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Crashing - a part of the hobby?

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Old 08-20-2010, 06:08 PM
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Luchnia
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Default Crashing - a part of the hobby?

A crash is basically defined as sudden damage or destruction to something (in our case RC planes).

In a recent thread in the beginners' section I questioned crashing as being an intregal part of this hobby and here are some thoughts on this. I really think too many have the mentality that they are doomed at some point to crash. I believe it is illogical to think that "beginners crash more than others" or "all RC flyers are going to crash" or that anyone would even have such a mindset. Let me qualify my statements some. I believe this thinking is more along the lines of "you will crash like it or not if you fly." I think those that fly recklessly or don't check their planes crash the most at least what I see at our field.

What is the standard by which beginners must crash and what are the percentages of beginner crashes if trained thoroughly and properly? Is there an instructor issue, a mechanical failure, etc.? If a mechanical failure did the instructor fail to teach the student proper pre-flight checks?

How many times should intermediate pilots crash, 5%, 10%, 40%? How about experienced pilots? Almost without doubt the majority of the crashes at our field have been because of equipment malfunction or flying in rather adverse conditions with the occasional "mess up" on the radio sticks.

First I think the term crash has to be defined. If we use the definition above then our crashing is not part (an expected part I might imply) of the hobby because many beginners have went through the training process and not crashed and there are intermediate pilots that rarely if ever crash. As a matter of fact I have seen our instructors train several guys since I joined and only one crashed and that was because he came in to nose-down in extremely windy conditions.

We have one pattern flyer that has only had one plane go down in the past year and a half that I have known him (or at least one that I know of) and he managed to not crash the plane. So his flying skills and wisdom keep his planes flying very well with rarely (if ever) a mishap. I think I heard him say he has flown around 1700 flights to date (Not totally positive of the number here). He logs every flight.

Now if a bad landing, or bending a nose wheel, breaking a prop, a short landing, a tip over, a wing scrape, or something like that is considered a crash then we have all had crashes and I would have to imply that crashing is to be considered a high percentage of the hobby.

Also, if we go at flying with reckless abandon and take planes beyond their designed limits then we would certainly experience the circumstances of gravity more often. However if we fly the planes as designed and don't have equipment failures then how often should we be crashing?

If anyone has any thoughts on this subject please chime in. Do you think crashing is part of RC flying and if so, just how much is to be expected? I think if we are not careful we build in expectations that crashing is a large part of this hobby and must be expected. [8D]
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:24 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Crashing is not part of the hobby/obsession. It is part of the risk associated with flying.

Being fatalistic is just plain dumb, IMHO.

Years ago a student of mine was doing a flight demonstration for his sister when during the landing approach his plane was flipped 180* by a dust devil. He promptly pushed the plane up and them rolled over to regain control. I had never taught him to do such a thing but he instictively knew what to do. I asked him what went through his mind. "I won't crash the plane, I will recover and fly again later" was his answer.

Crashes due to equipment failure are OK, due to stupidity are not. Like me pulling when inverted - not OK.

Bliksem

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Old 08-20-2010, 06:33 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Of course crashes are part of the hobby.  To deny that is to deny reality.

There's no way to put a percentage on it.  It happens sometimes.  There's not that much to it.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:50 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Yes I believe that is the risk of the hobby.

Of course there are many people that crashes more oftenly than others and that could be related to skills.

Some of us are very confident with our skills and our planes and suddenly we lost one of them because of a battery failure or a hinge failure etc.

I believe that many of us have lost at least one of our planes in different situations (electric failure, inverted ailerons, dumb thumbs and a long list), even the most qualified pilot is in risk, I have seen a very good pilot loosing his big bucks plane just by crashing in a mid air with a beginner, and I do not blame the beginner, it was just kind of bad luck that those planes met in a very open area.

On the other side, I have seen pilots that are tired of their bad habits planes, but they still fight with them and fly until the demise of the plane, then the pilot say "at last, I have finished with it". (it is time to move up with a new one).

And the history is written with crashed and non crashed planes, but the fact is quiet simple, there is always the possibility that you could bring your plane back home in a bag.

I have crashed many times and for many reasons but I do not take any bag with me when I go to the field, I always know that I will bring back all stuff together.


Good luck.


