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Sep 30, 2008, 12:03 PM
jbourke's Avatar
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Video: Safe landing after wing falls off

On Saturday we had a Chili Feed and Fun Fly at the local club. I showed up and was hoping to fly my 1/3rd scale Cap 580 model. Unfortunately, I had a problem during the flight and was forced to abort after only a few moments in the air.

A friend, Keith Ellis, felt a little bad for my situation and offered to let me fly his Yak-54. That seemed fitting, since I fly Russian Thunder, so I jumped at the chance.

I've flown Keith's model previously and it is a nice flying airplane. He broke the wing somehow and recently fixed it. We went over the repair and everything seemed solid. Unfortunately, it didn't hold together as well as we had hoped.

I started out flying in a careful way but as the flight went on I became more comfortable with the airplane. I started doing knife edge passes and spins. I did a few tumbles. Everything felt good so I did a knife edge spin. I made some high speed circuits across the field. The plane was really grooving and I was enjoying myself.

But then I did a snap roll at full throttle at mid-field and the left wing abruptly departed the aircraft. There was no warning, and I don't remember hearing anything. It just came off and started fluttering down.

The aircraft bobbled a bit as I held in what seemed like the proper correction. After a few seconds I found the new centering position needed to keep the plane trimmed in stable knife edge flight. I coaxed it around the field, lined it up, and prepared to ditch it on its side off the runway, but instinct took over, I guess, and I put it on the runway right side up instead.

I think this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I've practiced the scenario on the RealFlight simulator many times, and I credit that experience with my ability to bring it in wheels down. I never thought I'd get a shot to do this in real life. Secretly, I've always hoped for it.

After the event we all sat and talked about it for quite awhile. We all agreed that it was pretty cool. Luckily, one of the club members, Mark Wilson, had a video camera running. Eric Olsen was there to take pictures.


Jim Bourke One Wing Landing (1 min 38 sec)
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Sep 30, 2008, 01:03 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
Kewl. I find that if you practice things enough on the sim, it's almost anti-climatic when you try them in real life. I haven't practiced much knife edge flying, however.

Last edited by Trisquire; Oct 01, 2008 at 09:59 AM.
Sep 30, 2008, 02:37 PM
Build, fly, learn!
Hats off to you for keeping calm and managing to fly the model with one half wing down to a perfect landing!
Sep 30, 2008, 07:21 PM
Closed Account
Horay for Jim
Sep 30, 2008, 07:24 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Too cool Jim - you are in a small club there.....
Sep 30, 2008, 07:34 PM
Crikey never leave beer behind
steve wenban's Avatar
That will buff out nice landing Jim , no load spearders in that wing ? no wonder it parted company.
Sep 30, 2008, 08:47 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar
Freakin cool Jim! It looks like there's not enough wing tube length there .
Sep 30, 2008, 08:50 PM
MattZC's Avatar
Yeah Jim!!!!!! Awesome flying!!!!
Sep 30, 2008, 09:23 PM
What the Pfotenhauer?
B Rocka's Avatar
Dude! That was great Jim!
Sep 30, 2008, 11:29 PM
Epic Huckin'
paintball_kidz's Avatar
i always thought you were and old man with a long beard and hair, guess i was wrong.
Oct 01, 2008, 12:41 AM
Registered User
Habanero's Avatar
Look he chipped the prop.


Oct 01, 2008, 05:11 AM
Tearing the Skies a new one...
Sensiblenick's Avatar
Hahahaha sweeet.
Oct 01, 2008, 07:02 AM
3DHS Junkie
800mZero's Avatar
well done Jim, well done! You are truly becoming a yak master!
Oct 01, 2008, 08:10 AM
Suspended Account
very cool very cool
Oct 01, 2008, 09:26 AM
Closed Account
Apparently styroafoam has no structural strength on it's own......who knew ?.

Congratulations on your self-congratulatory thread.....I liked the arms raised in the air after the landing, it reminded me of Nixon, only without the "V" for victory.

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