It has a sad beginning, but a happy ending!
The story concerns events on a recent Sunday morning but actually has ties back about three weeks ago to the maiden flight of my Mountain Models Little Bogie. We’ll come back to those ties shortly but first…
Sunday morning, I set out to fix a very minor crack in the leading edge of the Little Bogie's right horizontal stab, suffered in an ill-advised attempt to fly it in too much wind Saturday afternoon. After successfully completing that repair, I set the fuselage on the kitchen counter while fussing with some other things. In the process of fussing, I knocked the plane off the end of the counter. It hit the wastebasket on the way down which caused another, worse, break in the leading edge of the right stab, right at the fuselage. Needless to say, this burned me up but I opened the covering up and glued this second break. While the glue was curing , I turned to a mod on the wing pylon aimed at stabilizing a loosey-goosey wing to pylon connection. Having successfully completed that chore, I had the plane in my lap and, as the last rubber band was removed from the wing, the plane slipped off my lap, hit the edge of the trash can AGAIN (!) and broke the stab, AGAIN
(!!) this time on the left side and much worse, in fact almost completely severing the stab from the fuselage! In the split second it took this dismal sight to register on my brain, I jumped up, roared a terrible oath and threw both hands up into the air, one of which was clutching the wing. This mindless overreaction jabbed the wing tip into the ceiling which broke the wing half-in-two!!!
Well sir, now I was ripping hot mad! Rather than contemplate this miserable state of affairs any further, I decided to shelve the entire mess and leave the house entirely. The weather outside was solid overcast and threatening rain but for the moment was dry and better yet, was dead calm…time to maiden my just completed Stevens Aero LittleRod. So I headed to the local High School field. Maiden toss of the LittleRod saw it sail off straight as an arrow and climbing nicely but at the first touch of stick, it dove straight into the ground! What the…?! Well, no damage so a second toss…with exactly the same results only this time the landing gear was torn almost completely off!! OK, time to step back and think. Which brings this story back to the maiden flight of the Little Bogie wherein both the first and second toss resulted in weird reactions to stick inputs, two dives into the ground, two broken props and two minor repair jobs to the cowl cheeks.
Thoughtful introspection at this point had revealed a classic case of maiden flight 101 error…while checking for proper control throw, I saw WHAT I WANTED/EXPECTED TO SEE, NOT WHAT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING! In short, the controls needed to be reversed!!!!!!!!! Back to the present; same thing only this time, just the elevator was [backwards].
Now for the happy part! A blue masking tape field repair put the LG back into commission and a third toss saw the LittleRod flying beautifully. I proceeded to run three more batteries through it and found this plane to be nimble and quick but able to slow down with no bad habits what-so-ever.
Loops from level flight at half throttle and will loop at full throttle until you get sick of holding the stick back. It flits all over the sky all the while looking cute as a bug. It will be a joy to fly indoors.
One last note and my story is done. Mid-way through the maiden flight, suddenly from out of nowhere, a Peregrine falcon appeared and started attacking the LittleRod! Same thing happened 9 miles north in the field behind my place during the Little Bogie maiden. That time, I had ran away (dove for the ground) but today my blood was up from all the morning’s frustrations so I stood my ground (or air as the case may be) and decided to fight. What followed was about 30 seconds of wheeling and diving and looping and rolling all over the sky until the falcon got spooked or bored or whatever and flew off.
So that’s my story. Hope you all enjoy it!