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Mar 25, 2020, 02:45 PM
Who are these that fly?
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Crash on Maiden


The launch of the new Griffin 1.5 glider was flawless. She powered up to 20 feet high and then began a graceful wing-down turn to the left. The turn kept going until it was upside down. It hit nose first. The nose plowed about four inches deep in the mud. The left wing snapped off shattering ply and balsa. The right wing broke at the aileron. The tail feathers came undone. The fuselage cracked down the right side from the nose to the tail boom.

There's something about watching a plane not respond to inputs that is so helpless. The groan I made on impact released six weeks of construction at night and on weekends. And the walk of shame didn't help. I had flown in a park near my house. The playground was surrounded by yellow keep-out tape and orange signs because of social distancing due to the Covid-19 virus. The sky was a mottled gray with 10 mph gusts. And my wife was with me. Families walked by me with the men giving me that sheepish grin as I walked past holding parts in my hands.

Oh, the ship is repairable. In an hour I had all but the left wing back into place. Another two hours of building and re-covering with film will put her back into the air. I've got scrap balsa and ply that should work well to replace four broken ribs and the wing sheeting. And I'm pretty sure I can cover the plane with what's left of the Monokote and Econokote.

But it's the emotional stuff. Was I too arrogant to second-guess my settings? I put those bubble protectors on the wing servos and never checked them. I felt stupid leaving out a tiny screw on the rudder servo. Was I just too eager to fly to wring out all the electronics and hardware? I have kicked myself plenty hard and it's like suffering in silence. Trying to get at answers for a crash is one thing. Being hard on myself is another. So...I took a deep breath. I prayed to Jesus about my attitude. It's a hobby. Even my wife -- who knows I like to build better than fly -- said, "Now you've got something else to work on." And she meant it to be a helpful comment.

So, excuse me. I have something else to work on. And 90% of it is me.

UPDATE: The ailerons were reversed. The right aileron had pulled free from the ply, which might have been at the impact.
Last edited by UpNup; Mar 30, 2020 at 12:08 PM.
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