My Top Flite P47 was a super flying airplane with a great power system and has been performing flawlessly. I have been testing out some different props to determine best mix of power, speed and flight times attainable. Have broken a few props but otherwise she was running great.
Unfortunately all good things must end and a couple weeks ago she ended a flight looking like this.
Here’s how it went. On takeoff, I started a nice steady climb and flipped both the landing gear up and flaps up switch. As you can tell in this photo, the gear cycled all the way up successfully and I’m confident the flaps did as well from the way the it was flying. I then made a left turn and was nearly in knife edge when I suddenly realized I was no longer in control of the airplane. The plane was sliding on its wingtip toward the ground and nothing I could do with the sticks had any effect. Being electric and a good way out I heard nothing other than a sickening crunch after it disappeared below the corn stalks…
In disgust I dropped my gaze to my radio and was surprised to discover there was no display and no lights whatsoever! I removed my sun glasses to be sure and verified the radio was indeed off. After walking back to a seating area (I needed to sit down) I turned the radio back on and it powered up normally and showed the battery was at 4.0 volts which is in the range of 80-90% of it’s full charge state… i.e. the transmitter battery is not dead or even low. I then tried to figure out if my neck strap, clip or some placement of my hands could have turned the radio off and I cannot imagine how to make that happen while going through the maneuvers that I performed. It takes a good 4-5 seconds of steady pressure on the power button to turn off the radio and in that time period before the plane stopped flying I had flipped two switches and moved both sticks to adjust throttle and perform my turn. Try that and tell me if you can do it, even if you try!
After a long walk in the corn locating the “remains” I started reclaiming all the parts and considering the wingtip and nose in a near knife edge collision to the ground, the components aside from the airframe faired as well as could be expected. The speed controller had a fan mounted on it… That plastic frame did not survive but the replacement is $10 and the speed controller itself has tested out to be in good condition so far and does not have a mark on it otherwise. The receiver is likewise undamaged and tests good as do all the servos. The motor had the worst result, being a bit dirt caked and the main shaft turned out to be bent. I’ll post on that separately. The retracts, as you can see in the photo were safely retracted before the loss of signal occurred and also seem to be unscathed. Even the two batteries (a 6S 5000 and a 2S 5000 run in series) look in good shape and still charge as before. As I said, things survived pretty well aside from the air frame. It is a total loss with only the tail surfaces seemingly intact.
As you can imagine, this started a serious investigation into why the radio shut down. I’ll post a new entry about that soon.
So ends my favorite war bird to date. There will be a replacement of some sort soon! Here’s hoping your flights are more successful than this one was.