Report of first flight of ParkZone Spitfire. Student has no prior RC experience, and has trained only on a computer fight simulator called FMS. Experiment is to see if I can teach myself to fly a "hot stick" plane.
It was a nice still morning, and I decided to go ahead and try to fly the Spitfire before leaving for work. I peaked up the battery, and drove down the street to the school. I had scoped out the baseball field, and thought it would be big enough. Almost zero wind. A lady was walking her dogs, so I waited until she passed by. I switched on the TX, and plugged the battery into the plane. It started beeping at me- forgot to slide the throttle to off! After powering up correctly, I did a control check and walked about 2/3 the way across the field, thinking I would launch to the west and fly to my north. I have to admit I was feeling nervous but decided to "just do it".
Here is a link to a picture of the fieldstrong hand is my left, so I got my right thumb ready near the stick, and advanced the throttle to full with my teeth. TX was set on "easy mode", which limits control surface movement. I gave the Spit a nice spear chucking type throw. It dipped down a foot or two, and then leveled off and I pulled the stick back a bit, and she did a nice zoom climb up to about 50 feet or so. I must have set up the ailerons correctly, it was tracking perfectly. I really don't remember consciously doing it, but I cranked a 180 degree climbing turn. Maybe it was all the sim time burned into my brain? Plane was up 75 feet or so now heading east, and that's when I saw the roof of the school gym and thought the field was much smaller looking now. I realized I was still full throttle, and the plane was about at the point I needed to turn around. I then thought that I'd better get this thing back on the ground. Then my brain just locked up. I think I chopped the throttle, but the next thing I knew the plane was diving at one of the small trees near the south fence. Somehow I missed the tree and went over the fence and over the concrete storm drainage canal (dry) on the other side of the 8' chain link fence. I pulled up and leveled and should have left the power off and let it glide in. But I wasn't thinking, I was panicking. I hit the throttle, and yanked it up ( I think) and the next thing I knew the Spitfire was sliding on its belly along the pitched tile roof of a house on the other side of the canal and then disappeared. I would have to go a ways around to get to the canal road, and I turned and started to head out. I stopped myself, turned around and tried to remember which roof it was. Fourth house from the end. I stopped by the van and left the TX and camera. . I was going to photograph my crash if it happened, but thought it would be too risky to be shooting pics in someone's backyard uninvited. I stated to jog down the sidewalk, and decided to save energy for fence climbing and walked. Was trying to think of what I would say to the homeowner if the scraping on the roof woke him up. I got the fence behind the house, and thought I should have brought a bag to help gather up all the Spitfire particles. I had to scale the 6 foot chain link canal fence, then hopped up on the block wall to the house. Much to my amazement, the Spitfire was lying fairly intact in a 2 foot deep crater. Actually it was a partially dug pool, I think. No K9 patrol. I jumped in the yard, grabbed the plane and hopped back over the two fences. Just like TJ Hooker! Quick visual of the damage was bent prop, busted spinner, cracked cowling. Just a couple small crinkles in the foam body. I need to take it apart and check the motor, gears and prop shaft. I don't see how the Spit missed all the vent pipes sticking up on the roof. The slide slowed it down enough to plop it into the hole at a fairly low speed. The gods of the air must have taken pity on me today! Here is a link to picture of damage: The little plastic pilot in the Spit appears to be uninjured, but I pulled a butt muscle and got a small cut on my hand jumping fences. Flight time 27 seconds, I made the full 30 seconds many of you predicted if you count the roof slide as still flying. I will submit my analysis of the experiment shortly. Feel free to comment, and issue I told you so's if you did indeed tell me so. Larry Peoria, AZ