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Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

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Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Old 01-16-2007, 12:08 PM
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Fuel Dinosaur
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Default Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

The events listed below are all true.

1. My relatively new Four Star .60 had hidden damage near the tail, lost the entire tail section in THREE pieces during flight, came down fast, clipped a pine tree. Engine (OS FA-91) and fuselage with one complete wing half intact was finally recovered, lying on a chicken coop roof! Now beef up that tail on all three Four Star 60 planes with balsa solid chunks at the weak fuselage to tail link and chop the wing a little for a better roll rate.

2. Free flight converted to C/L had the outboard wing fall off during flight. Flew out the rest of the tank successfully and recovered the outboard wing!

3. Some time back, okay a LONG time back, had a McCoy readhead race engine (not the $8.00 one, but the $14.99 engine with the dark gray metal case. After 70 1/2 laps in rat race, the crystallized crankshaft broke and flew out of the engine and the plane fell, not very gracefully, to the asphalt near the outside circle. WON that heat nonetheless! I guess I was lucky there were no K&B .35 or Dooling .29 engines in use during that heat. :-)

Please add to this thread as you wish, but make sure it is true, for truth is often stranger (and funnier) than fiction.
PS: In 1. above, the MA prop was NOT broken and still on the mounted engine.

4. Forgot this one (selective forgetting). Was flying at the old Trenton field in SC, flying a fast foam wing plane with a K & B 48 on it. Some rubber bands had fallen inside the fuselage (old trainer bands!) and I was flying about 8 minutes and bands got around the aileron servo. I did a nice series of fairly fast rolls and right in, almost 90 degrees and FAST. The ground was soft and the solid aluminum spinner was TEN INCHES down in the dirt. I took the engine apart and cleaned it and it still runs like new, and that engine puts a LOT of air behind the prop. (Too heavy and carb barrel aluminum is too soft, but a LOT of power).
Old 01-16-2007, 08:47 PM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Sorry, but this has nothing to do with aerodynamics. So I've moved it to RC Humour.

The oddest thing I've had happen occured recently. I was flying my 1/2A rudder only model when the rubber bands holding the stabilizer on finally decided to let go from old age (there's a moral there ). The stabilizer flew off in one direction and the model in another. The model immediatly did 1/2 an outside loop but as it nosed up the negative G's starved the Cox Black Widow fuel pickup and the engine quit at around 300 feet up. I figured I'd be watching the end of it but it settled into a nice inverted glide. I was even able to use the rudder to control it and perform a creditable landing with no damage at all. The stab was then found with a bit of effort and the model lived to fly another day.

Another story about models with "too many unneeded parts" occured to a club mate of mine some years ago. His sailplane with a 3 peice wing snapped a tip panel joiner on the winch. It snap rolled off the line and I guess his reflexs cut in after a second and he rolled the model upright by using full up aileron on the remaining panel and about 1/2 flaps on the inboard panel. This was enough to restore stable flight and he was even able to turn slightly into the long side. The landing occured uneventfully and he was even able to spot land it within 20 feet of himself. I know it happened because I was the one timing his flight!
Old 01-17-2007, 01:52 PM
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bdavison
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I was flying an extra 300, and the horizontal stab and elevators folded in half. My first thought was....its gone.
But I noticed I still had a little pitch control. I turned it to the left, called "landing", and let it start to sink as I attempted to land it on the runway.
As the plane got closer, you could see the elevators and stabs flapping up and down like wings on a bird.

I landed it in a perfect level flight landing. It was actually a pretty good landing. Nice and smooth and right on the runway.

There were witnesses at the field that could not believe what had just happened. This was at Fritz Field in October of last year.
Old 01-26-2007, 11:27 PM
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pamvic
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

OK this is going to date me , but we have to go back to free-flight days(that's when we had no RC)

Both incidents happened to the same person.

We were flying in an area with some farms and his model "landed" high up in a tree in a farmers animal enclosure. He climbed the tree and removed the rubber bands seperating the wing from the fuselage and dropped these light parts to the ground where they were readily devoured by pair of goats.

