Numerous Fragments
Notable Northwest CL crashes

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.

Gary Weems' Cardinal

Just when you think you've seen everything on the flying field! Gary Weems of Alpine, Ore., had landed his Cardinal at the Eugene Prop Spinners' winter flying site, Lane County's Orchard Point Park near Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. As the plane was rolling to a stop, a terrible crunch! was heard. A stick blown by the wind (or carried by a park visitor's dog?) onto the circle from nearby trees had gone through the inboard wing. Below: The Cardinal after repair, a month and a half later. Flying Lines photo.

Dave Baxter's Ringmaster

Dave Baxter of St. Helens, Ore., holds his Ringmaster, which met its end at the Oct. 1-2, 2022, Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-a-Thon session at Jim Walker Memorial Field in Portland, Ore. Don Curry photo.

Gibeault-Hazel racing accident

At a racing contest in the fall of 2019 at the Whittier Narrows site in the Los Angeles area, pilot Mike Hazel (right) of Mehama, Ore., was "flying along minding his own business when another model bit his outboard wing off and got cut off the lines in the process," reports plane owner Paul Gibeault of Leduc, Alberta. Paul Gibeault photos.

Gary Weems' Peacemaker

Gary Weems of Alpine, Ore., lost his cute Peacemaker to a control system failure while flying at the Eugene Prop Spinners' Can Do Ranch flying site on Nov. 20, 2021. Photo shows the debris field immediately after the crash. Flying Lines photo.

Jim McCartney's Yak-9

This Yak-9 flown by Jim McCartney of Lake Tapps, Wash., crashed when the engine quit up high during a Northwest Sport 40 Carrier flight at the 2021 Stunt-a-Thon in Auburn, Wash. Within a few days, the plane was later repaired and ready to fly Carrier again. Flying Lines photo.

Dave La Fever's Warrior

Dave La Fever of Corvallis, Ore., was a little rusty because he had to lay off flying for several weeks after surgery. His Warrior met its end in an "oops" moment at the handle. The crash occurred at the Eugene Prop Spinners' Can Do Ranch flying field in October 2020. Flying Lines photo.

Jim Horstrup's Bi-Slob

Jim Horstrup of Eugene, Ore., was helpless when the engine sagged on his Bi-Slob, sending it straight from the top of the circle to the ground on Jan. 4, 2020, at the Eugene Prop Spinners' Orchard Point flying site. The plane was built by Mel Marcum and was in its maiden flight at the time of the crash. Flying Lines photo.

Paul Gibeault's Northwest Sport Racer

Paul Gibeault of Leduc, Alberta, was piloting a demonstration race at a Radio Control modeling event in Edmonton, Alberta, in June 2018 when his lines clipped the helmet of a taller pilot. Paul Gibeault photo.

Mike Hazel's Cardinal

Mike Hazel's venerable Cardinal profile stunter met its end during an official Profile Stunt flight at the 2018 Fall Follies. Jerry Eichten photo.

Dave Shrum's Sophomore 29

This vintage Sophomore 29 by Dave Shrum of Roseburg, Ore., met its end in August 2018. Dave Shrum photo.

Floyd Carter's 4-Putt

Structural failure doomed Floyd Carter's attractive 4-Putt, a four-stroke-powered stunter. The tail section separated from the fuselage in flight. Floyd saved the wing, tail and motor mounts, and rebuit the plane with a conventional fuselage as 4-Putt II, seen below. The crash occurred on Aug. 19, 2017, at the Can Do Ranch in Junction City, Ore., and the repair was completed by mid-September. Flying Lines photo (above) and Floyd Carter photo (below).

Paul Gibeault's Formula 40

Paul Gibeault lost this Formula 40 Speed plane at a contest in Dallas, Texas. Paul explains: My all-conquering Form 40 had a pushrod cable failure at 170+ mph. That caused the model to settle into the ground shearing off the carbon landing gear and some of the prop, aft fuse and tail section. It then kept flying for a lap or two with no tail section until it finally quit running. The cable failed right at the entry point of the cable sheath." Paul Gibeault photo.

