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Bad day at the field today.

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Old 01-18-2014, 02:34 PM
  #1
KaP2011
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Default Bad day at the field today.

Today was one of those days we all experience sooner or later if we fly long enough. A destroyed airplane, not because of pilot error but because of manufacturer defect.

I spent the last week assembling a Great Planes Matt Chapman Eagle 580 53". Today I took it to the field for it's maiden flight, nice day for flying, beautiful blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Cranked the engine, got it tuned. Took off, gained about 150', about half throttle, started to get it trimmed. All of a sudden it started to roll, first one way, then the other. It was all over the place. I managed to get it closer to me and all of a sudden it went into a death roll, straight to the ground. It looked as if one of the ailerons had pulled out at the hinge line.

Post crash inspection confirmed my experience. One aileron had pulled comletely out the other had pulled 2 of the three ca hinges out. (All control surfaces but the rudder were pre hinged at the factory) Close inspection revealed that the ca hinges had very little glue holding them in, also the fabric on some of the ca hinges had seperated from the plactic. They were not Great Planes ca hinges.

Needless to say, I'm aggrevated and dissapointed in Great Planes quality control.
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:54 PM
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Sorry to hear you lost your plane. ARFs seem to have a reputation of poor hinge attachment and of weak firewalls. Worth doing a very thorough inspection prior to flight with healthy tugs on all the control surfaces. Having a buddy check out the plane is also a good idea as a builder or buyer can get too close to things and overlook problems.

By the way, some ARFs come with the control surfaces attached but not glued. I bought a Superstar a few years ago that came that way and the instructions were rather vague on getting them glued.
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
Sorry to hear you lost your plane. ARFs seem to have a reputation of poor hinge attachment and of weak firewalls. Worth doing a very thorough inspection prior to flight with healthy tugs on all the control surfaces. Having a buddy check out the plane is also a good idea as a builder or buyer can get too close to things and overlook problems.

By the way, some ARFs come with the control surfaces attached but not glued. I bought a Superstar a few years ago that came that way and the instructions were rather vague on getting them glued.
I agree. I'm used to doing my own hinges including glueing them myself. I've assembled many ARF's in the last 4 years and built more than I can remember since I started flying in 1991. This one came with all control surfaces pre-hinged except for the rudder. I did do the pull test on the surfaces and they seemed to be fine, however, the stress of a pull test is not anywhere near the actual stress placed on the surface in flight. The ca hinges that came with the plane for the rudder were not GP hinges and I replaced them with genuine GP hinges. The rudder held fine. I noticed when I inspected the plane during assembly that the elevators were double hinged with 2 hinges side by side and that's how I did the rudder. The ailerons however were not double hinged.

I'll be calling Hobbico Monday. Hopefully they will replace the plane as I fully believe this failure was due to a manufacturing flaw in workmanship. If not, well, I'll have to reconsider any future purchases of Great Planes products.

We were having our quarterly club meeting today and there were at least a dozen witnesses, all but one person saw the failure in flight.
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:49 PM
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Sorry you lost you plane. Hobbico is pretty good about warranty issues like this. I expect they will send you a new plane. At least it is not your fault. I hate it when I crash because I did something really stupid myself.

BTW, I like to do a pull test on my control surfaces as part of my pre-flight check.

Last edited by JPMacG; 01-18-2014 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPMacG View Post
Sorry you lost you plane. Hobbico is pretty good about warranty issues like this. I expect they will send you a new plane. At least it is not your fault. I hate it when I crash because I did something really stupid myself.

BTW, I like to do a pull test on my control surfaces as part of my pre-flight check.
Yep, that's why I buy most of my planes from Tower. In 22 years I've never had a bad experience with Tower. I've also never had a bad experience with Horizon, I hope after the change of ownership that does not change.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:25 PM
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I had those fuss covered plastic hinge strip off back about 8 years ago........can't believe GP still markets them........now a pre glued(factory)hinge does put a little reasonability on their shoulders........Radio South is the only CA hinge for me!! I only had to learn that lesion once......mine was the rudder so I did not loose the plane.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:12 AM
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I wonder if the ARF manufacturer installed the hinges with hot glue. I have never had one fail that I installed myself. But I use plenty of thin CA. I generally use whatever comes with the kit. Sig, GP, Goldberg, etc.

