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Aug 14, 2019, 02:26 PM
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r/c Diary Pt. 46, The Saga of The Wayward Wanderer 99!

In a previous posts, I highlighted the damage and resultant repair to my trusty old Wanderer 99 sailplane. Due to a mishap on the flying field, the Wanderer as it came in for a landing, ended up sliding right into the only vertical item on the field….namely the wind indicator pole! Back at the shop, I managed to remove the damaged section and patch it with white Monocote.

The Wanderer 99, although it is an old 80’s design & build, is still my favourite thermal seeker. It flies nice and slow, which allows it to stay in the rising columns of warm air.

At our last Sunday line launch contest I was having a great time with the old plane! Finding some decent lift whilst avoiding landing anywhere near the landing tape. : ) On my third landing, a wingtip caught the grass and the whole plane pirouetted around until the wind flipped it over! Dang that definitely didn’t earn me any points! I ran over and checked it out…no damage! Okay, I got lucky that time!

I picked up the hi-start line and hooked it to the plane then walked back to the flight line and let’er rip! As usual, it took off nice and straight at a steep angle until it came off the line around 250’….a sight I never get tired of watching! Everything was normal until it started a series of stalls and each time the strengthening south west wind kept taking it further north across the field. Eventually it flew right over the road (yikes!) and into the field of white beans across from us! I just couldn’t bring it back! I realized at one point that it was in danger of landing on the busy road so I put it down in the bean field without causing any further damage. Another lucky break!

Now that got the heart rate up a wee bit! Back at the field I checked it out and sure enough, when the plane flipped over on the last landing, a small 14 g weight became dislodged from the nose and due to the steep ascent on take off, rolled all the way to the tail! No wonder I couldn’t get control! It was tail heavy!

Okay, the weight was glued down in the proper nose location, I rechecked the cg, waggled the controls, it all looked good. Time for one more launch!
It took off with it’s usual steadiness into the strengthening south west wind.

I managed a number of tight circles looking for lift but eventually it was time to head downwind and set up for my landing approach. I turned a dog leg left across the field then another 90 degree turn to line up with the landing tape. All of a sudden it stopped dead in the air! What!!! I thought I was in front of the tall tree that sits on the northerly border of our field…..I wasn’t apparently and now the Wanderer was firmly sequestered about 70’ in the air! Grrrrh!

We had nothing with us to rescue the plane, so I packed up and headed home. After supper I came back with my son in law, my bow, a quiver of arrows and a thin hi-start line. It took many attempts but eventually, I managed to get a line up and over the large branch that was holding the plane. Unfortunately, the arrow wasn’t heavy enough to bring the line all the way to the ground. So somewhat dejected, as the sun was setting, we headed back home.

Next morning, I brought my good r/c flying buddy, Terry and his grandson Declan with me back to the field. This time we were armed with heaver rope, a long 16’ telescoping pole and leather gloves. I managed to whack the dangling arrow and bring it and the line down within reach. We then removed the arrow, tied on the heavier rope and wrapped tape around the joint. Next step was to pull the rope up and over the branch. Terry and I put on our leather gloves, stood back away from the drop zone. We proceeded to pull violently on the rope until the poor old Wanderer was released from the tree’s tenuous grasp and it came crashing down into the tall weeds! Yay!

Upon closer examination, the fuselage and tail feathers were intact…no apparent damage! Amazing! However, the right wing now was missing a section of leading edge and some of the old orange covering was torn and tattered. Not pretty, but repairable. I was just happy to have the old girl safely back on good old “terra firma!”

It’s a lesson not to forget when flying in strong winds! They which will carry your plane further downwind when you attempt to fly at right angles while setting up for your final landing approach. I knew that but forgot and it was a costly mistake! Maybe you can learn from my experience!

Hamilton, Ontario
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Yesterday, 02:41 PM
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BirrenP's Avatar
Heart wrenching when it happens but your plane did a masterful job of parking itself. My experiences are somewhat similar though details have faded with time, except to say that it's easy to see where my Wanderer 99 was patched. Not so easy to see the multiple fuselage repairs.

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