Nov 28, 2012

Everything happens for a reason…

…and while I haven’t quite figured out the reason for this one, I suspect that I will eventually. Of course, I’m talking about the mess that is two of the three helis in my fleet pictured above. So, as you’ve heard in the last episode or two, I’ve been getting shit from Nick about not flying…Justin “No Fly” Pucci… 🙂 The thing is that this isn’t due to me not wanting to or finding time to fly…it has to do with the horrible weather that is my life for eight months out of the year up here in “sunny” Seattle.

So, after a full week-and-a-half of crappy weather over the Thanksgiving holiday, the clouds broke on the last day of my vacation and, naturally, I had the car packed faster than you could imagine…The first flight was with the Whiplash Electric. I did my regular warm-up routine to get the shakes out (yes, the first few flights that I do are always shaky!) and then decided that it was time to work on some skills. While I’m not a smack pilot and tend to spend my flying time doing more of what I would call big-air 3D stuff, I do recognize the “production value” of having a heli down low, so what’s the skill of the day? Low tumbles on the deck.

They were going great for the first few minutes until I decided to throw in some snappy collective…you know, going from a smooth-and-lazy tumble to a bit more edgy, poppy tumble. Well, I got a bit too edgy and popped it into the nasty, wet, muddy, ground…it wasn’t a bad crash, but when the right skids buckled and the heli tipped over, the blades took a beating…and it got REALLY dirty! Ok, no big deal, right? I never complain about crashes that are my fault. Dumb thumbs strike us all…it’s not my first and it sure as hell won’t be my last! 🙂 So, laughing to myself, I grab the heli, bring it back to the bench in pieces, and get the Furion ready to rock.

Now, the Furion is the one that I’ve talked about in the last few episodes about being a used heli that I recently bought and had to practically rebuild due to issues and bad parts…It is what it is, but I was finally ready to maiden it and had assured myself that everything was working properly on the bench, so what should I be worried about? Well, I spooled it up, picked it up into a hover and did my usual checking to make sure that everything was working as expected, then…BAM! Full forward elevator and it nosed into the ground from a 3-foot hover. WTF?!

Laughing even harder now, I grabbed the Furion and brought it back to the table. The first thing I thought was “what the hell just happened?!” and the second thing I thought was “Damn! I better get some pictures of this!” 🙂 Not exactly what I was looking for in terms of getting my heli fix after such a long “dry”…errrr, “wet” spell of no flying, but hey! Not everything goes your way, right?

Everything happens for a reason, as I said in the opening of this blog post, right? What is the reason here? I don’t know yet…I’m still trying to figure it out. Maybe it’s to teach me not to mess with trying new skills during the first flight of the day. Maybe, it’s to teach me that mud sucks to clean out of every part in the heli and, thus, I should avoid crashing into it at all costs. Or maybe I’m supposed to figuring out what caused the mysterious Furion failure. Well, as an engineer who spends a good deal of his time in anomaly and failure investigations, I’m going to go with the last one…

After playing with the Furion a bit on the bench, I preliminarily concluded that I had a faulty component that ultimately was the root cause of this crash, but for now I won’t speculate out of fairness to the manufacturers of the suspect parts…if it’s not a faulty part and it was my fault, I’m alright with that too. No pride here…All I want to know is what caused it, so I can do my best to prevent it from happening again and maybe even pass on the lesson-learned to you. You will ALWAYS learn more from your failures than you successes and to me, that learning is worth the pain and cost of the crash every now and again…both in helis and in life. Hey, maybe that’s the reason I was searching for… 😉

– Justin