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Oct 16, 2013, 02:18 PM
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anatomy of a crash


when having a crash-for any reason-it is interesting to analyze the parts and try to reach some conclusions. you may learn some things that help you in the future, be the plane a foamy or scratch-built, as is mine.
when i lost-and recovered-the Thermalis (see page 2 of this blog for details on the plane), i studied the wreckage, that happened as a consequence of loosing it in the fog. then i put it into a dive to minimize the distance from me. still, it fell at about 1 kilometer (.6 mile) and was spotted by a farmer recently, after more than 2 months, so it was pretty well weatherized. it fell at about 60 degrees so it hit hard. the firewall mounting was designed to be strong enough to handle normal situations, even including hard landings without damage, but in case of a crash it would came loose, as it did, so the motor/spinner/prop were not damaged. even the aluminum spinner came out without a scratch, mainly due to landing in farm soil. the wing is held in place with rubber bands, and wires running along the fuselage so in case of a crash it slides forward. so it did, and also came out undamaged. with some rain, and very high humidity, it was soaking wet, and i had to remove the bottom covering of the wing and let everything dry for several days.
the horizontal tail fell and water soaked it through the bare wood exposed at the center where it was glued, so was badly warped and softened, so i had to replace it, but was an easy task. the canopy, that is installed so it flies away in a crash, did that and was undamaged. surprisingly, the motor, prop, spinner, esc, and receiver seem to work properly. not the servos, that shake and are erratic, but are cheap to replace. and the lipo is history, as expected, after so much time discharging to zero. the nose wood ahead of the firewall was smashed so am working on replacing it, but after all, the damage was minimal considering that it was a dive from high altitude. as the fuselage sat flat on its belly, it got many black spots inside-sort of mold i guess-but fortunately we didn't get much rain, and no hail, so not much water fell inside. but in the wing, as it sat on its lower surface and has the tips up, humidity found its way up to the tips, where it developed more spots than in the rest.
in recent times, flying radio controlled planes, i have been lucky by not getting many crashes-only recently a false contact in the transmitter cells, that are not soldered, created several crashes, but now that i use a lipo with soldered cells, the problem is gone. still, it is interesting to try to learn from a crash to see if there is something to make the plane stronger in certain areas, for instance.
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