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Old 01-19-2014, 08:51 AM
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I have been using the Sonic Tronics Nifty hinges for quite some time now, and have had zero problems with them. They have a slot down the middle to allow CA glue to get down deep into the hinge pocket.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:18 AM
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Most of the ARFs I've recently put together have hinges that must be CA'd.
That aside, I usually CA the hinges anyway with very thin CA when they were glued at the factory.
Some of the ARF's have also had (in my opinion) less glue than they should at various other places.
(Firewall, general structure, LG mounts.)
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:57 AM
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I've looked the airplane over in a brightly lit workshop and it looks as if the fibers came off of the plastic part of the hinge. I've taken pictures of the hinges. Now that I'm not worried about hurting the plane I pulled on one of the elevators and it came off the same way, the fibers on the hinge stayed in the wood but the plastic came right out, and it didn't take much pulling. When you're assembling the plane and you do the pull test you want to be carefull not to crush the flying surface or control surface so pulling really hard is not that easy.

One of the guys who were there said that it may have been the temp., (upper 20's at the time), but in my workshop the temp. is 70 deg. The elevator still came off.

I don't think I would call it a flaw in workmanship but actualy defective hinges. I don't think adding more ca during the assembly would have mattered.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:23 AM
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Here are some of the pictures I took. The first picture shows an aileron hinge at the wingtip. The second is the elevator that came apart when I pulled on it in the shop. The third is the inboard aileron hinge. All of the hinges that pulled out looked the same.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckk2 View Post
Most of the ARFs I've recently put together have hinges that must be CA'd.
That aside, I usually CA the hinges anyway with very thin CA when they were glued at the factory.
Some of the ARF's have also had (in my opinion) less glue than they should at various other places.
(Firewall, general structure, LG mounts.)
This is the first plane I've done where the hinges were done at the factory. All that I've done in the past had the slots cut but you had to glue them in yourself. This at least gave you the opportunity to use hinges of your own choice. If GP/Hobbico decides to replace the plane I will cut all the control surfaces off and replace the hinges with robart hinge points.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:21 PM
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I think the purpose of the fuzzy stuff on CA hinges is to enable the CA to wick down into the hinge slot. I don't think the fuzzy stuff is supposed to provide mechanical strength. So I don't think it is important that the fuzz has de-laminated from the backing material. I might be wrong.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:23 PM
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U R

Greg
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:41 AM
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I just got off the phone with Hobbico. They wanted photos, which I sent by email, they may also want me to ship the remains to them for personal inspection. They will not cover the additional $180 in damages to the engine and servos.

Just thinking ahead, worst case scenario. If they do not decide in my favor, I would consider filing a small claim lawsuit. I'm thinking that I should not return the complete airframe.
Any lawyer's out there want to weigh in?
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaP2011 View Post
I just got off the phone with Hobbico. They wanted photos, which I sent by email, they may also want me to ship the remains to them for personal inspection. They will not cover the additional $180 in damages to the engine and servos.

Just thinking ahead, worst case scenario. If they do not decide in my favor, I would consider filing a small claim lawsuit. I'm thinking that I should not return the complete airframe.
Any lawyer's out there want to weigh in?
Personally, if they were to replace the model, I would settle for that !

Start asking for lawyer help and that could cost you more that a new model, engine and radio.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaP2011 View Post
I just got off the phone with Hobbico. They wanted photos, which I sent by email, they may also want me to ship the remains to them for personal inspection. They will not cover the additional $180 in damages to the engine and servos.

