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View Full Version : I've been flying warbirds for years -- finally got shot down!


Lieutenant Loughead
03-12-2008, 05:22 AM
Okay -- here's my story:

About a year ago, I built a flat foamy (6mm Depron) Zero. She flew GREAT, and I enjoyed 200 flights before I retired her... I moved the motor, ESC, and receiver to a new flat foamy (6mm Depron) P-38...

Then, Hobby Lobby had a sale on their 400XT motors, so I decided to get the Zero back in the air -- after all, she was such a great flying airplane!

So, I put another 5 flights (or so) on her over the last few days... I'd forgotten how great she flys...

Fast forward to tonight... My son had a boy scout meeting at the local grade school (he was "graduating" to Webelo -- I'm so proud), and I took the opportunity to try to fly the Zero in the school gymnasium...

The first flight was very short -- she didn't seem to want to move forward. She landed on the basketball court (oops) left wingtip and prop adapter at just about the same time. Nothing broken -- cool.

The second flight was longer -- I walked to the far end of the basketball court, thinking I can use the length of the room to gain a little speed. I added a bit more throttle this time, and she REALLY took off fast -- suddenly the room seemed VERY small. She also seemed to have some sort of strange up/down flutter -- she was not in the air long enough to determine the cause. I put her down easy on the far end of the basket ball court.

The third flight was about as long as the second flight, but went corner to corner (slightly longer). I put her down pretty gently, just before she would have hit the cinderblock wall.

Okay -- that didn't work... So, outside we go! :cool:

So, now I'm outside, in front of the school. I launch, and notice the same up/down flutter. What the heck? 205 flights, and I've never seen this... I turned downwind, and she seemed to be under control.

I turned back into the wind, and she was stable for about 2 seconds, then shot up at a 45 degree angle... Then something happened... I was so shocked, I didn't believe my eyes... The wing separated from the fuselage, and the wind blew it one way, while the fuselage traveled into the wind (in the opposite direction).

Somehow there was a dead silence -- I'm not sure how the absence of a wing makes the motor quiet. Perhaps I cut the throttle -- I normally do, when a crash is imminent. I'm sure my jaw was on my shoes...

The fuselage continued in a really nice, graceful arc, hitting the school's front lawn at a 45 degree angle -- STICKING IN THE GROUND at that same 45 degree angle.

I looked back at the wing, still tumbleing in the wind -- it impacted the concrete parking lot, folding the right aileron (wing tip) back a little. Honestly, it didn't look like it was falling that quickly to do that much damage...

I retrievd the lawn dart -- the GWP prop had sheered off the rather long prop adapter (from Hobby City, China). I increased throttle, and the motor responded perfectly -- not even a bent prop adapter! :eek:

Post crash inspection revealed a crack in the Depron wing, at the aft wing root. The crack was allowing the trailing edge of the wing to move up and down -- which caused that flutter I was seeing. The crack was probably caused by that first hard landing on the gym's hard floor.

I laughed all the way back to the car. I laughed all the way back to my seat at the cub scout meeting. I told my wife -- she didn't think it was remotely funny. I told her friend -- she didn't get it either. I told another DAD at the meeting (and handed him two pieces of the prop) -- I finally got the belly laugh I was looking for.

On the way home, I actually saw someone else flying a foamy, so I stopped, introduced myself, and told him my story. He laughed pretty hard too. I probably have a new lifetime friend. :)

Honestly, if this airplane didn't already have 200 flights on her, and had previously been retired, (or if electronics or battery were damaged) I probably wouldn't have thought it was funny at all.

Now I know what it's like to get shot down in a dogfight! :cool: :D

gfdengine204
03-12-2008, 03:21 PM
Guess I'm not gonna buy THAT one then.....

Congrats on your son's promotion! That's awesome!

Grasshopper
03-12-2008, 03:22 PM
Sorry to hear that LL. At least yours got shot down after it was in the air and not on the ground.:D

Congrats to your son. I remember being in Webelos. I didn't know it still existed.

gfdengine204
03-12-2008, 03:27 PM
They had Scouting back then, Tom? Did you do things on the wagon train? :Q

Guy, the LEAST you coulda done was take a picture of it sticking in the ground.....now THAT woulda made me laugh....;)

Grasshopper
03-12-2008, 03:28 PM
They had Scouting back then, Tom? Did you do things on the wagon train? :Q

Guy, the LEAST you coulda done was take a picture of it sticking in the ground.....now THAT woulda made me laugh....;)


Fine Kev. Keep it up buddy! Yours is coming.:D

gfdengine204
03-12-2008, 03:30 PM
Fine Kev. Keep it up buddy! Yours is coming.:D

No, I got that yesterday. (My wife wanted to know what that "stuff" was in the box on the counter....LOL)

Lieutenant Loughead
03-12-2008, 09:10 PM
Guess I'm not gonna buy THAT one then.....Gheez, Kev... That airplane had 204 flights on it! It smacked into a soccer goal early in it's life, and continued to fly.

