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Crash and Safety Forum Punch something in lately? Have safety suggestions? Tell the story, share safety tips, and show the pictures here.

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Old 11-22-2012, 12:59 AM   #1
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Default I crashed - what's next?

I love thermal soaring. I love flying high - few days ago strong thermals brought my plane quickly too high and i had difficulties to bring it down. I was fighting with the plane and i knew that time was against me because my eyesight is not the best and floaters in my right eye do not make it any easier to watch the plane high against blue sky. I panicked and pushed the stick down ... the plane dived and gained great speed. I pulled up ... the next thing i saw was the wing tip flying away from the plane. My heart stopped and the first thing on my mind was - maybe it's not me, there were many more planes in the sky. But it was me and the plane was out of control, falling very fast towards parking area, road, freeway ... I expected smoke from lipo on the impact, but there was no smoke, nothing indicating impact. My concern was not the plane but the people in the area. I did not see where the plane fell exactly, it was too far away. I rushed there, in the direction where I saw the plane falling, but I did not find any traces from the plane, no debris, no smoke, nobody reporting accident (that was my relief). I searched everywhere, but I never found the plane. There are dense bushes along the freeway maybe two or three meters wide strip and hard to get in, i looked there from the road, but no signs of the plane.
Axi motor and Jeti duplex receiver were the most precious things installed, but i do not mind the plane - there is a big scar in my heart and I know it will take a long time to heal (if ever). I pray to God that nobody was hurt and there was no damage on the properties.
What's next? I have been doing the hobby for whole my life - too many years to count. I have been thinking about models every single day and now I feel at the end of the road. I can certainly build a new model, actually i have another one, but I lost my confidence and i am scared to go flying. I feel bad, there are safety regulations in the club and I breached them (although not intentionally) flying too high. I realize how dangerous it can be. It was a warning for me and I would like to share my story it with others - it's too easy to get excited and fly high and fast, but we have to think safety first - please do think safety next time you launch the plane.
Thank you.

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Old 11-22-2012, 01:49 AM   #2
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Strong thermals can be nasty things. Had the wings torn off a Gentle Lady once and it lawn darted in. Please rebuild and use the flight as a lesson to be more careful in the future.

Take care and thanks for posting at WattFlyer!!

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Old 11-22-2012, 02:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Don Sims View Post
Strong thermals can be nasty things. Had the wings torn off a Gentle Lady once and it lawn darted in. Please rebuild and use the flight as a lesson to be more careful in the future.
Thanks Don, I know I will come back, and sure I will be more careful. Lesson learned.

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Old 11-22-2012, 03:08 AM   #4
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Default I crashed - what's next?

+1 - lesson learned. Thank you for sharing. I think a lot of us cut the safety corner on occasion.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by vonveska View Post
I love thermal soaring. I love flying high - few days ago strong thermals brought my plane quickly too high and i had difficulties to bring it down. I was fighting with the plane and i knew that time was against me because my eyesight is not the best and floaters in my right eye do not make it any easier to watch the plane high against blue sky. I panicked and pushed the stick down ... the plane dived and gained great speed. I pulled up ... the next thing i saw was the wing tip flying away from the plane. My heart stopped and the first thing on my mind was - maybe it's not me, there were many more planes in the sky. But it was me and the plane was out of control, falling very fast towards parking area, road, freeway ... I expected smoke from lipo on the impact, but there was no smoke, nothing indicating impact. My concern was not the plane but the people in the area. I did not see where the plane fell exactly, it was too far away. I rushed there, in the direction where I saw the plane falling, but I did not find any traces from the plane, no debris, no smoke, nobody reporting accident (that was my relief). I searched everywhere, but I never found the plane. There are dense bushes along the freeway maybe two or three meters wide strip and hard to get in, i looked there from the road, but no signs of the plane.
Axi motor and Jeti duplex receiver were the most precious things installed, but i do not mind the plane - there is a big scar in my heart and I know it will take a long time to heal (if ever). I pray to God that nobody was hurt and there was no damage on the properties.
What's next? I have been doing the hobby for whole my life - too many years to count. I have been thinking about models every single day and now I feel at the end of the road. I can certainly build a new model, actually i have another one, but I lost my confidence and i am scared to go flying. I feel bad, there are safety regulations in the club and I breached them (although not intentionally) flying too high. I realize how dangerous it can be. It was a warning for me and I would like to share my story it with others - it's too easy to get excited and fly high and fast, but we have to think safety first - please do think safety next time you launch the plane.
Thank you.
Yeah, that happened to me once back in the mid 1980's with one of my sailplanes. It got very high and spec'd out. Got it back in one piece, but it was touch and go.

