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adhoc
08-18-2006, 06:41 PM
"Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground."
-- James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"

INTRO

This is admittedly long-winded. It is also just one point of view, based on my limited personal experience. I invite discussion and constructive criticism. I definitely want to hear other views on the topic. Let's talk about that side of RC flying that we usually try not to dwell on... crashing.


CRASHES ARE BAD


Crashes are bad, right? Definitely something to avoid. This seems completely obvious at first.

As beginners we strive to get our planes up into and around the air without crashing. Some of us crash a lot at first, and it usually means failure of one kind or another. When we stop crashing, we feel a great sense of achievement.

As builders we maiden our new planes with a pounding heart, hoping all our work won't be dashed to pieces on the ground.

As intermediate and advanced pilots we push ourselves and our planes to go faster, go higher, do more and more challenging feats, all without crashing.

At the very least, crashing is an inconvenience -- it means an abrupt end to flying, at least in the short term, with that plane. (Of course I'm talking about serious crashes here, not minor crashes that can be fixed at the field.)

Crashing is disappointing, sometimes intensely so. If you had an audience, crashing can be embarrassing. Crashing is disaster! Crashing is failure...

BUT... Is the avoidance of crashing necessarily success?


FEAR OF CRASHING


I submit that if fear of crashing is what dominates your feelings while flying, then you aren't enjoying flying as much as you could.

I think worry and fear of crashing can loom too large in the mind, especially if you have NOT experienced it much. I think the milder, meeker flyers among us can fall into the trap of learning to fly well enough to avoid crashing, and then stop pushing and growing, and get stuck in a rut.

I know this has happened to me.

We each do RC flying for different reasons and goals. My main goal in flying is just to have relaxing fun. I'm not very interested in acrobatics, or in pushing myself and my plane in general. I enjoy just cruising around the sky in big laps, occasionally changing it up to a lazy figure 8. Very occasionally I'll do a loop. I also dabble in AP.

I mentioned "intermediate and advanced pilots" above, but perhaps I have no business even talking about them. I've been kidding myself that since I know how to fly now, own three planes, and have been flying them for months without crashing, that I'm an intermediate flyer. But now I realize that I'm NOT growing at all, not pushing myself. I've been playing it safe. I'm a comfortable, conservative, advanced beginner. I've stagnated.


LIVING THROUGH A CRASH


Only recently have I had a major crash (unfortunately, two the same morning), and they turned out to be structural and flight surface failures. As Han Solo kept repeating in "The Empire Strikes Back," "It's not my fault!"

But a major surprise about my first major crashes was that it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.

Sure, there was the feeling of disappointment, and a little embarrassment. There was also some puzzlement, as I didn't see them coming at all, wasn't even doing anything difficult. But it was NOT a disaster. Nobody got hurt, no property got damaged. My ego got bruised a bit, but it healed...

My planes were NOT reduced to a pile of foam and electronics. Sure, they were damaged, and a damaged plane (especially a foamy) just looks so pitiful. It is difficult psychologically not to view that plane as DAMAGED, to mentally write it off...

But a little time, glue, and care brings them back surprisingly well. I've already repaired and flown one, and I have no doubts that the other one will fly again soon...


LEARNING TO TAKE RISKS


This morning I flew my Funny Park, and it was not handling well. It has not faired well through my recent move, and had a lot of broken and cracked spots, especially at hinges and control horns on the control surfaces. Over the last week I've tried to get it fixed back up, but when I tossed it in the air this morning, it was not behaving very well at all. You know how we talk about some good planes "want to fly"? Well, it is almost as if my Funny did NOT "want to fly."

Here I had a somewhat flakey plane, and I'm having to work a bit to keep it in the air, and I'm already debating in my mind how much trouble I want to go to with this plane, and even flirting with the idea of just crashing it and being done with it! Of course I couldn't bring myself to actually intentionally crash my Funny. But I did realize that I've never done a roll with any RC plane yet. And I've never even looped my Funny Park! I've looped my Easy Star many times successfully.

So I thought, "What the hell?! It is now or never..." I worked the Funny up to what I thought was three mistakes high, although I should have gone even higher. Nosed it over, and it made for the ground at an alarming rate (one of its many problems was that I was having to hold up elevator, even after adjusting the linkage and trimming the radio). About 50 feet from the ground I pulled it up into a loop, but it was a sloppy, lopsided loop: it was in a slight bank, which in retrospect was a mistake, I should have aborted and straighted it out and tried again. While it might have technically completed a loop, it came out of it at a really bad angle and way too close to the ground, and I lost it and it crashed.

Actually, the crash was not too bad; the tail section broke, and some of the control surface hinges are loose (again), but otherwise not too bad. Probably repairable.

The key thing is that I did NOT feel bad about this. I felt good about at least trying something new and challenging, instead of babying the plane (and myself). Usually when I leave the park, I have a minor good feeling about enjoying flying and coming away with my planes intact. This time, I left the park with a broken plane, but a bigger good feeling about having enjoying the flying while it lasted, and having learned a couple of things, and having pushed myself a little, having grown a bit. That fear of crashing was put in perspective. Crashing is not the end of the world.


