Planes, and their relationship to soccer balls

Kim or Matt related February 8th, 2014

(You wouldn’t think there was one, but just wait for it.)

For Christmas, Matt asked for a small radio-controlled airplane kit. It didn’t work out quite as well as he hoped; it was missing a part and there was something wrong with another, plus he found the assembly instructions unclear. So last week, when Kevin and I were out furniture shopping in the Bay Area, Matt went to a local hobby store and bought a different kit.

The Champ RTF is apparently the plane to learn to fly on; it’s inexpensive, lightweight, highly customizable, and has replacement parts available (more on that later). It was easy for Matt to put together, and he was out flying it the same day he bought the kit.

And promptly got it stuck in a tree.

(No pictures; I was in the Bay Area and Matt was mortified. How did he get it down? Neighborhood kids threw a soccer ball at the tree until the plane came loose.)

Well, it was his first time out. And there is a learning curve. So the second time he took the plane out, when I was taking a nap, he tried a different location.

And promptly got it stuck in a tree. Again.

(Again, no pictures; I was napping and Matt was even more mortified. How did he get it down? More neighborhood kids and another soccer ball. Now you see the relationship, don’t you?)

When Matt took his plane out today, for the third time, he managed not to fly it into a tree. Although there was kind of a close call.

flyin toward the trees

Having learned his lesson, Matt is now launching the plane from the middle of the field, well away from any trees.


And he’s getting much better at flying, such that the plane often does what he wants it to do.

flying the plane

Until it didn’t. In Matt’s words, “So, I figured out how to do loops, where you take the plane pretty high up, and point it down to the ground and gun the engine, full throttle, pull up on the stick, and it will do a nice long loop. But you have to get it going pretty fast; hence the dive. So, in this case, coming out of the loop, I pulled the stick the wrong way, which meant that the airplane, instead of righting itself, was now flying upside down. So it was about 10 feet off the ground, and flying upside down, which I was thinking was pretty cool, since I had never gotten it to fly upside down.”

plane crash 1

“And so I wanted to right it, and so instead of pulling up on the stick to come right side up, I pushed down, and it was still on full throttle, and so it did a nosedive straight into the ground.”

plane crash 2

“At which point, catastrophic failure. The wing broke off.”

You’ll want to ponder, at this point, the excellent forethought on the part of this plane’s manufacturer, in making available replacement parts. Matt’s ordering some right now. In the meantime. . .


. . . it’s superglue and straight pins to the rescue.

One Response to “Planes, and their relationship to soccer balls”

  1. [...] do you remember how Matt bought a radio-controlled airplane? And got it stuck in a tree? Twice? And then broke [...]

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