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Old 08-20-2010, 07:24 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

my recent crash was a result of a stall out on my attempt to go around which in itself was a stupid mistake.
it is also the first crash i have had in over 30 years..........i knew better, but did it anyways. my buddies wanted to rule it as a radio failure..............nice guys i fly with, but it was not the truth. my crash was from not understanding what the model would do if in a bad posistion for the go around. speed didn't pick up in proportion to rpm due to the smallish speed prop.
normally i fly a couple other planes that have better punch out at slow speed. i learned plenty from this crash.
crashing is part of flying and happens to the best of us, but pride goes south for a few hours does it not?

intermediates that crash are usually trying something they have never tried before and i consider that practice

i fly with a risk factor preset into my planes as i overpower them.
my recent model is being replaced with a duplicate, and it was fast, but i am going to put an engine in the new one that turns the same prop at 1,200rpm more, a thinner wing and it will be a half pound lighter.

i won't make the same mistake with the new one though, but i will do the same low to the ground passes
no pictures of the crashed parts yet, but this is what i am playing with lately.
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:24 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?


ORIGINAL: blikseme300

I asked him what went through his mind. ''I won't crash the plane, I will recover and fly again later'' was his answer.

Crashes due to equipment failure are OK, due to stupidity are not. Like me pulling when inverted - not OK.

Bliksem
Excellent and a fantastic illustration of the correct mentality! Sometimes it is such a fine line in the way we think and our attitudes in what we do. To accept that "at some point I am going to crash" in my book is not acceptable. I don't conclude that crashing is part of the hobby.

I do agree that there is a risk of crashing, but I do not fly my planes ever with crashing in mind. When I do then I am heading for problems. I have even learned that I must take extra caution when I am tired or I will be repairing a plane.

Someone stated that if you race in NASCAR you will eventually crash. I wonder how many of those guys racing accept that as a fact? I really appreciate your post and it just goes to show that the person you were training did not accept crashing as part of "his" hobby
[X(] [X(]

Interesting how this subject can bring opposing views and it seems it is all about our attitude. I have noticed we have one guy at our field that always makes statements about crashing and how bad he flys, etc. The odd thing is, a lot of time it turns out to be true when he flys. Is that amazing or what? I keep encouraging him and I can see how he improves when he is around that type of attitude.

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Old 08-20-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?


ORIGINAL: summerwind

my recent crash was a result of a stall out on my attempt to go around which in itself was a stupid mistake.
it is also the first crash i have had in over 30 years..........i knew better, but did it anyways. my buddies wanted to rule it as a radio failure..............nice guys i fly with, but it was not the truth.
crashing is part of flying and happens to the best of us, but pride goes south for a few hours does it not?

intermediates that crash are usually trying something they have never tried before and i consider that practice

i fly with a risk factor preset into my planes as i overpower them.
my recent model is being replaced with a duplicate, and it was fast, but i am going to put an engine in the new one that turns the same prop at 1,200rpm more, a thinner wing and it will be a half pound lighter.

i won't make the same mistake with the new one though, but i will do the same low to the ground passes
no pictures of the crashed parts yet, but this is what i am playing with lately.
30 years? WOW VERY IMPRESSIVE! To be admired for sure! Another great post. Thank you guys for the awesome posts and certainly more thought provoking
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:02 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

The most important thing is to always have a mindset to not put anyone at risk..whether its a faulty part, or habit..

Secondly its a shame if you fear crashing so much you fly less, or if a crash sort of breaks your heart..the final straw thing..

But as always with this hobby if you enjoy it, flying, building, or just watching and talking...thats all that is important.
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:22 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

If you never push the envelope and always check everything on the plane, you may never crash. If you only fly in perfect conditions, you may never crash. I fly year round and will takeoff if the wind will not push me off my feet. I crash very, very little, but occasionally the wind wins. I'll go a few years and not total a plane. Over the past two months I totaled two. I always conclude what caused the crash. I have to; otherwise I cannot take off again. About 99% so far are my fault.
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:48 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Aviation is ruled by risk assesment. From the time you get your plane from its storage until it is back in storage you have to assess the risks. Everyone has a diferent level of acceptable risk. Those trying to be "the best" will accept a higher level of risk to better their bag of tricks. Others may have a lower level of risk. Some just plain don't assess the risk properly, or at all. As long as you are willing to accept the risk and don't impose it on others then crashes will be an acceptable part of flying. It is up to each pilot to decide.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:12 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?