DON'T BE AFRAID


Next time I fly, I won't feel quite so constrained by what I'm afraid to try, or what I think I can't do. I don't want to be afraid -- I want to enjoy my flying without fear or worry. So I need to accept the risk of crashing, and balance my fears and worries with a sense of excitement and just pushing, trying, growing, living...

Sometimes crashing is okay. If we're going to learn from "trial-and-error," we have to risk the error part. And if you NEVER crash, maybe you aren't pushing yourself hard enough... At least, that's how I think it works for me...

I suspect that some of you, perhaps many of you, already understand all this. Certainly the more adventurous of you have jumped into the breach and pushed yourselves and your planes and crashed, and it doesn't bother you. Hey, its just a hobby, the planes are just wood and plastic and metal and foam, in most cases it is just a moderate amount of money and time to repair or replace, what's the big deal? We aren't flying real planes, we're flying MODELS! Live well, play hard, everybody dies in the end...

But for some of us it doesn't come naturally, and the fear of crashing shapes our flying habits too much. Here's hoping some of you will find the courage to push ahead and take a little risk and grow and enjoy flying that much more!

Andy

jb48
08-19-2006, 02:49 PM
Hi Andy
I share your feelings about crashing but in a somewhat different way. Me too, at first, I was quite afraid of crashing, sometime up to the point of going to the rc field and once there I just looked at other fliers do their thing, without flying myself because of too much wind, too many spectators, bad feelings, could better use my free time to work aroud the house, bad alignment of planets...anything to justify not flying when in fact it was pure fear of crashing. And I crashed and seriously damaged a Slo-V and an Hobbico Superstar.
Then one day I got a Multiplex Easy Star. After a few more crashes, I finally ended my flights on beautiful landings, constantly. That gave me the confidence to persist in this demanding hobby.
One day, I was alone on the field and an old flier came. We discussed and he convinced me that crashing is a normal learning path. He had the same conclusion than your`s about not pushing your ability in order to be sure to avoid crashes.
Since my taste is really oriented in aerobatics, I now fly high and works hard to make nice loops, stall turns, slow rolls, snap rolls, spins and you cannot imagine how much confidence building (and ability gaining) it is.
I no more fear crashes (and I still do one from time to time), I enjoy flying, I no more bother about spectators comments...I HAVE FUN.
I even cut the wingtips of my EasyStar, fitted with ailerons and full rudder mods and routinely do wild figures for an EasyStar, convinced that I don`t have to wait being an expert pilot for each and every basic step (perfect take off or hand launching, perfect turns, perfect landings) before cautiously trying more challenging.
Well, to make a long story short, six months ago my good landings were pure luck... and now I wait for that Multiplex Acromaster to become available in mid-September. I know I will crash it a few times, hoping for minor damage, but I also know that I will become a more proficient pilot in the process.

Jean

adhoc
08-21-2006, 07:56 PM
Thanks for the great thoughts, Jean! I too found success with an Easy Star, and have also modded mine... Sounds like you've grown far beyond me, but you inspire me to keep pushing and try more aerobatics... :)

As I flew this last weekend, I reflected an another fear I still carry, related to but distinct from crashing: losing my plane. In some ways this would be far worse than just crashing, because of the uncertainty... I wouldn't know what condition my plane was in, and there would always be the hope that I, or someone, would find it...

A few months ago a high schooler lost his plane in our neighborhood. I didn't see it, but his father was walking around, peeking into back yards, knocking on doors, etc. The next day he took flyers around asking people to call if they found a lost RC plane. The kid had earned it as a reward for working hard at school. I even tried to find it using AP, no luck. Sad...

Doppelganger
08-21-2006, 08:46 PM
This is a great thread. Very good reading here.
I fly purely for the adrenalin. I've crashed more times than I care to admit. But, I crashed pushing the envelope, and trying new and difficult things. However, I'm still afraid of crashing. But the important thing is, I'm not hindered by my fear. If my knees aren't shaking, I'm not having fun. Well, I am, but it's more fun when they shake.:D Sometimes people ask me where and how did I learn to fly like that in such a short time. I tell them I learned to fly with a group of maniacs in Ewa Beach Hawaii. A guy named Crazy Larry taught me the basics.

From there I watched and learned from the many good, and some great pilots in that club. They constantly pushed the envelope. They crashed, built more and crashed some more. But they never ever stopped flying hard. I wanted to be like them. I accept crashes as part of the hobby. There are people that say it isn't, but I beg to differ. My fear of crashing, together with my need to push myself gives me a rush I would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Adrenalin, thats why I fly.

