View Full Version : Bermuda Triangle

06-02-2006, 04:18 AM
If only I would slow down and think things through, my good/bad luck ratio would surely improve. Here is a case in point.
I've been enjoying the aerial photography so much that I decided to buy a decent camera (Nikon Coolpix 5600) for dedicated AP use. Also, I bought a big memory chip since the prices have come down so much.
A few days ago, while messing around with it, I discovered how to shoot video and my memory chip could give me a 7 minute movie. I shot a video in the yard as an experiment and it looked pretty good. So...I got all excited about shooting an aerial video. Even though it was much too windy, I couldn't wait to try it. So what if the first movie looks like a roller coaster ride? It would still be cool.
I mounted the camera, rushed out into the field, turned on the camera and started my take-off. The grass was longer than usual. The prop caught in the grass and the plane nosed over quite hard. While the camera was still running, I ran to the plane, picked it up and threw it like a dart (hand launch). I hadn't noticed that the nose-over had cocked the wing askew. I applied full throttle...the plane hooked to the left and nosed in hard enough to bend the tube aluminum fuselage. I ran over, turned off the camera and tried to bend the fuse back straight. To get more leverage, I put the plane on it's back while bending the nose and crack...the rudder/stabilizer fractured where it joins the fuse. But it was still attached...a little wobbly but still attached. Now I was overly anxious and thought, "It'll be fine". So I turned on the camera and sent her up.
The wind was out of the south at about 10-12 mph. The big woods is to the north. Flying in wind is challenging but fun. However, if your plane is only capable of flying, lets say 10 mph and the wind is at 11, problems arise. But I was getting an interesting video. When the wind pushed the plane about 200 yds out over the woods, I began to struggle and worry. I would dive into the wind to pick up speed again and again and again. This manuever puts a lot of stress on the airframe, especially with the added weight of the camera. And then... the rudder/stab folded and the death spiral (tailspin) began. No amount of inputs could break the descent.
When it disappeared, I tried to calm myself and take keen note of landmarks and such so that I could visualize exactly where it would be. Actually, I thought this would be an easy find. There might be some dicy tree climbing involved but retrieval would be sure...or so I thought. After 3 hours of 90 degree mosquito hell, I broke off the search. And then again the next day. And the day after that. I'm still searching, but with less and less hope.
The canopy out there is pretty thick but c'mon...it's a bright red SlowStick! You know what I think? I think it found the Bermuda Triangle. I'd love to see the video.

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06-02-2006, 11:22 PM
I get an at&t login page instead of pics..

06-02-2006, 11:55 PM
I get an at&t login page instead of pics..

Me too. :(

06-03-2006, 12:23 AM
me three...:(

06-03-2006, 04:00 AM
Sorry, guys. That post was a copy of an e-mail that I sent to my brother along with some aerial photos. I copied and pasted it onto our post window in the hope that it would work. I guess it didn't.
I spent another few hours in the woods tonight. This is uncanny! It's just...gone.

06-03-2006, 04:05 AM
Hey! I just clicked on those photo links in my post and they opened up for me. Weird! Computers are harder to understand than women.
That's just a joke, honey!

06-19-2006, 04:41 AM
I was working on the roof. My wife had been doing trail maintenance in the woods when she came across the yard and excitedly said that she had found a piece of my plane. We scooted back out there and sure enough, there was the rudder/stab lying on the ground. This is an area about 300 yards back that I had searched many times. My theory is that the rubber bands holding the wing on finally rotted and let go which caused the plane to change position thereby allowing the piece to fall free. The canopy in this area is so thick that very little light gets through to the floor. I was absolutely thrilled until we finally spotted it. Oh, man! It was way up there.These are mature hardwoods and it was in the top of an 80 or 90 ft. tree. The main problem was the fact that the first branch was about 50 ft. up. Trees grow like that in thick forests. I really didn't want to cut the tree down. Seems pretty selfish... so I cut a 2X4 into 4 inch sections and with 4" sinkers began the tedious task of building a ladder of foot-holds. That was actually the easy part...this tree was just not made for climbin'. And the wind had the tree-tops just swaying away. I had taken a spool of twine up with me which I tied to the plane and lowered it down through a small gap in the branches. After three weeks held to the sky, the camera and other equipment looked pretty good. The first thing I did when we got back was put new batteries in the camera and hit playback. Wow, it was all there. The "black box"...a perfect accounting of the launch, the climb, the wind buffeting, the transition from neighborhood to woods, and then...the tailspin. The horizon raced around and around with occasional glimpses of the approaching canopy below. And then there was an explosion of leaves and branches until the plane finally came to a rest. A green leaf covered the lens like a closing curtain. Then the video stops.
It lasts 3 minutes and 22 seconds and takes up 53 MB of file space. I can watch it on my computer but when I tried to e-mail it to myself as an experiment, it still hadn't uploaded after two hours so I guess I can't e-mail it to my friends or post it on our forum.
How do you guys do it? I never watch your videos because with dial-up, it takes hours to watch a three minute tape. Can it be re-sized?
Anyway, all of the electronics tested fine. I lost the lipo pack, of course. But all-in-all, the story has a happy ending. Maybe my luck is shifting back to good.

06-19-2006, 04:54 AM
Wow, And I was discouraged when my Ultimate Bipe sat in a tree overnight!:eek:

I could see it straight away about 80 ft up sitting pretty as you please just couldn't get to it before night fall. Got it the next day with the help of a true friend. Minor damage and salvaged the lipo as well!

Glad your camera and electrics survived Rib!