Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blood on the Ice

Three aircraft plus batteries & hand warmers in the cooler
 Today my venerable Parkzone P-51 and the not-so venerable Balsa Babyshark met their doom. After a long hiatus from flying, I brought my two high performance aircraft (big mistake) and my Super Cub down to the ice for some flying before the weather front moved in. The Cub flights were uneventful- like normal.

I thought, hey, no problem with the cub, so let's break out the P-51. After launching and running some laps around the ice, I decided to try some basic acrobatics.  I may have misjudged minimum altitude for pulling out after a dive, or if the elevator failed, the world will never know. In either case the P-51 impacted the ice hard enough to completely shatter the heavy duty spinner and the front nose of the airplane. It was a very impressive crunch, loudest I've heard yet from an RC plane hitting the ground. (John, this is a challenge!)

Battery, ESC. You can see the rest of the plane in the background

All the parts re-united (that I could find, anyway)

It was a sad end to the airplane that I've probably had the longest and put the most amount of batteries through. Even when it was well used and held together by plywood patches and Gorilla Glue it still tracked straight as an arrow. One thing I've never seen before is that it hit hard enough to blast both aileron linkages right off the servos and ailerons- even though the plane hit the ice spinner first.

Links as found on the ice

The home-made motor mount for the Turnigy 35-36 1400kV was solid as a rock, though. No damage what-so-ever, even though the prop shaft had broken clean off the end of the motor.

Now, on to the Balsa Baby Shark....

This was my third flight attempt for the Baby Shark. Both original tries had ended with a nose into the dirt at high speed. I figured that after grenading the P-51, I'd have better luck with an even harder airplane to fly. First try I revved it up, and gave it a hard toss. I over corrected several times when it tried to roll, then managed to bring it in for a quick belly landing. After checking the prop for damage, I brought it to full throttle and tried it again- throwing it hard and straight towards the horizon.

To by surprise I was able to gain some altitude and start flying a very shaky pattern. I was still having trouble giving it much too much aileron input. If I had manged to land it I would have dialed in a bunch of expo. As it was, I climbed to 100' or so altitude, and pulled back the throttle to 30% or so and started to try and trim it out. That was a mistake. The Babyshark is a heavy brick with tiny wings- not so good at slow flight. It promptly stalled, hard, and spiraled straight down into the ice. Crack. Number two for the day. Time to pack it up for the day.

I haven't decided whether or not to fix the Babyshark again. It is certainly doable- the wings and tail are not damaged at all. The motor also still turns. With some care I could re-create the broken balsa. And, it's just too pretty to throw away.

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