Thursday, July 10, 2014

Almost Lost Model Airplane Story

Yesterday looked to be a very good day for model glider flying although slightly gusty at times. Cool morning nicely warming up with many large cumulus clouds looked like there would be some good thermal lift. As soon as I got home from work I grabbed my UMX Radian radio controlled electric glider, a tip-launch free flight glider, and a hand launch free flight glider for some flying. I flew the RC glider first and climbed easily many times in thermals but at times I needed to use electric to come back against the wind.

Looking Across the Pond

Glider Spotted in Zoomed Picture

After probably 30 minutes of the radio control flying I thought I would try one of the free flight gliders, I did not want to risk TLG glider in the wind when there was a small pond downwind. So I made a couple of easy throws with the Maxwell free flight glider and then a gust of wind took it towards the pond. Oh darn, I tried to watch it as close as I could to see where it landed.  There are steep banks around the small pond and monster weeds. When I got to the edge I looked out first in the water hoping I wouldn’t see it floating in the middle and then looked through the weeds at the near edge.

Looking Back and the Jungle to Walk Through

On the other side of the pond I thought I spotted something at the edge that looked like it might be my glider but really couldn’t tell. So I thought I would use the available technology and took a picture with my cellphone camera while zoomed to the max. Looking at the blurry picture I could tell that it was indeed my glider. So I proceeded to trek around the pond and through the jungle of weeds to get down to the edge of the water. I was really careful to check the ground ahead of me when approaching after falling into trout streams a couple of times because I could not tell what I was stepping into. 

Glider Returned

Wet Shoe

I had the picture to look at now to get some reference of where the plane was in regards to the opposite shoreline. Also found a small dead branch that I could use to try to lift the glider from the water, I still had good clothes on and really didn’t want to get wet. Turns out I only got one leg slightly wet and retrieved the glider. Glider looked fine except for some dirt on the stabilizer. 

After this ordeal I had the sense to stop flying for the evening. 

Bill Kuhl

Lost Model - What Can I Learn


  1. Sounds sorta like the time that Vern Bailey wanted to fly his full sized Radian in a rather gusty wind at the sod farm. It would of helped if it wasn't it's maiden flight! Tail heavy and when he hands me the transmitter, it's 100 yards down wind. I turned on the power and tried to make it back across the "big ditch", but only succeeded in landing it in the filled ditch.. Vern took off and returned 1/2 hour later, glider in hand. (We almost sent a search party!) It had landed on the edge of the ditch, but Vern had "slipped" and fell in, losing one shoe for awhile. He was totally mud from the knees down! Lesson: bring waders if you are near water!

  2. Sort of like the Vern Bailey episode at Jirik's sod farm, several years ago. He flew his new Radian in a pretty gusty wind. After trying to get it back, he hands me the transmitter with the Radian now 100 plus yards down wind, 20' altitude, and way off the field. I get it to the ditch before a gust dumps it into the ditch. Vern headed off to recover the plane. 1/2 hour later (we almost sent a search party) he returns with the plane (it was tail heavy from the start and not trimmed out) and is covered with mud. The Radian landed on the edge of the ditch, but he slipped and fell in! He also lost a shoe for awhile. He was covered in mud up to the knees! I'm glad he wasn't riding in my car, on the way home. Moral of the story: bring waders if you're near water!