Steve

LannyG
08-22-2006, 04:08 PM
Good thoughts. I have recently been thinking about the same things. A number of guys around here saw my ES, and TSII and started flying ES's. I realized that although I've been having a great time flying that perhaps I've been a bit tooooo conservative in my flight habits. One guy went through 3 ESs in 2 months. And you can imagine how many crashes it took to finally trash each one. Lots! But he's getting really good really fast because he's not shy about trying stuff. And then he got the TSII and didn't have any of that fear about ailerons that so many people have. "Its basically the same as the rudder, just more precise, right?"
Yeah, that's true...... So he just took it up and flew it. Didn't worry about ailerons being "different". And it worked! In a week he went out and bought a Mini Ultrastick P-N-P and although it was a bit over his head, he flew it with only the loss of the landing gear. So he just picked it up, tossed it back into the air and flew it with out gear through 2 batteries.
The point is that watching all this made me a little more brave in how I flew my Superfly, TwinstarII, and MUS. I found I could fly a lot better than I imagined. Before I would plan hard and then do ONE roll. Fly around for awhile and do ONE outside loop and then land. Or I would fly inverted for just one length of the field. Now I find I can fly all over inverted. Do Cuban 8's etc.. I thought my ES could only hold inverted for a few seconds. I just wasn't giving it a chance. It will fly all over the sky inverted. Cool!
I figured the Superfly was waaay too much for me. Turns out it was EASY. You gotta FLY it, not just watch it fly but it was no trouble at all. You gotta be thinking throttle, but if you can zip around with an easy star you can fly a Superfly. Mini Ultrastick too! Just Do it. (Gee, maybe I can sell that to the Nike shoe people?...)
Thanks for the thoughts guys. You helped me alot!
LannyG

adhoc
08-22-2006, 04:18 PM
Good thoughts. I have recently been thinking about the same things. A number of guys around here saw my ES, and TSII and started flying ES's. I realized that although I've been having a great time flying that perhaps I've been a bit tooooo conservative in my flight habits. One guy went through 3 ESs in 2 months. And you can imagine how many crashes it took to finally trash each one. Lots! But he's getting really good really fast because he's not shy about trying stuff. And then he got the TSII and didn't have any of that fear about ailerons that so many people have. "Its basically the same as the rudder, just more precise, right?"
Yeah, that's true...... So he just took it up and flew it. Didn't worry about ailerons being "different". And it worked! In a week he went out and bought a Mini Ultrastick P-N-P and although it was a bit over his head, he flew it with only the loss of the landing gear. So he just picked it up, tossed it back into the air and flew it with out gear through 2 batteries.
The point is that watching all this made me a little more brave in how I flew my Superfly, TwinstarII, and MUS. I found I could fly a lot better than I imagined. Before I would plan hard and then do ONE roll. Fly around for awhile and do ONE outside loop and then land. Or I would fly inverted for just one length of the field. Now I find I can fly all over inverted. Do Cuban 8's etc.. I thought my ES could only hold inverted for a few seconds. I just wasn't giving it a chance. It will fly all over the sky inverted. Cool!
I figured the Superfly was waaay too much for me. Turns out it was EASY. You gotta FLY it, not just watch it fly but it was no trouble at all. You gotta be thinking throttle, but if you can zip around with an easy star you can fly a Superfly. Mini Ultrastick too! Just Do it. (Gee, maybe I can sell that to the Nike shoe people?...)
Thanks for the thoughts guys. You helped me alot!
LannyGCool, yet more inspiration to push ourselves!

It is interesting to me that you and I both own Easy Stars and Twin Star IIs, and that I've seriously considered both the Superfly and the MUS. I'm now encouraged to get them... (eventually, I just bought a new plane and I'm trying to keep to a budget)

Thanks Lanny!

Old Toad
08-22-2006, 05:49 PM
As I've heard others say-- Crashing is Never a question of if - But only a question of When!
I've gotten so I look forward to my first crash on a new plane because once it is scarred the pressure to not crash is gone. Then you can get down to some serious flying.
Push yourself and you will get better
Push your airplane - If it fails - build a better one.
Building and flying is fun fun fun - Best Hobby Ever!!:)

Crash Test Dummy
08-22-2006, 08:06 PM
I have been flying for 3 years now. I like to do silly stuff close to terra firma so sometimes I'm truly a Crash Test Dummy. But if you don't push your self you'll never get better. I just crashed my MUS a couple of weeks ago doing some fun stuff down low and I was upset but thats the way it go's. If you are thinking of getting a MUS....go for it!!!! It is one of my favorite planes with a E-Flight 490/1020 KV motor. It's such a well mannerd plane, it will make a good 2nd or 3rd plane, but it is not a trainer.

Someone once told me........airplanes know how to fly better than we do, all we are doing is making small corrections to it's flight path to keep it in the air. Many times people try to over control their planes and thats usually when the trouble starts.