BEWARE !! This may a offend some "viewers".
We were flying in a large field that had recently been harvested and in amongst the rubble he found a live sparrow.He had a much larger model this time and removed the wing and placed the sparrow in the fuselage before hand launching the model.For a while the model flew OK but then went into mad dives and stalls. It finally arrived in one piece only to find the small bird had passed away and was forced into the tail section causing a very rear C of G.
Sorrt about that !!!.
Old 01-28-2007, 01:35 PM
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adam d
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

this didnt happen to me but im trying to find the video link.. A pilot (dont know who)rips the hole right(or left cant remember)wing pannel off and manages to recover it in a knife edge and brings it back for a some what good landing(for knife edge that is)
Old 02-01-2007, 04:13 PM
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corkguykev
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

a little over a year ago when i was a real newbie to flying i bought one of those parkzone p-51d foam electric park flyers, which by the way are fabulous fliers considering the 9 cell 10.8 nimh battery they carry is a real brick. probably be very good on lipo. it had its own tranny but the mode was wrong for me as i fly ailerons and throttle to the left and elevator and rudder to the right. i nearly lost it in the distance because of this but got it back. i tried a roll soon after and watched it dissapear behind a ditch. i thought it was witten off as it came in really fast 90 degrees but it seems at the last second my nearly ripping the elevator stick off the tranny was not in vain. she was just sitting there with only half a tail plane knocked off, 20 mins of glue work and as good as new. i since then have converted the reciever to suit my own sanwa tranny for safer flying.
Old 02-06-2007, 12:34 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I was on my second flight with my new ultimat bipe 40 and decided to see how it stalled. I was about 75' off the ground and I put it downwind, cut the throttle, and pointed the nose way up. It fell straite to nose and I rolled it over to bring it back into the wind. I tried to advance the throttle but it wouldn't respond. No problem though, I was just getting to the runway anyway and didn't need the throttle to land. I decided to level it from the dive it was in and realized I had no up elevator either. There was a little up left from the stall because it almost leveled out before hitting the ground. All it did was pull the landing gear off. Checking the controls on the ground I found only the ailerons would respond and just barely at that.

Oh, and it landed on the 1/3 of the runway!!

As it turned out, my reciever battery was dead and the aileron servo was the last to go. No throttle, no elevator, and only hit hard enough to pull the gear off. I have since invested in a battery checker.
Old 02-12-2007, 11:28 PM
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zurhahn
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

adam d I think that the video was bill hempel
Old 02-23-2007, 04:15 PM
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sscherin
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Sometime in 1987 I was Flying my Sterling Fledgling like any other typical weekend, kinda wild ans stupid

After 15 minutes of loops rolls and stalls I brought it for one of my extremely rare smooth landings.

The second the wheels touched the runway the wing flew off the plane. The fuselage taxied to a smooth stop as if nothing had happened.

At some point the glue joint on the front wing mounting block had failed.. the only thing holding it on was a little strap of monokote.


Later that summer my friend Harland "Sweede" Carlson trying to shoot a crosswind landing with his Yardstick.

The wind pushed him far to the left to the edge of the flight line and he somehow set it down right on top of a 4' tall 4x4 fence post..
It would have been fine if the wind didn't blow it off the post.
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:21 PM
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sscherin
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

The Bill Hempel Video is here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaXMrFh3n7M
Old 02-23-2007, 04:56 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Here's one that's hard to top:

Last Spring I was doing a review of the Hangar-9 Giant P-47

I was at the field with my dad and brother to shoot the video for the Review. I was doing a "Trim Flight" and after 3 laps of the field at about 200 ft high, the right wing suddenly rotated 90 degrees on it's wing tube!!! (I immediately realized that I never put the wing bolts in!) So the plane rolls to the left, and the left wing falls completely off! Then the plane just lumbers over and goes straight in behind some Pine trees.

So I start the "Walk of Shame" thinking "Now I'm going to have to replace that thing so I can finish the review - There's a few hundred bucks down the toilet"

Well I saw no sign of the plane in the tall grass, but directly behind the Pines is about 20 yards of thick Plum trees. Plum trees are gnarly, nasty things with 1 1/2" thorns on them and they are notorious for shredding airplanes that enter them.

Finally, I see the Tail Feathers, and as I dig my way into the trees, I see the plane hanging in the trees with it nose about 4 ft off the ground. But I couldn't see ANY damage. I ran right home and got my Lopping Shears and started cutting away the branches as my brother held the plane in place.