Randy Powell's Deviation

Randy Powell of Port Orchard, Wash., was the victim of shifting winds at the 2015 Fall Follies, resulting in the loss of his new Deviation stunt plane during an official flight in Expert Precision Aerobatics. The crash damaged most of the electronic components as well as the plane. Flying Lines photo.

Mark Hansen's All-American Stunt Trainer

Mark Hansen's All-American Stunt Trainer suffered a mishap at the 2015 Lucky Hand Fun Fly, but it was a clean break and Mark expected to have it repaired and flying again soon. The plane is a 1950 Hal DeBolt design powered by a Medallion .09. Flying Lines photo.

Robin Wescott's trainer

Northwest stunt flier Tim Wescott is teaching his wife, Robin, how to fly control-line airplanes. This is the result of flight No. 5. We all went through this stage! Tim Wescott photo.

Floyd Carter's DH103

Floyd Carter's semi-scale stunter modeled after the DeHavilland DH103 "Hornet," powered by two AXI 2208/34 electric motors, met a quick end on its maiden flight at the 2015 Lucky Hand Fun Fly. A wing warp caused slack lines in inverted flight.Flying Lines photo. A workshop photo of the plane under construction is at right. Floyd Carter photo.

Will Naemura's Formula 40

Paul Gibeault explains: This is (was) Will Naemura's Formula 40 speed model with "Power by Paul" (Nelson .40 FIRE) powerplant. This is the result of wandering off the circle center & hitting the safety net support pole when gliding in for a landing at the 2015 Northwest Regionals. (Score: Pole 1, Model 0) * Note to self: "Don't wander off the path and model will live long and prosper"  quote from P.G., Zen & the art of mouse racing.*  "Before" photo is below. Paul Gibeault photos.

Gordon Rea's Redeemed Redux 2

Gordon Rea of Eugene, Ore., tried to fight through a stunt pattern with a bad engine run at the 2014 Fall Follies but slack lines led to the end of his very nice Redeemed Redux 2 profile. On the bright side, as the name implied, the plane already had been repaired from two previous crashes, and it played a big role in Gordon's successful return to control-line flying after a 40-year hiatus. It served its purpose well. Flying Lines photo.

Floyd Carter's four-motor

Floyd Carter built an experimental twin-motor, twin-boom electric stunt plane a while ago. After a few flights, he added a third motor. The plane flew quite well, so to continue expanding his success, Floyd added a fourth motor. The plane's final configuration was two motors on wing nacelles, a motor in the nose, and a pusher at the back of the fuselage. Oops, the fourth motor turned out to be a disaster -- the plane went slack in its first maneuver and hit the pavement in Eugene, Ore., at full speed, leaving quite a large debris field. Flying Lines photo.

Greg Hart's J.D. Falcon

Greg Hart's J.D. Falcon was brought down by a dust devil passing through the circle during an official flight in Precision Aerobatics at the 2014 Northwest Stunt and Combat Championships. Flying Lines photo.

Ron Howell's Northwest Sport Racer

Ron Howell of Mukilteo, Wash., suffered a control-system failure inside his Artesian during a Northwest Sport Race heat at the 2013 Salem Speed and Racing contest. The crash destroyed the Fox. 35 Stunt engine, too. Flying Lines photos.

Paul Gibeault's A Speed plane

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's Mustang

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's Tutor resurrected

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 Ringmaster

Dave Royer's reliable old Ringmaster quit in overhead eight while flying at Delta Park in Portland in October 2011. Geoff Christianson photo.

Dave Mitchell's Twister Sister

The McCoy .35-powered stunter met its end at the August 2011 Roseburg Fun Fly. Dave Shrum photo.

Rex Abbott's Fancy Pants

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's electric stunter

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's Profile Cardinal

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's profile stunt trainer

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.

Ron Anderson's ARF Flite Streak hits asphalt

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.

Tomahawk bites the Delta Park Dust

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.

Death and rebirth of a plane at Delta Park

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's disastrous season

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 planes, before and after

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

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's Ukey

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 and Dad's Twist-Stang

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.

John Thompson's Twin killing

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.

John Thompson's Cierra

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.

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This page was upated April 17, 2023