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Last flight of my wonderful Phoenix Waco

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Last flight of my wonderful Phoenix Waco

Old 08-21-2023, 09:05 AM
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mitchilito
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Default Last flight of my wonderful Phoenix Waco

As you'll see in the video my Waco bit the dust yesterday. I was doing an engine-revving slow-ish flyby and after the second rev she decided to roll HARD right and plow into the tall grass. After the crash it was in a lot better shape than I would've guessed. The good news is -IF - I could get a top and bottom wing set I'd be able to fix it good as new. Bad news is the bottom wing replacement set (along with the whole aircraft) is "backordered" and has been for what - two years? My guess is it ain't ever coming back.

NOW: I know this thread is going to foster runaway speculation but I'd like some input on why you experts out there think this could happen.

The Facts:
I just flew the HELL out of this plane two weeks ago and it ROCKED. Never had one single problem of any kind. Prolly has 20 - 30 flights.
This was first flight of the day. Had fresh charged 7.2v lipos.
Spectrum powersafe 20 receiver with an Aura 8 flight controller.
All servo/connections gooped in place - nothing out of place.
All 3 sparkplug caps on the Saito FG60R3 Radial were down tight.
This flight lasted approx. 30 seconds until the ailerons went hard over.
Radio was FINE after the crash. Everything was working without fault.
Amazingly enough the prop didn't even break! And the engine is still pristine, thank goodness.

Now here's one thing that I just found a minute ago. The I went to take the two lipos out of it and found one of them disconnected (NOT as a result of the crash)! Now it IS possible I did this myself after the crash then what - maybe decided not to unhood the second one to check something? Not sure but sure enough one batt is reading 4.16 and one reads 4.05. Even if I did miss plugging one batt in (I just can't imagine) shouldn't a powersafe receiver be able to operate safely on one batt? Isn't that the whole idea? What in the world could've caused this and why is it working fine now!

Let the speculation begin. . . . .





Old 08-21-2023, 02:35 PM
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Damn that is such a sad wY to go..
i was considering to get this waco for my fg60r3 but i already have the phoenix baby waco with a fa120r3, nice planes to fly.
i had a strange interference with another plane not so long ago, the elevator was taken over and it went full up then full down then was good then moments later it went full down elevator and bag nosed into the ground..was like a ghost took over on the elevator,
After picking up the pieces another flyer said he had same issue and his glider looped twice while he was flying level like minutes after my crash,
Tested all my gear and it still worked perfectly,
Is your saito fg60r3 a version 2
Old 08-22-2023, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Rcplanedan
Damn that is such a sad wY to go..
i was considering to get this waco for my fg60r3 but i already have the phoenix baby waco with a fa120r3, nice planes to fly.
i had a strange interference with another plane not so long ago, the elevator was taken over and it went full up then full down then was good then moments later it went full down elevator and bag nosed into the ground..was like a ghost took over on the elevator,
After picking up the pieces another flyer said he had same issue and his glider looped twice while he was flying level like minutes after my crash,
Tested all my gear and it still worked perfectly,
Is your saito fg60r3 a version 2
Yes, new generation FG60R3. Was your equipment that failed Spektrum? if so, which reciever/tranny?
Old 08-22-2023, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mitchilito
Yes, new generation FG60R3. Was your equipment that failed Spektrum? if so, which reciever/tranny?
yeah got the gen 2 aswell just breaking in,
Spektrum dx8 gen1 and a Spektrum ar6100,not a fake one,
There was absolutely no problems with my gear, it happened to a fellow flyer minutes after me, his was hitec optic 6,
Old 08-23-2023, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Rcplanedan
yeah got the gen 2 aswell just breaking in,
Spektrum dx8 gen1 and a Spektrum ar6100,not a fake one,
There was absolutely no problems with my gear, it happened to a fellow flyer minutes after me, his was hitec optic 6,
If you are going to operate one of the Saito triples do yourself a favor had thoroughly familiarize yourself with this thread. ESPECIALLY post #46 from "HPERGM."

Saito FG-60R3
Old 08-23-2023, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchilito
If you are going to operate one of the Saito triples do yourself a favor had thoroughly familiarize yourself with this thread. ESPECIALLY post #46 from "HPERGM."

Saito FG-60R3
thanks, plenty to read through,
Yes the carb needles are definitely odd and after reading it actually makes sense..i have spent countless hours of running and flying my fa120r3 converted, 10lt of fuel run through it..the last 4lt has been pretty much perfect running, i can take it to the field any time..fuel it and hit it with the electric starter and its away, every time..
Old 08-24-2023, 09:28 AM
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Watched the video several times and looked like when it rolled the two elevator halves wasn't in sync. Looked like left side was full down. Right side not sure.
Old 08-24-2023, 01:48 PM
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Couple of questions.
main Rx antenna wires are not at 90 degrees to each other and appears one is horizontal but curled instead of straight, the other appears to be going down, can't see if it is straight or not.

