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Learn from my mistake

Old 12-08-2007, 04:45 PM
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Default Learn from my mistake

Did I really do this? Don't I know better after spending my entire life flying model planes?

Today I tried to fly my 18 year old Balsa USA 1/4 scale EAA Biplane. It hasn't been flown in a long time but a little time with the heat gun, new batteries and a complete check of all systems had it ready to go.

I made a few flights on my Dirty Birdy, fueled up the Bipe, performed a range check, tested the batteries and got the 1.08 purring. It taxied fine, the take off run was straight and true, take off was gentle, then it quickly rolled inverted and smashed into the runway. A total loss.

After gathering the parts and hooking everything back up I found what everybody at the field knew as soon as the plane was airborne, the ailerons were reversed.

Here's the thing. The controls were correct when I was working on it, the transmitter has never been programmed for any other plane. It's got many flights on it. The controls HAD to be correct!

But last night I went into program mode on the 7UAP to touch up the dual rates. No big deal, right? Well, I obviously got it twisted around in the programming.

I've built planes since the early 60's and flown RC since the mid 70's. This is a first for me, I always check the throws every day and I've never had a crash due to a reversed control. But today I slipped and it bit me.

The lesson here is the same thing we tell every newbie, preflight your airplane every day! Check the controls every time you fly and double check them every time you exit program mode.

Dave
Old 12-09-2007, 09:00 AM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Sorry to hear about your plane. Thanks for the reminder.
Old 12-09-2007, 03:57 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I almost did the same thing on my revolver a couple weeks ago. I intended to changed something in the transmitter on a different plane. problem is, I was looking at the Revolver settings and didn't realize it. Luckily I remembered to check the movement of each surface before takeoff.
Old 12-09-2007, 06:07 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Really sorry to hear about your plane. Thanks for taking the time to share the lesson with us.

Frank
Plainfield, IL
Old 12-10-2007, 04:57 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I forgot to do this once but managed to do the control surface preflight - as the trainer was lumbering down the takeoff runway!

Another instance I did do the preflight only to find I had plugged the battery into the aileron channel on my receiver - I had NO ailerons. Caught that before we fired up the engine.

Yup, check EVERY time. Just like checking your RX pack voltage before every flight.
Old 12-10-2007, 05:17 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I have crashed three models due to ailerons being reversed. Usually, it had to do with changing transmitters or working on the plane. I had my son on the buddy box with a Telemaster, teaching him to fly. He took off and got the plane on downwind and then said "Hey! Something's not right. I think the ailerons are backwards!" I said "Can't be", but he insisted. So I took control of the plane, and he was right. My reversing switches were on the front of my radio, so I flew the plane and had him flick the channel 1 switch so I could land. I still can't believe he didn't roll over on takeoff like I have done too many times myself.
Old 12-10-2007, 08:09 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Given that our field has a fairly long taxi to the runway (about 150+ ft) I have made a habit of checking and rechecking my control surfaces on the way out and once again as i pull onto the runway. I remember when I was learning to fly a few years back my teacher said "Always check your surfaces as you pull onto the runway, I had and elevator servo fail on my taxi out once." Ever since then, it has been a great habit to check functionality and direction of surfaces multiple times before EVERY flight, not just the first one of the day.

I feel your pain in losing a nice plane, but the bright side is that the lesson has been learned for the planes of the future.
Old 12-18-2007, 10:28 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Ouch, but thanks. I remember helping a buddy at a SSC meet and we launched a combat plane twice with reversed ailerons...Heet of battle kind of thing
Old 12-18-2007, 11:09 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I make a habit of setting the plane down to taxi out, but before I raise the throttle, I give each control a final look to make sure everything goes the right way.

