Model airplane crashes are as tragic as they are inevitable. Nobody wants to see someone's hard work smashed to bits in an instant. But it happens -- and we can't help but look. We have to see what happened and analyze the causes. It's part of the hobby. And, often, someone is quick to get a picture of the wreckage. This section of Flying Lines is devoted to the human nature in all of us ... the need to gawk at others' misfortune. It's a page for pictures of CL airplane crashes.
We're asking FL readers to send in photos of notable crashes. Please include a bit of information about the airplane, the crash, and the cause of it. Just e-mail your photo and information to the editor.
At the 2012 Northwest Regionals, Paul Gibeault's Irvine .15-powered Mejzlik A Speed Plane wound up in pieces without really crashing. Paul explains: "This model took off and the dolly didn't unlatch. On touch down on the opposite downwind side of the circle, the model sheared off its single blade carbon prop and proceeded to do a full-out "shaft run" with just the remaining prop counterweight. What you see is the resulting vibration damage.
Floyd Carter of Eugene, Ore., recently lost this beautiful Mustang stunter. The O.S. LA .46 engine quit at the top of the stunt pattern's reverse wingover, and the plane came straight down. Tom Kopriva photo.
Bill Toschik of Klamath Falls, Ore., crashed his tutor in Beginner Precision Aerobatics at the 2011 Fall Follies in Salem, Ore. His flying buddy, Russell Shaffer, put it back together and it's flying again. Russell Shaffer photos.
Dave Royer's reliable old Ringmaster quit in overhead eight while flying at Delta Park in Portland in October 2011. Geoff Christianson photo.
The McCoy .35-powered stunter met its end at the August 2011 Roseburg Fun Fly. Dave Shrum photo.
Rex Abbott of Sequim, Wash., says the wreckage of his Fancy Pants is a good argument for covering the wing with silk before installing in the fuselage, rather than just covering the wing after installation. Rex Abbott photo.
Floyd Carter of Eugene, Ore., says he was daydreaming on July 3, 2011, while flying his electric stunt plane, and pancaked the plane on an outside loop. Motor and batteries were not damaged, and he had it repaired in about a week (below). Floyd Carter photo above, Flying Lines photo below.
Tom Kopriva of Eugene, Ore., got a lot of good flights out of his Brodak ARF Profile Cardinal, but a factory-crimped leadout failed at the bellcrank on April 25, 2010, during a stunt flight over asphalt in Eugene, Ore. Flying only on the up line, the plane did some spectacular tight, stalling maneuvers, some slack flying, and eventually hit the asphalt under power straight in. Photo above shows the pieces all gathered together in a neat pile. Flying Lines photo.
Close-up at left shows the bellcrank area missing the front wire, which is seen in photo at right. Left photo, Flying Lines; right photo, Jim Corbett.
Photo at left shows the divot made in the asphalt by the still-spinning spinner. Jim Corbett photo. At right, the spinner compressed, possibly saving the O.S. LA .46 engine, which survived the crash. Flying Lines photo.
Mike Massey of Cottage Grove, Ore., has been aggressively learning precision aerobatics maneuvers. He built several profile stunters to use in learning the pattern. Any intensive program of learning maneuvers is going to cost a few airplanes, such as this profile that was destroyed on Oct. 24, 2009, at the Eugene Airport flying field. On the bright side, Mike's making rapid progress -- his flying improves with every session. Right wing of the plane isn't shown ... too many small pieces! Flying Lines photo.
An ARF Flite Streak doesn't survive too well when the engine quits at the top of the circle. Ron Anderson shows off the repaired plane three days later. Geoff Christianson photos.
Don Curry's Veco Tomahawk was a good flier until smacking the asphalt in a lazy eight at at Delta Park in Portland, Ore. Destroyed a nice-running O.S. engine. Geoff Christianson photo.
Bill Heher lives in Florida but travels to Portland, Ore., frequently, and so is a member of the Northwest Fireballs and a regular flier at the Delta Park flying site in Portland. The wreckage above is from an ARF Oriental, originally assembled by Fireball Richard Entwhistle, which whacked the Delta Park asphalt on an outside loop. It fit nicely in a paper bag (below left) after the crash. Bill got to work in his hotel room (below right) and put all the tiny bits back together. Bottom photo shows the Oriental on the flying circle again the following weekend, after a test flight. "I didn't need the bag that day," Bill says. Bill Heher photos.
