June 24th I got out flying, finally, after quite a hiatus due to inclement weather. The days events didn’t go as planned to say the least. The following is an account of what happened that day after I had some time to organize my thoughts and go over things in my head.
When I first arrived my engine woes continued… or perhaps more specifically to start it was prop/spinner woes. My previous time out the engine backfired and sent the prop, spinner, nutt & washer flying (without the aircraft! :S). On my 4 Star 60 at this time is the second hand engine I bought for my Aero 3D, the same as the original engine on this aircraft, a Saito 100. The original engine is awaiting a full diagnostic and a parts list to be ordered and replaced.
The second hand engine (engine from where out) had been test run on a bench and deemed in good working order; however, my experience with it at the field doesn’t seem to jive as it runs well on the ground but not so in the air it seems.
The first flight of the day, once got the prop / nutt issues worked out, went off witghout a hitch. It was a basic flight doing circuits and figure eights with the odd roll or loop thrown in. All went well.
I filled up for a second flight and this time I flew more agressively increasing the loops and rolls frequency and combinations mixed with some basic circuit and figure eights too. After one such double loop and then coming back with a barrel roll shortly after leveling out I heard the engine make a stutter noise and then quit. I was up high enough and able to perform a successful deadstick landing.
Once down on the ground I took the fuel off, and removed a good portion, as based on time I figured I hadn’t run out and defueling confirmed this. I then fueled up and chilled for a bit.
I then brought the aircraft back up on the bench and we got ‘er started again. I went through the normal precheck (where I did have one quirk where it seemed like the bind was lost of a second, but shut everything off and started again). I then alternated between full throttle and idle, both gradually and not so subtly. All seemed to be running fine.
I taxied and lined up for another takeoff. As she was coming off the ground nose inclined, never got to the point of leveling out yet, I heard the same sort of stutter and she started ‘waving’. With no power I was helpless, the aircraft careened over and that was it.
You can see pictures of the aircaft belly up before I took the wing off below and a close up of the wing tip. Here is where I am very tankful for the experience and time other hobbiest, in this case Peter, are willing to contribute to help us working stiffs and newbies to the repair game out. I dropped the pieces off at his place for investigation into what will be involved in fixing.
My plan was to take my Kadet LT-40 trainer out for a few flights but since this day the weather hasn’t been fit to fly… either to windy or excruciating hot in most cases.. or rain/thunderstorms. Even if fixed prior I’m thinking I still may take my LT-40, we will see. It’s not looking good the next couple days.
Yesterday I visited Peters and saw the progress on the repair and how he’s building a fuselage within a fuselage to bridge the gap where it broke. You can see pictures below, including where the firewall needed to be split a bit and then glued back together. Once ready for covering I’m going to look at doing that myself.
Upon further discussions with Peter the crash appears to be due to working out the fine tuning of the engine and getting everything set right. The engine was likely leaned out to much causing fuel starvation on takeoff.