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Runaway Planes: biggest loss and close calls

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#1
So I have realized that almost everything I have posted have been builds. I wanted to do something for fun so here are my two questions: what is the largest plane that has flown away from you, and what is the closest you have been to losing a plane?I hope that this can help teach those who are new to the hobby learn some lessons while also having a good laugh.
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#2
I forgot to tell my story whoops 😅. I was at Flite Fest 2019 flyingy modified Sea Otter which I had named the Snow Otter because I live in Wisconsin and we have no shortage of snow to fly off of. When I was flying I realized that my lipo was a little bit dead. The controls had no effect for a few seconds and it just swayed in the wind flyi g further and further away for several seconds. Eventually I regained control, flew it back, and proceed to crash while trying to perform a tight turn so that I could land in time. Somehow the plane was unharmed.

The time I lost a plane it was the third flight with an average of 20 mph winds. When it was calm I took off and the wind started to pick up imediately. Once that happened it was blown away half a mile before going nose in after I lost oreintation and control. That plane was never found and I asume the crash was brutal and epic🙃. PS it was hunting season so I probably shouldn't have gone into the woods looking for it.
https://share.icloud.com/photos/0nfjcojXAVKu0pzE5Ox-NCm8Q
1571366209944.jpg
 

Captain Video

Well-known member
#3
If you have been to Flite Fest, you know how far it is from the center of the flight line to end near where the cars enter. My Apprentice had been a little "quirky" prior to FF'19. On that Saturday, I just took off that direction and it would not respond much to my sticks. I was lucky to make it turn but into the camping area. I could see it was coming down slowly as I had cut the throttle. It landed in the car path between the last two camping rows. Coincidentally, about fifteen feet from my campsite. No damage to the plane or anyone or anything else. I reset the model on my DX6e and it flew fine the rest of the day and Sunday. Very odd the stored model information on the controller seemed to have become corrupted. I am just happy everything worked out safely. Looking forward to FF '20!
 

Tonero311

Well-known member
#4
Had an Ft-22 fly away on me. One of the linkage stoppers I was using(never use these again) let go. It just kept flying perfectly straight until I cut the throttle and then it death spiralled to the ground. Didn't get too far, maybe about 300m or so.
Actually landed about 10' behind a teenager listening to music staring at their phone. Was going to apologise incase I give him a scare, but he didn't even catch on I was there nevermind a plane crash landing so close. Just collected my carnage and sauntered on, I was more concerned the young boy was unaware of the world around him than my plane to be honest.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#5
I have only had a runaway plane once in my life. My very first RC plane when I was a kid. I had got a Cox / Sanwa Cesna kit for Christmas one year. Spent a week putting it all together and messing around with throws and settings to see what they did. Come January I could not wait any longer and had to put it in the air. Went back to the instructions and made sure everything was back to spec and walked out to the ball park in freezing temps on a sunny day.

I got to the field set all my starter gear out... HINT...DO NOT try a first start of a cox 049 motor in freezing cold temps. Break that puppy in before leaving the house. Anyways 2 hours later I got it to where I could start adjusting the needles for best running in the cold air.

So I topped off the fuel. Did my control checks AHHGAIN.. bent down to fire it back up for its first last and only flight. The motor came to life easily as it was all set and happy at that point. I pointed it into the shifting winds which to my advantage were coming head on to me where I stood and down the longest part of the gravel parking lot at the ball field.

I let go of the tail and it started to roll away gaining speed. It did a nice straight roll and gained speed at a decent pace. Then it rotated and started taking to the air. At that moment I went to make the first turn on climb out one of the local police pulled up to see what was going on I suppose. I had made the first turn and was into the turn for the downwind leg still climbing. THIS is when the cop got out of his car, keyed his radio to tell dispatch he was out of the car and totally stepped on my control of the air plane. All I could do was watch it fly perfectly straight across the ball field, across a grassy area, over the parking lot to an apartment complex on the other side and straight into one of the brick walls.

That cop never said a word. Just got back in his car and drove away... Almost like he did it on purpose.
 

Arcfyre

Well-known member
#6
Lost a pusher Versa wing in the forest after either a loss of signal or RX brownout. It was flying pretty high at the time, and I noticed that it wasn't responding to the controls. It went into a steep spiral dive and I lost it in the trees. Never recovered.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#8
I like the history here but how do you like the history without seeming to like the losses... Thumbs up for the history guys let me know if you want a like as it would not be for your loss.
 
