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WIld things you have done and flew to tell about

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Old 11-14-2013, 04:53 PM
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Jim Branaum
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Default WIld things you have done and flew to tell about

Sensi's thread about builders brought back memories of all the wild stuff I have built and flown, some were fun and some were pig dogs. However, it is nice to share the laughs and this is the place to do it.

I will start with a couple of shorts - 1 was a build and the other was just plain unexpected.

Many years ago someone gave me some type of a .40 sized Lanier trainer. It had a wing and a composite fuselage. It was way way too tail heavy and I gave up trying to get enough lead to balance it and took extreme action. I got 2 maple sticks and epoxied them under the motor mount. Then I installed everything in the airplane BUT the engine. Then I put the engine on the maple rails and slid it forward until the plane was balanced. I drilled and mounted the engine right there. Since it was around 4 inches in front of the airplane, I put a 2 oz header tank on the rails behind the engine. It flew great! Well right up until the midair.


I built a Midwest Super Stinker and modified it so that I could do any and all maneuvers at full throttle and not worry about the flutter warned about on almost every page of the instructions. It flew well until the day I found a hole at high speed, but that is another story. The trick was/is to solidify ALL of the control horn mounts and brace the elevators and rudder with hardwood across at an angle from the control horn.

So one day I was at the flying field and took off. I was doing stuff and decided to try a Immelmann slightly different. I rolled inverted and pushed hard. There are folks who swear that if they had not seen it with their very own eyes, they would not have believed what happened next. About the time the plane came to the top, the upper wing departed the aircraft taking the struts with it. I nailed the throttle and buried the nose to try and keep enough control to maybe salvage something. Then it was time to pull out and it became the fastest landing I ever did until I started practicing full throttle touch and goes.


What sort of wild things have you done and flown to tell about?
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:52 AM
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One time I was at a club airfield flying an Aero Star, I was just learning to fly. We had about 8 club members there. My Aero star was not that high into the air when my pants fell down around my ankles. I was wearing some long boxers, so it was either save my plane or save my pride, I saved the plane. The guys ribbed me about it for a little while, but all that was there was guys so no big deal.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:22 PM
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two incidents off the top of my head... (oldbassard, your story reminded me of the forst (Edit.. FIRST) one )
once when I was only maybe 12 or so, flying an old Das Ugly Stick (Phil Kraft's plans) I had a hornet fly up my pants leg and sting my on the very top of my right leg....
wincing with tears running down my face I managed to land it in the grass to the side of the runway at nearly half throttle.
(walked around for a week looking like I had three buttocks)...

and once many years later I was flying a Goldberg Sukhoi with a YS 120AC, midway through a low altitude four point roll I heard a WHAM! and watched the entire right hand Aileron depart taking three inches of the wing's trailing edge along for the ride...
I managed to roll back to level flight (stripping the OTHER aileron servo in the process) but got it back on the runway with rudder and elevator...
My Brother Mike (who was known as 'MinnFlyer' here at RCU) GOT IT ON TAPE... we sent a copy to Goldberg..... they sent me a replacement wing kit, no charge.

and yes, I still own and still fly that Sukhoi.... re-built the original wing and still have the replacement wing

(I KNOW Mikey's Widow still has that tape... I should have a copy soon!)

Last edited by AMA 74894; 11-15-2013 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:46 PM
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My third plane was a Decathlon. It didn't fly the way I was expecting it to and I got frustrated. I put the plane in a big, hard Immelmann turn and it stalled into a death spiral, slamming into the corn with a mighty loud thud. There was a big 'OOOH!" and it got very quiet for a minute, and a team of guys proceeded into the corn to help me find it. It was not too far out and many of us saw it go down. We figured it would be an easy find.

