including the footage of the crash. It was incredibly lucky outcome, given the vastness of the forests all around. The impact site was 1400 m away from launch point.
The thing far from camera is the plane's left wing, that detached on impact with aileron servo ripped from it and still attached to fuselage. The bare wing spar on the left side of the plane was actually embedded in the soil, affixing the plane in in the right wing upright position! The other damage included the usual mangled fuselage front part, detached vertical tail surface and broken horizontal tail surface (part of it is seen on the right).
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