Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making Points

Well, I've been kind of pushing my father in-law to get an RC airplane, especially since he has expressed an interest.  So he finally said he would get one but was unsure of what to get.  I asked around in the groups that I associate with and the consensus was that a Wild Hawk would be the best beginner RC plane for him.  I talked to him about planes and he was leaning toward getting something that was Cessna like.  He was very close to getting an eFlight Apprentice, but being a beginner, I talked him into the Wild Hawk.  Now the Apprentice is a nice plane and I really enjoyed flying the one I had to opportunity to fly, but, with the chance of breaking props and the motor every time it came down, he changed his mind.  Off to Harbor Freight we went and bought him a Wild Hawk.

I had scheduled a flying day with my Dad (at that great park near his house) and a craft day for my wife and girls with my Mom.  I told my father in-law that if he came, between my Dad and I, we could get his plane all setup and ready to fly in minutes.  He charged the battery overnight and met us at my folks house with his Wild Hawk still in the box.  He and my Dad browsed the farm while I setup the plane.  I stuck all the parts together using the supplied tape (figured that would be good enough for now), hooked up the controls, cut out the foam so the battery could be moved forward, trimmed foam from around the linkage by the servos, added the minimum amount of strapping tape on the full length of the underside, installed the transmitter batteries, checked out the transmitter and receiver, and was ready to go.

We packed up all of our planes and off to the field we went, ready to fly.  Well, we got there and found that the wind had come up and was gusty.  We later found out that the gusts were 5 to 10mph!  Since I had ailerons and more control, I took my Wild Hawk up and flew around a bit.  It was not easy to control but not too bad.  Next Dad took out his Wild Hawk #2 and was able to fly it around.  My father in-law wanted to get his plane into the air but did not want to do the maiden flight himself, especially in this wind.  So, he passed the controls off to me.  I was a little cocky and didn't think much of it and confidently strode out into the field to launch his plane into the air.  I figured that I would get it up into the air, gain some altitude, and trim it out.  After it was trimmed and stable I would hand the controls back to him and wait for them to be handed back.

I gave the controls full throttle and tossed his brand new unscratched plane into the air.  It was flying level just fine.  I gave a little up elevator and corrected for a gust with the rudder.  The plane just went all over the place! Suddenly I was fighting to keep this plane in the air.  About 100 yards out the plane took a final nose dive into the ground.  Pieces flew.  One of the longest walks ever over to the plane showed that after only 15 seconds of flight, the nose was broken clean off.  No more flying for this plane today.  Now the second longest walk back to show my father in-law the remains of this brand new plane.  Ugh, I felt bad.

After getting back and checking things out, I found that I had reversed the elevator controls and had not paid enough attention to notice that it was going the wrong direction!  So much for trusting my plan building skills.

Dad's back yard. Yes, that's a golf tee out there.
Well, how mad could my father in-law be?  At least I'm not the son in-law that divorced on of his daughters, right?!  No he was not that upset.  We returned to my Dad's place and when the wind died down a little, we flew our planes right out of his back yard.  My Dad got his Wild Hawk #2 up into the air and handed to controls to my father in-law and at least he was able to get the feel of things and fly it around a little (he did a really good job).  Now, I would have let him fly mine, but with the ailerons it would have been too much different from flying his plane.
Dad flying his Wild Hawk in his back yard.

Dad flying my Wild Hawk with ailerons.

Now we're waiting for another good day when we have time to fly, and this time we'll make sure that his plane is really ready to fly.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad.  Be sure to come back and check for future posts.

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