After that, every sailplane I built had spoilers installed on the wings. It doesn't take much, mine were made with two pieces of 1 1/4 inch wide by 1/4 inch thick triangle stock inserted into the top of the wing just behind the spars. The width was about 16-18 inches each on a total wingspan of 10 feet. The hinge was made with plain old hinge tape like that used on smaller models. The spoilers were pulled shut with a little bitty coil spring, they were pushed open with a pushrod on a microservo. With modern radios, it would be easy to put the two spoiler servos on separate channels, and use direct pushrod connections for both spoilers.

Didn't take much to install them. Just cut the covering to match the spoiler size. Then under the covering, glue in pieces of balsa and re-attach the covering to the balsa pieces.

Putting those spoilers up at 90 degrees made the model fly like a brick. Makes it much easier to decend without exceeding maximum flying speed. If your transmitter has a linear "Volume Control" type of control, it's easy to adjust those spoilers up and down during descent to land right at your feet. (Just don't hit the spoilers suddenly 10 feet off the ground. Your model will drop like a rock.)

Something I found after electrifying all of my sailplanes. Electric launches can get your models very high up in the air. IMHO, those spoilers are nearly mandatory on these electric launched sailplanes.

DennyV
Retired and the days are just too short, busier than ever!
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:01 AM   #6
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vonvaska,

I know exactly how you feel. I was just learning how to fly my best power glider, a Sky Sergio 09, from Soaring USA. It is an expensive high performance plane. I have an altitude limiter in it, for ALES contests.
The climb out was good, about a 45 degree climb, when the motor cutout at 200 meters or 656 feet high, I touched a little down to level it out.
Well I had too much throw in the elevator, because of a linkage problem.
The plane instantly was headed straight down, gaining speed very quickly, because the entire fuselage is only 1 5/8" in dia.
I panicked and pulled full up, (remember the excessive throw?) the plane started to pull out, and then I thought I had been hit by antiaircraft fire or an RPG.
The plane exploded, the left tip panel broke the center carbon-fiber spar, then acted like extreme right aileron, spun the plane so violently the right tip panel flew off like it had a rocket motor. The left panel then came back across the rudder, elevator joint like a sword and cut them both off, and the elevator in two.
The two totally undamaged tip panels landed maybe 150 yards apart, with the rest of the plane about in the center. The rudder with a servo inside too a 1/2 hour to find, as did the part of the elevator we did find.

I fully repaired the plane, but was reluctant to fly it. even though I fixed the linkage problem that caused the problem in the first place. I had to put my gliders aside and tear up the sky with a few other planes, now I feel like I could fly it again.

I lost control of a totally different plane, a superlight 3D foamie. when the battery ripped loose and went to the tail of the plane inside the body, it went out of control. Then I shut it down, then the battery fell to the nose of the plane, it went down like a rock. All this had happened over a vacant field but the wind drove the plane into a housing area, took 2 days then a kid found it in his back yard, I'm glad it didn't go through a window.

Just remember what happened, but don't let it make you stop.

Dave R, Proud PGR rider.
When you have flying skills like mine,
You become a master at repair.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:54 AM   #7
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kyleservicetech,
I agree that spoilers would help to get the plane down - my plane did not have them ... I used butterfly (or crow) but the plane was not going down - the thermals was so strong - the model was actually not flying it was like in in violent whirl of air and still going up. Maybe spoilers as you described would be more effective. I've been thinking to use an old way to get the plane down used on free flight models - throwing elevator about 45 deg up - the model is falling like a leaf from the tree. Or parachute if nothing else works .

Wildflyer,
the wing tip panel (undamaged) is all what remained from my model. Somebody brought it back to the airfield, I do not even know who, there was so much mess in my head that I forgot to ask or say thanks.
I know that I can't fly high speed planes, that's why I design and build my own floaters, but even a floater with RG15 section can be fast.
Thank you for your encouraging words, i started work on my new model already - it's in CAD stage now, but Rome was'n't built overnight ...
I'll make it strong, but first of all I will be flying it like a tissue paper (I hope) .