The wing joint failure was OBVIOUSLY due to lack of maintenance -- CLEARLY not a design flaw... :D

Congrats on your son's promotion! That's awesome!Yeah, I never made it past Bobcat. I really am proud of him. Did I mention he's a soccer stud as well? :) (He's the #1 defensive player on the team -- he's usually "in" for the entire game.) I was never that atheletic... ...much more of a typical "geek" who flys model airplanes and model rockets... :rolleyes:

Sorry to hear that LL. At least yours got shot down after it was in the air and not on the ground.:DNo kidding -- it was soooo awesome to see; it was absolutely 100% worth taking her out of a boring retirement for a chance to go out in a blaze of glory! :D

Guy, the LEAST you coulda done was take a picture of it sticking in the ground.....now THAT woulda made me laugh....;)Funny thing you should mention that. I DID have a camera, but it was in the school cafeteria, with my wife, waiting for the boy scout ceremony to start. I thought about running in to get it, but was afraid someone would steal the airplane sticking out of the ground, before I could return...

Alas, I was flying alone... :(

By the way, I fully expect this Zero to fly again. The damage really isn't that bad. A little hot glue and a new prop, and I'll bet she flys again tonight! :cool:

So, Kev -- how many can I sign you up for? :D

Old Fart
03-12-2008, 09:14 PM
They had Scouting back then, Tom? Did you do things on the wagon train? :Q

;)

Back in the day when Tom and I were Scouts, the Pioneering merit badge only had one requirement

"Avoid being scalped"

Lieutenant Loughead
03-12-2008, 09:19 PM
Back in the day when Tom and I were Scouts, the Pioneering merit badge only had one requirement

"Avoid being scalped"What about "don't catch pnemonia"?

Old Fart
03-12-2008, 09:29 PM
That was part of the Medical merit badge :)

gfdengine204
03-12-2008, 11:21 PM
Gee Guy if you are offering to cut one for me, well how could I resist.....?

I made it thru cub scouts, the webelos, and finally to boy scouts. But I left after Tenderfoot.....our troop had some "leadership issues" and it was best I left.....(read: the leader was a bully. wasn't a fun time)

Grasshopper
03-13-2008, 01:34 AM
Gee Guy if you are offering to cut one for me, well how could I resist.....?

I made it thru cub scouts, the webelos, and finally to boy scouts. But I left after Tenderfoot.....our troop had some "leadership issues" and it was best I left.....(read: the leader was a bully. wasn't a fun time)

Just because he made fun of your pink scarf doesn't mean he was a bully.:p

Lieutenant Loughead
03-13-2008, 02:58 AM
Tom -- the scout master was probably really interested in Kev's pink underwear... :rolleyes:

Hey -- my son's soccer team beat their bitter rivals tonight -- 5 to 2. :D

My son played 100% of the game, and (as the key defensive player), kept the rival team's score at 0 at halftime, and 2 at the end of the game. :D

gfdengine204
03-13-2008, 03:33 AM
Just because he made fun of your pink scarf doesn't mean he was a bully.:p

It was a winter scarf......just to clarify.

ministeve2003
03-13-2008, 03:59 AM
Focke wulf 1, Slowstick 0 after a midair this weekend...

my focke wulf ripped the slowstick in half, and bairly got a scratch....lol

I also kept it in the air for about 20 minutes afterwards...

SK

Rabbitcreekok
03-13-2008, 06:12 AM
They had Scouting back then, Tom? Did you do things on the wagon train? :Q

Guy, the LEAST you coulda done was take a picture of it sticking in the ground.....now THAT woulda made me laugh....;)

Kev, watch the remarks about old folks since I am older than most.:Q
My dad actually moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma in a wagon. Tom may have been the guide.:eek:

I agree that Guy could have taken photos. I never have actually seen a lawn darted plane, just heard about them.:tc:

Lieutenant Loughead
03-13-2008, 02:17 PM
Well, you guys are in luck! I have the airplane in my car (still not fixed), and a camera...

I'm heading to the school for a presentation this morning. While I'm there, I'm going to "recreate" the lawn dart, and take a photo.

I will post the photo later this morning. :D

gfdengine204
03-13-2008, 02:50 PM
Kev, watch the remarks about old folks since I am older than most.:Q
My dad actually moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma in a wagon. Tom may have been the guide.:eek:

I agree that Guy could have taken photos. I never have actually seen a lawn darted plane, just heard about them.:tc:


Jim Jim Jim......haven't you ever noticed I don't pick on you?

I hold you in the UTMOST of respect.....kinda like a favorite grandpa. ;)

Grasshopper
03-13-2008, 03:09 PM
I wasn't the guide. I had to follow behind the horses cleaning up. Kind of like flying with Kev.:eek:

Lieutenant Loughead
03-13-2008, 03:55 PM
Alas, I could not get the prop adapter to stick in the ground! No picture. Sorry. :o :(

gfdengine204
03-13-2008, 05:00 PM
I wasn't the guide. I had to follow behind the horses cleaning up. Kind of like flying with Kev.:eek:

You NEVER had to clean up after me.....


I cleaned up my OWN mess, thank you.