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at what point?

all of us have crashed or seen someone crash and for the most part everybody gets a laugh out of it and then move on with there day. i think my worst was a 200 dollar arf and i was able to laugh it off and get out another plane and continue. my question is whats the most money youve ever lost in a crash and at what price point is it no longer funny?


Hostage Taker of Quads
There are two sides to this hobby -- making them pretty and getting some airtime. You either like *both* or you won't stick around.

As for my laugh/cry threshold, for a ARF or better, it can be fairly low depending on if it's the first repair or how new the plane is. If I've figured out how to fix this plane before, or "got my money's worth" out of it, then it doesn't really phase me.

For scratchbuilds and planbuilds it's pretty high and depends on flight time and epic-ness of fail. If I've never had a good flight with it or gets smashed for no reason (think fiberglass fox episode), I won't be laughing.

Recently crashed an over-abused wing due to strong winds and split it in two, stem to stern . . . in front of a club -- yeah, I was laughing with everyone else.


New member
Back when i was 18 i saved up a bunch of money to buy my first plane, finally got it to the field, i had a guy flying it for me, when he had trimmed it out he handed me the controls, within the space of about 30 seconds i had ripped off a wing mid flight and gave it quite the dirt nap. that whole plane setup had cost me $800

Now i'm building planes for $2 I wish i knew this stuff when i was younger
I hear you eagle, I watched someone do something very similar at a field a few years ago but the plane came apart while the instructor was still flying it. After examining the wreckage it was determine that he never glued the to halves of the wings together. The guy was all over the instructor about paying for the plane and wouldn't just except the fact that he failed to follow the build instructions and that it was no fault of the instructors.
Several years ago I finally set up my first Gas plane. 80plus wingspan, 22 inch prop, kinda snuck a couple extra non-existant bucks here and there to get it together and went to fly it. With quite the positive attitude of "It's a big stick, who can't fly that" I took off in pretty heavy winds that were the norm for the whole weekend AND proceeded to fly it for 5 days straight. Not only did it fly, it flew great, handled the winds with ease. Last day of the event towards the end of the day I was flying it when someone started playing James Browns "Sex Machine" on the loud speaker. Well now I was twitching my rear end to the music and before you know it me and this other dude are doing the bump.

Then I remembered I was flying an airplane and turned to look for it just in time to see it pile in. I did NOT handle that well. Tripped on my lower lip all the way out to the crash site. Picked the stuff up while uttering some of my favorite profanity. Walked back draggin entrails and started dis-assembly while a bunch of guys were standing over me, hats in hand. Took me a while to shake it off.

Had this been an expensive kit that I'd pushed so hard to complete I might have just given up. However, it's a spad. My wings were damaged but usuable. I used my tailfeathers again and only had to rebuild the fuse. I broke a carb standoff and the prop, the PROP!!! most expensive part of the plane at 15 bucks! Anyways, I finally shook it off, rebuilt it all and was flying the snot out of it at the fall flyin WHERE I was trying to do a slow, inverted, low pass that I stopped forward movement about 25 feet up and dropped it out of the sky, ruining another fuselage AND PROP DANGIT!!!! The next spring I was flying it, rebuilt again, and when the engine flamed out at an odd place I landed it way off the north end of the field. After I flaired and it stopped rolling IT FELL 10 more feet! Oops, That cost me a spar and a nice crease under the landing gear, saved the prop! Haven't crashed it yet this year. Ugly as heck the ground is rejecting it. But the first time is the only time I didn't handle it well. I had been under a bunch of stress including the build stress then was rewarded by WAY too much good times, fun, food, and 5 days of flying till you can't stand fun only to have it turned right from absolute joy (ok, sounds weird when you consider I was dancing the bump with another dude) to utter, pitiful sorrow. The rest of the times I did manage to think it was quite funny. Oh, this year at the event I was about 50 feet up, inverted and ran out of gas. That turns out to be just enough time to get the nose down, speed up and pull out around 10 feet for a glide to landing WAY out there. No damage.

