Just when you think you can't get caught out doing something dumb ... - RC Groups
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May 28, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Just when you think you can't get caught out doing something dumb ...

I thought I'd seen just about every possible combination of dumb tricks, but I managed to surprise myself, this evening.

I have a DB Bi-stormer that is fitted with a towing release. The engine is a pumped OS .91 FS. I'd arranged to meet my mate and tow his Sig Riser.

Whilst setting up, he volunteered to clip the tow line to my model ... and he asked whether he could tip the plane onto its nose so that he would have better access to the loop, which is by the tailwheel.

Having just filled the plane with fuel, I said that I'd plug the fuel vent line so that the precious stuff wouldn't flood out onto the grass... made mental note to remove the plug before flight.

Normally, I prep the tug myself, so I'm intimately involved with the various tasks.

Anyway, I then went off to do something else.

Can you see what's coming, yet?

Of course, the runway was busy, so there was pressure to get hooked up and gone asap.

The aircraft departed normally, climbed crosswind and onto wide downwind, probably a couple of hundred feet agl. Then, engine stuttered.

My first thought was that the engine was overheating, so I reduced power and had the glider unhook. Engine died.

No problem, nice landing ... all safe. Sorry to disappoint you!

I'd forgotten to unblock the fuel vent and the fuel pump eventually lost suction, starving the engine.

Of course, the engine could have quit on take-off, leaving me with nowhere to go except the woods. So, I suppose we were lucky.

The lesson learned is an old one, really. Don't let someone "break" your routine, even though they are trying to be helpful and save time.
Last edited by bogbeagle; May 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
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May 30, 2012, 06:34 AM
Illegitimi non carborundum
grosbeak's Avatar
Glad your dead stick turned out OK! You make a very good point. If I may make an addendum, it would be:

In your eagerness to get airborne, don't hurry through your routine. It's too easy to miss something.
May 30, 2012, 07:14 AM
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Danny_l's Avatar
The word Oooops has a totally different meaning if it is said before or after take-off.

I've seen a fair amount of planes crashed because of people skipping a thorough pre-flight check.

May 30, 2012, 09:50 AM
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Yes, there's apparently no end to the permutations that can lead to a crash.

Mind you, this one's all mine, as far as I know. I've never heard of anyone else doing this.

Nah, that would put me in my own special category of "Dumb" ... someone, somewhere must have pulled a similar stunt.
May 30, 2012, 10:42 AM
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earlwb's Avatar
Good story. It reminds me of the guy who said he could fly all day on a single tank of fuel in his gasser. On his last flight of the day, over the trees, his engine quit. He went down into the trees as he was too low to dead stick it past them back to the field. When they picked up the plane and pieces, they found that the fuel tank was empty.
May 30, 2012, 01:08 PM
Registered User
About 4 or 5 years ago, I was flying my mate's Ready 2.

This chap is notoriously "slack" when it comes to matters aeronautical, so I'm always a bit tense with his models. And, sometimes, he out-and-out lies to me. Apparently, I "make too much of a fuss", so he'll give me soothing platitudes.

Anyway, the model began to get a bit sluggish in its control responses and I asked him whether he'd charged the flight pack before coming to the field.

No, of course, he hadn't. He then went on to reassure me that the pack would be fine as it had been charged before we'd last flown the model ... about 3 months earlier!

Well, he'd hardly got the words out of his mouth when the flight pack expired and the model flew in a big descending circle ... to a half-decent landing.

There was just enough of a bounce to stop the prop; which was lucky, else the thing would have been chasing us around on the grass.

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