Almost lost my ENTIRE A/P platform today... - RC Groups
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Mar 21, 2004, 04:02 AM
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CactusJackSlade's Avatar

Almost lost my ENTIRE A/P platform today...

Here is the story about WHY I almost lost my rig today here:

Below are a couple photos before the "incident"

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Mar 21, 2004, 04:06 AM
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CactusJackSlade's Avatar


My intended target (the power plant) never came full into view before the "event". But here is part of it:
Mar 21, 2004, 04:09 AM
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Now this is NOT the kind of view you'd like to get from your camera... the loose connection on the battery pack must have twitched the camera servo, I had half a dozen photos while I was yanking... notice the yellow strin in the tree limb, I shot it up and over with an arrow.
Mar 22, 2004, 04:01 PM
steelhead's Avatar
oops- double note see below
Last edited by steelhead; Mar 22, 2004 at 04:08 PM.
Mar 22, 2004, 04:07 PM
steelhead's Avatar
OK, So just to make sure everyone learns something about RC AP today,

You were flying a Slow Stick Camera platform in and around a Power Plant airspace with electrical connectors that you "mickey moused" together?

Then, after it "lost control" you were forced to drive blindly after it, where it drifted quite a ways away, crashing safely into a tree.

On the knowledge that I am stating the obvious, I will state the obvious.

You were seriously lucky. I could only imagine the consequences if you landed on the Power Plant property. NEVER FLY WITHOUT BEING 100% sure nothing will fail.

An emergency landing on the wrong company's front porch will take away a lot of our priveleges. RC AP is not a fun fly when your flying near property that can cause a ruckus within our community. FLY ONLY PROVEN PLANES WITH PROVEN ELECTRONICS. Before flying anything new, a test flight is neccesary in the conditions you will be flying before actually putting the plane in the air for a purpose.

This is what I know, what I do, and what I expect others in this field to do.

Field expedience isnt safe, unless your in the military

Mar 22, 2004, 05:31 PM
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4 stroken ron's Avatar
Gee Thanks Dean. I will certainly hide under my bed from now on.

Mar 22, 2004, 06:47 PM
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buzzbee's Avatar

Is that the Boulder Plant? Looks like it. I just got my camera today, and now can't wait to try flying. What Kind of power are you running?
Mar 23, 2004, 01:21 AM
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CactusJackSlade's Avatar

Yes I know...


Yes, that is the Boulder Plant. I am running a Razor 300 w/ GWS "D" gearbox 1180 prop, Phoenix 25 ESC and 3 cell 1200 Kokom Lipo's. I get 20-25 minutes if I fly moderately. Without camera my SS weighs around 13 oz.

Just to set the record straight nothing about any of my RC planes is "Mickey moused" but rather I strive to be the "perfectionist". This was a simple mistake... and not easily recognized until it actually failed.

The reason I had this failure was because I used poor judgment (in hindsight) on the "adapter" that I used (only) to charge my batteries with JST plugs. The "adapter" was a mini deans plug and apparently stretched out the female part of my JST connectors on the battery. They have all been changed out to mini deans connectors as of now and have since had 2 excellent photo flights...

This was a simple mistake and not due to flying with anything with "unproven electronics’". When I was flying I was of course plugged JST into JST - no Mickey mouse set-up. The reason I even posted my error was so that others would not make the same mistake - since JST and mini-deans interconnect so easily... and obviously ruin the JST connector in the process.

I do take safety seriously, anyone who does not and fly’s an RC plane with 10 oz or more deadweight attached (i.e.: camera gear) should not be flying.


Oh, this photo: Self portrait looking south toward Boulder
Last edited by CactusJackSlade; Mar 23, 2004 at 02:56 AM.
Mar 23, 2004, 11:31 AM
Registered User
great pics , cactusjack....keep 'em comin
and good comment about how ya take flyin seriously and yes indeed my friend, its still a free country.
as Ben Franklin "catchin up" with my pursuit of happiness, i try to never endanger lives or property with my equipment.
Mar 23, 2004, 04:35 PM
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yb2normal's Avatar
Originally posted by steelhead
NEVER FLY WITHOUT BEING 100% sure nothing will fail.

That is not particularly realistic. I think we should all fly assuming something might just fail. That will keep us from flying over populated areas or behind the flight line.

