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Jan 01, 2018, 11:26 AM
Modeling Retread
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SAPB New Year’s weekend club get together

Ever have one of those days where the flying gods hit you with lightning but you still end up satisfied?

We like to have holiday weekend events. By observation, we found that having an event on the actual holiday wasn’t the best plan. We have since moved our events to the Saturday before and that has worked much better. This last Saturday 12/30 we had our New Year’s Event. We had good food (burgers, hot dogs, links and tamales) and a good turnout. The weather hasn’t been cooperative this holiday season but it was reasonably pleasant.

I arrived just before noon, put the chili in the smoker and got everything set up. I started to fly once and there were, unusually, four planes up (our limit) so I started visiting. In short order lunch was called. I went over and fixed a chili cheese burger and covered a couple of tamales with chili then sat down to eat. While I was eating, a young man launched one of those folded foam board airplane. As it flew around, I could tell it was slightly tail heavy, controllable - barely.

While still eating, I hear those infamous words “heads up!” I looked up just in time to see that foam board airplane pummelt down and smash into mine!

The picture shows them at rest after the impact. Startled, I just stared for a few seconds. Initial observation made me think it had almost missed and only pushed down the right aileron. I got up, set down my lunch, took a picture and then picked up the airplane. Focusing on the aileron, I noted it was not just displaced but the foam hinge was half broken. I asked if anybody had some flexible CA to fix the hinge, only to have one of the other pilots point out that the tail was broken off too. I then further noted a gash in the wing. The little plane had hit mine pretty squarely.

I’ve been flying this Sport Cub since April ‘15 and it’s been my most constant companion. The only time I didn’t fly it when it was with me at the field was once when I left the DX7 turned on and the battery was dead. Too much damage to fix at the field said this was going to be the second time.

The owner was super apologetic. I told him it was fixable and it would be OK, I’d done worse to it. He said he just lost control which, considering the tail heavy state, was understandable. I told him I observed it was tail heavy and he needed to be more aware of that and more cautious on a first flight. (Not a sanctioned event, just a normal flying day with food, so no rules broken.) I did allow that if it had been one of my built models, I would’ve been more upset.

I did get to fly. My pal, Jim Branaum, pulled one of those Horizon 3ch Cubs out of his trailer for me. I flew it until the speed control decided it wasn’t going to keep running. I did start myself with it though. I bound it up to my DX6E and set the control throw to max. It was reasonably 3ch aerobatic. When I had the field to myself, I started doing real tight touch and goes. On one of those, it started flying at me and I could not get it to turn, no matter how much RUDDER I used, then I remembered the rudder was hooked up to the aileron channel. I fly with a lot of rudder control, it’s not just there for taxiing. Subsequently, I mixed the rudder to the aileron and had no more flight problems.

Even though I had my airplane wrecked, I still had a good time. There were families out and kids flying, good signs for the future. The sun, a stranger to San Antonio this holiday period, even came out to end the day.
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