Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday morning flying session

I was on my local slope (Auta Chia) around 9:30 yesterday morning, ready to fly.
The Tanga went first unballasted in conditions that were lighter than I'd expected. It went smooth and lift was good enough, but there wasn't much energy to do more than 2-3 F3F passes. So I kept going smoothly for a while and then landed. For the second flight, I loaded about 200 grams to check whether energy retention would squeeze some more out of the conditions. It was the case, more energy in the turns, but the wind still was little light. Thermals were rare and with little amplitude.
After second landing, I decided my Pace VXH needed some flight time. Everything ready for launch, a few steps downslope and there is goes. I immediately stepped backward uphill keeping my eyes on the glider. And then the unplanned happened!
I slipped with one boot and landed on my back. In the light fall, my left hand pulled crows full down while my right hand grabbed the transmitter and, in the movement, trimmed ailerons full right... This was a very bad situation. The plane, with full breaks engaged, turned fully right and was then nose down facing the grassy slope at about 15m above ground. I pushed breaks away and tried full left pulling up elevator to turn it away, but response wasn't as expected. The glider went down quite fast and hit ground out of immediate sight!
I was pretty sure the result was very bad while walking down. I blamed myself for my mistake (I could have waited to have some water under my keel before walking uphill backwards).
On crash site, the situations was like this:
- Elevator joiners broken: two carbon rods to replace, nothing bad
- Rudder: light vertical cracks on both side in the sheeting, but behind the rudder spar, so it's an easy fix
- Each wing half slipped out along the joiner indicating that the right wing hit ground first, but both wing halves are intact.
- Fuselage acted as fuse! The joiner pressed out the MPX connectors which both were loose, but still plugged in the loose-mounted wing connectors. A superficial scratch on the fuse back made by the corner of one flap which is now very slightly rounded.

That was it. A Lesky Composite Pace VXH hitting nose and right wing into the ground at 40-50 km/h can be fixed in half an hour! I bet my Tanga wouldn't look as good with the same crash...
So it could have been much worse. Let's go on: after bringing the Pace pieces up to the starting place, the Tanga got airborne once more to round off this Saturday morning flying session. I hope all of you made better than I!
Full res pics are in a new Picasa album here.

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