Tree story - straight down with a twist
In a message dated 1/29/08 8:43:41 PM Pacific Standard Time,
Why has every tree strike I've had end up with my prized glider coming
stalling straight down on a wing tip. Go figure.
Maybe 10 years ago, while flying an SC2 contest at El Dorado park in Long
Beach, a large (maybe 120 ft) Eucalyptus tree grabbed my Mako as it passed by
on the way home. The tree was located on the edge of an abandoned Navy
housing area, but was accessible through a nearby parking lot. As I remember
Arthur, Bren Lugo and I, armed with a sling shot, golf ball and some line (donated
by someone whose name I cannot remember), made our way to the base of the
tree. The model was at least 90 feet in the tree, but was clearly visible. We
each made numerous attempts with the slingshot to place the golf ball
(pulling the line) over the model. All to no avail. The model was too high to
reach. We abandoned the effort.
The next day I revisited the site and saw that the model had "stepped"
down the tree by about 20 or so feet over night. I carefully laid out the
line to provide as little drag as possible, pulled the slingshot waaay back and
launched a perfect strike. The ball, pulling the line, settled over the wing
root next to the fuse. A gentle tug released the model from the tree and it
started a vertical descent.
My first thought was to step into its path and catch it. My second
thought was to step out of the way to avoid being injured. The model descended
rapidly accelerating as it traveled. Of course the battery was dead so I had
no control. At about 20 feet it pulled out of the dive, flew down the
abandoned street, over the first house on the right, made a left turn and was
headed directly back to me. I was mesmerized by the scene and could not move.
The model settled to the ground in the cul de sac and slid to the curb by my
A great end to a bad beginning, but who would believe the story? You?
The model flew again the next day.
San Diego, CA
**************Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape.
Re: Tree story - straight down with a twist
Hummm reminds me of another Eastern Soaring League event I was attending
in Maynard, Mass at the CRRC site, I'm guessing back in the late 90's...
Had my new Inventec Pelican (thank you Mike P.). I was having a great
day weekend.... I love that plane... I was very comfortable with it...
well, day 2 of the event. Conditions were not all that great.. the wind
had picked up.. some guys were getting times but most were not.
It is the second to last round.. I get a suburb launch... I head upwind
towards a tree line... 80'-90' Blue Spruce trees I'm guessing.. I catch
a thermal... Thinking to myself.. I nail this one I'm bringing home wood
On the far side of the thermal headed back into the wind the Pelican
pitches over and starts a very rapid decent at about a 45 degree
angle... I wasn't sure what was going on other than the fact that I had
no elevator. Well in short order the Pelican plunges through the Spruce
trees.... making that sicking "crunch" sound as the plane penetrates the
Well off I went... out to find the plane... I searched and searched...
I kept coming back with parts from other guys planes but no Pelican.
Turned out I was on the wrong side of the tree line. I went to the
other side of the tree line and spotted the Pelican right away.... It
was hanging by it's tail, no wings! I had sheered them off when the
plane went through the tree and came to rest out on the outer branches
of the tree.
I climbed the tree, which was quite easy to do... I managed to get the
plane down... after about 2 hrs of searching and retrieving.
Meanwhile back at the contest... I had missed the last round of the
event and the handing out of the "wood"... to which I got 3rd place...
and I was 60' up in a spruce tree and missed everything going on.
Well a new set of wings and the Pelican flew later that year.
Ah... the stories... Isn't this hobby great?
Kurt W. Zimmerman
www.RegionalHelpWanted.com,Inc. - Long Name. Amazing Results!
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Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
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