What Was Your Worst RC Whoops! Moment?

I was watching some RC videos last night and saw some funny and interesting mistakes. It got me thinking about my worst mistake in RC and thought I would share and see what dumb idiotic and downright stupid things you guys have done too.


Share Your Funny or Tragic RC Whoops Moments

I was watching some RC videos last night and saw some funny and interesting mistakes. It got me thinking about my worst mistake in RC and thought I would share and see what dumb idiotic and downright stupid things you guys have done too.

My worst RC Whoops! Moment happened back when I worked at Hobby Lobby International. Drones were not really a thing yet, but we were building and flying multirotors. A customer was having an issue with his quad and it was not responding correctly for stabilization. I set out to take a look and see what I could figure out for him. It was late in the day and I was tired so I just plugged in the USB cable, powered up the system and started trouble shooting to figure out what was wrong with it. Turns out, some of the ESC's were not plugged in to the correct channels on the board, but before I could find that out, I pushed THE WRONG BUTTON on the computer interface and the two motors on the far side went to full throttle. I'm sitting down at a table with the quad in front of me and those two motors sent the quad flipping right at my face! I had time to get my hands up, grabbed it and got it stopped. I won't get too graphic here, but it took a few seconds to notice the blood and then I saw my thumb was in bad shape. It required a trip to the ER and some stitches. It fully recovered, but I nearly lost half of the end of my thumb because I didn't take the time to remove the props while working on the quad. You can bet I have never made that mistake again!

Feel free to post your stories below. It doesn't have to end in personal injury like mine, but maybe you took off with your elevator backwards, or maybe you put in what you thought was a fully charged battery that was actually empty, or maybe you were flying inverted on the deck and pulled instead of pushed. Whatever your story is, AND I KNOW YOU HAVE A STORY, please share as we can all learn from these and maybe have a good laugh at the same time.

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Apr 17, 2020, 09:29 AM
Registered User
Set up a brand new Slowpoke and took extreme care in making sure that all the control inputs went in the correct direction. Took off and the plane became immediately uncontrollable. Any control input resulted in wild gyrations, terminating in a nose plant from about 15 feet. It was my first plane with stabilization and I had installed the receiver backwards and never thought to check the direction of the stabilization inputs. Plane was rebuilt and had many more successful flights.
Apr 17, 2020, 09:30 AM
71% of the world is runway . .
Bart83's Avatar
Hope this qualifies . . .



Near miss (0 min 21 sec)
Apr 17, 2020, 09:34 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
My worst oops was in the 1990s. I had built an electric airboat using one of my electric racing motors (I was racing boats at that time) and a Cox 6x3 black prop. It was winter, but that doesn't matter to these things. They like ice and snow even more than the wet kind.

I brought it to work one day. My friend Carl and I were outside running it, and it got stuck against a block of shoveled snow. As Carl bent over to move it, the throttle glitched. Being electric, it wasn't about to stop just because the prop hit something. It just kept going. And going. And going. With his hand right there.

That sharp nylon prop did a lot of damage to Carl's finger. Multiple slices, major blood, major damage. Off to the hospital for the first of a lot of treatments. I felt so awful. What I realized a few minutes later is how damaging this could be to him professionally. Not only was he one of our top electronics techs, he was also the leader of a rising rock band playing multiple instruments.

He eventually made a full recovery, but it took a lot of work and a lot of pain. Thankfully, he forgave me.

I certainly gained a huge new respect for the power systems we use. These aren't toys.

Apr 17, 2020, 09:42 AM
Registered User
After getting the OK from my instructor to fly solo, I was flying my Apprentice. Another club member on the flight line said something to me which I couldn't make out. I instinctively turned toward him to ask "what?" By the time I turned back I had lost sight of the plane. Picked it up about 10 ft from a tree. Lost the plane but learned a cardinal rule - NEVER take your eyes off the plane.
Apr 17, 2020, 12:37 PM
Registered User
I was flying a UMX a Timber one day when I tried a stall turn. I pulled up too far and ended inverted. While trying to right it I flew into a tree.
Apr 17, 2020, 12:54 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Oh, this will be a good thread ! ! ! !

My own "True Confessions" moment likely came early in the 90's. I was flying my 1/2A Hornet built more or less from RCM plans you can see HERE. It was powered by a Cox TeeDee and running 35% Missle Mist fuel and weighed in at just a smidge under 16oz. So it was a fairly fast and perky performer.

I was doing the fourth or sixth of a series of 3ft inverted passes when the radio (72Mhz) had a small glitch that startled me.... So what's the first thing we all do when startled while flying? Of COURSE I pulled some up ! ! ! Which while inverted is clearly the wrong thing to do. My mind did it though and at the same time shouted "STUPID!" but it was too late. I prepared within a millisecond to witness a "Lawn Dart" moment.

But NOOOOO! It disappeared totally from the face of the Earth. My mind shifted to "What the...." when a splash of water rose from the ground. I'd dove into the drain ditch on the edge of our field.

I got to the scene to find the fuselage "muck darted" into the sludge right in the middle of the ditch and both wing halves embedded into the grass and mud along the sides... It wasn't a wide ditch but I'd managed to punch right in along the center. The fuselage and engine came free with a wet sucking sound and I dutifully save all the pieces.

