How Many Ways to Crash ? - RC Groups
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Dec 03, 2006, 09:59 AM

How Many Ways to Crash ?

Well, my Sr. Falcon will never fly again. So far I've lost a plane to reversed ailerons, forgetting to extend my antenna, and had one stolen out of my garage. This time it was the clevece coming off of the elevator control horn while in flight. The plane was fairly high up when I lost control and it pointed straight down, with me pulling back on the elevator control stick for all I was worth. Even the engine (OS 46 AX) is toast. The crank case is broken, the head is cracked, etc.
I'm really disgusted with myself. There are so many things I'm doing right, including proper inputs to the transmitter to fly, but there's always something that goes wrong. I've really been trying to check everything before each flight, and so far I've only made each major mistake once, but I'm afraid that there are still many more mistakes that I haven't experienced.
The more experienced flyers at the field have looked my planes over and helped trim them, so this wasn't some glaring error or they would have spoted it, right ?
Since my flying skills are OK, and since my wife hasn't raised heck about the amount I've spent on planes yet, I'll continue with the sport, but boy, does it get discouraging!
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Dec 03, 2006, 11:00 AM
Registered User
Just make it a habit to check everything before you fly. When i get out to the field i imediatly check all clevisis and all screws. I then make sure that everything moves freely and and the engine runs well. I check that all controls move the right direction, do it again while taxing, and one last time before take off. Always, always, always, extend your antena. Also, do arange check.

Another thing to always remember is in the event that something goes wrong and you have no control of a serface and you know your are going to crash, always kill the engine. A head on crash is bad enough, a power on crash is much worse to both the airframe and the engine.
Dec 03, 2006, 11:05 AM
God is good
Viper Pilot's Avatar
The problem with the antenna down is common. Most instructor tell you to collapse the antenna while on a buddy box, and this results in a habit-forming problem that results in a crash. My first flight after solo included a down antenna after lift-off. I didn't even realize it until the plane was about 200 yds away. I was lucky. The plane remained under control long enough for me to extend the antenna.

I think all instructors should get the student into the habit right from the beginning. An extended antenna on a tx attached to a buddy cord does no harm, and establishes a habit for the student.
Dec 03, 2006, 12:44 PM
Quick! Pull my finger!
alan_scott's Avatar
Originally Posted by SKromfols
and so far I've only made each major mistake once,
Think positive, your already ahead of me.

While flying yesterday, I snagged the rudder of my pylon racer on a pile of snow. That's the second time I've done it, the first time was about 15 years ago.

Lesson not learned the first time? Snow is deceptive.
Dec 03, 2006, 05:28 PM
Registered User
The more experienced flyers at the field have looked my planes over and helped trim them, so this wasn't some glaring error or they would have spoted it, right ?
Sometimes, experience comes at the cost of complacency, we all make mistakes and miss things, however experienced. I have done all your goofs and more, including launching a slope soarer and forgetting to plug the wing servos into the RX when I bolted the wing down and once, knocking a tailplane off a lightweight floater as I flung it with gusto off a slope.

However, clevises are one of those things which need a close eye. Its always as well to secure them in some way. I use a short length of heat shrink tubing, simple really, once the clevis is adjusted to where it needs to be (so tx trims are neutral), slip it over the clevis and shrink it down with a heat gun. That ensures it won't come off even if the pin "pops" out of the locating hole.


Dec 03, 2006, 06:41 PM
Registered User
Really sorry to hear about this latest episode. It must be discouraging. I am interested in learning more about the clevis that came undone so I can re-check mine! Was it metal or nylon? Did it have a retaining ring?

Dec 03, 2006, 06:44 PM
Registered User
Heatshrink tubing sounds like a really good idea, Matt. I use rings of fuel tubing but your idea would make it much more secure as it couldn't get slid off.

Dec 04, 2006, 08:45 AM
Lindsay, I was using a metal clevice and did not have a retaining ring on it. Funny, I thought that I had used retaining rings on all of my clevices, but there wasn't one on the elevator. I remember that Tuesday we had to adjust the elevator because the plane kept wanting to climb at half throttle, and maybe when we made the adjustment we failed to slip the ring back on it.
I know that others have also made these mistakes, but I've made too many in too short a time. All I can do now is be more careful. I now always range check and check the direction of my control surfaces before flying, and I tied a narrow ribbon of monokote to my antenna, which allows me to see wind direction for take off and landing, but also helps me remember to extend it before flying. Now I'll add a quick look at the snap links, clevices, etc., before flying and maybe, just maybe I'll be able to fly without putting the darn thing back in kit form.
Thanks to everyone for letting me vent my frustrations.
Dec 04, 2006, 05:21 PM
Registered User
The beauty of this forum is that we can "vent our frustrations" without fear of ridicule. It is really good that we can do this as we feel the support of others and we also provide lessons for the complacent! I am making modeling mistakes at the moment which is annoying. I tried to bend an aileron rod this morning and the damn thing broke off where the threaded section started. Obviously it had hardened with the threading process. So now I have to re-order an aileron set as well as take off the ailerons themselves and cut away wood to get the old broken rod out! Not to mention re-cutting hinge slots which is difficult in hard wood edges. Suppose it keeps me out of mischief

Dec 05, 2006, 04:25 AM
piston broke...
Paul Tye's Avatar
I think for a lot of us, me especially, these mistakes have to be made; all part of the steep learning curve.
I was always told do a control surface check before takeoff, and did to begin with but got a little complacent and just checked to make sure everything was moving. Fine,, if nothing had changed but I'd had to reverse my ailerons to fly the 109, then went back to flying the trainer... Taxxied out, lined up, power up, takeoff! Starts to veer to the left so I give right aileron, goes left, a brief moment of confucion then it dawns on me whats happened. By this time it was too late and ended up with a snapped fuselage!