I still got bit a few months back when i hand-launched a little electric with the Tx programmed for my OTHER little electric. Since it was hand-launched, I never got to that "Set it down to taxi out" part, so I missed doing the check! [:@]
Old 12-19-2007, 08:55 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

i have always done a preflight control surface check, but with ailerons i find it easier to lean right or left as i move the stick, it helps me visualize the aileron rolling the plane down on the side i'm leaning to.
Old 12-20-2007, 09:39 AM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I have had the same thing happen to me. It happened after working on the plane and had it up side down when I looked. Got into the problem after take off and was able to fly the rudder to a grass landing. The other time it happened was with a new member. The plane was used but I knew it had been flown earlier in the week. It was getting dark and had several problems getting it started, so i rushed the plane to get it in the air for him. And sure enough he had changed the ailerons at home. This one didn't make it. Because it was my fault and I didn't check I bought him a new plane.
Now every first flight of the day I look at every flight control and say out load so I can hear my self. Lt. aileron up Rt. down, Elevator up, down and rudder Lt. Rt. while i look at each one. Dennis
Old 12-21-2007, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I usually catch any reversed controls during my pre-flight. Even when I'm about to test fly or watch someone (especailly a student)getting ready for their first flight of the day, I end up saying as they cycle the controls (looking from the rear) Right is right, left is left, up is up and down is down, Faster to do this than to say or write it. I've only had reversed ailerons once, and that was enough.
Old 12-21-2007, 03:59 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

upsky/downsky (elev), rightsky/leftsky (ail), rightsky/leftsky (rud), upsky/downsky (flaps), fastsky/slowsky.

5 seconds, 5 channels checked. Do it after assembly before engine start, then at the beginning of taxi, then after taxi before takeoff. 15 seconds total, no totaled plane.
Old 12-21-2007, 05:22 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Yes, I do preflight checks. But sometimes something gets past you. Every one has made flights with a less than complete preflight for whatever reason. Mistakes will always be made and steps will occasionally be overlooked.

So the real lesson here is about redundancy. In addition to checking the controls before flying, I now check them every time I exit program mode on the transmitter in case a mistake is made during programming.

Sure, I missed a standard safety check and yes it cost me a plane. But if I had checked the controls after changing the dual rates it would provided a redundant check that could have saved a plane on the rare occasion when I flub a preflight.

Dave
Old 12-21-2007, 11:13 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Hmm, I didn't say that real well.... I'm sure you do do preflights, no doubt in my mind. I haven't made that mistake yet, but there is one I make regularly... Hasn't bit me yet, but when checking controls, sometimes I think myself to death and convince myself momentarily that a control is reversed. Usually ailerons. The ground version of a dumb thumb, a moment's incorrect assumption. Usually when I'm in front of the plane. That's why I now recheck on the taxiway, I'm always behind the aircraft at that point, and the brain is presented with a simpler job...

Yup, computer radios make an accidental program change easy. I just finished setting up a plane on an old futaba 7uap, a computer radio from the late '80's. Strangely, it has only one model program available, and there's no "clear" function. The previous owner had programmed all manner of strange mixes, and between the crappy manual and extensive programming, and 3 separate dual rate switches, I had a lot of trouble clearing things up. Took a week to discover the incorrect expo setting on ailerons low rates. Positive expo isn't what one wants on low rate.....

I'm sure I'm gonna make a dumb mistake on preflight one day, and I'm gonna feel just as disappointed as I'm sure you did when my model goes down. My sincerest sympathies, Dave.

On the bright side, Christmas is near (did I, a grinch if ever there was just call Christmas bright????), and maybe there's a new airframe in it for you!

Good luck!

J
Old 12-22-2007, 09:21 AM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

No prob. Just seemed that this had turned into a thread on how quick and easy it is to check the controls during preflight. The real point isn't the preflight, anybody can overlook something in a moment of inattention. The real point is that when you go into program mode you raise the possibility of changing something you didn't intend to. Combine that with a moment of inattention during a preflight and you've got a disaster waiting to happen.

That's why I now double check everything when I exit programming mode. That's the lesson I took away from this crash.

If you fly models, you will lose airplanes. It's not something that bothers me. What bothers me is when I don't know the root cause of a crash and can't learn something to improve my safety record.