Just thinking ahead, worst case scenario. If they do not decide in my favor, I would consider filing a small claim lawsuit. I'm thinking that I should not return the complete airframe.
Any lawyer's out there want to weigh in?
If you paid VIA credit card, file a dispute.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:44 AM
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Sorry to hear about the crash.

Can you pin them in the future? either with a straight pin or a toothpick?
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:10 PM
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Hi KP;

I am also sorry for your loss.

Keyman above has the best solution, and I use it for all of my aircraft, ARFs and scratch builds. I have seen too many hinge failures in the past including my own; PIN DA HINGES, I like toothpicks best; after the build & covering, drill 1 or 2 holes [1/16"] on both sides of all hinges {underside of wing/stab, do not drill thro topsides, then CA glue toothpick 'dowels' into the holes and deep enuff to go thro the hinges, trim to length with a razor saw,and if you want then touch up with paint. You will never have a hinge failure again.

I also agree with 'if they replace da plane, be satisfied wid dat', don't over-do it!!


Remember always: 'Krudd happens!!'


Just my 2 cents worth, happy hinge-pinning in future, and best regards from Glendale, Arizona.


Joe Nagy.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:01 PM
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Do you need to send the whole aircraft, or could you just send in the wing trailing edges with ailerons, the horizontal and vertical stab with the elevators and rudder?
This would save you a lot of shipping cost.

Greg
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaP2011 View Post
I just got off the phone with Hobbico. They wanted photos, which I sent by email, they may also want me to ship the remains to them for personal inspection. They will not cover the additional $180 in damages to the engine and servos.

Just thinking ahead, worst case scenario. If they do not decide in my favor, I would consider filing a small claim lawsuit. I'm thinking that I should not return the complete airframe.
Any lawyer's out there want to weigh in?
Disregard this post above, it was made when I was dissapointed at the attitude of the person on the phone and angry at the whole deal. The person I talked with did not sound very enthusiastic, (of course he wouldn't). He told me they would get back to me in a week or so, (depended on when someone looked at the photo's and made a decision).

I would be happy to get just the plane replaced. We all know that anytime we put a plane in the air we take a risk that all will not go well.

As for pinning the hinges, you bet I will. Either that or my first choice would be to replace all of them with Robart hinge points, I've had really good luck with them in the past and you just can't beat them for ease of instalation and smooth movement.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:01 PM
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There is one major reason I have been a costomer of Tower Hobbies since 1991. Below is the email I recieved from Hobbico today.


Keith,

We are sorry for the difficulties you have experienced with your model. We are willing to replace the Airplane, 2-S3010 servos, Head and rocker/valve cover for your OS 81FS and spinner.

Currently the engine head is backordered, that being said, we can either send you the engine parts, or if you send us your engine we will replace the parts at no charge for you.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed.


Sincerely,

*********

Air Support


I have two things to say - Thank You Hobbico.
And - Screw Hobby King.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaP2011 View Post
There is one major reason I have been a costomer of Tower Hobbies since 1991. Below is the email I recieved from Hobbico today.


Keith,

We are sorry for the difficulties you have experienced with your model. We are willing to replace the Airplane, 2-S3010 servos, Head and rocker/valve cover for your OS 81FS and spinner.

Currently the engine head is backordered, that being said, we can either send you the engine parts, or if you send us your engine we will replace the parts at no charge for you.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed.


Sincerely,

*********

Air Support


I have two things to say - Thank You Hobbico.
And - Screw Hobby King.
Great news, and wow, what a fast resolution! I think Hobbico gets the "Supplier Of The Day" award for that one.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:24 PM
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That is absolutely great. Kudos to Tower.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:39 AM
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Sorry for your crash. I think you are very lucky that Tower is replacing not just the plane but also the servos and engine parts. Kudos to Tower, and congrats to you. I have always had the best of service from Tower, complete resolution of any probs. I sometimes pin those hinges, but always add more thin CA. Never had any fail. Jon
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