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Old Sep 30, 2008, 12:03 PM
jbourke's Avatar
United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Nov 1998
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Video: Safe landing after wing falls off

On Saturday we had a Chili Feed and Fun Fly at the local club. I showed up and was hoping to fly my 1/3rd scale Cap 580 model. Unfortunately, I had a problem during the flight and was forced to abort after only a few moments in the air.

A friend, Keith Ellis, felt a little bad for my situation and offered to let me fly his Yak-54. That seemed fitting, since I fly Russian Thunder, so I jumped at the chance.

I've flown Keith's model previously and it is a nice flying airplane. He broke the wing somehow and recently fixed it. We went over the repair and everything seemed solid. Unfortunately, it didn't hold together as well as we had hoped.

I started out flying in a careful way but as the flight went on I became more comfortable with the airplane. I started doing knife edge passes and spins. I did a few tumbles. Everything felt good so I did a knife edge spin. I made some high speed circuits across the field. The plane was really grooving and I was enjoying myself.

But then I did a snap roll at full throttle at mid-field and the left wing abruptly departed the aircraft. There was no warning, and I don't remember hearing anything. It just came off and started fluttering down.

The aircraft bobbled a bit as I held in what seemed like the proper correction. After a few seconds I found the new centering position needed to keep the plane trimmed in stable knife edge flight. I coaxed it around the field, lined it up, and prepared to ditch it on its side off the runway, but instinct took over, I guess, and I put it on the runway right side up instead.

I think this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I've practiced the scenario on the RealFlight simulator many times, and I credit that experience with my ability to bring it in wheels down. I never thought I'd get a shot to do this in real life. Secretly, I've always hoped for it.

After the event we all sat and talked about it for quite awhile. We all agreed that it was pretty cool. Luckily, one of the club members, Mark Wilson, had a video camera running. Eric Olsen was there to take pictures.


Jim Bourke One Wing Landing (1 min 38 sec)
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 01:03 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
Columbus, OH
Joined Mar 2005
3,410 Posts
Kewl. I find that if you practice things enough on the sim, it's almost anti-climatic when you try them in real life. I haven't practiced much knife edge flying, however.

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Old Sep 30, 2008, 02:37 PM
Build, fly, learn!
Versailles, France
Joined Jul 2008
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Hats off to you for keeping calm and managing to fly the model with one half wing down to a perfect landing!
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 07:21 PM
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USA, VA, Woodbridge
Joined Sep 2007
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Horay for Jim
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 07:24 PM
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USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
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Too cool Jim - you are in a small club there.....
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 07:34 PM
Crikey never leave beer behind
steve wenban's Avatar
Mt Annan Sydney Australia
Joined Dec 2003
23,507 Posts
That will buff out nice landing Jim , no load spearders in that wing ? no wonder it parted company.
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 08:47 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar
San Antonio, TX
Joined Sep 2004
15,632 Posts
Freakin cool Jim! It looks like there's not enough wing tube length there .
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 08:50 PM
I just love flying
MattZC's Avatar
Traverse City ,MI
Joined Dec 2005
913 Posts
Yeah Jim!!!!!! Awesome flying!!!!
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 09:23 PM
What the Pfotenhauer?
B Rocka's Avatar
Raleigh, NC
Joined Mar 2008
157 Posts
Dude! That was great Jim!
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Old Sep 30, 2008, 11:29 PM
Epic Huckin'
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Surrey, BC
Joined Jun 2007
2,388 Posts
i always thought you were and old man with a long beard and hair, guess i was wrong.
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Old Oct 01, 2008, 12:41 AM
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United States, CA, Milpitas
Joined Jul 2008
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Look he chipped the prop.


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Old Oct 01, 2008, 05:11 AM
Tearing the Skies a new one...
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Sweden: Ystad
Joined Oct 2004
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Hahahaha sweeet.
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Old Oct 01, 2008, 07:02 AM
3DHS Junkie
800mZero's Avatar
Rhode Island
Joined Jun 2005
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well done Jim, well done! You are truly becoming a yak master!
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Old Oct 01, 2008, 08:10 AM
North vancouver, B.C. Canada
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very cool very cool
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Old Oct 01, 2008, 09:26 AM
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Joined Jul 2004
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Apparently styroafoam has no structural strength on it's own......who knew ?.

Congratulations on your self-congratulatory thread.....I liked the arms raised in the air after the landing, it reminded me of Nixon, only without the "V" for victory.
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