CTD

LannyG
08-22-2006, 08:55 PM
CTD is right. If a plane is trimmed ok then we have to screw it up to make it crash.
I think anyone who can fly an Easy Star without getting mixed up can fly a Superfly or MUS. Just USE the throttle. On an ES you can just leave it alone and fly around. On the MUS or SF you can fly around at low throtte but you must be ready to CHOP the throttle or HIT the throttle. If you are confused and going to crash you better get OFF the throttle. Conversely, both the SF and MUS have enough power to save you if you can get the nose up and ON the throttle. And the SF is terribly easy to land. It comes right down and you just pull the nose up and it just plops on the ground. The MUS you need to grease it in.
ADHOC...you can fly either one. The SF is hard to break but the MUS is spectacular. Good to have both. The plug an play MUS makes it SOOOOO easy to get in the air.
Take a chance!!
LannyG

vax6335
08-22-2006, 09:18 PM
Only thing I don't like about crashing, is like you said, the fun stops NOW!
I don't like sitting around at the field with nothing to fly.

firemanbill
08-22-2006, 10:25 PM
Only thing I don't like about crashing, is like you said, the fun stops NOW!
I don't like sitting around at the field with nothing to fly.

Precisley why I take more than one plane with me when I go to fly...:o

miljnor
08-22-2006, 11:50 PM
I crash all too frequently but I haven't really flown in 20years until recentely and have been back at it again for about 6months.

I like the your sage wisdom but unlike you I have always had the attitude that if it crashes I just get to build another or fix it again. So maybe I need a little more fear in me when I fly as I am always a little too willing to see how close I can get a plane to obsticals in my flight path! :D

Crashes only depress me when it happens over and over on the same dang plane. As with a pusher jet that I have rebuilt several times. Everyone tells me Its a little addvanced for my skill level but its my money so I am still going at it!

Doppelganger
08-23-2006, 12:54 AM
Funny this thread just so happens when I find myself in a flying conundrum. Once again I've found myself afraid to push the envelope. One of the members of my flying club was doing some really nice aerobatics with a scratch built Cub. Yup, you heard it right. anyway, I found that I just could not bring myself to try the maneuvers. First thing that came to mind at that very moment was this thread. I have to try to locate my nads and get with the program!;)

Steve

adhoc
08-23-2006, 02:31 AM
Funny this thread just so happens when I find myself in a flying conundrum. Once again I've found myself afraid to push the envelope. One of the members of my flying club was doing some really nice aerobatics with a scratch built Cub. Yup, you heard it right. anyway, I found that I just could not bring myself to try the maneuvers. First thing that came to mind at that very moment was this thread. I have to try to locate my nads and get with the program!;)

SteveJust remember Crazy Larry! I propose we call it that when someone hesitates due to fear or uncertainty, and then pushes through it to try something new, different, hard, etc. Doesn't matter if you succeed or not, crash or not... Do a Crazy Larry! :eek: :D

p.s. Does Larry read WattFlyer? Do you think he'd mind? :)

Doppelganger
08-23-2006, 03:50 AM
Haha! I like it! I plan on flying tomorrow. So I'm pretty sure I'll pull a Crazy Larry! :eek: He won't mind. But I don't think he reads this forum.

Steve

LannyG
08-23-2006, 04:17 PM
I just had a great time flying the MUS. Practiced the stuff I got brave enough to do last time but my natural inclination to play it careful got me again. Next time....LOW inverted pass down the parking lot.
How did you guys do on your Crazy Larry adventures?
LannyG

adhoc
08-25-2006, 03:44 PM
I Crazy Larry'd this morning with my new Space Scooter. This was my third time out with this plane; the first two I took it easy, getting a feel for the plane. Well, it flies very well, and is light and agile. If there was any plane ideal for me to start pushing with, it was this one. (Part of why I got it; the other part is that it is made of Elapor, which I love...)

Nice calm morning at the park. Fog near the ground, but who cares about that? I tossed the Scooter into the air, and did a few laps to warm up. Finally the moment had come; my heart was beating faster, but I was determined to push myself. Got it up reasonably high and fast, and pushed the stick hard right and held it. Did a sort of sloppy roll, but I did it! Did it a couple more times, and still the plane was flying. Obviously I need to do more in a roll than just hold the ailerons, because each time it started diving while inverted; of course it rolls right-side-up quickly enough to recover, but it looks sloppy. I figure I need some elevator input in there somewhere. Something to practice!

Then I did a loop, which I've done many times with my Easy Star, but never with the Space Scooter. Looped fine, very tight; in fact, it was tighter than an O! This plane is so light, so short, and has so much wing area; also, I wonder if the swept leading edge had something to do with it.

Having survived my Crazy Larry, I didn't try any more aerobatics, but I did push it around the sky a while more. A lot of yank-and-bank; I'm not used to having this nimble a plane! I'm also surprised at how well it turns without any rudder at all. Rudder is an option, but I'm not currently inclined to add it...

So, just wanted to share my minor Crazy Larry story. What should I try next? Inverted flight?! :eek: I tell ya, that one still makes a shiver run down my spine...

LannyG
08-25-2006, 06:23 PM
Good work Andy! Now you are ready to roll that puppy. Get a couple of mistakes high, at a good speed pull the nose up just slightly, crank the ailerons over to whatever side you like and hold. As the plane gets up past 90 degrees push in a little down elevater to hold the nose up. As the plane gets past 270 degrees pull in a little up elevator. You did it! Then just practice. Try these stick movements at home with just the tx (off) to get the thumb movements kind of stuck in your brain. As long as you are up high, if you get mixed up you can always loop out of it. Then try a bit of inverted flight. The ailerons work the same whether you are right side up or inverted. Only the elevator is opposite. You just need to hold a little bit of down elevator to fly level and feed in a little more during the turns. Depending how sharp the turn.