Dave
Old 12-22-2007, 08:47 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

actually I must disagree a bit.A complete and thorough pre-flite should have caught the problem on the ground.you stated yourself an inattentive pre-flight.I check control movement before taxing and again before take off.this once saved my plane back in 1971 when a cell in the rx pack developed a short.the control surfaces would move but would not return to neutral.sent the radio in to kraft for service and it was the rx pack.eveything was ok at home after charging overnite but after a 40 minute ride to the field it showed up just before the first flight.
Old 12-23-2007, 09:05 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

Dude, I'm not saying a complete preflight wouldn't have saved the plane. What I am saying is that nobody is infallible and that eventually you will miss a step. I don't think you can disagree with this. And I'm offering a thought that will add an additional level of safety.

If you agree that it's possible for someone who always performs the best preflight to omit a step, even once, then anything that catches a possible error earlier only improves the safety margin.

Yes, I missed a step in a preflight and it bit me. And yes a better preflight would have saved the plane. But the root cause of the crash was the inadvertantly reversal of the control while in program mode, not having blown the preflight.

I always try to learn from something like this and the lesson can't be to be perfect and never make mistakes. So the lesson that I took away from it was that an additional preflight check after every program mode operation can increase the odds of catching errors before that off day when I make a mistake at the field. And in my book, anything that I can do to save a plane and increase field safety is a good thing.

Dave
Old 01-12-2008, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

HI
VERY SORRY YOU HAVE LOST A NICE PLANE

I VERY NEARLY DID THE SAME THING 2 WEEKS AGO
HERE IN SPAIN.

COMP. TRANSMITTERS ARE GOOD ,BUT YOU HAVE TO
CHECK TWICE THAT YOU GOT IT CORRECT

ALL THE BEST /////////// JOHN ///////////////[]
Old 05-21-2008, 10:42 AM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

IT ABSOLUTELY SUCKS TO HAVE TO LEARN THE SAME THING OVER !!! Sorry about that, I've done it too. I preflight now with the engine off, engine on and then on the way to the runway.....my Extra 230 broke one of the elevator horns on final inspection/preflight while ON the runway.........Larry
Old 05-31-2008, 09:04 PM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake

I've never lost a plane that way, but I made another mistake that nearly
cost me a model. I scored a good used sport plane with radio r.t.f. I did
the range check, cycled the controls, tuned the engine, all O.K. Upon
take off, the plane rotated full vertical, than rolled over inverted. I just
got it leveled when it went in hard into the tall grass. Lesson here?
Always check the cg on a used plane! Don't take the sellers' word for
it! Luckily, that one only cost me a prop, and a couple hours of repairs!
Old 06-01-2008, 01:06 AM
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Default RE: Learn from my mistake


ORIGINAL: dbacque

Did I really do this? Don't I know better after spending my entire life flying model planes?

Today I tried to fly my 18 year old Balsa USA 1/4 scale EAA Biplane. It hasn't been flown in a long time but a little time with the heat gun, new batteries and a complete check of all systems had it ready to go.

I made a few flights on my Dirty Birdy, fueled up the Bipe, performed a range check, tested the batteries and got the 1.08 purring. It taxied fine, the take off run was straight and true, take off was gentle, then it quickly rolled inverted and smashed into the runway. A total loss.

After gathering the parts and hooking everything back up I found what everybody at the field knew as soon as the plane was airborne, the ailerons were reversed.

Here's the thing. The controls were correct when I was working on it, the transmitter has never been programmed for any other plane. It's got many flights on it. The controls HAD to be correct!

But last night I went into program mode on the 7UAP to touch up the dual rates. No big deal, right? Well, I obviously got it twisted around in the programming.

I've built planes since the early 60's and flown RC since the mid 70's. This is a first for me, I always check the throws every day and I've never had a crash due to a reversed control. But today I slipped and it bit me.

The lesson here is the same thing we tell every newbie, preflight your airplane every day! Check the controls every time you fly and double check them every time you exit program mode.

Dave

same thing happened to me today http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_7564556/tm.htm

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