How may sats and how are the antennas orientated? Horizontal or vertical? Each sat opposing the other by 90 degrees?
What distance from the model were you when it went in? Were you pointing the Tx directly at the model?
From what I can tell with spektrum Tx they are vertically polarised.
If you were pointing the tip of the Tx antenna directly at the model that represents a null point in the radiation pattern, i.e the weakest signal being sent towards the model.
If the model setup is predominantly horizontal with antenna placement then it only receives a fraction of the signal due to polarization not being correct. Think of it like 2 pieces of 4x4 timber laid side by side, they have the maximum surface area in contact, if you rotated one 90 degrees so it was now perpendicular then it has a only a fraction of the previous surface area in contact.
See where I am going with this ?

Now if you introduce further weakening of received signal strength by introducing the null point what happens is the Rx threshold of what it can receive is reached and it goes off air and re-boots.

Of course when you check it afterwards it all works fine.
Now the spektrum Tx antenna system may have a second antenna that is in the horizontal plane, without seeing the service books I can't really tell.
It looks to be to be a 1/4 wave dipole, most like with a sleeve to improve radiation pattern.

Anyway its all speculation.

Simple 1/4 wave dipole below illustrating the radiation pattern and the null point (axis of antenna is the null).

As we are trying the impendence match the antenna to the output stage of the transmitter the engineers designing it will often use a sleeve design that matches it as close as possible. Assuming the cable from the transmitter output to the antenna is 50 ohm cable then that is the impende to match to. Remember tuning the SWR on your old CB radio setup by cutting bits off the tip if the whip antenna while watching a SWR meter and aiming to hit "1"



anyway antenna placement in our models is critical. As I am still using a JR 12X it uses a folding antenna which I orientate horizontal to the ground. Mt main Rx is in the horizontal which the whiskers at 90 degrees to each other, I will have normally 3 sats, 2 of which will be horizontal but 90- degrees opposed, third will be vertical. If I have a 4th sat then it is at 45 degrees to the vertical one.

Last edited by planenutzz; 08-24-2023 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 08-25-2023, 02:40 AM
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Planenutzz, this I good info! I will say this though, I'm using THREE satellites oriented in different directions and that's not including the base unit antennas. And the plane just happened to be flying right by me when the controls went hard over and locked up. I find it impossible to believe it was satellite orientation problem. Also the radio would've gone into failsafe if it was a reception problem and it most definitely didn't.

But again, thanks for all this useful info!

Last edited by mitchilito; 08-25-2023 at 02:47 AM.
Old 08-25-2023, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by A. J. Clark
Watched the video several times and looked like when it rolled the two elevator halves wasn't in sync. Looked like left side was full down. Right side not sure.
I just watched the roll frame by frame and sure enough the elevator split and went HARD OVER. Looks like full travel in opposite directions. Also the ailerons did the same.

WHAT THE HECK??!!
Old 08-25-2023, 07:07 AM
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Default Aura 8 failure??

Originally Posted by mitchilito
I just watched the roll frame by frame and sure enough the elevator split and went HARD OVER. Looks like full travel in opposite directions. Also the ailerons did the same.

WHAT THE HECK??!!
Okay, so after absorbing the above facts I have come to a very firm conviction that the crash was caused by the Aura 8 flight stabilizer. And before the loud complaints start let me say that I LOVE the Aura controllers. But I believe I was using it improperly. I was told from the beginning that Flex Innovations does NOT recommend the Aura 8 version for Gas Engine operation but at the same time told that "everybody uses them this way and it's fine."

Now, why I think this was the Aura: I have operated Spektrum receivers from the very beginning and have become VERY familiar with their failure modes. I have NEVER seen full uncommanded control excursions and I really don't think it's possible. That is exactly what failsafe mode is for. Now, I'm not familiar with Aura 8 fail modes but the unit does not have a failsafe of its own which leads me to believe these excursions could be possible in a failure.

Fact is, I will probably never know but I now feel confident that the Aura 8 has to go and from this day forward I will be using an Aura pro or maybe nothing at all.
Old 08-25-2023, 09:43 AM
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Not sure but sure enough one batt is reading 4.16 and one reads 4.05. Even if I did miss plugging one batt in (I just can't imagine) shouldn't a powersafe receiver be able to operate safely on one batt? Isn't that the whole idea? What in the world could've caused this and why is it working fine now!
Didn't catch this when I first read post but if those voltages are for each battery there way to low. I'm thinking you ment for each cell on the connected battery which would be good.

I was thinking also that the Aura 8 would be the problem.
Old 08-26-2023, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by A. J. Clark
Didn't catch this when I first read post but if those voltages are for each battery there way to low. I'm thinking you ment for each cell on the connected battery which would be good.

