Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Airfield T28 Trojan Maiden Flight

I have this beautiful new new Airfield T28 Trojan and I finally have a chance for it's maiden flight!

I feel that I should note here, before I go on, that I have discovered that the Airfield name is actually a re-brand by Nitro Planes of FMS products.  Not that that's a bad thing, just that FMS T28 enthusiasts are included too!

Its Easter weekend and I will be visiting my folks near that cool park and the weather is expected to be great for flying.

Look at all those wires
We start packing for our trip and I realize that this plane is huge and would not fit in the trunk of my car (Mazda 3).  It wouldn't be so bad, but this plane is not made to be taken apart like most planes.  There are four screws that bolt the wings on from underneath.  This isn't so bad except that there are a million wires that come from the wings into the fuselage!  OK, OK, there are 5 sets of wires from one wing and 6 from the other (landing gear door, landing gear, flaps, ailerons, and wing lights) and not a million.  These are routed through small openings that make dis-assembly/assembly difficult and something to be avoided at all costs!  OK, I'm being dramatic again, but this is not trivial.  As it would happen, I did end up unbolting the wings, separating them, and disconnecting all of the connections for the servos and lights to get this big plane to fit.

Wow, this really made me think that I need to take transportation into account with planes in the future, and explains why serious RC pilots have trailers.

Once we arrived (we were early for once) I unloaded the plane into my Dad's workshop and started assembly.  Of course this was not until after we greeted them, brought in our dinner contribution, gifts for recent birthdays, and visited a little.  I'm not that crazy focused on RC planes.  Now I only had to wait for the meal to be over and for all of the other guests to leave!  I have to say that I did not really want that meal to be over because my Mom made this lamb that was to die for (hm... not sure that was worded appropriately).  Any way, it was really good.

Hooking up the battery
Snapping on the cockpit
Testing the throttle
Finally everyone is gone and I still have 45 minutes before we also need to leave.  Off to the park.  We arrive at the park.  I have to thank my daughter who rode in the back seat with the airplane tail in her face (I also have to thank her for being my photographer).  There is about a 5mph breeze, but this shouldn't be an issue.  We get the plane out and I get it setup.  Wow, it sure looks good sitting out there on the dirt runway!  I tested all of the control surfaces, I tested the motor, and then I taxied the big Trojan T28 out and around the runway.  I let her sit there for a bit off to my left facing into the breeze, giving me time to collect my courage.

Ready for take off
Leaping into the sky
I gave her full throttle and hoped to keep her straight.  Half way down I could see her wanting to take flight.  I gave her a little elevator and she shot straight up into the air.  Wow, beautiful!  I struggled to level her out and bring her around as the controls are a lot touchier that I'm used to.  Watch out, this thing can really snap around!  I eased up on the throttle and  pulled in the landing gear as I made a big loop around the airfield in front of me.  I'm just now thinking that I should start working with the trim.  I go for another loop but this time decide to try turning away from myself as I'm coming across the back field.  At this point she is downwind and about 100 yards off to my right at about a 45 degrees.

It hit about 10ft back
Dad and I assessing the damage
This is where things go terribly wrong as suddenly I feel that I have no control!  I had given more power, but she is not going any faster!  I gave her up elevator, and she is not climbing!  I gave her left and right aileron and she is not banking!  The next thing I know is that my beautiful $280 Trojan T28 is headed straight for the ground!  At the last moment she started to respond the my elevator command and pulled up just enough to avoid drilling in!  Pieces flew just before that terrible WHUMP sound reached us.  Nothing left to do but start that dreaded walk over to see what was left.

Still assessing the damage
Point of impact
Small pieces everywhere but the fuselage was intact!  So, this was bad, but not as bad as I anticipated.  We collected all the parts putting them in a bag.  Took the wing apart again and loaded it up, in the trunk this time.  No need for careful placement and handling.

Next post I hope to feel well enough to review the extent of the damages and reconstruction.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Please feel free to post comments, good or bad, and be sure to come back and check for future posts.

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