The engine seemed fine and I still have it. But I never did repair the model. Not sure why. It wouldn't have taken much to fix. Moved on to other things I guess. Pieces were lost ages ago. Or perhaps the damage was worse than I recall.
Apr 17, 2020, 12:59 PM
R/C Addict for Life!!
Darryl Miller's Avatar
I was 12 or 13, (long time ago) and was learning multiple axial aileron rolls with my Sig Komander. One roll, easy, two consecutive, ok......trying for 3.... well......I got 2 and 1/2 , pulled instead of pushed, and drove it right into the dirt. :-(
My mentor- instructor- Father exclaimed from the pits.....”Should have only done 2!”

Gee, thanks Dad. Lol
Apr 17, 2020, 02:02 PM
NOT lazy just like doin nuthin
My flying has always been perfect, absolutely perfect, the most beautiful flying you'll ever see, just like chocolate cake. Even my flying rules are perfect, like the one about leaving some clear sky between my plane and the trees.
Apr 17, 2020, 02:19 PM
AMA: L68621, FCC: WA2LLX

Throttle reversed on a helicopter and something worse.

Fortunately it was a small one, an electric Corona (sorry to mention that word ) from back in the day. I was able to slap my hand down on the skids and lean back at the same time, but it was close!

My other one was considerably worse not only immediately but in the long term. I had a quarter scale Zlin Z-50 with a Zenoha G-62. I was hand starting it on a overturned cable spool. I had asked my wife to hold the tail but I never double checked to make sure she was doing so, which makes this my fault not her's. Even at just slightly above idle the plane started to roll quickly with not far to go before rolling off the table. Instead of stepping back I instinctively reached out to grab the wings on either side of the spinning prop, yeah REALLY DUMB I KNOW! I caught the left wing but missed the right allowing the whole plane to pivot to the left around my left handhold. When it all came to a stop the prop was within 2" of my face and the left crook of my arm was completely sliced open. My wife was screaming in a panic, blood everywhere. We were the only ones at the field that day. I looked at my inner elbow and moved my fingers to see if they still worked. They did but I could also see the muscles moving back and forth as my arm moved With my wife screaming bloody murder I calmly wrapped my arm in a nice dirty field rag, put my plane and tx. on the ground so nobody would see it from the road and come steal it and asked my wife to settle down and drive me to the ER. I'm not sure how many stitches total because they had to do them in layers working towards the surface but it was quite a few.

The good news was that it wasn't my face and also that I was running a wood prop rather than my stiletto shaped APC 18" X 8".

The bad news was that they sent me home with a prescription for a relatively powerful pain med which eventual ended with me fighting a 20 year addiction to opioids. This was back in 1990 and nobody was worried about that then. I've never smoked, rarely have a beer heck I don't even drink coffee but those pain pills sucked me right in. Fortunately I've been clean for quite a while now, but man was it tough quitting that crap! Live and learn eh?

Last edited by nadt770; Apr 18, 2020 at 09:39 AM.
Apr 17, 2020, 02:45 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar

You want people to admit to embarrassment and stupidity ? Ok.

Mine, and even on video.

Sunderland July23.wmv (1 min 10 sec)

Apr 17, 2020, 03:13 PM
I'd rather be Flying
davecee's Avatar
I've had plenty of Whoops moments in about 40 yyears of RC. I'll tell you about my favorite one. It has a happy ending
I'm at the field, my daughter, perhaps 6 or so, is with me.
I'm flying a two channel R/E, no throttle, Airtronics ST (36" WS, balsa, film covered airplane, good amount of dihedral)with a Cox medallion .049 engine with a 2 ounce tank, probably close to 10 minutes run time.
I hand launched it and the motor died. My daughter ran out to the plane and brought it back to me. I restarted the engine and launched again. It dipped a bit and then began a shallow, pretty climb out. Made a control input and got no result, started stirring the sticks and still no response, I looked down at my transmitter and it's on. The plane meanwhile is still climbing in a very wide circle. I asked my daughter, "Did you turn off the switch on the plane"? "Yes I did", she responded, "just like you taught me to do". Of course there was nothing to say so we just kept watching the plane ever climbing in those big circles, but moving downd wind with each one. Eventually it flew out of sight due to height and distance. Best free flight I ever had. No name or AMA number on the plane, no sense even looking for it. It was gone forever. Or was it?
About a year later someone at the club meeting mentions that he knows someone who knows someone who found a model airlane on his farm. I followed the trail and found the fellow. He had found it shortly after I lost it and placed it in a closet and pretty much forgot about it. I was able to retreive it. It had suffered no damage. I cycled the NiCd pack a couple of times cleaned and lubed the motor and it flew for at least a couple of years.
Last edited by davecee; Apr 17, 2020 at 05:00 PM.
Apr 17, 2020, 04:58 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar

I wouldn't call it the worst necessarily, but.............

Apr 17, 2020, 05:42 PM
Registered User
atreis's Avatar
Some years ago when I'd only been flying for a year or so, kneeling down in front of a prop plane after putting the battery in, thinking, "This is one of those planes where in order to arm the ESC, I have to throttle all the way up and then back down again." ..... Fortunately I was wearing blue jeans. The jeans got a nice hole cut in them, and my leg got cut too, but I think it would have been a lot worse if not for the jeans. That was a learning moment.

Or another time. Thinking to myself, "Wow! My plane is already behind the top of that tree!" I then spent the next week waiting for the plane to get blown out of the tree.
Latest blog entry: TopFlite DC3
Apr 17, 2020, 06:14 PM
Blew out my flip flop
David Hogue's Avatar
One v-tail sheared off a Filip 400 in a vertical dive prob doing 100 or so, hit asphalt runway. The 5mm shaft inside that gearbox is only an inch long if that, and it is bent. That takes some serious force!!

Basicly nothing left of this one, I don't even think I used the servos again.

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