always,always check direction now!
Dec 05, 2006, 09:55 AM


Lindsay, I can certainly relate to your situation. One of the more difficult parts of building for me is bending control rods. I either get the bends wrong where they exit the plane, or if I get that just right I get the bend wrong where they go through the servo wheel or arm. I'm sure there must be some rules of thumb or tricks that I just don't know about for doing that. As for breaking, I actually had the nose wheel landing gear strut break on me when I was trying to adjust it after one of my bumpy landings. Oh well, all part of the learning curve. I'm sorry that you now have to wait until you get a new wire. I've started picking up about 3 of everything I purchase or order and I'm starting to build up a spare parts stock. The hearest RC store is an hours drive from here, so it was getting expensive to go there every time I needed anything.

Paul, I did the same thing as you. Reversed servos on a new wing. I didn't realize what was happening until in the air, and then it was too late. The center of the fuse exploded upon crashing but I was able to repair it and it looked pretty good. That was the plane that crashed and died this time. I've also forgotten to plug in my ailerons, but realized the problem and managed to get the plane back with the rudder. Hopefully we'll all learn from our mistakes and progress to journeymen fliers eventually.

Dec 05, 2006, 06:07 PM
Registered User
Hi, Stan. Yes, it is problematic not having 'spares' just waiting to be used. My instructor gave me some ply and covering 'scraps' and they have been very useful. It is a good idea to order some extras for common items. I get my stuff from an Internet shop. They are very good as orders received before 3pm they try to get to you the next day. But ordering only one cheap thing (like replacement aileron rods!) gets expensive because of freight.

I must admit I was surprised how well the rods/bends went for my first trainer. It's not easy anticipating the bend distortion that you get but you usually can get some adjustment in the clevis at the other end. But I am hesitating committing to bending/fitting the rods on my start40! Bit of a coward, eh?

Just got a call from my instructor - at long last I get another fly! Wish me and my plane luck! I think I will get a first landing in today if the wind is not too bad.

Dec 05, 2006, 08:56 PM

Good Luck

I do wish you good luck with your flying. Hopefully if you get to land it will be smooth. Actually any landing that doesn't break anything I consider a success. Today I flew my back up (because I "killed" my Sr. Falcon) and it was interesting. I took off at full throttle, as I've been instructed to do, and when the plane got up about 10 ft it pointed straight up!! Not just a high rate of climb, I mean straight up. I had enough sense to cut the throttle and by the time I had it level one of the more experienced pilots was standing next to me asking if I wanted some help. He trimmed it out and added expo to the elevator and ailerons and it started flying much better. Hopefully I can keep it flying until I finish building my Falcon 56, which should be about a week or 10 days.
Just as an aside, remember that when you get off the buddy box you're going to have to work your way through things that your instructor makes easy now. Don't get discouraged. If your club is anything like mine everyone is there to support you, so remember that even if you make a mistake, it won't be an original mistake, it's one that most of the experienced flyers has also made, at least once.
Dec 06, 2006, 05:04 AM
Registered User
Well, I didn't get to land today because there was a crosswind. Boy, a cross wind loads you up with extra problems! Just trying to fly along the runway needed a bit of constant left rudder to cancel the weather-cocking effect and right aileron to keep the wings level. Must say I wasn't too flash at it but I got a little bit better after 4 runs!

Pre-flight checks showed up a rudder that didn't want to go one way although it was OK the other. Closer inspection revealed some light rust on the rudder rod and it was tight in the tubing. There is salt in the air at our field and this rod didn't get oil from the engine like the elev rod which was OK. We got some oil onto it at both ends and gradually it freed up. Good lesson - keep those rods oiled.

How on earth did your backup plane get into a vertical climb? Can't have been easy!! Getting a bit sweaty about the prospect of losing my Instructor Linus blanket! He is doing such an excellent job of keeping my plane intact. Mmmmm.

Dec 06, 2006, 10:01 AM
Lindsay, my back up is a Goldberg Eagle 2 with an OS .46 AX, which makes it way overpowered. I was taught that for take off you apply full power as soon as you have the plane taxing straight. My instructor was of the opinion that you want height as soon as you can get it, which is how he taught me. As the plane left the runway under full power with some up elevator it pointed straight up, and what I didn't realize is that it would stay in that attitude until I used the elevator to change the attitude. Sooooo much to learn about this very simple sport!!

I understand your concern about losing your security blanket. When I started our appointed trainer had a medical problem so one of the other experienced flyers offered to fill in. All at once there were 2 of us new flyers looking for help, so he was stuck with 2 fledglings and no chance to fly his own planes. My personality is to charge forward full speed, while the other trainee (a very good friend of mine) is more structured and very precise. So my goal was to get off the buddy box as soon as possible, both because that is my nature, but also to free up the fill in instructor. I've been flying on my own now for over two months (and had 3 major crashes), while the other trainee is still on the buddy box, and still flying a plane that has had no crashes. He's not able to come out as often as I have, which contributes to his still being on the buddy box, but as I said, he's also very precise and structured, and probably learning to do things the right way.

Your personality has a lot to do with how soon you feel you're ready to fly on your own. There's a lot of fear in cutting that cord, but also a lot of exhileration in being able to do things on your own. One of the newer flyers at your field made the comment that the most thrilling time he's had so far is the first time he was able to take off and land on his own, and I think that is a very true statement. After that, everything is just practice, practice, practice.

Best of luck in your progress.

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