Now, I did strangle a plane this year but the engine was giving me problems and after fiddling with it for an hour I knew I needed to take the firewall off to get at the problem WHICH meant the plane was going to fall apart, it was kinda worn out. But that LOOKED bad even though I had a fuse back home ready to swap gear and wing to, just didn't get to it in time. Worked great two weeks ago when I got to try and fly it again.

You can SAY "if you can't afford it" but there's more then money invovled here. There's a deep attachment to some planes and it can really hurt to lose the sum of your efforts. Sometimes it can mean the end of your flying for quite some time. This is why ARF Trainers really helped the hobby. People didn't have to spend 40 hours building a plane, becoming attached to it and then they couldn't concentrate on flying they were so worried about "Their Baby". ARFS made that monitary only and now and AXN will do what balsa ARF's would for a fraction of the cost. Shoot, no attachment whatsover. till you get up to one of those 1/3 scale 3D machines.

Or my SPAD USS, my Baby, sniff.
Trex 600 Pro E FL - still not rebuilt. Going to cost me about $400+ to get it back in the air. Not so funny because it was a stupid mistake. The satellite RX units were flashing at me telling me something was wrong. But, I had always fixed by turning it all off and restarting. After the crash I dug into the flashing further only to find that the plugs were not seated completely in the 3GX unit/RX.

So I guess it is no longer funny when I am the cause. But, wait a minute... it's not funny when I am not the cause. (DX8 having a gimbal that shorted out) That wasn't fun either.

So, pgerts gets my vote. If I can't afford it, I shouldn't be doing it. And that is why I am really loving the foam core planes. Crashed the Cruiser into the ground and didn't think much of it!

Thanks Flitetest!
Great topic olds45512.

The cost of my air disasters have been relatively low so far... I've probably only lost about $500 in wreckage, although I'm planning to step up to a larger scale petrol model next year.

In the early days when I was a student, it was a bit depressing. But these days, because I have a camera on board, I can get a lot more laughs out of my misfortune/misadventure (bad piloting), from the subsequent video, so every crash is a worthwhile exercise. In fact, realistically, I expect to crash virtually every time I launch, it's just a question of how epic it might be.

I have to disagree about having to enjoy the build or repair time in the hobby. After building and rebuilding balsa gliders, I have confirmed I have ZERO skill in this part of the hobby. My air frames are always out of alignment, due to poor cutting, uneven gluing or just lack of patience and for the life of me I can't work out how you all get this fantastic wrinkle free finish in mono/ultra/whatever cote.

Thankfully the industry now produces cheap throw away models, that look good, perform better than anything I could ever build and are cheap enough to give me a laugh everytime I crash.

Back when i was 18 i saved up a bunch of money to buy my first plane, finally got it to the field, i had a guy flying it for me, when he had trimmed it out he handed me the controls, within the space of about 30 seconds i had ripped off a wing mid flight and gave it quite the dirt nap. that whole plane setup had cost me $800

Now i'm building planes for $2 I wish i knew this stuff when i was younger
Amen Brother!!! Back in about 1983 or '84 as a young pup, I was trying to learn to fly RC. Only problem, we lived in a rural area and farming was the name of the game, so there wasn't a lot of time to get to a flying field, so we flew any chance we had. My dad also did not know how to fly, he was learning with me.

I had a Flitecraft Cardinal that I really wanted to learn to fly. We found a friend that flew RC and got him to buddy box with me. We were using early 1980's Tower Hobby radios (brand new at the time). About the second pass around the field, something glitched in the radio... He released the trainer button, nothing, unplugged the cord, nothing. All the while, the plane was gyrating crazily around the sky. It finally settled into a full throttle vertical descent. I watched in horror as my plane plummeted to the ground. It was February in Southern Idaho, and the ground was still frozen, not to mention the field was in an abandoned gravel pit. There were not too many pieces bigger than my hand left. It shattered the engine, the receiver, and stripped most of the servos. It was a plastic molded fuselage with a foam core wing and the below freezing temperature made it all very brittle. I still have the main gear and the nose wheel. In fact, I just straightened out the gear and used it on my Avistar tail dragger conversion.