#9
luckily havent lost many planes but i did lose one. it was my first plane, the old blue parkzone super cub with the brushed motor and the sensors to sense ground and sky to supposedly save you from a dive. it was christmas day and i went flying and the wind took it way out of the park i was flying in. never was able to track it down. The closest i came to losing a big one was my FMS P-38 Lightning. i was flying at a club whose field is in the middle of a corn field. i screwed up a turn and the thing when into the 7 foot tall corn. took us about an hour to find it. only real loss was one of the spinners on the left engine. sadly could never replace it since the plane got discontinued just before that incident.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#10
Try finding quads in this mess. Specially if you eject the battery. At least a plane has the chance to sit up on the corn where you can see it hehe. Cant wait til they rotate that field back to soft floofy Alfalfa again.


Cornz.jpg
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#11
Before I got into fixed wing, I was playing around with toy level quads. I stuck a FPV camera on my jjrc H31 and managed to get way high and behind myself, over some woods. My son warned me what was happening, but I couldn't get my orientation with the FPV goggles, and I chose to bail. I cut throttle and let it drop into the trees.

I used the signal strength indicator in my goggles to find the quad, twenty feet or so up in a tree. We came back with rope and ladders and poles and you name it, we couldn't get it down. The next day Hurricane Matthew hit. We went out afterwards, to see if the wind had taken it from the tree. It did. Where it took it to, I have no idea. :p

Not too long ago, I was out with my Mini Scout Biplane, just tooling around. I was in a nice, gentle, hands off curve, and I just waited for the plane to come back. Only it didn't. It was going away from me, instead of towards me like I thought! It was to my eyes, just a fuzzy little dot in the sky when I finally realized what was happening. Thankfully, as soon as I realized which direction it was actually facing, I got my orientation back and was able to bring it home safely. That was a close one, though!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#12
Let's see...1 recent loss, and 1 close call.

Recent loss - I was flying during our club's monthly Combat, and we had 12 Versa Wings in the air all at the same time, trying to smack into each other or cut streamers. We had a large mass of the planes all at once, and I lost sight of mine in the ensuing mayhem. Thinking I saw mine, I started trying to fly back into the mess - only to realize that mine was about 5 feet above the ground on a hard nosedive. I tried to save it, only to have it impact hard enough on one edge of the wing to split it neatly in half and break the motor shaft.

It has since been rebuilt, and my wife said she's painting it for me, but won't let me see it until Sunday morning, when our next Combat event is. I'm afraid it's gonna have bullseyes and daisies all over it. LOL

The close call I had was about a month and a half ago. I went slope soaring for the first time with my FT Simple Soarer out at Dave's Beach, in Carlsbad, CA:
1572914241151.png


The paved area with the arrows pointing to it is our landing area, and also where most of the flyers stand. As you can see, it's also got a dirt path where people like to walk along with their families and pets, ride bicycles, and do people watching. During the summer, it's something of a nightmare to try and land something with the people on the paved area.

As you can see immediately behind it, there is Carlsbad Blvd., which can also be heavily traveled with autos. A heavy gust pushed my Simple Soarer out over the road and it ended up on the middle island by the turn lane. After that, I am now trying to touch down as close to the cliff edge as possible, or further north of the paved area on the dirt/ice plant, since the paved area ends up being more like a postage stamp than a landing zone. :)
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#13
Let's see...1 recent loss, and 1 close call.

Recent loss - I was flying during our club's monthly Combat, and we had 12 Versa Wings in the air all at the same time, trying to smack into each other or cut streamers. We had a large mass of the planes all at once, and I lost sight of mine in the ensuing mayhem. Thinking I saw mine, I started trying to fly back into the mess - only to realize that mine was about 5 feet above the ground on a hard nosedive. I tried to save it, only to have it impact hard enough on one edge of the wing to split it neatly in half and break the motor shaft.

It has since been rebuilt, and my wife said she's painting it for me, but won't let me see it until Sunday morning, when our next Combat event is. I'm afraid it's gonna have bullseyes and daisies all over it. LOL

The close call I had was about a month and a half ago. I went slope soaring for the first time with my FT Simple Soarer out at Dave's Beach, in Carlsbad, CA:
View attachment 147210

The paved area with the arrows pointing to it is our landing area, and also where most of the flyers stand. As you can see, it's also got a dirt path where people like to walk along with their families and pets, ride bicycles, and do people watching. During the summer, it's something of a nightmare to try and land something with the people on the paved area.

