On Friday afternoon, 3-5-04, I was able to round up both of my fellow R/C pilots and I had a couple hours before going to work. So we all went to the airport. This time, Tank brought his Great Planes Super Sportster because the tail broke off of his Four-Star a few days ago. We both have the same channel, so both planes being up was out of the question. Well it never was there anyhow because I really like watching him fly, and I'm just not comfortable enough with flying to have my plane anywhere near another. One thing that was kinna annoying is the fact that my plane used to rattle only at this one RPM that was slightly above idle, but today, it rattled no matter what. (I later noticed that some of the foam has moved around, so I think my fuel tank is touching something, but I won't be able to remedy that until I go home next weekend, because I left my foam sheet at home.) I also felt like I couldn't get the mixture right, and it always sounded like it was slightly rich, although now that I think about it, I may have just been hearing the rattle, and not a rich engine. The flying went pretty good, until I tried to land. There is a small ditch that runs right next to the ramp area, and the other side of the ditch comes up a foot or two higher than the concrete. I turned final too early, so I was making my approach right along the edge of the conrete. Just before touchdown, I gave a bad control input I guess, but my plane was in a pretty good left bank, right above the ground. So I applied full throttle and climbed. As it went over that slightly raised area of ground, it seemed like the left wing cleared the ground by about a foot. I made a few more approaches that still came out to far out, so Alan told me to stand where I wanted my plane to land at, turn final late, then walk back out of the way. This allowed me to get lined up a lot better. I was making an okay approach, but the wind was a little gusty, and from a bad direction considering there were hangars right by where I was going to land. So basically when I was right above the ground, the bad wind combination caused my plane to make a porpoise action right above the ground. It resulted in the prop striking the ground and killing the engine. Luckily, it barely scratched my prop.
It was then Tank's turn at flying, and he put on a pretty good show again. Unfortunately, when he was making a low inverted pass (about 8-10ft. high) the engine quit. He rolled it upright, and turned back around, but this put him over the grass. The grass was long and thick, and stoped the plane really fast. This fast stop ripped one of the gear legs out of the wing. This hasn't been a good week for Tank.
It was then my turn to fly again. I had another bad landing. I don't think this time had anything to do with the wind, because I never flared before touch-down. So I made the bad kind of a two-point landing, the nose wheel and the prop. (The good kind of two-point is the main wheels.) I think I just froze or something, because I didn't even try to pull the nose up. Since my plane hit the ground pretty fast, it bounced back up in the air a couple of feet, and I was able to make pretty much normal landing from there. After retreiving my plane, I saw a nearly half-inch area on the tip of one blade that had been sanded off. So I decided it was time to change the prop. Let me tell you, using a spinner nut makes this process a whole lot easier, as you only have to unscrew one thing, instead of three, and you don't have to line anything up.
I went for a third flight, and I had another porpoise before landing, and so I had yet another prop-strike. This was pretty discouraging, because my first attempts at landing the other day went pretty good, but now they sucked.
Tank decided to fly again so he took the other gear leg off, and he had Alan hand-launch it. After a bit, he let Alan fly it for a couple minutes because we had two planes out there, and up to this point, Alan hadn't flown today. I didn't notice any difference in how it flew, but I'm sure it had a slightly higher top speed and roll rate. So having no gear worked good until it was time to land. Of course, Tank set up for a landing in the grass. A belly landing on grass makes for about a 10 ft landing roll. But, I guess there were some stick out there, because there were a couple of holes punched in the bottom of the wing, and it broke off one blade on his prop.
It was kinna good getting the flight time in, although it was pretty annoying that each landing was bad. Those bad landings made me wonder if it would be the same the next time I flew, or if it was just a bad day for me. But hey, I am just that much more used to fly and comfortable with it.