One of Those Days
by Trevor Hewson

When a bulb failure light came on in the car on the way to Howard's field, I might have guessed it was going to be one of those days. Next, the new receiver which I had fitted to the Limbo Dancer failed its range check. Changing the bulb in the car and changing the crystal in the receiver failed to get me anywhere.

So I got out another aeroplane.

This one (the Sukhoij) is the only model I have which has a safety switch in the motor lead. However, when I switched the receiver on to check the controls, the motor beeped at me and was fully armed. So, my safety switch has welded itself closed - not a very safe failure mode!

So I got out another aeroplane.

This time it was the trusty Crossfire. The first flight went okay, so then I thought I would try it with the dodgy new receiver. Just to maximise the confusion, this time it range-checked okay, so I flew it. All was going well and I felt I was at last getting somewhere. However, as some of you will already know, this is a slippery model, and I can't always get the landing approach right first time. On the second go around, determined not to overshoot again, I took a wide, low circuit - and then the battery ran out.

With judicious use of the elevator, I was quite pleased that the model just managed to scrape over the reeds at the edge of the field. Then, as I walked over towards the landing site, I realised that the said reeds were actually beside the stream which borders the field, and yes, you have guessed it, on the far side!

By the time I arrived on the scene, the model had made some headway downstream and so a trot along the bank was necessary to get ahead of it. Leaning out over the water, it was clear that, to stand any chance of intercepting the model, I would need to put one foot on a ledge - which unfortunately was just below the waterline. As the Crossfire drifted by, I was just able, at full stretch, to tap the top of the rudder with my finger tip, hoping that it would bob a little closer. Instead, to my astonishment and dismay, the motor started up and the aeroplane swam steadily across to the far bank. The only good thing was that it then nestled in the reeds, so there was now a bit more time to consider the situation.

I turned around to find Keith on the way over with the boat hook which is kept by the windsock for just such eventualities, and before long the model was fished out and the bulk of the water poured back into the river. Amongst the various remarks that greeted my return to the pits was one along the lines of "I suppose you are definitely going to take that receiver back now?"

Back home, the various problems arising from this ill-fated outing were tackled over the next few days, with the following results:

1) Brake Light Mystery
This was just wicked coincidence - the bulb in my set of spares was also a dud.

2) Safety Switch
This had not, in fact, welded shut. Rather, it had simply fallen apart. The severely charred mounting plate in the picture bears testimony to the heat from the resulting poor contact. It seems I came quite close to an in-flight fire!

3) Crossfire Ducking
On Jim's advice, I cut the heatshrink off the speed controller and rinsed it in clean water. The receiver was similarly rinsed and placed in the airing cupboard. I confess that the servos were left in the model to take their chance. The motor and gearbox however, were removed and the gearbox re-greased and re-assembled. The fuselage was propped up over a radiator to dry. The following morning, there were a few wrinkles in the Solarfilm to be ironed out and then the gear was re-installed.

Somewhat to my astonishment, everything worked (including the new receiver) and the model has since flown successfully.

Considering what might have been, I count myself fortunate that this outing in the end cost me only a trip to the car accessory shop for a bulb and a toggle switch (total bill less than 1).

Plus of course, a few hours work, a wet left foot and not a little embarrassment! I am now a fully paid up member of the Tadpole Club.