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Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

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Old 08-18-2008, 09:26 AM
  #1
Brainiax
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Default Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

I was at my flying field yesterday when a fellow member was flying and all of a sudden the spring let go on the elevator/aileron gimball causing his plane to go out of control and slam into the spectator area. The plane hit the ground and the foot of a spectator holding a small child. The shrapnull caused minor cuts on the adult and the child was just shaken up but not hurt. This could have been a lot worse though and we're thankful it was not. It does get me thinking about my radio which is the same model. I'm getting a 7CAP instead. I don't need that happening to me. Is there a recall or are these radios notorious for this failure?? Please advise on any info or suggestions you may have as this is a serious problem. Thanks!!
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:07 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

Your friend experienced a rare failure. I have seen this happen possibly 2-3 times in forty years of RC flying.

A centering spring failing in a gimbal generally will not cause the plane to go out of control. Experienced pilots fly the airplane and not the stick position although the automatic centering provides a reference point. Most likely your friend panicked upon realizing the stick was not returning to center and lost control.

Exercising the sticks on a transmitter periodically is good maintenance. Detecting anything other than normal, smooth travel warrants removing the transmitter case back and inspecting the springs and anchor points.

Fortunately injuries were not serious.

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Old 08-19-2008, 12:46 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

No, the spring let go and so did the control of the airplane. There was no elevator or aileron response at all. After asking around a little more, this may be more common than we think. At least two more incidents at other local fields in my area. Is it isolated to Futaba radios only though?
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:08 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

Something is not right here. Just loosing the spring would not kill the aileron/elevator control.

Did the controls respond when checking after the crash? Do they respond now?

This could be a coincedental failure of electronics and mechanical simultaneously. If the transmitter controls work now, the loss of control is pilot error. If they don't work then a rare failure occured.

He should send the transmitter in to Futaba for a check out.

Failures can occur with any system, not just Futaba. Today's RC systems are extremely reliable so one brand isn't more prone to problems than others. Of course at the field level that is another argument.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster


Quote:
ORIGINAL: Dick T.

Something is not right here. Just loosing the spring would not kill the aileron/elevator control.

Did the controls respond when checking after the crash? Do they respond now?

This could be a coincedental failure of electronics and mechanical simultaneously. If the transmitter controls work now, the loss of control is pilot error. If they don't work then a rare failure occured.

He should send the transmitter in to Futaba for a check out.

Failures can occur with any system, not just Futaba. Today's RC systems are extremely reliable so one brand isn't more prone to problems than others. Of course at the field level that is another argument.
Dick, all we have to go by is the pilots recolection as the plane was destroyed and the radio confiscated by the police. There were minor injuries involved so an accident report was made. It was a scary experience. If you saw how close this was, you would agree. I'd like to see for myself too whether or not it was just the transmitter spring. Perhaps he'll get it back and we can check. I just ordered a new 7CAP radio and from what I have been able to see, no incidents with this radio.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

As far as I know, the springs only function is to provide tension in the stick. Ie making it stiffer or looser. I don't think it does anything else.

I had a coupe 6ex radios when I first started 10 years ago. Never had an issue, and never heard of that happening. I'd say its isolated.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:59 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

I'm sure he will get it back and you guys can check it. Let everyone know what the result is.

Again, thankfully there were no serious injuries.

As mentioned in the above post, it was an isolated incident.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:27 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

A spring will have a hard time getting loose in exactly a way which shorts the 2 stick pots at exactly the same time.
It is, however, possible that more than just the spring failed.
If a major part of the gimbal broke away, it is possible that the centering force and the stick connection to the pots was lost at the same time.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:36 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

Thanks for the posts guy's. I'm glad the consensus is isolated incident. I sure don't want to worry about that while I'm trying to concentrate on flying. I will report any new findings for sure! Btw, anyone interested in a 6EXA radio?? (not his, mine)......
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:37 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

this happened to me once in my lifetime on my jr 10x less than a year ago... it was scary. The aileron spring broke.... the plane(LA Racer) came out ok, heck i even flew it again like that.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:43 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

The same thing happend to me the other day the tab on cam that the spring pulls broke
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:06 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

I'll chime in with a similar incident on a 6EXA . I was helping a friend build a trainer in my shop , i was bored one afternoon and decided to set up his control surfaces so that part would be done when he returned , and we could move on with the build . I grabbed the transmitter and when i moved the left gimbal for throttle , it had resistance and limited travel at half way . I pulled off the back plate to see if something was stuck in there , and couldn't see anything . Not wanting to probe into his radio any further , i put it back together and called him to let him know what happened . He took the radio to a friend of his that is used to working on electronics , and upon full disassembly it was found that the spring had come off the post and was causing the binding . The radio was repaired and we have since flown with it with no problems . I had never experienced , nor heard about this happening , but it seems others have had a similar issue . Luckily it happened to us while in the shop and not while flying .
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:17 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster


Quote:
ORIGINAL: Brainiax I was at my flying field yesterday when a fellow member was flying and all of a sudden the spring let go on the elevator/aileron gimball causing his plane to go out of control and slam into the spectator area. The plane hit the ground and the foot of a spectator holding a small child. The shrapnull caused minor cuts on the adult and the child was just shaken up but not hurt. This could have been a lot worse though and we're thankful it was not. It does get me thinking about my radio which is the same model. I'm getting a 7CAP instead. I don't need that happening to me. Is there a recall or are these radios notorious for this failure?? Please advise on any info or suggestions you may have as this is a serious problem. Thanks!!
A known problem with the 6EXA, refer
Faulty equipment not my fault.
Regards
Alan T.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:28 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

Alan,

I think they are talking about the Futaba 6 channel, not the Tower Hobbies 6 channel.

Doug.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:40 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 6EXA Elevator Gimbal Spring Failure, Almost A Disaster

What is the difference? just a marketing brand label.
Did you refer to:
http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_79...anchor/tm.htm# post #6?

Alan
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