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Old 11-22-2012, 02:20 PM   #8
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i can't count the number of crashes i'v had in the few years in this hobby. some were without recovering the plane. the swamp must have swallowed her up laughing at me while i searched for 3 days and came home to rebuild the tower hobbies uproar again.

we'v all had those" it's getting away!" moments.we learn from them and become more humble while around new pilots who make the same mistakes.

i was flying a 3d foamy with 2 other pilots 2 weeks ago and wipping it all around with my buds in front of us when it snap rolled and flew over the flight line,i saw its green bottom zoom back over my head on the way over then got control as it flew back and continued to fly while we all had a good laugh. man was my heart beating fast and i was very embarrased after landing. what made things alittle easyer was the foamy that buzzed by me so close while we were still flying reckless and i ducked.....dooh. i don't fly tis way! i don't enjoy reckless foamy flights,it's not me. so moral of the story,learn from our mistakes,fly with our heads and not over our ability to control them.

thanks for sharing,newbees will feel they arn't so alone when making these errors.

as for floaters...i know what your talking about,on a deep blue sky and way up high they stand out more,one simply has to ignor those lil distractions. i have a slight case of this visual annoyance and can still fly my speed birds safely.seems to only be noticeable when soaring a slow flying plane and you get to staring at the sky for a long time.

narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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I don't really fly high enough to worry about loosing a plane.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:57 PM   #10
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If that happens again, give the plane full up and full right rudder, it will stall and come back down to where you can regain control again, hope that helps, Chellie

I may be getting Older, But I Refuse to grow Up I am Having to much Fun to Grow Up LOL
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:50 PM   #11
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Man, it's just like riding a bike - you fall, get back on as soon as possible. My very first true build was a Miss Stik, and on her maiden I found she had a real porpoising problem under throttle. But I could still control her as long as I kept the speed down. That worked fine until the wind started picking up and despite all my efforts all I could do was watch her drift further and further downwind. Finally I gave her down elevator hoping I could track down the remains. No luck. Even though it had an AMA recovery label I never saw it again.

But I don't let that discourage me, the first thing I did when I got home was to get in touch with AeroCraft and ordered another. I even paid extra for faster delivery, and as soon as it came I cleared the workbench and started cutting and gluing. With some help from the forums I also managed to cure the porposing problem. The moral is: Don't wait, get back in the workshop; the longer you wait the more your fears will have to work against you.

"Give a man a plane and he'll fly for a day.
Teach a man to build a plane and he'll fly for a lifetime"
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FlyWheel View Post
Man, it's just like riding a bike - you fall, get back on as soon as possible. My very first true build was a Miss Stik, and on her maiden I found she had a real porpoising problem under throttle. But I could still control her as long as I kept the speed down. That worked fine until the wind started picking up and despite all my efforts all I could do was watch her drift further and further downwind. Finally I gave her down elevator hoping I could track down the remains. No luck. Even though it had an AMA recovery label I never saw it again.

But I don't let that discourage me, the first thing I did when I got home was to get in touch with AeroCraft and ordered another. I even paid extra for faster delivery, and as soon as it came I cleared the workbench and started cutting and gluing. With some help from the forums I also managed to cure the porposing problem. The moral is: Don't wait, get back in the workshop; the longer you wait the more your fears will have to work against you.

FlyWheel,
thanks for your encouraging words. My problem is not the rebuild (I started already - a new fiberglass fuselage is being cured now), the problem is my mind - I am scared to fly in that confined area in our air field. I have been building and flying models for more than 50 years and I can't really recall a single model that I did not crash in some way! I lost many free flight models and I have always came back, but the last incident was different. Seeing 1.5 kg plane with sharp metal nose cone plummeting from the sky on people, cars, kids ... it's different. I have to be more careful next time, it's a lesson and I am grateful that it the only cost was the model. I have to be more careful next time.

Chellie,
if only I did not panic - it's a split second that sets heaven and earth apart ...

stuart,
"thanks for sharing,newbees will feel they arn't so alone when making these errors."

+1

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Old 11-24-2012, 04:08 PM   #13
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Aw Vonveska,

Remember the movie Airplane?

Lt. Col Ted Striker on the Daiquiri raid:


Ted Striker: Because of my mistake, six men didn't return from that raid.
Elaine Dickinson: Seven. Lieutenant Zip died this morning


Rumack:
I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself all of these years. I was in the war, Medical Corps. One night they brought in a badly wounded pilot from one of the raids. He looked at me and said, "Doc, the odds were against us up there, but we went in anyway. I'm glad. Captain made the right decision." The pilot's name was George Zip.
Ted Striker:
George Zip said that?

