So-long T-Hawk....(for now)
Well it was a nice day, charged up two packs and headed out to my pasture. There was a nice wind so I figured I'd get up high, real high and play around. I was around 600 ft up when I figured I'd do some loops. I started to do my loop and then it started to fall. I knew I was still in range so that wasn't the issue. As the plane fell some I noticed that the wing had folded. The wind helped carry my plane to the top of a 75 foot Pine tree in a neighbors yard. Now I have to figure out how to knock it down and get permission from the neighbor. The bad thing is that I THOUGHT the wing was still rather sturdy. I guess I'll have to use carbon rods if I ever get that plane back.
I believe the folded wing thing that people see (I've been at a field when it happened to someone with an ABC, but I didn't see it) is because of gusts of wind when they attempt a manuver. The added stress on the wing is too much. I've never had this happen to my ABC or any of my planes so I don't have first hand experience (Knock on wood) but that would be my guess.
I've been getting really comfortable with my thawk now, and i do a lot of loops, hammer heads turns, and snap rolls. Usually in a wind to get more speed.
Anyway i've only had my hawk out maybe 6 or 7 times, and I can see a crease developing in the wing right at the end of the brace that comes on the wing, and another smaller crease about 4 inches farther out. So I think mine is probably grounded too until I get that wing supported.
Hope your's is still fixable and your neighbour is good about helping you get it down!
Still no T-Hawk. I used some duct tape and two 30 foot lenghts of PVC only to come 10 feet away from my plane. Let me say that trying to hoist up 60 feet of 1 and a quarter inch PVC isn't easy. After that I tried trowing various objects but there's just enough branches to get in the way. So it looks like I'll be waiting until Huricane season to get my plane down now. The real tragedy is that I have a good battery in there that I was planning on using for the Stryker I'm going to buy. Guess I'll be back on FMS for a while.
Maybe a helpful idea here:
Getting Planes out of Trees
I don't know if trees and planes are attracted to each other like magnets, but
somehow we seem to be pulling someone out of a tree every few weeks.
Fortunately it is not me these days, though I am sure I will find one again.
I can see them reaching for the plane as I fly by. The guys tell me it is the
wind, but I think they are calling my plane.
So, how do you get your plane out of a tree? Here are some methods I use, or
have seen used. Some are simple and cheap. Some are complex and some are
expensive. You have to decide which to use and when.
In my book, chain saws, axes and things that will kill the tree are not an
option. Call me a tree hugger, but I just can't see cutting down a tree to
get a plane. There is usually a better option.
I am going to list the ones I know, roughly in effective range. I hope you
can provide some others, preferably before I need them.
8-12 Feet (2-4 meters) -
Good old hand reach combined with anything to stand on and maybe a local stick
or branch - Cost $0
10-30 Feet (3-10 meters) -
When I fly I bring a 6 foot extension pole for a paint roller that I purchased
in Home Depot for $14. It extends to 12 feet. I have seen 4, 8 and 10
footers that double as well. I also saw an 8 footer that almost triples to
about 22 feet. If you use some tape you can tape 2-3 of these together to
15-50 Feet (5-16 meters) - ( I have too much experience at this height)
I carry a spool of 130 pound test mason's line in my field box that has an 8
ounce rounded fishing weight attached to it. Costs about $5 total. With a
good throw I can usually get it up and over the branch holding the plane so I
can shake it free. Hitting the branch can take lots of throws and hitting the
plane is a real risk, but it is better than leaving it there. If your plane
is sitting on a very strong branch, use the lighter line to pull up a heavier
Monofiliment fishing line works very well too at it will slide down over the
branch more easily than the mason's line. I use 3-4 foot piece of rope with
weight on the end which I attach to the fishing line with a snap. The rope is
easier to grab to make the toss and it is easy to remove. Works very well.
Plumbing parts, big bolts, anything can be used to weight the rope so it will
go up to where the plane lies. 50 feet is about the max I have ever been able
to reach this way and it is hard to get the line up that high.
A spinning rod with a weight migh also work if you are talented with such
things, but 60 feet would be my guestimate on the limit on this.
Another way is to use aluminum downspouts, typically used for house gutter
system. Home Depot, Lowes and other home centers have them. They can be
taped together. Use something to bridge the joint to help keep them erect.
They are very light and fairly rigid. You can probably get up to 5 sections
reaching about 50 feet. Not sure if you can go much beyond that. Friends
have had good success with this.
30-100 feet (9-32 meters) -
A bow and arrow might work well at this height, but you'll have to develop
in order to get the needed accuracy. I estimate this at $50-$100 - One
problem is that you can get the arrow stuck on a different branch which only
compounds your problem. The line will have to be light, such as 5-10 lbs test
monofiliment fishing line, so use it to pull up
heavier line or so you can break it if the arrow gets stuck.
Other methods I have heard about but never used or witnessed.
Tree climber - Somehow every RC club has the phone number of a guy who climbs
trees for a fee.