When we got it out, I saw that the other side had two punctures in the Fuse from thorns, and there were two similar punctures in the bottom of the wing (The one that was rotated, but stayed with it). It took a while to find the wing that fell off, but when we did, it was in perfect condition!

We put it back together and shot the video :-)

I have an expression, "I'd rather be lucky than good". Well, I think I used up all of my "lucky" on that one!!!
Old 03-16-2007, 04:54 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I have one interested story to add as well. I had just put a brand new O.S. FL-70 onto my four star 40. I was going to get that engine broken in and everything a couple days befor my very first pattern contest and I was really hyped up over it. Well, to my ultimate wisdom I decided to set the needle valve a litte too rich...and I am rich. The plane gets off the ground but could not maintain it altitude at all or its speed for that matter and it began to stall immediatly. Well, it decided to stall right into some trees. So here I am cursing at how stupid I was and now what am I going to fly for the contest(I will be worrying about much worse things later.) I check out the trees and there it is just hanging there with it horizontal stab cut in half. Once again I make a bad decision...and is that to climb this 20 foot tree to retrieve my beloved Four Star. I climb the tree get the plane and begin find my way down by hugging the trunk of the tree. Well and soon and I get down I run back to my car and head home which is about 20 or 30 minutes. I wasn't sure what was in the tree but took a shower and though everything was alright...NOT. The next day I got nailed with poisen Ivy literally all over my body. And the next day was the contest(I did repair the plane the day of the crash.) I actually had to take medication in order to combat my symptoms...and it lasted for 3 weeks.
Old 03-16-2007, 06:49 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I was flying my Venus 40 one fine Saturday last year. Our field can sometimes have a nasty crosswind that is blocked by a row of trees by the road behind the flight line about 50 yards or so. So, when you either pass the trees, or climb high enough to get above them (not flying over them, but higher than they are), that crosswind can be a pain.

Well, I was taking off and purposefully had a long roll to get it away from where another pilot was working. We were both on the flight line well away from the runway, but for some reason, I wanted to roll longer than normal. Well, I got beyond the tree line and the crosswind hit. The plane suddenly veered to the right rather sharply just as it lifted off, so I hit the rudder... well, I thought it was the rudder. I sort of panicked because it was headed toward some others that were over that way but well behind the flight line.

My brain must have been dyslectic at the time because I hit the aileron instead. The plane was full throttle, did a fast snap roll to inverted because I hit the aileron quickly and realized it was the aileron so stopped the roll but, in hind sight, should have just continued because it was nose high and climbing. Well, I was inverted and still had elevator in after the half roll.

Well, you guessed it. It went in and rather sharply. The wing came off (nylon wing hold-down bolts work great) as the nose hit the ground.

I walked over to that plane and it looked completely intact excep the wing was over about three feet from the point of impact.

I picked the fuselage up and it was sort of like a broken soft boiled egg. The plane still had it's shape, but every piece of balsa in that thing was broken or cracked. When I picked it up from the middle, well, it sort of sagged on both ends in my hands. The thing was held together by the covering. I looked inside and there were splinters of balsa and ply all over the place. Strangely, the wing only had a small dent near where it mounts to the saddle. I still have the wing, sort of a spare.. don't know why.. but I still have it. The rest of the plane was thrown away. (except the engine, tank, RX and servo's of course).
Old 03-18-2007, 10:16 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Few years ago was flying Sweet Stick with K&B 40 at local field. Cold day light mist rain and some snow flurries. After several minutes of flying noticed it was taking more and more throttle to maintain level flight. Finally had to land using almost 2/3 throttle. Taxi back to pits and started to check to find problem. While looking plane over a very thin sheet of ice slid off the wing. Flew full scale for several years and was always concerned about ice but this was first and only time I had this problem and was glad it showed in my model instead of full size-----------------Revver Bro#164
Old 04-25-2007, 07:45 PM
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eghershey
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