ORIGINAL: Villa

If you never push the envelope and always check everything on the plane, you may never crash. If you only fly in perfect conditions, you may never crash. I fly year round and will takeoff if the wind will not push me off my feet. I crash very, very little, but occasionally the wind wins. I'll go a few years and not total a plane. Over the past two months I totaled two. I always conclude what caused the crash. I have to; otherwise I cannot take off again. About 99% so far are my fault.
I agree completely. I have gone years without a crash but may then "dumb-thumb" two within months of each other. Almost certainly I could fly most of my models so that I would not crash almost indefinately. Proper battery practices, pre-flight checks, conservative maneuvers and avoiding adverse weather (wind, rain, sleet, snow, high winds - I've flown in them all and flew .60 glow size or larger in every month in NY two years running).

Looking back all my crashes have been because I hit something - another plane, the Earth, a tree. Which is to say CFIT - controlled flight into terrain. Could not really have avoided the freak mid-air. Most others are because I was doing something "risky" or misjudged a distance. Latest was I looked into the sun on taking off a hairy Ultimate in the evening and over-corrected what I hoped would be a straight climb. I've never had a "glitch" or radio hit, never crashed due to receiver or transmitter power loss. Never had a hinge or linkage failure that resulted in a crash. Have had dozens and dozens of dead-sticks - some linkage failures (control arm "unspotwelded" itself from carb barrel or EZ connector vibrated loose) that were just inconvenient though most were caused by poor tuning. But then I ALWAYS pre-flight which includes tugging on control surfaces, aileron check, linkage check, battery check(s), range check, tug the prop and engine for looseness and so on.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Very good post, cfircav8r!

Crashing is a reality, just like many others of life.

More negative than any crash is an attitude of constant fear to the possibility of crashing.

You block your enjoyment of flying and your growth as a pilot when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your skills and abilities.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:18 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?


ORIGINAL: cfircav8r

Aviation is ruled by risk assesment. From the time you get your plane from its storage until it is back in storage you have to assess the risks. Everyone has a diferent level of acceptable risk. Those trying to be ''the best'' will accept a higher level of risk to better their bag of tricks. Others may have a lower level of risk. Some just plain don't assess the risk properly, or at all. As long as you are willing to accept the risk and don't impose it on others then crashes will be an acceptable part of flying. It is up to each pilot to decide.
This made me think of a couple of things and this is a long post so please hang in there with me. I think we can all learn something.

I think for the most part we as RC flyers just paint things in general terms or as they say, "Use too wide a brush" yet you have narrowed it down further. I refuse to tell a newby 'you will crash, expect it, it is part of the hobby' when that is all based on the level of risk which is lowered dramatically by how he/she is trained/education about RC flying and what they put into practice. I would be more inclined to say to them, 'hopefully you won't be crashing, if you do all you can to prevent it, however, there are those times when it is out of your control.' (someone flys into your plane, wind gust etc.)

I can see why hearts are discouraged and people leave the hobby because they crash and they accept that without trying to assess the situation to determine what was the problem. It brings along the discouragement and fatalistic view as another poster alluded to. We learn by our mistakes. If I push the envelope I have raised my risk level much higher and there is a level of acceptance I must place in the equasion AND if I am wise I will listen to those that have gone before me and shared their wisdom with me about what not to do when RC flying [X(]

Here is a case in point for your consideration. Not long ago a fellow at our field was working with a plane that was new to him. The man before him had issues with the plane and did not care for it so he sold it to this fellow. He flew the plane a few times and tinkered with this and that. He then started adjusting on the radio.

I happen to be seated next to him and he asked me about certain features of the Futaba radio of which I did not know since I have ever only used JR/Spektrum. He said he did not know what some of what he was setting would do. I said, do you have the manual? He said, "Yes, it is in the car." I said you should get that out and make absolutely sure you are getting your settings correct before going back up because if you have something set wrong that would not be good. The irony is another man had told him the very same thing.

He tinkered some more and then said to me, "I don't think I should fly this until I get my radio set right. I don't know what all this means." To me, that was his warning...that "gut check" was loud and clear. Well, I imagine you can guess what happened next. He decided to fly the plane! It took off and it was all over the place and finally it was too much and plummetted to the earth tearing it completely up (a pristine 60 size Dragon Lady).

Here is where some risk assessment might have been in place. He certainly created his own risk and I do agree he did not assess the risk at all or maybe just mentally gave thought and over-ruled his gut insinct. Don't fly when you know with every ounce of your being it is a mistake. He knew not to fly the plane, but chose to "risk" flying it and face the circumstances of his actions.

