It was all going so well
Thought I should finally add another blog entry; it's been long enough now, I may even have something interesting to write about!
I just spent 3 1/2 hours today trying to get a plane down from a tree. I have so far avoided those trees during my time in this hobby (preferring instead to damage my planes with the ground) but today saw and end to that achievement. My flying buddy (and housemate) Tom went out this morning with a few ultra micros and a new Cessna 182. The Cessna only had a brief maiden the day before, when the strong winds forced me to abort, but today was calmer. And today we tried a new flying field; normally we fly at a local playing field, using the long jump runways as our runways, but today we went to a very empty farm track leading to an industrial estate.. Basically all of the ultra micros survived (some nice inverted flying from Tom on the Champ) but the Cessna had a more interesting day:
Things started badly for her when the screwlock on the control horns for the rudder had slipped slightly meaning that the rudder was on full right. More annoyingly I had left the screwdriver at home I managed to centre the rudder by adding ALL the subtrim I could and all the trim i could - i rarely use the rudder, and this made sure of it! So off we went for the first flight.
Hand launched her, and she slammed straight into the ground - turns out that during my control surfaces test the elevator screwlock had slipped on its control rod, leaving the elevator fully down (yeah I know, i should have checked them all again but i was just too impatient)
Fortunately only superficial damage was done - the cowl cracked, prop snapped. The plane has a spring loaded motor mount which I'm sure saved the motor. By this point I was determined to fly! I replaced the prop, and managed to sort out the elevator screwlock with a piece of metal I had in the boot of my car.
She got airborne, this time for a longer period. I trimmed her, then set about testing how she flys. And she flys brilliantly, maybe too well. I got complacent on one flyby, she was up about 20 ft, but had drifted back. Where we were flying from, on one side of the road is open field, on the other is an apple orchard, with a row of 30 ft tall Oak trees bordering it. I was trying to keep my pattern over the field but on the 'last' upwind turn she had drifted over the road. As she passed me I spotted the trees in my peripheral vision, Tom had too, and said 'watch out for those tr...' yeah i had noticed them too late, tried to pull up and just clipped the top of one of the branches. Entirely my fault, should have been paying more attention.
[NOTE : We had planned on flying on the road further down, away from the trees, but there was some kind of cross country running event taking place, cutting right across the road - so in the interests of safety to the public we chose the orchard spot]
She had got caught by the very top branch of the tree. It was an odd feeling - that was currently the only Cessna 182 by Easysky in the country - and it was dangling 25ft off the Kent countryside!
Eventually we got the plane down, after 3 1/2 hours of trying, we tried just throwing stuff, which resulted in the plane being lodged even further into the forked branch. We tried tying some string to a lump of wood and throwing that over, but that didn't work. Eventually we went to a garden center and bought some bamboo canes and duck tape. We formed them into a long stick and Tom spent the next hour trying to get the plane dislodged. Eventually he did (I gave it a go, but where precision is required I'm not the guy you need!)
It had managed to get snagged on its nose wheel; when the planes weight was on it the whole nose wheel assembly popped off, and the rod slipped through the seam where the two halves of the fuse where bonded together.
Cowl shattered (though it was like that before the tree)
Motor mount loose
Prop number two shattered
Rear LG holder popped out
Nose wheel assembly torn out
In places the tow halves of the fuse have separated
30+ dents from the cane
Upper 8th of the rudder torn off
As of now the damage report is much smaller, I am waiting on a new prop (ordered 6, just in case) and a new cowl which are both enroute (though the Cowl will take longer as its coming from HK)
All in all she looks fine, apart from part of her rudder missing, one day ill get round to repairing that with some more foam, but for now ill just be glad to get her back into the air.
Thanks must go to Tom for getting the plane down, I would never have been able to do it, he managed it!
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