Win one for the Zipper !

Wounded Warrior Fun Fly - Aug 16th ,2014 - Grapevine TX - Info link: https://support.woundedwarriorprojec...ising/RCPilots
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #14
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dahawk,
I haven't seen the movie (yet), but I got your message. It's the way we look at things, isn't it? I know I have to be more positive - I started building a new plane already - very similar to the one I lost. I haven't decided on the wing section yet - RG15, SD7037, AG40 or similar. I am still kicking .


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Old 11-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #15
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1 Mishap can`t stop you now, You live for the thrill of soaring, Take a deep breath and get back to the Club.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:58 PM   #16
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If possible would suggest you find a bigger airfield. The biggest problem I had while learning how to fly was overbanking my turns with the inevetable tip stall - always when the plane was right over the trees that surounded the field, Naturally. I changed clubs when a new one started east of me solely because their field has three times the area and is on top of an abandonned landfill; not only are the trees twice as far away the tops of them are below field level!

My philosophy is you can never have a big enough airfield. Muroc dry lake could stand to be a bit larger IMO.

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:12 PM   #17
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FlyWheel,
everything is downsizing here, houses, cars, airfields, pocket money ... There are bigger airfields out there, but far away, not really worth it to go morning or evening flying for a two hour session.
I think I will have to downsize too - start building smaller planes so that I can fly on smaller areas. Maybe DLG would be a solution, small light planes and still enjoying thermals.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:43 PM   #18
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Wow! Sounds like you're an old guy who needs another old guy to jump in and save you from the fire. I'm an "old Newb," jumping back into the ring after some early exposure 10 years ago - the 72MHZ brushed-motor era. What's different now? Well, all the free-flight fields have gone, so my first love, scale stick-and-tissue, isn't practical anymore. I would also have to drive many miles to find a location where I could fly a large, heavy RC plane. And who even wants to do that? I want to be able to grab an airplane, step out the door, walk a few yards, and Heave-Ho for 10 refreshing minutes. How can you do that? We now live in an era of cheap, lightweight batteries and RC components - and FOAM! I construct what I call "Driveway Divas" - simple foamies representing a minimum of time and expense - that I can fly from my own property - craft that I'm not afraid to damage or destroy. (I would like to be able to salvage the RC gear) These planes need to be lightweight and slow-flying. That helps Newbs like me to be sucessful without assistance. It helps prevent safety issues in event of a crash into an unintended area. It makes operation into and out of confined areas possible. My first trainer is from a design by Charles Pirkey called the STC, modified by extending the wingspan 4" to slow it down a bit (I live at 7000' MSL). It's 3-ch with a BW motor and tiny 10A ESC. Weighs around 7 OZ. I am currently flying it off a narrow paved road that winds through my subdivision. There is a tall string of powerlines a few yards away on one side (bordering a major hwy) and a subdivision a few yards away on the other side. Between those obstacles and the road is a host of hard, unfriendly Western flora that likes to impale and entrap the unwary. Adding to the brew is the fact that I am now elderly and visually challenged. One eye has an Epiretinal Membrane. Smear a dollup of vaseline on one eyegless lens, then drape a dark fishnet over it. You'll see what I do. My binocular vision is really messed up because the obscurations in one eye mix in with the good eye and make me feel pretty close to blind at times. I have trouble just seeing the aircraft, especially at longer ranges. I found early on that sailplanes interested me most - the challenge of finding lift and staying aloft. Not so sure I could do that on a grand scale now - seeing and tracking even a large craft far away. What do you do? DOWNSIZE! especially your thinking. Small, lightweight, slow-flying aircraft. This doesn't exclude sailplanes. Just keep them close. (I've constructed some pretty good thermalers based on $5 toy store foam hand-launch gliders) Weight is key to all of this. If you keep the weight down there isn't much you can't do. You can even thermal and fly in some pretty good breezes if you understand what you're doing. The new foam technologies even allow people like me, who prefer airplanes that look like the real thing, to construct some pretty decent standoff scale jobs while keeping the necessary flying parameters, and at the same time keep the time and money investment at a minimum in case I screw the pooch. Heck, everything looks scale to me now from 25' out! Part of aging is accepting loss - and believe me YOU'RE GONNA LOSE THINGS! I'm still in there punching though. I even still fly my open cockpit homebuilt, but like with the models, I've had to accept my losses and modify my behavior. My goal is to just stay in the saddle as long as possible, cause once I step down and slide into that Easyboy, the end won't be far behind.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:06 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by maxflyer View Post
Part of aging is accepting loss - and believe me YOU'RE GONNA LOSE THINGS! I'm still in there punching though. I even still fly my open cockpit homebuilt, but like with the models, I've had to accept my losses and modify my behavior. My goal is to just stay in the saddle as long as possible, cause once I step down and slide into that Easyboy, the end won't be far behind.
Wow maxflyer,
very well said, you have seen all the changes in the environment and in the technology in the past decades that we have had to adapt to and still we have to keep moving forward. The most difficult is accepting loss (as you said) - I mean not material loss but loss in our ability - to fly high, fast, fly free flight - to feel really free .... Yes, we need to downsize (our way of thinking too). Not easy, there is still a dreaming boy inside me flying full scale sailplanes high under the clouds ... Now I have to fly low and slow. Never mind, I will fly anyway. Just one thing I am reluctant to accept - the foam planes. To me, model must be made from balsa wood, you have to see the ribs, the frame structure against the sky, model must be some sort of craftsmanship, not a plastic toy. I agree that foam technology is convenient and if well manufactured a foam model looks and flies very well (Radians), but it's not mine, it's someone else's model. That's why I am still gluing balsa models (and crashing them). I do not want to slide into that Easyboy - we have still many years ahead to enjoy.

