Another Friday Fly Day, another crash of other people’s planes…

September 14, 2012 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

For reasons which continue to escape me, Mark decided to let me try to take up another of his planes this morning. Last week, I took his EzFly up, with the net result of a mangled prop (which caused the heavy vibration in last week’s video) a cracked wing (repaired with Foam Tack, good as new) and a divot out of the prop slot. Oh well. This week, he let me take up attempt to wreck his Easy Star. I managed to have almost ten minutes of flight before it got significantly downrange, and I got confused about the orientation against the bright cloud cover, and I put it in the ground.

The EasyStar is a pretty nice plane, with a 6″ prop configured in as a pusher. It’s got a nice bay to hold batteries etc… and we velcro’d my $8 keychain video camera onto the top surface, with a slight downward angle so we would mostly be looking toward the ground even in level flight. The overall proportions are remarkably similar to the proportions of Experimental Airlines Axon that I’m currently working toward scratch building, so I thought it would be a good training session for my ultimate goal of flying something I built. The Easy Star has a typical three channel rudder/elevator/throttle setup, unlike the EzFly that I did last week, which had elevon control. I found the feel to be a bit different: the EzFly’s greater dihedral made it self level, and I found the elevon control a little easier to get the hang of. Still, I did rather well, right up until…

I let the plane get fairly far downrange, and I suffered a classic case of perspective reversal. I thought it was coming at me, when it was in fact going away. I got the thing too far out of level trying to turn, and couldn’t recover. I bonked it into the ground (a considerable distance away). The hatch and camera both popped off, no big deal, but I also had a minor stabilizer issue:

Mark was quite gracious, and assured me a quick repair with some Foam Tack would render it “good as new”. But when I returned, I priced a replacement: $12. I think Mark gets to have lunch on me sometime in the near future. I’m also thinking that I’m going to make a duplicate of the Axon for him, just because he’s been so patient with me.

In any case, we did recover the camera and video, and it does show some nice views. Before you watch the video, you might want to turn down the sound. But it should be noted that I did actually cut the motor entirely in spots, and just glided around. All you hear is just the wind noise. Pretty neat.

A view of the Berkeley Marina

Mark H (on the right) and myself (left) viewed from the plane

And here’s the vid:



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Comments

Comment from Lee
Time 9/20/2012 at 5:13 pm

1907 Kitty Hawk simulator at the LA County fair compared to my RC plane flight record. Kitty Hawk simulator…. succesful flight. Every RC plane I have ever tried to fly…crashed. The Kitty Hawk simulator was cool because you actually laid down on a contraption that let you control the flight surfaces as if you were strapped into the plane. Hips flex the wings for turning and left hand stick for climing or decending, looking straight ahead into a very large monitor for visuals. Very cool.
I think this is what I need. A nose camera on the RC plane and a heads up display to orient me to the flight conditions ahead. I’ll work on that.

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