Doppelganger
08-25-2006, 06:24 PM
Great story! Good to hear all went well. A friend of mine had a Space Scooter.
He absolutely loved it. BTW, his name was Crazy Larry.:eek: He flew that plane so close to himself that you didn't dare go near him while he flew. I cant tell you how many times he crashed that bird. He was a master at field repair!

I flew my Pulse XT yesterday. I pulled some Crazy Larrys. They weren't pretty. But at least I tried!:D This thread has given me the courage to once again, step outside of my comfort zone.:)

Steve

adhoc
08-25-2006, 06:55 PM
. . . As the plane gets up past 90 degrees push in a little down elevater to hold the nose up. As the plane gets past 270 degrees pull in a little up elevator.Yeah, that makes sense... I guess I had an unrealistic picture in my mind of the plane just rotating around the long axis. I suppose really fast planes (like jets) can get away with that...

Then just practice. Try these stick movements at home with just the tx (off) to get the thumb movements kind of stuck in your brain. As long as you are up high, if you get mixed up you can always loop out of it.I may crank up a flight simulator to practice it...

Then try a bit of inverted flight. The ailerons work the same whether you are right side up or inverted. Only the elevator is opposite. You just need to hold a little bit of down elevator to fly level and feed in a little more during the turns. Depending how sharp the turn.Okay, thanks... I may wait until my rolls are better and more natural before I take this step, but I will take it! Long live Crazy Larry!! :D

p.s. "Crazy Larry" reminds me a bit of "Crazy Ivan" from The Hunt for Red October (at least in the movie; don't remember if it's in the book); a manuever that Soviet sub captains supposedly did where they'd suddenly slow down and turn sharply to check for other subs following them in their "baffles" (sonar blind spots). Doesn't really tie in with "Crazy Larry" though... :rolleyes:

Doppelganger
08-25-2006, 06:57 PM
It is in the book! :D

Steve

adhoc
08-25-2006, 07:02 PM
Great story! Good to hear all went well. A friend of mine had a Space Scooter. He absolutely loved it. BTW, his name was Crazy Larry.:eek: He flew that plane so close to himself that you didn't dare go near him while he flew. I cant tell you how many times he crashed that bird. He was a master at field repair!I can't tell you how good that makes me feel, that I'm flying a plane CL loved! I'm loving it too; wish I'd gotten it for my second plane, instead of my 4th... :)

I flew my Pulse XT yesterday. I pulled some Crazy Larrys. They weren't pretty. But at least I tried!:D This thread has given me the courage to once again, step outside of my comfort zone.:)That Pulse looks slick!

I wonder if instead of "Philosophy of Crashing", I should have called this thread "Philosophy of Pushing and Growing"... ;)

adhoc
08-25-2006, 07:07 PM
It is in the book! :DI need to re-read that book... I remember staying up 'til the wee hours of the morning reading it, I couldn't put it down. The part where the Russian sub's nuclear reactor melts down was amazing, and they left it out of the movie... :mad:

You know, the Crazy Ivan might not relate to the Crazy Larry approach to flying, but the way Jack Ryan kept getting pulled into doing risky stuff that he didn't really want to, that sort of does... The bottom line is that we can usually do more than we think we can do...

adhoc
08-25-2006, 09:27 PM
I Crazy Larry'd this morning with my new Space Scooter. . . .Heh, I forgot to mention that Crazy Larry himself must have been watching over me this morning...

Right after I landed, I was wiggling the sticks to check the control surfaces. (I'm not sure why I do this after flying... postflight? Nah, more just a nervous habit... ) Anyway, I suddenly heard a little "pop" sound and the elevator leveled out and stopped moving... I thought maybe the control horn had come unglued, but instead the servo arm had worked its way off the servo... I had not yet screwed it in! (Heck, I haven't even hot glued the servos in, the servos fit so perfectly in their holes! Gotta do that tonight...) If that had happened in flight, my Scooter would have made an unscheduled and abrupt Return to Earth... :eek:

I got lucky this time... next time maybe I'll do a more thorough PRE-flight... :)

Doppelganger
08-25-2006, 11:32 PM
Good Lord Man!:eek: It's true! Larry has a twin!!:eek: Well, I have never, ever forgotten to screw the servo arm on.:rolleyes: Okay, maybe twice alright! Don't ever ask me about it again. And if you mention it to anyone, I'll deny it.:mad:
The book was absolutely riveting. Hated to put it down. But you see, I had to shower.:( You're "Crazy Lucky" that you didn't pile that puppy in Bro. Cool Beans!:cool:

