Topic: crash

Killer Kaos restomod part 6

It was one of those incredible warm and sunny august afternoons, with clear blue skies and just a hint of a breeze, and I brought my daughter along and went flying. We were alone at the field when my Killer Kaos crashed spectacularly.

I tuned the engine. At first it was flooded, and that killed the OS #F plug, so I replaced it with an OS #8. At home, I had shortened the pipe by cutting the header a good 2 centimetres. It worked. The engine ran strong, frighteningly so, as I tached it at 11.200 rpm. Glad I ordered bigger props, I thought, as I took off. Immediately it started leaning out, not providing the power the tachometer promised when on the ground, and I landed a minute later. The engine was piping hot, it oozed heat and I scorched my finger touching the head. I was at a loss, and then I remembered:

The engine was bought used, and when I got it, it was full of burned Castor oil. I always use 15% nitro and 15 % Aerosave pure synthetic blend in my engines. Problem is, this engine was brought up on low nitro and Castor oil and it was made in an era long before the AX-series engines I’m used to now. So I switched fuels, draining the tank and putting in 10 % nitro fuel with 18 % synth/Castor blend oil. The difference was amazing.

It screamed. I was able to turn the needle almost one full turn out, and power and smoke just kept coming. Simply unreal. Delighted, I took off into wind, and the Kaos was tooling along the blue skies like a dragster down the strip, a gorgeous white smoke trail in its wake. It just hauled upwards like nothing else mattered, and I got that incredible, indescribable rush of pure joy and I wanted nothing more than to hammer the throttle and roll upwards until the cows came home. Then it blew up.

I knew it was flutter before my brain even processed it. The elevator boomed for a second with such ferocity, it even drowned out the sound of the engine. I startled so that I pulled the throttle back as pure muscle reflex, attempted a turn towards home, and realized only the ailerons worked. It wobbled, stalled and then went in nose first. It only lasted two seconds.

The engine was buried 10 inches in soft soil. The fuselage from the rear wing mount forwards was smashed. The fuel tank, receiver, two servos, battery, everything smashed. One wing half in pieces, another crushed. Incredibly, the header and pipe seem undamaged. But the plane is a total loss.

The elevator fluttered. No doubt about it. There is a gaping hole where the elevator horn was, and the carbon rod broke where the threaded rod was screwed into it. The horn and link is missing. It’s one of the very few planes I’ve had over the years with a single elevator pushrod, and it will be my last.

I’m really sad. I was in heaven, truly enjoying myself and thinking that wow, this is what all those hundreds of hours in the basement is really all about. The sound, the smoke, the goose bumps you get when you pull up and the plane, your creation, just keeps on going. And then nothing but silence and sorrow.

I’m also grateful, now that the shock has passed. Grateful that a lot of expensive parts survived. Grateful that I had those few minutes of pure pleasure in the skies before it was over. Grateful that it landed in a field and did no harm to anyone. Grateful to have had this plane. I always wanted to fly pattern, and this was the first plane I had that didn’t crash. I flew it in its original version for four seasons, and it really taught me to fly pattern. It inspired confidence, and I felt it even today, that my fingers could do nothing wrong with it. It was… solid. A rock.

The only way to relieve my sorrow is to look ahead. My decision was already made as I walked to the crash site: I will build another. It will take a while, as is my custom, but I have already started to plan my next one. I will build it from scratch, I have my original plan, and using bits and pieces of the wreckage as templates I will build a new Killer and fly it like there’s no tomorrow, and as a homage, the new one will carry one single wing rib from the original with it into the skies.

So long my friend.

Laser R.I.P

It happened a few weeks ago but I’ve tried not to think to much about it- the Laser crashed and was totally destroyed during practice in rough winds. It was much better but sadly not flown as much as the Red Laser that preceded it. Intended as a backup model I originally fitted it with an O.S 200 FS engine. It was fitted with a pump and Hatori header that was later sold cheap after realising it had none of the power I wanted. I replaced it with a YS 1.60 which I discovered was badly broken before I had a chance to fly it. It then got a used YS 1.70 DZ which performed really well. After changing fuel from one type of Rapicon to another it stopped on takeoff, breaking one undercarriage leg. It took a while to get the leg I wanted from Germany and by the time it got mended, last years flying season was over and I was eagerly looking forward to receiving my new Integral. The Laser was in storage for a full year until my Integral broke and then it came out of hiding, dutifully performing its role as backup model. It flew very nicely and after three trim flights due to a change to 2,4 Ghz it performed well. It was very honest to fly with no bad habits. Although not being able to match the Integral in knife-edge performance it was a very decent F3A model, despite looking like an IMAC half-breed.

There was a lot of wind that fateful day. I don’t really mind wind as long as it blows straight down the field but this was the kind of day when your model must be bolted to the grass in order to not fly away on its own, the kind of windy day only an idiot flies. I was that idiot. After the second round of P11 I was about to turn onto base leg for landing, and with a tailwind best described as a tornado, the idiot move I made was to retard the throttle and pull a little elevator to turn. It stalled, simply flicked forward and was blown nose-first into the dirt in the blink of an eye.

Crash pictures

Video (With OS 200)

“There he goes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
– From Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

EZ Supra Fly 45

More pictures

Mini Leader accident

I wanted to try out the new battery the other day and I learned the hard way that old habits are easily forgotten when it comes to these little electric toys.

When you can just take the plane from the car, plug in the battery and strap on the radio and fly, normal routine is forgotten – the antenna was not extended and of course the flight was cut short by severe interference. It landed wingtip and nose, broke the prop and parts of the fuse behind the wing and u/c mount but that was easily repaired.

And then we got weather – lots of it so I’m still waiting for a decent weekend sunny day to fly once more.

Mini leader flies

I had to opportunity to take my 2 year old daughter and the new Mini-leader out flying on saturday. It was a beautiful morning, wind and cloudless with a crisp frost underfoot.

The plane flew uneventfully straight out of my hands but it seemed tailheavy so I gained some altitude and tried to trim it. My daughter ran about my feet around shouting joyously (she’s never seen me fly before) and that distracted me a bit. Elevator trim seemed not to help, I decided it had to be landed so I could move the battery forward. Strangely, the plane just flew on with the throttle closed. My daughter was by now euphoric with glee and I was stunned and let the controls go, the plane was so stable it would not stall, loose height, even roll – it just flew. I guess when BPLR designs a low wing trainer he is not kidding. It was fantastically stable.

In the end I flew much to slow and flared to high so it dropped a wingtip half-metre above ground. I mistakenly thought it flew like a foamie (it felt like it at times). Not much damage, the battery came loose, broke an elevator (stab still ok…) and prop. My daughter ran off to retrieve the plane (how’s that for great offspring, huh!) and I was as happy as she was.

The plan now is to fix the elevator, move the battery 2 cm’s forward and strengthen the home-made battery fastening-gizmo (i.e, a balsa-stick).

If I can get it to stall turn reliably and if it manages to take off from grass it’ll be my secret weapon at the club contest this spring. I know the judges sometimes favour electric planes…