As you can see immediately behind it, there is Carlsbad Blvd., which can also be heavily traveled with autos. A heavy gust pushed my Simple Soarer out over the road and it ended up on the middle island by the turn lane. After that, I am now trying to touch down as close to the cliff edge as possible, or further north of the paved area on the dirt/ice plant, since the paved area ends up being more like a postage stamp than a landing zone. :)
About the Versa wing monthly combat, it seems very similar to something that is common at my field, but instead of the Versa Wing we use the Crash Test Hobby Assassin wing which is practically indestructible. If you and a few other members think it would be worth a try you could get the three pack and save money.http://www.crashtesthobby.com/assassin-39.html. It is just an idea because every club is different and it is already hard enough to find ones that ever fly combat ;)
 

Gazoo

Well-known member
#14
I was still a bit inexperienced. I went to the local park with my nephew to fly the Apprentice. It was overcast and a really low ceiling that day. I didn't realize how low or have the experience to know.

Up it went and before I knew, it was in the soup. Crap! Not really knowing what to do, I put it into basic mode, killed the power and put it into a turn. The SAFE system kept it from rolling over or nose diving.

We were looking for it to decend out of the clouds. Stomach sinking. Crap...crap...crap... and then my nephew spotted it a hundred feet behind me. About ten feet off the ground. Full throttle and saved it.

After landing we packed up and went home in one piece. Dumb move but I learned a lesson that day. Could have been much worse.
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#15
So it is great that people were willing to come out about their mistakes and help fliers avoid doing the same, and it is also not so good because of all of the planes that were lost. I think that I will have an update on the Snow Otter which I had almost lost, well... I tipped stalled it in a Crosswind about two mistakes up but just like the previous crashes I have had, I was able to gain speed but not stop the spine even with full aileron (I am thinking of developing a special technique for just this plane). At first I could see the plane just sitting in the grass, even the controls and throttle were moving fine but when I picked it up the whole third of the fuselage behind the wing fell off. Recently I was flying a UMX F4U Corsair outside and in true Wisconsin fashion, it was calm until just after takeoff when winds picked up again. Then the battery velcro detached and the plane turned into a pendulum due to the extremely low center of gravity. It blew into a tree, but I got it out unscathed. The buzzers to put on aircraft and quads are lifesavers, they are light and will probably prevent this from happening to me for a while once I get it in all my planes. My Balsa USA Swizzle Stick is going to be a "Search and Rescue" aircraft and will have a down facing runcam to search for aircraft in the marsh. It may or may not work, if not at least I have a cool paint job.
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#16
I was still a bit inexperienced. I went to the local park with my nephew to fly the Apprentice. It was overcast and a really low ceiling that day. I didn't realize how low or have the experience to know.

Up it went and before I knew, it was in the soup. Crap! Not really knowing what to do, I put it into basic mode, killed the power and put it into a turn. The SAFE system kept it from rolling over or nose diving.

We were looking for it to decend out of the clouds. Stomach sinking. Crap...crap...crap... and then my nephew spotted it a hundred feet behind me. About ten feet off the ground. Full throttle and saved it.

After landing we packed up and went home in one piece. Dumb move but I learned a lesson that day. Could have been much worse.
Nice Job being calm enough after to bring back in one piece. Luckily where I live the clouds are either on the ground or 1000 feet high, so I can't Legally fly into them but I am sure I will one day find a way. "Planes uh, find a way": Jurassic Park 480 out-runner (probably)
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#18
If you have been to Flite Fest, you know how far it is from the center of the flight line to end near where the cars enter. My Apprentice had been a little "quirky" prior to FF'19. On that Saturday, I just took off that direction and it would not respond much to my sticks. I was lucky to make it turn but into the camping area. I could see it was coming down slowly as I had cut the throttle. It landed in the car path between the last two camping rows. Coincidentally, about fifteen feet from my campsite. No damage to the plane or anyone or anything else. I reset the model on my DX6e and it flew fine the rest of the day and Sunday. Very odd the stored model information on the controller seemed to have become corrupted. I am just happy everything worked out safely. Looking forward to FF '20!
Yeah, last FF'19 seemed to have a lot of close calls, a Radian FT flew into the tent next to ours, someone who I was building next to lost sight of their cub and I saw it make a landing hands off in the two and a half yard gap between tents. Then STAN went down rather close, a PT17 shredded a wing and landed without the top wing, The giant P47 lost an aileron and crashed a bit close, the person next to e in combat got hit (luckily he was fine), and one of my planes flew under the fence barrier before stopping right after, somehow it must have had an inch or two of clearance. In short, you weren't alone ;)
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#20
Oh no :(, well, if you don't rebuild it the tail is pretty good for workspace decoration. Hope it was salvageable.
Wish it was salvageable. Most things were destroyed including 3 100 dollar servos. The engine is in for repair so we hope ot is save-able. The problem is that the tail is too big to really put on one of our walls without being an obstacle.