Helo - I heard of one guy who used an electric helo to fly a line and weight
up and had some kind of release to drop it onto the branch. Sounds like a
good justification for a helo when I speak with my wife.
A really original idea
Control line kite - This one surprised me, but one of our members got his
plane stuck in the top of a high tree, over 100 feet up. He also flies the
large kites that look like arc shaped parachutes. He has two control lines on
the kite that let him direct it, dive it and move it around the sky. He used
it to attack the tree until the tree gave up the plane. I like the idea of
attacking the tree without actually hurting it!
A Wanger - A device specifically for getting planes out of trees
On the T-Hawk and Aerobird Xtreme, the folds happen at the end of the reinforcing rod.
Here is the method I developed for the Aerobird but it should work fine on the T-Hawk wing if it is developing a crease. Sooner or later that crease will fold.
FIXING WINGS AND TAILS
Repairing a CREASED wing with packing tape alone doesn't really work very
well. It works better on the tail because it encounters different forces, but
what I am about to explain works MUCH better on both the wing and tail and is
easy to do. It should also apply to the Xtreme, and all the Firebirds.
A creased taped wing might fly, but at the first real stress, its gonna fold
and you are going to crash. Tape alone has no body or stiffness of its own to
resist a fold since the wing's internal foam is compressed. Net Net, there is
nothing to resist the next fold. You need to stiffen and support the wing.
Here are things I have used for wings and the V tail with pretty good results.
Take a hobby knife or razor blade and open the vinyl covering at the crease or
Get the wing set in the proper position, even bend it slightly the other way
to open up the gap.
Fill the folded area with Elmer's white glue or titebond yellow glue. I have
not tried Gorilla Glue, but that might work well. The white and yellow glue
will seep into the foam and bond with it and stiffen it.
Let it partially dry, at least 90 minutes, then fill it again. The first coat
will soak in. The second coat will fill the gap. Let it dry
at least 24 hours, then check it. If it is fully dried, apply a little clear
packing tape to help it resist pulling open.
Another approach I used for large folds, especially center folds is to bond a
thin but somewhat stiff strip piece of wood, like 1/32 ply, to the top of the
wing. You can use some contact cement or double sided carpet tape works well.
Then take a piece about 1-2 inches wide inch wide and at least 2 inch to
either side of the crack should work well. It is stiff enough to resist the
next fold, but will still flex with the wing. Then cover it with clear
packing tape stretched so that it forms a smooth finish with no sharp edges so
the air can flow nicely over the wing. You might not notice it at all. If
the repair is well out toward the edge of the wing, you may need to do the
same on the other side just to keep it balanced.
I have never had one of these fold. The bird can handle the weight of a light
piece of plastic or wood.
If you want to get more aggressive, you can cut the covering on a new wing or
a damaged wing, remove or compress some foam and embed the plywood or a dowel
support piece into the wing and glue it into the foam with Elmer's white glue
or Titebond yellow glue. The wing does have to flex a bit. Then tape over
the top to cover it. I have not used this approach but I may try it if I
badly bend a wing.
While Epoxy is strong, it doesn't move with the foam the way Elmer's or
Titebond do so I have seen a tendency for epoxy to pull away from the foam
which weakens the area.
If you look at the Firebird XL wing, or the Aerobird Xtreme, they have a
support rod embedded into it when you buy it. Other similar planes, like the
T-hawk, have these supports in their wings when they are new. If you do this,
I suggest doing this so that is spans the body of the plane as many folds
happen where the rubber bands attach. Too often you make a hard off angle
landing on one side of the wing but see no damage to the wing. You think you
have a clean wing, but in fact the foam inside has been weakened. You fly and
the wing folds and you say "what happened?" What happened is 5 hard landings
ago you stressed this spot, compressed the foam enough to weaken it and boom
you have a fold.
Give it a try. The key message here is don't depend on tape to keep the
crease from folding again. Tape is good for closing up damage on the front or
rear edges of the wing and for reinforcement of a new wing by the prop area,
but it can't keep a creased wing from folding up again.
Damn T-Fly sorry to hear too bad you don't have my neighbor living next to you he is a pro at tree climbing and removal. Did you say 600 feet ? I don't even know if I could see mine that far away. You are pushing the t-hawk to the max to see how for it can go. I am still carefull and glad to just fly when I can. I am sick of the strong winds here I just want to get in some flying time so I feel more confident. It sucks taking up a new hobby and not being able to fly. If you had the winds we do your hawk would blow down on it's own.
thanks aeajr, i have actually been planning on going with your last method of embedding a rod in the underside of the wing. The plan is for a carbon fiber rod, just have to get ahold of one.
I've heard that a carbon fiber strip can work also but haven't heard from anybody who has actually tried it.
Hobie, I say 600ft by knowing how small my plane looks at the end of my pasture which is 550ft. Lets just say that the height I was, when overhead, the plane looked considerably smaller so it may have been a tad higher. I wanted to be SEVERAL mistakes high to go crazy but there is no recovery from a wing that folds the way mine did.
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