We walked and/or waded waste deep in the flooded corn field for maybe 5 hours or something, ending when the sun started to go down. Sawgrass, huge ponds of flooded water, bugs, weeds, corn, it sucked. We didn't find it, so I stormed off complaining about the hobby and managed to get my truck stuck in the mud (karma), needing a tow from a fellow club member. I was really going to give up (and was pretty embarrassed).

I return the next day for one last shot and looked for the plane for another few hours. With no avail, I finally decide it's gone and head back. As I'm about to climb out of the corn back to the edge of the strip, I stumble upon the plane sitting in the corn about 50 feet from the strip. The plane was right-side up on it's gear, wings still on and intact, the frame and motor box looked untouched and in good shape, and it was clean. The only damage was a bent wing strut and a tiny tear in the covering under the wing. I think the aero god had a ton of compassion for me, cleaned it and repaired it overnight, and left it for me to find.

I took the plane home, finished the cleaning and repairs, flew it the next day and sold it. The last I saw it, it still looked great. The whole experience gave me a deep respect for club members and scale aerobats.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:31 AM
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About 10 years ago I designed and built an OS46FX powered Canard pusher plane, made from Coroplast, with an aluminum fuselage. The plane had 2 large vertical stabilizers, one on each main wing wingtip, with each having a rudder. After initial test and modifications, my friend liked it so much that I helped him build a copy. For many years we would fly in formation at our field, when things were quite. One day we had a mid-air crash. One of my vertical stabilizers was knocked off the plane. My plane went WILD. It took off to the left, flying far off the field. I tried to gain control, but every time I neutralized the controls the plane went WILD. I decided I had lost it and considered sending it into the ground. Then I gaind some control and started to turn it back to the field. I could not neutralize the controls. I held what I had and somehow landed the plane just off the field. The wildest ride ever. My friend had little damaged and made a normal landing.

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Old 11-16-2013, 12:55 PM
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My son and I were flying H9 Ugly Stick (big one) with a Saito 180 up front. After flying it a while I turned it over to my son (then about 20 years old) and he flew it for 3-4 minutes when he said, "Hey Dad, watch this" and just that moment the engine broke free from the airplane, taking the motor mount (but not the whole firewall) and kept running for 1-2 seconds. I watched where that expensive engine was going, he flew the plane - VERY tail heavy at this time - and the plane kept flying level, but decending. He made two turns and landed it softly on the runway! I found the engine and the motor mount was still attached to a square section of the firewall! No damage to the plane other than a repaired firewall.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:29 AM
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Back in the early eighties I lived down south in Meridian, MS.........we were out flying at an old airport - pretty much like usual......there were covered hangers where we got out of the sun with a large patch of grass before the paved (full scale) runway was reached. We normally stood right at the edge of the paved runway, just in the grass to fly. Remember we're in the deep south.....I don't know what I was flying but I'm sure that I didn't want to crash it........oh.....OUCH ! what the heck just bit me?.......hey now my ankle is itching like something is crawling up my pants leg.......oh crap, now my leg feels like its on fire!
I looked down and realized I was standing on an ant hill - FIRE ANTS. I couldn't land fast enough......shut the engine down, tossed the radio on the ground and pulled off my pants and started swatting!

I didn't care about or even think of vanity, I just wanted the biting to STOP! You know it doesn't take but a bite or two from a fire ant to know you've been bitten.

Needless to say, I paid a lot more attention to where I stood to fly - every time out!
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:22 AM
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Back in the very early 80's all I flew were q500 airplanes. Remember back there there were not even dual rates so the airplanes had to be set up to be manageable at full tilt. Problem with that is that at landing speeds they were really slow reacting. Well as luck would have it, during a landing ( dead stick of course ) I got a little slow and the airplane started to drift towards me and I didn't have enough aileron to correct it away. No problem, I'll just step out of the way. Just then I heard a voice directly behind me. It was one of the other guys wife having a conversation about lap counting. If I moved the airplane would have hit her. As the airplane got close, I flared hard and reached up with my left hand and grabbed it by the muffler.
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