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Monday, December 07, 2009

Who needs a Rudder?

Shortly before launch! Note -Rudder is still attached!

Piet - "Now Ev, if the rudder comes off, just keep flying. OK!"

At the last Highveld Thermal League (HTL) held on Sunday 4 December my Shadow and Jochen's Shongololo were involved in a mid-air shortly after launch in the first slot of the first round.

Both of us never even realised that the two planes had actually hit each other. I remember passing, what I thought was another plane below mine. Obviously it wasn't, but because of the difference in size of the two models, (the Shadow at 3,6 met and the Shongololo just under 3 met.) it looked as if they were at different altitudes.

All I remember thinking was that the roll rate wasn't as it should be. I started fiddling with the aileron/rudder mix , but was soon concentrating on working the thermal to gain altitude. I did see a shiny flash a few times, which I thought was a bit of winch line or something but in fact it was the Shadows rudder, which had been torn off and was fluttering down.

It was only on landing approach after 10 minutes of flying that I saw something was sticking out the side of the fin. I recorded a 9minute 58second flight and landed 1,2 meters from the spot. Gavin and Lionel came over and told me that they has seen something land in the adjacent field.

The damaged Shadows fin. Note, no rudder ----------------A bit of Shadow fin stuck to the Shongololo

Anyway after some cyno and some tape I soon had everything more of less back together and then it was back to the comp. Luckily not missing any rounds.

-------------------------------------------Hard at work getting it all fixed up.

Jochen only noticed the bit of the Shadows fin wedged between the wind and fuselage on his Shongololo when he was preparing for his next flight a round later and came and showed me. Up until then I still had no idea that we had actually had a mid-air. I just thought that I had perhaps flown into a winch line on launch.

Looks kind of funny without a rudder, but it still flew pretty good. Wasn't too bad on landing either.

So! Who needs a rudder?

Gavin, on the far left, pointing out something fluttering down to Jason!
Dion Launching Paul's Explorer!