Long story, long.... I quit the hobby for a long time. In fact it was just November of 2012 that I got back into planes. The Cardinal was about a $500 pill to swallow when you consider the cost of the plane, the radio, and the engine. I really wanted a motorcycle at the time, so planes went by the wayside. Fast forward to now, and it was absolutely wonderful to get back into the hobby with the FT Old Fogey. I can't think of a better plane to start with! Even my very first flight was successful!! Needless to say, I was addicted!!! I immediately started building other foam board planes, and also bought a PZ T-28 Trojan. It is awesome to be back in the hobby and I can do it with my kids.

Knowing that crashing is inevitable, I just don't fly anything that costs more than I am willing to lose. Most of my planes are foam, but I have my Avistar, which was given to me. I even recently crashed it when the elevator control horn broke in flight. It is currently being rebuilt. I don't see myself with any big expensive ARFs anytime soon, but I do see me building a ton of FT swapables and really enjoying the hobby!!
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Foam Addict

Squirrel member
I lost a Radio Batt. and had a .45 sized nitro trainer slam into a hillside at full throttle a week ago. We laughed for a good minute... and then spent 30 min searching for it, only to find it slightly damaged in a bush. It's being repaired.

Crashing is inevitable, but something I learned is "Never give up the ship" Fly it all the way down.
I think those of us fortunate enough to learn on older style trainers got lucky. The older planes were usually solid wood versus the stick built planes you see these days, my hangar 9 trainer has been crashed more times than I can count but took the hits like a champ and was always easily repaired, I see alot of stick uilt trainer arfs that wont take a hard landing let allone a real crash and I think that drives people away from the hobby.
I've had two major crashes with lots of civilians watching, very embarrassing and not fun at all. Stoically pick up the pieces and leave as fast as you can do it slowly.

Non-public crashes hurt my confidence most, and I always try to get the backup plane (I almost always bring a "plan B") in the air to regain it. I'd never fly anything expensive as I know I couldn't handle a crash well. Also, the higher the stakes in invested money and/or time, the more nervous you get, and the worse you fly.


Junior Member
For me it is all a question of how much money do I spend on my entertainment. This is my way to enjoy the times in life that i am not having to deal with life. so i look around my little area here with all the helis (that have had alot of dirt time lol) and planes that i am just getting back into and think for all the time i have enjoyed flying, building, crashing, and just getting to hang out with friends divide that by how much i have spent and wow this is cheap :)
Last crash cheaper plane but broke great lol and i can say i have never missed the ground.


Senior Member
I think my most expensive crash clocks in at about $30. It took me two bottles of foam CA, a new prop, and a new gearbox to get it flying again. I wasn't happy about the crash, but it was one of those "at least the electronics are fine" crashes. I thought for sure I had destroyed some irreparable parts of the airframe. Turned out it was just some foam damage and after a couple hours of works I got it together. Now it's my favorite crash story.

Here is what the plane looked like after I got it home from the crash.

And here it is now.

As for how it happened, I was flying around at my school's intramural fields (huge, open, grassy space aside from some light posts). I had it up more or less as high as I dared take it that late in the day (I was flying by the field lights mostly, but dang those poles are tall) with the throttle wide open. I went to pull a loop and folded the top wing. Plane comes tumbling to the ground and hits more or less landing gear first and flattens itself.
For me building flying and repairing are all equally satisfying. In scratch building there is nothing IMHO better than having a craft of your own design start out with an awful maiden (or worse)....take it home redesign/alter....fly again with marked improvement and progress through the phases until you have a very flyable model. Saying that most of my biggest disappointments have been scratch building. You may have two, three, four epic failures in a row on several entirely different models. Need a success every once in awhile, think that's why a great many guys have that one plane they can count on. The easy flyer....not the flashiest, not the fastest and most typically not the most expensive. Just a fully vetted and trimmed hanger veteran that one can grab and fly at a moments notice when some simple air time is required. Btw I still laugh when I crash no matter the cost, monetary or time....I'm still having one hell of a time.
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Pro plane crasher
my most expensive crash happened with a 1500 NOK (about 250$) ARTF. however, I didn't laugh that time. mainly due to the reason that it caught on fire. made it into a glider

the point at which it isn't funny is when the plane starts burning, or the reason for the crash is that somebody else wanted to fly your plane so badly they grab the controller from you