Steve

LannyG
08-26-2006, 12:48 AM
Hey Andy!
Faster planes are easier for those quick rolls. Both my Superfly and Mini Ultrastick roll so fast that I can't feed in the elevator. Maybe others can, but I can't. With them I just raise the nose slightly and they roll so fast that the nose doesn't drop unless you do too many. Or you can zoom up vertical and do victory rolls. With the TwinstarII there is time to use the down elevator. In fact a more accomplished pilot would give "top" rudder at each quarter roll too. I'm never that precise but like to watch pilots who are. I still get really mixed up trying to do knife edge. Someday I may be able to do that though.
But speaking of crashing the TwinstarII. I was at full throttle about 30 feet high and one of the glued on props left. Roll left into the ground before I could save it. I repaired everything and glued the prop back on all according to proper practice. Next flight it flew off again in about the same situation. I was ready this time and instantly was off throttle and correcting correctly and it stll could not be saved. It smashed worse than ever. Now I have APC props and collett adapters. (I'd prefer Graupner Slim cams) I'll try them this weekend. Poor plane is getting pretty beat up. The Easy Star is fine with glue ons as its a pusher. A single tractor prop wouldn't mess you up. but I don't trust glue ons with a twin anymore. It worked for a very long time before it took a notion to ruin my plane. That's life in the r/c world. No biggee. I do prefer the crashes to be MY fault though.
LannyG

LannyG
08-29-2006, 05:24 AM
Well...the crazy larry event had a interesting twist today.
A friend was flying his Easy Star and I was flying the TS2 on 8 cell 3300ma nimh with 2 old .049 cox 6x3 props. They really worked well. Pulled less amps and watts but put out about 25% more thrust. I was really happy with the performance and recalled that I should crazy larry more. Well, so did Michael. We could do no wrong! Planes responding well to every thought. Low level inverted passes were great! Well we got going and had a mid-air at top speed. Hitting each other at about a 90 degree angle. He lost half his tail and his left wing broke in three places but did not come apart. I instantly got off the throttle and barely made a safe landing. I used rudder because I got a stripped gear aileron servo and had very poor aileron control. Lost one prop. One blade is still embedded in his mangeled left wing. We decided it looked pretty cool. I don't know yet if the motor shaft is bent. Bottom line is that we both took it well. It made a good adventure for the evening. I was pretty proud of getting it down without crashing. We crazy Larry'd and we paid the price.
It was worth it.

adhoc
08-29-2006, 05:59 PM
Wow, Lanny you've been busy! :) My older son is visiting from college so I've been kinda distracted...

I haven't (yet) experienced losing a prop in flight... :eek: I've now got adapters and APC props on both my Easy Star and Twin Star II... Broke my Space Scooter prop yesterday, when I learned what the stall speed is while putzing around the field at about 10 feet... ;)

I haven't experienced a mid-air, either!! Wow!! BUT, if you have to go through that, I can't imagine two better planes. Elapor is wonderful stuff. And congrats on recovering/landing... I take it that was on one engine?! So was it banking/yawing real bad? How high was the mid-air?

"We crazy Larry'd and we paid the price. It was worth it." Yes, I love that... :)

Doppelganger
08-29-2006, 06:56 PM
I lost my nitro UltraStick .40 A couple days ago. I fly both slime, and electrons. Was flying inverted passes and trying to bring it lower and lower. Well, I misjudged the position of the plane relative to the runway. So, when those darned bushes reached up and grabbed my plane, I was a bit surprised!:eek: Plane is totaled. It sure was a pretty crash.:D Anyway, from the ashes rises another plane. That UltraStick used 7 servos! Heck I can can almost build two planes!!

I felt a little bad at first, but I realsized it was an error in perception, not my fingers. Will I miss the plane? Probably, probably not. Will I continue with the Crazy Larry mentality? You're Darned Skippy!!!!:D

Steve

firemanbill
08-29-2006, 07:11 PM
Wow, Lanny you've been busy! :) My older son is visiting from college so I've been kinda distracted...

I haven't (yet) experienced losing a prop in flight... :eek: I've now got adapters and APC props on both my Easy Star and Twin Star II... Broke my Space Scooter prop yesterday, when I learned what the stall speed is while putzing around the field at about 10 feet... ;)

I haven't experienced a mid-air, either!! Wow!! BUT, if you have to go through that, I can't imagine two better planes. Elapor is wonderful stuff. And congrats on recovering/landing... I take it that was on one engine?! So was it banking/yawing real bad? How high was the mid-air?

"We crazy Larry'd and we paid the price. It was worth it." Yes, I love that... :)

Funny story on losing props...

I took my C-130 out realizing I had lost one prop before due to those cheap little rubber push on spinners. I was going to replace them but hadn't got around to it. Anyway, powered up for takeoff and just as I got airborn that same prop came off again, not to worry though a C-130 flies great on three engines. Well not long after that another comes off as I'm still climbing out so I figure I better turn back to be safe then goes three and four in rapid succession!:eek: now I have a C-130 glider. Don't know why but I ran it up full throttle thinking it would help! it didn't. I was able to land it safely and have since got aluminum collet spinners and haven't lost any since.

My crazy larry was just flying this bird period. I was scared to death of it for way too long and I finally said let's just fly it. Now I wish I wouldn't have waited so long...

sorry to hear about you losing one Steve but you'll bounce back!

