View Full Version : Houston, we have a problem.

02-12-2008, 03:15 AM
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

It was a cold, semi-calm day at the cul-de-sac. B The Man, Charrua, Doc, and Jlow all came to help me learn to land the Telemaster, and to fly whatever they had with them. I for one appreciated the input, although it is easier to concentrate when only two or three people are yelling directions at you at the same time. Takeoff was a little unusual, and I blame it on Jlow for parking the Bentley (which everyone knows is a magnet for near-disaster) right near where we were flying. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of a theme…

I was flying to be sure, but it was not pretty. About what I had been experiencing the first two times I flew the Telemaster. B The Man took the controls and trimmed out the plane. MUCH BETTER! Jlow – who has the most experience with Telemasters – gave me some good pointers. First, I was flying WAY too fast. Second, I was flying WAY too wide. Turns out that if you cut the speed in half, you can fly in a lot smaller space. Who knew?

On to the landings. This is where I thought I needed help – the previous lessons not withstanding. After a few exciting attempts, I began to get the hang of lining up at the right altitude at the right speed at the right place. They weren’t all that bad, and I may have greased one. Things were looking up – or so it seemed.

B The Man took the controls for awhile and shot a touch ‘n go. VERY nice! We’d been flying for maybe 10 minutes on an electric, and really didn’t know how much time we had left (literally), so were talking about bringing her in. Jlow wanted to try a few stunts first, so he got the controls.

Jlow showed his experience with the Telemaster model. He hadn’t flown it as an electric. Executed a few rolls – again, very nice. Then he said something I’ll never forget: “I think I’ll stir the tanks”.

We all looked at each other. Stir the tanks? It hung in the air, almost like a baloon over a cartoon figure. Stir the tanks - it grabbed us in our gut. Stir the tanks - the sophisticated version of "hey y'all, watch this!" Stir the tanks - isn’t that code for blowing part of the ship apart? We all saw Apollo 13, and we remember the scene. B The Man tried to yank the controls out of Jlow’s hands. Doc was climbing over B The Man’s back trying to get there first. Charrua pull out some Central American weapon made of sticks and leather that looked like it would end Jlow’s chances of ever becoming a father again. I was frozen in my tracks, trying hard to make sense of the scene. And then it happened. For no apparent reason, Jlow jettisoned the tail feathers. Just blew 'em off the back of the plane. Intact. It was surreal. The rear stab spun top over bottom, while the rudder kept it from falling to one side or the other. Staring at it was almost… relaxing. Hypnotic, actually. The rest of the plane, however, was having none of it. As you probably know, on the Telemaster, the stab is a flying wing. This means that while the plane lost weight in the back, it also lost lift. To a certain extent they counteract each other. Of course, control was also lost. We debated afterwards if it would have been possible, with the controls available, to somehow avoid catastrophy. Maybe if Jlow had deployed the flaps, or adjusted power, or something. Of course, none of this was possible, because we had already beaten Jlow into a shallow grave, and were looking for debris to hide the body.

The crash occurred in slow motion, and it’s a real shame we didn’t get it on video. It's not the kind of thing you see every day. Cars were stopped on the highway. News crews were watching in wonder. Several schools sent busloads of students to watch the carnage. The best part was the tail parachuting down to earth – if we’d been closer we could have caught it. It was a total loss, and while rebuilding looks possible, it would take skills beyond what I possess. Besides, after we divided up what Jlow had in his wallet, I had enough to order a replacement.

Anyone got suggestions for a next-level trainer, without the auto-eject feature? It's probably too soon to raid Jlow's hangar - we should give his family time to grieve first.


02-12-2008, 03:25 AM
Wow! :eek: What a write up!:D

Next time I destroy one I want you to write my story!:p

Too bad you lost her but at least she went down fighting!

02-12-2008, 03:37 AM
It's not as bad as it seems. After all, nobody was hurt. Post-mortem showed a butt joint that didn't get glued. I bought this as a ARF from Hobby-Lobby (http://www.hobby-lobby.com/telemaster6.htm), so I contacted them. They asked me to send them the tail section, which I did. They agreed it was a manufacturing problem and sent me a new plane in no time. They even offered to swap out the motor or ESC (or both) if they were damaged. I can't say enough about their service - the guy called me and we talked about the problem for 15 minutes. He thanked me for reporting the problem rather than just stomp off as an unsatisfied customer. They are going to the manufacturing team to fix the problem at the source. Let me say it again - the service from Hobby-Lobby was great. They should be one of your first choices if you're considering buying online - they certainly are mine.


02-12-2008, 03:40 AM
Now there's a story with a happy ending!

You can't beat customer service and Hobby-Lobby has it for sure! It's good to hear that. Thanks for letting everyone know of your experience with them!