Part of the definition of risk is a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune. The crashing part may be entirely based upon what one's level of risk expectation is set at. If I had of taken a plane up with such a huge level of risk then I should "accept" crashing as part of the hobby or I would imply that single flight [X(]

To me crashes are only acceptable based on what I believe the level of risk to be. If I have done all that I can there may be unforeseen things that occur (mini wind gust that blows my plane upside down and breaks up the fuse) that cause damage/crash of which are out of our control. There are things that are under my control and those I must make sure I take care of thus minimizing my risk.

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:02 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Try flying helis. Not only do they crash but they continue to beat themselves to smitherines after they hit the ground
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:15 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Almost everyone believes that they can tell, relative to another object, where their plane is. The truth is that depth perception is good for only about 17 feet. Google it. This is why occasionally any of us will land short of the runway and wonder how we missed the whole field. WE are actually flying "blind", relative to the path we desire to follow. Another reason we crash is because our planes do not have air speed indicators. As we land, we must keep the air speed high enough to prevent stalling. Yet, without an air speed indicator, all we can do is judge the GROUND SPEED, since that is all we have. If, on top of all other problems, there is a severe crosswind and you choose to compensate by making the approach at some angle to the runway, your chances of stalling go thru the roof. Only with a computer can you do the trigonometry calculations required to adjust your air speed, based on the ground speed, to have any chance of making a safe landing. After many crashes I NEVER compensate for a cross wind by landing at an angle to the runway. If you choose to comment on what I have written, please take the time to understand what I have stated. Then I want to read your input. I have many hundreds of crashes under my belt, and have analyzed everyone of them to find the cause. I now fly only SPAD planes. Those planes are so tough that any landing that will knock off the main gear on a balsa plane will do nothing to my SPAD, other than maybe move the clunk in the fuel tank.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:08 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

HI
if you fly RC at times you will crash your plane even if you are an advanced pilot -the trick is to be good at making repairscan never fiqure a plane as a loss if it can be fixed and is something you enjoy flying things will come apart while flying even with very good maintanence proceedures -i have more than one plane that i have been flying for 20 years-a lot of time on a plane presents a lot of variables and then we always have the chance of a dead stick to add to the broken plane mix-and the different weather conditions every day at a given field has to offer BEST REGARDS TONY
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:08 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Crashing is caused by many conditions. The most common is lack of pilot's skill.

With twenty years R/C plane experience. Most crashes are caused because the pilot gets into a postion and panics. Or he does not give the correct input.

In the last seven years I have totaled only one airplane. When you break the carb off and shatter a tuned pipe off a Rossi 60 you know it hard. That was because the wing broke in half coming out of a dive. I had bought the plane at a swap meet. Full blown structural failure. The fiberglass fuse did not fare well. But oh well it happens. I had a great laugh about it. There was nothing I could do but watch and shut the motor down. It was well away from the flight line so nobody was in the "danger zone"

I can tell how good a pilot is by watching the landings. A good confident pilot can set the plane down at the perfect speed landing on the mains every time. No bouncing, no grinding the prop.

Take offs are just as important letting the speed build up on the ground so that torque is minimized giving a smooth lift off and climb out.

If you do the "small" things right. You can greatly reduce the probability of a crash. Proper preflights can catch 99% of problems before takeoffs including the dreaded reversed airelons. If you take the extra ten seconds to do the proper preflight it can save much aggravation in the long run.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Good topic.

Going back to the "defintion" of a crash, over the course of about 10 years of flying I have done the following (not good, but I don't consider them crashes):

Nose-over
Ground Loop
Run out of runway - nose over into the weeds at the end of the field
Busted off landing gear on a hard landing (wheelpants pierced the bottom of the wing too....uhh)
Broken props

I learned how to fly w/o crashing (although, a couple of hard landings in there). I have only "crashed" 4 planes, all due to pilot error. Two of them were when I was trying to learn how to fly inverted, and pulled back. Duh. The third one was caused because I had the ailerons backwards on the initial flight of a Direct Connection F-20 Tigershark and buried my YS-45 and its tuned pipe fairly deep in to soft ground.....I was just glad it was soft, as there was no damage to the engine. The last was because I left my ultra-stick on high-rates on takeoff and over-corrected and it snapped about a foot off the ground. All avoidable, all my fault. I have never had an equipment failure, nor a structural issue.

At my field, there is a saying (I am sure you have all heard): There are two kinds of pilots, those who have crashed, and those who will.