Doppelganger
08-29-2006, 11:54 PM
Thanks Bill. I'll feel better after I maiden the new one!:D

Steve

firemanbill
08-30-2006, 12:39 AM
I know you will Steve...:D

How's John doing? I haven't heard from him in a while...

Doppelganger
08-30-2006, 01:24 AM
You won't believe this. The guy went nuts with this hobby. He only flies Nitro now. Thats cool. But now he has around 10 planes! Big ones...lol His wife said I'm a dead man walking!:eek: I'll have to change my vacation plans now.:D Thanks for asking Bill. Very thoughtful.

Steve

NUTS
08-30-2006, 08:51 PM
I look at most of my battles with gravity the same way. "Well I guess it's time to find somthing else to put this motor and ESC in";)

Best Regards,
Nuts

hauts
08-31-2006, 08:28 AM
Well I just started on RC flying some weeks ago.

Over a decade before, as a kid, I built some balsa rubberband planes and spent more time repairing them than actually flying. And flying such things becomes boring very quickly. Always wanted to try RC, but never got to that.

This summer I was reading about whatever on the Internet, so this got my attention and immediately made me want to try too:

http://mypage.yhti.net/~dmcdnld/pizzabox.htm

I've nothing against traditional airplanes, but the breaking apart, all the balsa, glue and stuff really is a bit frustrating.

Seeing something as dumb and durable as a flat piece of plastic doing such incredible maneuvers, and being so crash-resistant, made me believe learning would not be too boring or painful.

Because I live in a city and want to fly in the park, on football fields etc, I immediately knew I'd have to build it electric. Some googling and shopping later, I had a bargain of a radio/electronics set and a 45A rated Himax with supposedly enough power to fly a 1 kilogram plane. Only a three cell lipo though - not nearly the max power of the motor, but quite a lot still. Coroplast I got easily and suitable pine sticks I already had.

The first flights of course were from hand to earth, and I made some serious construction errors in the beginning resulting in crushed wings, broken motor mounts, spines and propellers, but with the pizzabox the rebuilding only takes as long as it takes to charge the battery. Four or five airframes later I was already doing some loops and rolls with no problem, and hovering landings - the only practical kind of landing with a PBF.

The first time I landed successfully after some mild aerobatics and circling the football field, I felt almost ecstatic. Then I tried again and again, crashed and went home to rebuild the plane.

After a few motor mounts, I finally made one that can survive a crash. The motor is held in place with zip ties so that in flight it stays straight, but a bad landing will only twist it away, maybe breaking the zipties, often even saving the prop from certain splintering. I'm talking head-on crashes to hard ground, either dead stick or full throttle.

The traditional pizzabox flyer doesn't even have a landing gear, but I added one including a small wire skid in the back to hold elevons from the ground. The plane can actually take off from ground very easily, and can drive around very fast, with a plume of dust trailing it. Even at slow speeds and without steerable tail wheel, it responds well to the rudder.

Of course I still crash. Each new airframe gets crash tested before I get it right - to fly nose up, to not dart around uncontrollably, etc. Currently it's "normal" PBF size but 3mm coroplast, and very light and strong compared to my first attempts. Now it's almost composite construction: the spine is held in place with hot glue instead of screws and zip ties, which repeatedly ripped the wing on previous versions.

Just Sunday, I got it trimmed nice after some cartwheeling and such - then when it gained altitude, did some perfect rolls... and finally I lost perspective and managed to get it stuck in a tall pine for two painful days. Not even the lipo died, but the prop was well ground against a branch. Pieces missing and covered in pine resin.

But right on: I too noticed that losing the plane would be much worse than crashing it to smithereens. From now on my planes will carry my phone number, with notion of a reward. If I lose a plane again, I'll be happy to get it back and know where it ended up, even if no part can be salvaged.

Well, coroplast/coreflute/whatever is dirt cheap. And can really take a beating. My second project is a Mugi with a Nicad battery and a conservative Speed 400 motor, and I've already crashed it many times - still in shape if a bit battered. I still have plastic for a few more, thinking of making one 200% (400% wing area) and trying the big Himax on that. :)

But I sincerely recommend coroplast designs! Started not with a trainer, but a flying wing - and almost indestructible, but I still destroyed a few of them. And airframe costs are still close to zero (glue, zip ties, two-sided tape, props.. these have cost more than the wing/fuselage materials).

I will probably build lightweight foamies or such soon enough, if I ever run into limitations of what coroplast can do. Now I've been eyeing the "hydrofoam" models, but I think the first one will be a bit larger, and 2mm coroplast instead of depron. I already have an oversized power system to handle the extra weight, and the flying characteristics on videos seem a bit like the PBF.

adhoc
08-31-2006, 05:07 PM
Hey hauts, great story! Yeah, I have fond memories of those balsa gliders and rubber-band-powered planes... I even modified a few to a canard design...

As you point out, folks like you who take the builders/designers/experimenters road have to expect crashes. It can be more frustrating than for those of us who stick with established designs, but can ultimately be more rewarding...

