Flight of the Toad - Part III
Sorry its taken so long to get to here but us old fa_ts have to stretch out what we think is a good story.
To summarize what I've posted so far (1) I'm an inept pilot but I design and build pretty good planes for my test pilots to fly, and (2) The Toad is the prototype for my latest design, the "Northern Lite" for which plans will be available in the future. Now on with the story.
The Toad's been sitting on the workbench ready to go for 3 weeks and the urge to see if the Toad would fly as well as I hoped was getting to be like an itch that you can't scratch. The other day while lurking here and reading all the posts about all the great flying going on the urge became too great and I knew I had to do something about it. I poked my head out the front door and stuck a wet digit into the atmosphere. It came down equally frost bitten on all sides so I concluded that there wasn't any wind.(Too bad I didn't check out back.) I head back to the shop and put the 7 cell on the fast charger and give Test Pilot a call.(No, not Bleriot's friend. By the way Bleriot, what happened to him? Is he still hanging around or did he climb into his GWS Zero and fly off into the rising sun? Sorry couldn't resist, please don't take offence as none was intended.) Anway TP wasn't home, found out today that he fled the frozen north for a warmer climate. Do I pack it in? No the fever's got me, I'll just go down to the park and do a couple of powered glides so its ready when he gets back. I grab the Tx and the Toad, check the batt.s and do a quick range check and then off to the park. At the park as I'm getting out of the van a "gentle breeze" kindly slams the van door shut for me. Does this deter me? Not on your life. I lug the plane and Tx out to the soccer pitch, turn on the Tx plug in the pack, a quick check of the controls and CG and then half throttle and a gentle push into the "breeze". Away it goes, a click of right trim. Wow! straight and level. Try a little right, then a little left, power down, a little up to flare, touchdown. Success just like the flight plan. Time to go home and bask in the glow of a successful flight, RIGHT? WRONG!!! Just one more, I'll do a circuit of the field.
Full throttle this time, gentle push, WHOA! the toad's climbing at a 60' angle heading skyward and away from me like a homesick angel. By the time I recover from the surprise it's above the treeline and rapidly diminishing in the distance. A little left, a little up, neat turn! Nothing to this! Oh Oh! All of a sudden a gentle slowflyer with a 30 mph tail wind turns into a F5B hotliner and it's heading right back at me. Now I know the left is right and right is left thing when I have time to think about it but at this speed...? For the next few seconds Toad is doing wild gyrations all over the sky and the, I don't know how, it's doing tight circles directly overhead and I'm rotating under it like a top. Now this is when I normally hand the Tx to TP and say "You take it!" but he isn't there. At this point my inner ear says "enough is enough" and blows its breaker and suddenly the ground is moving under my feet and my head is spinning. Instinctively I let go of the stick and close my eyes and slowly it seems although it couldn't have been more than a few seconds things returned to something approaching normal, whatever that is. Now where's Toad? There it is! Over the ball diamond and heading for the subdivsion bordering the park. A little calmer now, I feed in a little left and up and get it heading back. A little voice in the back of my head says " It might be a little easier if you reduced throttle." Back off the throttle. Say, I might get out of this yet. But old age and depth perception bite me. WHAM! Toad tries to strain itself through the chainlink outfield fence and then flutters to the snow.
How bad was the carnage? The motor mount was broken (It's designed to break to protect the GB), the prop was chipped, and the glue joint on one cabane strut failed. 5 min. at the workbench and it was ready for flight again.
Conclusions from this debacle
1. Park flyers don't fly well in gale force winds.
2. I still need a co-pilot
3. Northern Lite is (is going to be) a great flier
4. Northern Lite meets the survivability criteria
There will be more on this model but I think I'll wait until my TP's come out of hibernation or wing their way back from the south.
Sorry I took so long to reply, I've been away.
By the way as an addendum to the story.
Any doubts that I may have had about the GWS4P Rx were dispelled during this flight as the entire flight was made without the Tx antenna being extended and a couple of times it had to be 600'-700'away!
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