Misty, An Inverted Heli and Two Crashes

It’s the last day of November and it’s been quite an eventful morning’s flying. First there was the helicopter guy doing some inverted circuits:

A helicopter, the wrong way up

A helicopter, the wrong way up

The forecast for early morning mist and no wind duly materialised, giving a spooky feel to the conditions with shafts of sunlight trying to penetrate mist that was drifting slowly across the sky. You could hear full size aircraft overhead, but not see them, while visibility was good enough to fly models as long as you kept near the ground and didn’t go too far away. Once the Sun finally did break through, it was actually a very bright, calm day.

Very spooky conditions

Very spooky conditions

A 360 degree view

A 360 degree view

As for the flying, after an initial flight with the RS352 in the mist, the heli guy had packed up and left me on my own, but soon after that two other people turned up. The mist was mostly lifting by then and I ended up flying a HobbyZone Super Cub. This was on 27MHz, but, after a perfect launch, things started to go wrong and I found I couldn’t turn left. It seemed that the motor glitched just before I lost control, but that might not be significant. It ended up drifting across towards some trees, but whatever I tried to do, I couldn’t point the aircraft back towards myself. I managed to place it in the gap between the two trees, but even turning right, with no left I couldn’t stop the turn. Now it was close to the ground I cut the only partially working throttle and let it come in for a landing about 200 feet away on the other side of the stream, so judging whether it was level and how high it was above the ground was difficult, so the landing was a bit of a bounce and spin around. It didn’t appear to do any damage, though, but on further inspection the rudder was no longer working correctly. Holding full right rudder, it would occasionally kick to the left (with full right still held) and not centre properly. Then left would refuse to work, so it was more than a double centre point or sticking push rod. The receiver was a one piece unit, built into the fuselage, but the problems seemed to be caused when you pushed it or poked it, leading us to conclude that the receiver was faulty.

After that, I had three more flights with my RS352, before somebody else turned up with a Cessna and a SuperCub. I helped him with the range test of the SuperCub as he had been having problems with it. Thinking of my own range tests with the Futaba FAAST system, it looks like the Spectrum radio he was using didn’t have as much range as my one. We couldn’t actually get far enough away with my radio for it to stop, while the Spectrum didn’t quite get as far as the road.

Then somebody else arrived with a helicopter and a quadcopter. When he was flying the quad he almost took out me and my aircraft in the pits. Flying much too close to us and himself, he flew out about 20 metres, then back to his starting point, but made the classic mistake of building up too much forward speed. As he tried to stop, the aircraft has to change direction abruptly in order to brake, but ends up flying through its own prop wash and overshooting the stop point badly. It’s the classic problem with a quad of going to fast and under estimating the space needed to stop. I could see this coming from a long way off and was ready to either run or hit the deck, but the pilot managed to go up and back using power and more tilt angle, so he missed me and all the aircraft in the pits.

The second crash involved the Multiplex Fun Cub when it clipped the top of a tree. I thought it was going to get stuck in the top, but a sudden kick of power and it went right through, unfortunately getting shredded by the branches of the tree on the way. When we got to the wreckage, all the gear was intact, so at least the owner could fit it to a new airframe as the old fuselage had got cut into three pieces. It was a real shame that the Fun Cub ended like that, still, he had a good flight with his Solius just before that. And just to finish up, the Super Cub was flying around happily as I left, so that was a success.

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