My experience isn't nearly as good as the ones already posted, but I thought I'd share:
I'm a very new flyer/crasher and my first RC is a Sky Fly. I found a huge vacant area to fly in except on one side there is a huge array of high voltage transmission lines. You know, the ones with about 14 wires and twin towers supporting them.
My first battery got me in the air and I'm flying pretty good but the Sky Fly got behind me and hit one of the electrical lines. Fell in a spiral. Picked it up and straightened the wing and gave it a toss and I'm flying again. Again, it gets away from me and into the wires. Same exact results. I picked it up, straightened the wing and gave it another toss and off I go again (remember this is the same battery). Well this time it heads for the wires and I'm doing everything I can to turn it. It did turn but it got stuck between the bottom two wires. I tried to fly it off, but the prop wouldn't turn. Now what do I do. The wires are close enough to the ground that I can toss clods of dirt to it but my accuracy isn't good enough. I give up, hoping that the wind will come up and I can come back and find it blown off the wires. As leaving, I find a two foot piece of root about an inch in diameter. I give it a few tries and low an behold, I hit the plane and it comes tumbling down. I straighten the wing and give it another toss. Got it really high in the air, well above the wires since they act like magnets. I got my direction mixed up and instead of it comming towards me, it was going away...Much farther away than I thought my radio could handle. Now its over an RV park and I manage to get it turned around and heading back to me, but the battery is giving it up. Yeah, you guessed it. Hit the powerline wire hard and this time it came down in pieces. Wing was cut in half and a few nicks on the tail.
Bought a new wing and I was good to go....but I do try to fly in areas without powerlines now.
Old 04-26-2007, 12:52 AM
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ClemenTang
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Next time use a wet branch/root. The arc-over will blow your plane off from it and yourself 5 feet off the ground to catch it, if the plane and you didn't go different ways.

Clement
Old 04-26-2007, 03:55 PM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I was flying a .40 size Sukhoi that started to have a problem with the receiver. The first sign of trouble was when I was flying along, when the ailerons went hard over for just a split second, right to knife edge. I thought "did I do that"? right as it did it again. So I get the plane level and call landing.

I cut the power and headed for the runway. Then less than 10 feet up, just over the end of the runway, at landing speed, the ailerons locked up full hard over. The plane did a nearly-perfect axial roll and impacted on the gear, slightly nose down. It pulled the gear off (damaging the mounting block), cracked the cowl, and did a little damage to the wing where it joins the fuse. But neither wingtip touched the ground. The guys watching were wondering if I'd really gotten cocky and had tried to do a roll on final.

The RX went back to the manufacturer for service, and I fixed the plane and still fly it, on a different receiver.
Old 04-26-2007, 05:15 PM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I have not read of a single helicopter story, and since that's what I fly the most, here it goes....

More than 10 years ago, I was flying my heli with a group of friends. There was a guy with the nicest heli I had seen in a long time. All shiny aluminum with a tuned pipe that went alomst 2/3 of the way down the tail boom. He was flying around real nice when all of the sudden the Upper "jesus" bolt sheared. For those of you that do not know what a "jesus" bolt is, I can tell you that it holds the rotor head to the main shaft. Kinda like the tube spar on the giant scale airplanes. the helicopter nosed down, and entered and vertical dive right into the ground, everything was smashed from the nose back to the main shaft. The incredible part of the story is that the rotor head kept flying until it came to rest in the rear of the field on some grass. Nothing was damaged on the rotor head.

Rafael
Old 04-26-2007, 08:22 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Here's a heli story for you. A guy in my club back in Jersey was flying his heli. He zipped the throttle to full and when the heli jumped up, it dislodged the battery which fell to the ground - and the heli just flew full-bore out of sight.

That evening, another guy from our club was coming home from work and saw a heli on the side of the parkway exit. He stopped, picked it up and thought, "This looks like Richie's helicopter". Went home and called Richie. It only had minor damage
Old 05-03-2007, 09:47 PM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Jan. 1, 1999 The clubs annual News Years Day Fly. No Snow on the field so I took my Sact Cat with a K&B .40 out to the field. weather was 32 degress and foggy, Vis was about 200 yards max. Well take off was fine but I had to keep it in close. After flying for about 3 minuts I had to add up trim, anouther 2 min add up trim, and agian but ran out of up trim... Landed with about 1/2 throttle nearly ran out of elevator. Check out the plane and it was covered in ICE! Yep the wing and prop had up to 1/8" of ice, frost on the spinner and tail. Took it to the shelter for deiceing and coffee, refuel and went out again. Same as the first flight. As the ice built up, the Scat Cat got heavyer. the wing lost lift, the prop made less thrust. Never had those conditions again.
Old 05-04-2007, 04:24 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