So far I've made a personal choice not to experiment much; I even stick with stock motors, and have only recently started using LiPos. Instead my focus has been on my flying skills, and also just relaxing enjoyment. I figure that while I'm getting better at flying, I want to eliminate variables like untried power combinations or experimental flight surfaces...

But I know that I will at some point go down your road -- I am a "hacker" at heart and love to try unusual ideas. (I recently modified my Easy Star to use wingerons, and it worked great!) And when I head down that road, I'll expect a LOT of crashes... that's just part of the process... ;)

hauts
09-01-2006, 02:22 PM
Well, rebuilding a pizzabox really is no chore. And it only gets easier when you get to know the materials. The original "spad pizzabox" design with screws through the spine is actually a bit overbuilt and heavy, and still more fragile compared to the much quicker "hot glue main parts together" method.

Every version has been a bit simpler to construct, lighter, better-looking and flown better than its predecessor, so I really can't feel frustrated for having to rebuild a bit.

I've been thinking of trying some cheap ARF/RTF plane this winter. When there's some snow softening the landings and when I hopefully have some more ground-avoidance skills.

LannyG
09-02-2006, 08:41 PM
Funny story on losing props...

I took my C-130 out realizing I had lost one prop before due to those cheap little rubber push on spinners. I was going to replace them but hadn't got around to it. Anyway, powered up for takeoff and just as I got airborn that same prop came off again, not to worry though a C-130 flies great on three engines. Well not long after that another comes off as I'm still climbing out so I figure I better turn back to be safe then goes three and four in rapid succession!:eek: now I have a C-130 glider. Don't know why but I ran it up full throttle thinking it would help! it didn't. I was able to land it safely and have since got aluminum collet spinners and haven't lost any since.

My crazy larry was just flying this bird period. I was scared to death of it for way too long and I finally said let's just fly it. Now I wish I wouldn't have waited so long...

sorry to hear about you losing one Steve but you'll bounce back!
I think you lucked out and lost motors on alternate sides. If you had lost both motors on one side it could have been ugly. I guess the best way would be outboard, outboard, inboard, inboard.
The only reason my ts2 didn't crash was that I got off the throttle INSTANTLY because of my earlier mishap. Even then it winged over, but I had enough altitude this time to get it straightened out and set up to a gliding landing.
I'm waiting for new motors now. I must have bent the shaft or messed up a bearing when my friend stuck his wing into my prop. I need to find some more of those old cox .049 6x3 props. Less speed but more power but draw less amps and watts. My postal scale says almost 30% more thrust.

LannyG
09-26-2006, 06:02 PM
Since then I have gone to collet and apc 5.5x4.5 props and guess what. ...
I lost a prop. Boy, I'm getting better at recognizing it now and chopping the throttle. It must just be me. No one else seems to lose collet type props. At first it was because the prop hub is kind of thing and the bullet shaped nut couldn't crank all the way down. Then I put washers and I think it may have come off because I didn't want to crank it down too tight with an aluminum nut. Who knows its out in a cow pie somewhere. Had to go back to stock and epoxy on a roughened shaft. So far so good. I'm not the one who knows about keeping props on a plane. That's for sure. Oh, and then I crazy larry'd into the SAME phone cable I hit with my Easy Star. Just HAD to dive under it instead of calmly going over it. Well I missed by the exact same amount. BOING! Right on the tip of the nose (which I split) but everything else was fine except for the elevator servo gears which didn't like the g forces. Props stayed on...
All fixed again. Inverted passes getting lower on the Mini Ultrastick but I have to take it easy as we are going to Hawaii for two weeks and I spent ALL my money. See ya in 2 and a half.
Hey Adhoc! I didn't recognize you with your new avatar. I must see photos before I see names. That could explain why I am good at faces and could forget my own name.
LannyG

radioyankee
10-10-2006, 05:30 AM
i wonder how much money the average pilot loses from crashing in an average year. just curious

adhoc
10-11-2006, 04:19 PM
i wonder how much money the average pilot loses from crashing in an average year. just curiousGood question. I've just created a poll (my first) as part of this thread. We'll see what answer emerges... :)

p.s. note that in the question, I put "lose" in quotes... I suspect many RC flyers wouldn't really consider that money "lost"... more just an ongoing maintenance or "fee" to have fun... ;)

p.p.s. I didn't say in the poll (and don't see a way to edit it), but I'm only considering the stuff I have to buy because of something that was destroyed in a crash -- electronics and such that can be salvaged for another plane aren't lost. Also, upgrades shouldn't count in this -- that's a voluntary expense...

jcblough
10-12-2006, 01:36 AM
I finally beat my fear of crashing when I got my typhoon. When I got it, I started really thrashing my stryker around alot on high rates I was finally rewarded for my work, I buried her in going full speed from a brutal outside loop. Near totalled her. I think it needs about $60 to get it back up. I may wait and get a 27C plug-n-play, but I half giggled when I crashed cuz I knew I was begging it.

Having said that, I haven't outside looped my typhoon but I have done 3 axial rolls on it w/o stopping which is "new" to me.