After reading about Murphy O’Dangit, are you wondering about the pretty planes in the photos on my website? Here’s the inside scoop, and it might make you think a little bit.
Wicked Wanda: Accidentally built with one landing gear leg about a half inch longer than the other. Flown several times, still going strong. It flies great and is a lot of fun, but it looks wonky on the runway.
Classmate biplane: Was completed shortly before the big swap meet in Kansas City. Was flown once or twice without incident, then sold at the swap meet, still looking good. Obviously this plane made a narrow escape. In fact, the engine stopped in flight, and the plane had to land without power.
Telemaster 40 with awesome Monokote: Subject of Fixing Mistakes article, with firewall installed backwards, so new holes were drilled. Built when no runway was available. Sold before being flown.
My friend’s Divider: This is a perfect plane that has escaped disaster on a technicality. My friend discovered a loophole whereby a perfect plane is safe if it is a replacement for an identical plane that was totally destroyed in a crash. The plane in the photo has flown for hundreds of hours without incident.
Super Kaos: Spared from further damage after propeller poked hole in wing during first trip to airport. After the hole was patched the propeller poked another hole on the second trip. Many happy flights since then.
Balsa Workbench Primary Trainer: As can be seen in the construction sequence, a finger hole was poked through the wing sheeting. Also the propeller took off one of the cowl cheeks. Many happy flights after repair. Plane sold at swap meet.
RCM Basic Bipe: This plane’s perfection lasted about 3 flights, then a landing through a funny air current left it with no airspeed about 3 feet up and it plopped. Wing bolt plate broke out of the fuselage. Now I can fix the bolt plate and fly without worry.
Wildfire: Destroyed 20 seconds into maiden flight. Model was in the shadow of a cloud and silhouetted against another cloud which was brightly lit. Looking at trim tabs resulted in disorientation, flight path was corrected in wrong direction. Plane dove into trees.
Lazy Ace: Destroyed on maiden flight by faulty transmitter battery.
Cloud Dancer 20: Minor damage on first flight. Easily repaired for further stress free flight.
Cloud Dancer (60): Crashed on third flight due to faulty battery. Aft fuselage truss repaired, but scars still barely visible (and doing their job). Many happy flights after repair.
Buzzard Bombshell: Spent a few months upside down in a soybean field. When retrieved it was soaked inside and the balsa was like cooked spaghetti. Wing was stripped, allowed to dry, and recovered. Monokote was removed from the bottom of the stabilizer and a section of the aft fuselage bottom for air circulation, then replaced. Since the repairs this plane is unstoppable. I’ll probably leave it to my grandchildren.
RCM Senior Telemaster: Flown twice, it suffered from aileron flutter at anything above one quarter throttle due to experimental aileron construction techniques. Aileron servos will be moved outboard into the wings, which means tearing into the Monokote and then patching over it. I expect no further difficulties after the repairs.
UPDATE: Stuffing the Telemaster into a 1993 Honda Civic has resulted in quite a few propeller holes poked in the wings. After repairs the Monokote looks good but not even close to perfect. It’s accumulating a lot of worry-free time in the air.
Lazy Ace #2: I accidentally blew a 1/4″ hole in the turtle deck with a heat gun, and then a broken joint was discovered in the fuselage side truss. Also I stupidly installed the radio switch in the front cockpit in a very hard to reach location. That must be good enough for Murphy, because this plane has a fair amount of flight time on it without mishap.