I was thinking also that the Aura 8 would be the problem.
HA! Those are the AVERAGE of each battery in each pack. Didn't even notice I had done that. You have to double that number, of course. If I could edit it I would.
Old 08-27-2023, 12:31 PM
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Did not see the dot point on Aura 8, know nothing of those things and stay away from any sort of stabilisation system.
Try failsafe modes of just the radio and with the gadget and see if you can get it to replicate.
It would be nice to have a definitive answer and not just speculation.
Draw up a couple of diagrams, mind maps bubbles with what you know, the crash being in the centre then do a wish bone with the facts leading to the conclusion.
Old 09-03-2023, 10:49 AM
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mitchilito
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Well, amazingly enough (for me), the Phoenix Waco showed up in stock at Tower Hobbies within a day or two of this crash! It has been out of stock for years, literally. So while I only HAD to have a top and bottom wing set I went ahead and bought a whole kit. I only used the wings and the cowl and the Waco is up and running as good as new. Better really because I made several improvements along the way. The only difference between this new aircraft and the one that drove itself into the ground is the removal of the Aura 8 flight controller. I made NO other changes (electronics wise).

I got two great flights on maiden day today and it never gave me any indication anything was ever wrong. Individual satellite fades (between the four of them) averaged about 35 per flight. It's nice to have my Waco back better than new. It's a miracle really.

I will say this: it was a lot less workload to fly with the Aura 8 but It flys fantastic either way. Just requires more input to fly smoothly without the stabilization.





Last edited by mitchilito; 09-03-2023 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 09-03-2023, 03:41 PM
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[QUOTE=mitchilito;12782245]Well, amazingly enough (for me), the Phoenix Waco showed up in stock at Tower Hobbies within a day or two of this crash! It has been out of stock for years, literally. So while I only HAD to have a top and bottom wing set I went ahead and bought a whole kit. I only used the wings and the cowl and the Waco is up and running as good as new. Better really because I made several improvements along the way. The only difference between this new aircraft and the one that drove itself into the ground is the removal of the Aura 8 flight controller. I made NO other changes (electronics wise).

I got two great flights on maiden day today and it never gave me any indication anything was ever wrong. Individual satellite fades (between the four of them) averaged about 35 per flight. It's nice to have my Waco back better than new. It's a miracle really.

I will say this: it was a lot less workload to fly with the Aura 8 but It flys fantastic either way. Just requires more input to fly smoothly without the stabilization.
Thats great news to be able to find a replacement, and that was a great maiden too,
For me , i dont get too involved in electronic gadgets, just keep it simple and do all the smooth flying straight from the thumbs!
Thats a pic of my little beauty, yesterday had 2 flights a meeting then another flight bout 5mins in coming hot down the run way and the elevator didn't respond and the plane was declining towards the ground ,and suddenly the elevator responded and weirdly it was just fine for the next 10min of flight before landing..
Il replace that servo ..and hopefully it wont be a reciever problem
Old 09-04-2023, 01:18 AM
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That's a pretty plane. Kind of sounds like it went into failsafe. I'm sure you'll want to look it over pretty well!
Old 09-04-2023, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchilito
That's a pretty plane. Kind of sounds like it went into failsafe. I'm sure you'll want to look it over pretty well!
the waco biplane is a brilliant plane.
It is like it went to failsafe but throttle was still flat out and its set to kill engine with opto kill switch .its got a ar6100 receiver..i might just upgrade that..
Old 09-21-2023, 06:01 AM
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I need to add an important update to this thread..

An extremely close look at my original setup above reveals that I had the little Aura hooked up in a very non-recommended way. Flex innovations says when using this little Aura 8 one should run TWO batteries. One to the receiver and one to the Aura.

i have a power safe receiver in this plane with redundant batteries HOWEVER the only thing powering my Aura - and all the flight control servos hooked into it - was the little SRLX lead that connects the two units. So all the flight control servo power demands were trying to pass through one non-heavy duty servo lead. Not good at all.

I talked to Flex and their recommendations are to hook one battery to the receiver and one battery to the Aura to handle servo loads. OR since I have a powersafe receiver already I just need to get that power to the Aura powerbus. This is accomplished by running servo leads, with the signal wires removed, from any empty port on the Aura to empty ports on the receiver. I had three empty Aura ports so I now have a total of 4 servo leads carrying power from the receicer bus to the Aura bus.

However, this setup is really a stop-gap measure for aircraft up to 50cc-ish (my opinion not theirs). Any more than that and you should be running the Aura Pro

Ill attach pics of my new setup when I get home from vacation. . . .

Last edited by mitchilito; 09-21-2023 at 06:05 AM.
Old 09-25-2023, 02:26 AM
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I forgot to take some pics of my new setup with the 3 signal wire-less servo power bus leads before I hung her back up on the ceiling but I'm so happy to say she's back to flying wonderfully with the Aura 8 smoothing everything out so nicely.

I got about a half dozen flights today and just love how relaxing the Aura makes flying this wonderful aircraft.
Old 09-28-2023, 02:03 PM
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awesome looking plane!
Old 09-28-2023, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dj9124
awesome looking plane!
the waco is one of the most beautiful biplanes ever built
,well in my opinion
Old 09-29-2023, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Rcplanedan
the waco is one of the most beautiful biplanes ever built
,well in my opinion
I have to agree!
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Old 09-29-2023, 11:28 AM
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You will see my three "power transfer leads" on the right side of the Aura going forward to the receiver (with the two tie wraps). All the critical leads are secured with a touch of "Goop."

I've got six wonderfully stabilized flights on it so far.


Last edited by mitchilito; 09-30-2023 at 01:18 AM.

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