After flying the 74 inch Extreme Flight Laser-EXP and landing a bit too hard, breaking out the landing gear, I decided I needed another plane in my hanger. I wanted a smaller version of what I had, but James convinced me that I should try the 60 inch MXS. It was out of stock but they had the new version (V2) of the Laser in a beautiful printed color scheme (see below). I bought it, instead.
After building this beauty, I had a 60 in wingspan plane, weighing in at 5-6 lbs. Flying this one on a .60 size electric motor from Heads Up RC, servos from Dymond, and 5 cell batteries from Hobby King. There was one major problem, the motor I used, was 20 mm longer than the recommended Torque motor from Extreme Flight (they were out of stock), and the motor mount was built-in with carbon fiber reinforcement. On top of that the mounting holes did not match. I had to cut out the firewall, build a new one out of 3/8 inch plywood and mount it back about 20 mm. Once glued with 30 minute epoxy, I realized that the spinner gap with the cowl was still too large. Walt offered to make the repair and move it back.
Walt did the honors of the maiden flight. I did have a problem with the Spectrum 7 channel receiver. It was used and programmed with an iPhone. Since it wasn't working correctly, we changed to a 6 channel receiver that was previously in my Sig Kadet Senior. In addition, my trim control for the elevator was giving us fits. With some minor adjustments of the controls, she flew great.
I got in two flights this day, the first 5 minute flight went fine with a few rolls and loops, the landing was a bit long, but relatively soft.
The next flight was with one of James' 6 cell batteries and the plane was noticeably quicker. Since the previous landing was a bit long, I tried to bring her in a little closer. I landed in the soft dirt on the far side of the runway, close to the corn field. It nosed over and broke the wooden prop.
It was my turn at the controls and I got in two passable flights, and the landings were acceptable, one going left to right on the runway and the other right to left.
With the 5 cell, it seemed to be a bit under powered, but in my hands that was perfectly acceptable.
I got in two flights this day, with the 74 inch Red Laser. I was flying with James (Walt wasn't there that day) and decided to take up the 60 inch Laser. I had replaced the prop with an 18 X 8 inch wood prop. Once rotating, there wasn't a lot of clearance with the ground, so I knew I had to keep the tail down on taxiing and on takeoff for as long as possible. The recommended prop from HeadsUp on a 5 cell battery was actually a 20 X 8, but there wasn't enough clearance. I also replaced the servo extension.
After about 4 minutes of tooling around in the sky, it seemed to fly great. I was bringing it in for a landing (left to right) and was above the trees to the south of the field. For whatever reason (servo malfunction or, more likely, pilot error), it disappeared into the tall pine trees.
I started walking in the direction of the crash and James followed with his Suburban. I took us a while , but we located it it the tallest pine tree. We found two servos and various pieces on the ground. I went back to the field, got my Phantom 4 quad and tried to get a video of the location. It was about 85 feet above the ground, sitting on a branch, a few feet from the edge. No way was I going to climb that sucker to reach it. James thought the next good sized storm would bring it down. Below are two screen-shots of the video.
To the left is a comparison to the 74 inch version 1 of the Laser in Leo's red Bud Light colors. Slightly smaller with the same lines, just different color scheme (pre-printed).
My wife and I drove to the field the next morning. One small problem. I bought a real target arrow and a cheap kids bow. My best shot was about 30 feet in the air, 55 feet short. I was lucky it didn't come down and impale me. Should have bought a real bow.....
I was smart enough to bring a steel bolt (with string attached) that I might throw over the plane. Maybe in my younger days.... My best throw wasn't even as high as the arrow. By now, my wife had exercised excellent judgement and moved back to the road.
I brought the Phantom 4 to a small clearing among the pine trees. I attached the string to the landing gear, and weaved it up through the canopy to 160 feet, positioned it over the plane and brought it down slowly, trying to avoid tangling with the string and miss the branches of all the trees in the area. My wife was on the other side of the trees on the road watching my progress and helping me guide the quad. It worked fine until about twenty feet up. I hit some vines and it tumbled down, winding the string about the right rear prop. The motors stopped and the combination of the vines and the string gave it a fairly soft landing. Didn't even break a prop.
Luckily the string was around the carbon fiber wing tube. Grabbing both ends of the string, I was able to pull the plane off the branch .The string caught on another branch and I lowered it to about 7 feet above the ground. From there, it was easy to bring down. See the photos below. Plane was totaled, but I was able to salvage almost all the electronics. The receiver was lost...
That night my wife and I drove to Sportsmen's Warehouse in search of a bow and arrow. I postulated that an arrow attached to a string could be shot over the plane and used to pull it off the branch.
Drove to the Triple Tree Aerodrome for the Nall in the Fall. Saw that Extreme Flight was going to be there, and my mission was clear. I needed a replacement. Problem was, they weren't open for business. They were out flying and having fun showing off a couple of their larger planes. Once they were down and went over and convinced them to sell me a replacement. Luckily, they had one 60 inch (red, white and blue preprinted) on hand. Once purchased and carried to my van, Walt and James got in the act. Walt came home with one big 'un and a 48 incher. By then, others followed our lead and they were making sales before they even officially opened.
I did share some of the photos above to convince them that I was desperate.
Once again, I'm building the 60 inch Laser. Funny, this time it's going much quicker and easier. As Walt says, "Practice makes perfect..."
I shot an arrow into the air...
Lowering it down
Just pulled it off the branch
The canopy above
Caught in some vines