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Old 11-28-2012, 09:53 PM   #20
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I felt the same way you do, until, at the urging of a friend, to get back into free-flight, I tried to rework and repair some of the old balsa free-flight models that have been hanging on my wall for 30 years. I quickly discovered, because of the loss of sight in one eye, that I could no longer see to cut a tiny and accurate angle on the end of a balsa stick! very disheartening, but I had no choice but to accept it. All the foam stuff that is swamping the marketplace these days didn't appeal to me. Seems nobody is willing to do the work these days. It took me 18 years to get my current homebuilt finished and flying. except for parts like wheels and instruments, everything is scratch-built - all wood, and metal parts and fittings - everything made by hand. I doubt you could find anyone today who would be willing to take on that kind of commitment. They don't seem to be willing to do it with a model. My point to you though, is that nature didn't leave me much of a choice here. I was forced to think differently, or give it all up. When I looked a little deeper (including on this board) I discovered that there is a sizable group doing creative things with foam - designing and crafting their own things, and even turning out some amazing scale ships. I decided to give foam a chance, and started to get excited about the creative possibilities, and the speed with which they can be executed. So - by thinking a bit outside my own personal box - which was very much the same as the one you're stuck in now, I was able to extend my participation in this hobby. In truth, at this point I don't think I could invest the kind of time and money so many do, to craft the exquisite models I see - only to have them vaporize in an instant with a single stupid mistake. I no longer have the time or energy for that level of involvement (no doubt why RTF foamies are so popular today). If you were to see my work as a professional artist, you would see the influence that those translucent stick-and-tissue impressions from my early life have had. The concepts you (and I) love so dearly were something I was FORCED to abandon. Go with the flow my friend. Things change. Hey...maybe you were just having a bad week and you'll get past it for a good laugh at yourself.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:31 AM   #21
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I see you are more flexible than me (and tougher at the same time); my hat off to your persistence with model building even if your eyesight is probably worse than mine. I can still enjoy cutting, sanding and gluing balsa pieces, but it's time consuming, I agree. And it can vaporize in an instant - that's part of our game.
I had a bad week or two after I lost my model, but I got over it now. And guess what - I have a new AXi motor and an ESC! A gift from my friend! We grew up together and we were flying together many years ago (those balsa and paper models), then I left my country and haven't seen him for 20 years, (but we have been in contact all the time) and when I lost the plane I wrote him a letter - not asking for anything, just telling him how stupid I am - and yesterday I got a parcel with a new motor and ESC. The best feeling is not the new motor - it's the feeling that there are genuine people for who the friendship is more than money.
I wish I could see your full size home built plane - and see it in the air! There are not many such craftsmen in the world now. Some people even stumble on smallest problems with their RTF models.
And as to the foam - hmm, I have to look at it , maybe I can adapt to it somehow, but first I have to finish the one I am building from balsa .

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