Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beware of Rotating Parts!

At a typical modroc launch, any monocopter pads get set up nearby other pads in order to share launch control wires. I already posted about the [extremely] close call I had on the Pitchwing-2 first flight. This time it was another new monocopter called the Wig-Wag.

Right after takeoff the Wig-Wag drifted downwind slightly and the wingtip collide with an 1/8" stainless steel launch rod. The rod was mounted in the same launch rack that the Campitch-2 didn't hit. The launch rod was ruint [Texan for ruined, but with more finality], totally FUBAR! The only part of the rod that was still straight was the 1" section clamped in the pad base. One might expect the rod to be bent away from the direction of impact, or bent sharply toward DOI at the point of impact. Nope, neither. After the sharp 20-25deg bend away from DOI at the base the remaining rod length was bent in a continuous arc like a bow. quite strange really. I'm an old hand at straightening bent metal but this was scrap!

I owed Art Applewhite a new launch rod. Luckily I had some spares at home.

The monocopter wing was fiberglassed balsa and suffered only a 1/2" deep notch in the leading edge, and the MC went on to complete a nominal flight. That's right, it kept on flying.

Repairs were relatively easy. I sawed out and replaced a square of balsa, filled the gaps with Cya and micro balloons, then sanded the fill to shape and reinforced the area with a fiberglass patch. Since the wing is already a veteran of many flights on the Pitch Wing 1, I didn't even bother to touchup the paint.

I'm glad this first flight was only on a C6, if it'd been a D12, damage might've been much worse.

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