I fly my dragonfly in a gym once a week and while doing circuits I have often touched the tail rotor on the basketball hoop producing quite a distinctive ting noise. All the guys get a laugh out of it. I don't notice any change to the flightpath while doing it and the tail rotor has never shown any damage.
Old 05-05-2007, 11:44 AM
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Isaiah 40:31
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

Jan. 1, 1999 The clubs annual News Years Day Fly. No Snow on the field so I took my Sact Cat with a K&B .40 out to the field. weather was 32 degress and foggy, Vis was about 200 yards max. Well take off was fine but I had to keep it in close. After flying for about 3 minuts I had to add up trim, anouther 2 min add up trim, and agian but ran out of up trim... Landed with about 1/2 throttle nearly ran out of elevator. Check out the plane and it was covered in ICE! Yep the wing and prop had up to 1/8" of ice, frost on the spinner and tail. Took it to the shelter for deiceing and coffee, refuel and went out again. Same as the first flight. As the ice built up, the Scat Cat got heavyer. the wing lost lift, the prop made less thrust. Never had those conditions again.
Crazy4, that is an awesome anectode, thanks for sharing. I flew in fog that had such reduce visibility that I could barely take off and fly around while keeping it within sight. To set up for landing, though, I'd have to go farther out, and it would disappear on base leg!
Old 08-07-2007, 08:15 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

This happend to me a couple of months ago. I was flying my well used U-Can-Do 40 at the club and doing the typical wring-out. Plane was flying great and not a problem. One of my students was standing beside me and watching what I was doing. Being pretty new to the hobby, he was still kind of nervous. As I came out of a nice big loop, the plane is about 150' flying level and slow, when all of a sudden, the left horizontal stab breaks off. I mean, just breaks off and starts to float to the ground. I'm in shock for a second waiting for the plane to fall from the sky. But, it's flying great. I look to see when the broken stab is falling too in the aweeds and limp the plane in for a landing. Flying and landing is uneventful, in fact one of the better landings that I made that day. I put the plane onto its stand and find the broken stab in the weeds. The plane had some age on it, and fuel had seeped under the Monocote over time. Luck for me, the plane has dual servos for separate elevators and the broken side left the pushrod behind still attached to the servo. My student and a couple of the other pilots asked me if I was nervous about losing the plane. I told them that I didn't have time to think about it, but once I saw the plane was still flying, just try to land it. I guess I can honestly say that I practiced what I preach to my students, don't panic when something happens, just fly the plane.
Old 08-07-2007, 08:47 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

ok, so its my first attempt at a solo flight, i had jsut passed my A Certificate test the previous flight so my nerves had settled and i was feeling confident

started it up fine, took off and the left wheel fell off! it must have unscrewed the nut holding it on during takeoff and when i banked to the left it slid off the axle, someone ran out and got the wheel so i didnt loose it, and after a few minutes floating around practicing some maneuvors the engine quits after a loop, so im landing deadstick with one wheel, i try and float it into the long 2ft grass that surrounds our strip but it glides right over it and into the dry rocky field opposite the runway, undercarridge is ripped out and wheel axle was bent, i epoxied the U/C in place and added some tri-stock to reinforce it and replaced BOTH axles with 4BA Studding and collets (and loctite)
Old 08-07-2007, 08:50 AM
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Default RE: Truth is stranger than fiction in model airplanes

and more recently, the grass had just been cut at our field but the stupid tractor had been driving across our runway and it left tyre marks all over the runway, i started the MDS and it bounced off down the runway, i flew a few circuits and landed, i came in a bit hot and whilst rolling out the U/C snagged on a pile of mown grass, it flipped the little plane over and snapped the vertical stabiliser off, i got home and put some epoxy on it, reinforced with tri-stock and made sure everything was straight, the next day i went out and flew it again, this time no crashes :P

yep... that old Yamamoto has been through a fair bit...

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