I think its part of the hobby. I am never happy when it happens, but I don't get upset either. Its a calculated risk, you just have to figure out how to eliminate most of your risk......but dumb thumbs I can't calculate away.

Dave
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:56 AM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Crashing happens, it happens for a lot of reasons and not always pilot error. If I have a problem I try to fly the plane out of it all the way to the ground, I never let go of the sticks. Sometimes it even works, most the time not. My last two were both Bridi Kaos planes, a 60 and the giant. The 60 went up into a stall turn and on the way down I put it into a flat spin. On the way down the header broke off the engine. Too much wind and not enough power or altitude. The giant, I was so taken with how well my small gasser was hauling the plane I was showing off, my bad. I was flying it like it was a 60 size plane, folded the wing. Even without the wing I tried to get the plane to hit the ground flat, didn't work but I gave it my all. Things happen and if you fly enough you will have a crash. As mentioned, just flying around in a big circle all the time is going to keep you from crashing very often but I haven't ever flown with anyone that hasn't planted a plane. So, if your afraid of crashing never take them off the ground, in time it will happen. As a plane gets older and you care less about it you will start flying it like you don't care, that's when you really start learning stunt flying, the new planes are coddled.
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:02 PM
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Sadly yes..........a part of the hobby it is.  I've lost 3 to equipment failure (bad radio) and one to "I'm an over confident idiot failure".  The key to getting over my crashes is closure.  If you never learn why you crashed, it's alot harder to go out with confidence the next time you fly.  After I buried my top flite p51 .60 I almost lost it literally...............my wife was with me and couldn't understand why I had to find the remains in a field of grass 4ft tall and probably filled with rattle snakes.  Now that I look back on it, it wasn't about retrieving the $600 of engine and electronics on it, it was finding out why it crashed.  I forgot to hook a clevis up properly on the flaps...stupid, stupid, stupid mistake.  But dont think I wasn't right back out their a few days later flying again with a smile on my face.  I can say that it would have been a very long time before I tried again if I hadn't gotten the closure that I did.  The key was getting the closure to learn from my mistake and move on.
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:14 PM
  #21  
summerwind
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

what keeps me from crashing is that even though i do take chances and go a bit on the wild side is the fact that my first radio back in '68 kept crashing my Headmaster trainer.........then a sport model. rebuilding makes anyone a good pilot even if it's not their fault. the radio was a kit built 4 channel Royal, and our friend that built the system forgot to tie a knot in the Rx antenna where it excited the the case which created a loose but undetectable connection..........believe me, 4 rebuilds will make you sick of crashes

the crash i had 30 years ago was from being inverted (like about 5" off the deck rudder to ground) and the yaw from pushing down elevator pushed the rudder into the asphalt thus slapping the nose into the deck. that was one shortened ST 60 that day

crashing in todays world is more common than back then by pilots because they/we built our own models.

todays world of ARF's is full of newbies who seldom show any concerns for the model as a builder does.
some have mucho denaro and a crash is just a ho-hum thing.

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Old 08-21-2010, 02:21 PM
  #22  
tonyob
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

Almost without doubt the majority of the crashes at our field have been because of equipment malfunction or flying in rather adverse conditions with the occasional "mess up" on the radio sticks.
I'd say the majority of crashes at the field I fly at are pilot error. I also notice a tendency of some pilots to blame their equipment instead of recognizing or admitting to their mistake. I learn from almost all of my crashes, one crash I had I cannot explain, it seemed the radio wasn't responding but I'm loath to blame the equipment unless I can really prove it.
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:35 PM
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tonyob
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

But then I ALWAYS pre-flight which includes tugging on control surfaces, aileron check, linkage check, battery check(s), range check, tug the prop and engine for looseness and so on.
Reading that I realize I'm not as careful with pre-flight checks as I could be. I do range check, battery and aileron check but will start tugging on control surface and the engine. What do you mean by linkage check? Is there a good list of detailed pre-flight checks anyone has seen elsewhere, even if it is a bit over the top, I don't mind.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:17 PM
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summerwind
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

how many of you use 2 battery/2 switch setups in your planes?

i use this setup in all my planes ever since i witnessed a crash due to a bad switch, and especially when flying models fall into speed categories.
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:01 PM
  #25  
smithcreek
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Default RE: Crashing - a part of the hobby?

After reading some of these posts I have to wonder, do you guys fire one up while your flying also?
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