Dave Shrum had a hard season for airplanes in 2008 and early 2009. His pile of pieces includes one Flite Streak, two Navy Carrier planes and one Northwest Sport racer. Two engines died in the carnage. He's hoping for a better rest of the year in 2009. Dave Shrum photo.
Don Schultz sent in the historical photos above and below with the following commentary: First shot is a beautiful green model ... (name of modeler unmentioned to protect the guilty) before and after the crash at the 67? Albany, Ore., contest. The white and red model in the background was a rebuilt previously crashed garbage basket case of a George Lieb airplane that I brought back out of the ashes, rebuilt in two weeks for this event.
Don's report of the crash above: An old Shark 45 that was also "gleaned from a crash" rebuilt to fly again for the 68 Albany contest with a second place finish behind the late NW ICON of stunt, Gene Matheny. The next weekend we had another contest at the old Main Terminal at Boeing field right in front of the main building. This model again had a very very short life of only about three months after being rebuilt. I have always had extremely poooooooooor depth perception. This is the tragic result of flying with 70 feet of line on a 60-foot circle that was surrounded on one side by a group of roped crowd control barriers that I hit with the entire outboard wing -- which parted cleanly. (I continued to fly my level laps ... gave the judges my starting hand signal and started the wingover .. flew through the inside and outside loops .. but then decided to ATTEMPT a landing (power on...and again clipped the first barrier on landing, which resulted in a K&B 45 killed-n-kooked' shaft engine run. Just after the crash, it began to downpour and I couldn't pass up an invitation to go to the Flight Center Bar where Ed Knutson and I bought each other late morning coffee nudges in memory of a departed of Shark 45 war horse .. that survived a few years of flying, first by Lynn Howard Dooty and then revived and re-sent to the old stunt model grave yard again ... by the depth deprived n' demented eyeballs of Schutzie...
Don Schultz says this plane was "a beautiful brand new "Playboy" model that was reduced to slivers on his first official flight. Gee, those I beamers "REKIT" so completely?"
Bill Allen's Formula 40 Speed plane bit the asphalt at the 2007 Northwest Speed in September meet, while being piloted by Mike Hazel. Bill says: "With about a lap left in the tank, I saw it come by at about 160 with the outboard half of the stabilizer pointing straight up the results weren't pretty. We figure it was due to a combination of undetected damage from a spectator incident earlier in the year and the high-ish winds we had for the meet." Bill Allen photos.
Mack Brown came to the April 2005 fun-fly in McMinnville with his uncle, stunt flier Nils Norling, and demonstrated the maneuver the Central Oregon fliers refer to as the "lawn dart." The plane is a Ukey. Jerry Eichten photo.
Matthew Eichten shows Jerry Eichten's Twister, modified as a Mustang, after a crash at the 2005 Stunt-a-Thon at Thun Field in Puyallup, Wash. Jerry Eichten photo.
Still in its shakedown period, John Thompson's Evil Twin suffered a one-engine power-on crash at McMinnville in August 2006 with Bruce Hunt at the handle experimenting with a shutoff loop. Both OS LA .15 engines broke in exactly the same spot. The plane has been repaired and is flying again, but the effort to figure out a shutoff loop has been abandoned. Jerry Eichten photo.
The Cierra died for a good cause. Built in approximately 1990 by Mel Marcum from a design by Gerald Schamp, and powered by an O.S. .35 FP, the Cierra was a profile stunt plane that had many hundreds of flights on it at the time of its demise in 2006. The plane was being flown by a new member of the Eugene Prop Spinners, an RC flier returning after many years to his CL roots. He had gotten one or two successful flights on the plane, and made a "rusty pilot" error and whacked the ground on one of the Eugene Airport's grass circles. No tears followed the crash, since the plane was ready to be retired anyway. We were glad that someone was able to return to the hobby by getting in some flights on the venerable Cierra. The parts were spread over quite an area of the grass; they were repositioned on the asphalt for the photo. Flying Lines photo.
This page was upated Dec. 25, 2012