Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems

Exceed Pitts S2A third flight (wind and broken rudder)

Posted by Akom • Tuesday, September 9. 2008 • Category: Toys

I finally have a fully charged battery so I'm off to have a nice long flight. Or so I thought.

So there was some wind this morning - not too much, I figured - I can handle this, I've flown with wind in the simulator. Went out to a different field today - more open, less wind cover. Took off from a sandy path, plane rolled easily and I pointed it into the wind for takeoff. It took off before I even asked it to, and the fun began

The wind suddenly picked up, and the plane was turning around and rolling and overall putting up quite a fight. I finally learned what the rudder is for - before I was only using it to line up for landing - but here, without the rudder the wind gusts were uncorrectable.

At full throttle the plane basically stood still in the wind - just barely going forward, and it was a struggle to keep it that way - it was getting flipped in all directions. Landing was becoming a growing concern in the back of my mind. I tried some manuevers before giving up and attempting to land. I was not sure whether to bring it in upwind or downwind, so settled on downwind... it came down, hard, but stayed in one piece. I think it landed nose down on prop/gear. The wind gusts were strong enough that I had no hope of a predictable touchdown.

The plane was fine, I went for a jog and workout, then drove home. As I was turning into the driveway, one of the luggage compartments in the van flew open on top of the plane, crushing the rudder and breaking it in the process.... of all things to happen! The plane survived flight and landing in conditions it was not made for, and succumbed to the drive home.

I managed to repair the rudder using two toothpicks and the stock glue, as shown. You can see that I marked the insertion points for the toothpicks so the pieces would align right. One toothpick went in all the way to the plastic.

Broken rudder (a heavy thing fell on plane)
Repairing with toothpicks and glue
All back together

Seems pretty solid, actually.

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