Safety is about hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

Mar 23, 2004, 04:37 PM
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HIGHFLYER99's Avatar


Who could ever be 100% sure their plane won't fail? Too many variables out there. I almost lost my plane for good due to faulty pack wiring(not by me) and I landed in deep thicket after hours long search. I never knew what the prob was although I suspected the pack. So I used the pack again after some bench testing. 2 flights later the same thing happens, a fly away. Luckily it landed in a huge pile of dirt nearly 1/3 mile away with minimal damage witnessed by a construction worker who was responsible for said pile of dirt.
This had been the worst experience of my RC flying life.
Mar 23, 2004, 11:28 PM
steelhead's Avatar
Cactus Jack-
I was only pointing out- not aiming at you Perhaps the use of Mickey wasnt the best use. As I see it, using two different connector styles needs a 20 foot red flag hoisted overhead. We are all accusable of using what we have when we have it, but we need to be extra sure we are using the correct tool for the job, especially when we might be using the plane a month later for a flight above or near a large facility.

Was just emphasizing an incident- and hoping more readers would learn from it (especially the ones who just read, and dont post) when it was respelled out.

And Being 100% isnt unrealistic.
While testing a plane, or a component or a circuit or a battery, we fly expecting to find error. While flying over a specific target of AP work, we are not testing, and 100% certainty must be obtained prior to flight.

That means knowing that the banana you hauled up 20 flights previous to check for payload capability did not crack the wing saddle or push a wire up into a foam crevice restricting free movement.

yb2normal - great point, expect something to fail and be prepared for it. We must always have 1% of our brain searching for an escape route from the shopping mall in case of emergency, so must we be with RC. The trick is to know that 20 visits previous to visiting the mall, we didnt set a gas can above a circuit breaker over the cafe court and forget about it. Sure, its fine for a while, but the unforseen earthquake on the 21'st visit might require us to search for an escape route.

"Who could ever be 100% sure their plane won't fail?"

Anyone who represents others in the industry and themselves must be able to know that their airframe is in perfect flying order.

Think of full scale. Would you get into a full size cessna if you knew that about 2 months earlier, someone accidentaly put a gallon of diesel in the tank, but since it ran fine for the next 100 gallons, you dont mind that there wasnt a tear down inspection in the last 60 days? And then fly over a power plant?

Each of my AP planes gets a full tear down each month. Any weakened or worn parts get replaced. Electric motors are tested, servos are swapped after a certain amount of run time, Receivers are moved into my fun fly airplanes and Battery packs are checked for broken leads, as well as individual bad cells. Any equipment on board during testing is replaced if there was a hard landing or a crash and then fully flight tested prior to being used on a AP mission.

The pre flight check is full, including range testing and (depending on the location) a test flight is performed over a safe area before loading the equipment and flying for payload.

When on location, Every flight is performed with 100% knowledge that everything is perfect, or I wont fly. A forest fire, auto accident or a power company emergency can be accepted only if the cause of loss of control was beyond my capabilities as a mortal. Remember, for everyone in this country, emergency landings are less than 3,000 miles from a government building. When I was 15, a 12 inch free flight glider of mine was recovered 100 miles away. The launch was a gentle toss in my backyard to test for trim. Miracles do happen, but fly responsibly.

If your flying over 100 miles of dirt, and taking pictures of a fencepost, with a brand new camera for the purpose of testing, by all means use whatever is in your field box, duct tape is great for holding batteries to the fuse.

Not pointing, just drawing attention.
I believe constant reminder helps those who are new. Those of use who are charter memebers to the AP movement need to make sure the newbies are respecting what grounds we've broken and make way for the future.

Mar 24, 2004, 11:25 AM
RCAPA #005
MGBGTRacer's Avatar
Flying over/near a powerplant and taking photos is not what I would consider a very good idea. It's an interesting subject, true.. but in these times it's not a good idea for two reasons.
A. We don't need/shouldn't have aerial photos of powerplants or other important national infrastructure posted. (yes, I know, it's already out there anyway from other sources)
B. We don't need to be showing people with bad intent how to do this. (yes, I know you can't worry about other's intent)
Sure, people can figure out for themselves how to go about photographing whatever subject they want, but we shouldn't set a bad example. If that plane went down on the powerplant property, you'd probably be talking to some Homeland Security, FBI and probably a couple other Govt agencies. Taking the effort to mount a camera to a plane to take photos of that powerplant would not sit well with "them" and raise a good bit of suspicion.

Airspace over National Infrastructure (such as powerplants) is very restricted and I'd think they'd fail to see the humour in your AP rig. The Government has no sense of humour we're aware of.

Not trying to be a buzzkill- I would just consider a different subject for AP.
Mar 24, 2004, 11:50 AM
edthedoc's Avatar
You guys need to chill and enjoy the view
Mar 24, 2004, 12:09 PM
Frequent User
yb2normal's Avatar
Yes, Yes, but what does the cooling tower look like **from directly above***

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