Testing a new plane means pushing it to see what it can and can’t do, building confidence in it to try even harder the next time. Therefore I would be proud telling you the story of how the Juliet2 needed repairs after trying some extreme maneuver. Unfortunately, I crash-landed it after a low speed, low altitude pass on the runway in gusty winds at Torre Spada, the field where I’m usually flying. After a gust pushed it to the runway for an hard bounce, I initiated some kind of goofy escape maneuver, which I eventually stopped to avoid coming too close to the parked cars.
In the end, Juliet2 fell almost vertically from a couple of meters, hitting the left wingtip first, and then the nose. Surprisingly it didn’t break apart. Nonetheless the force of the first impact, transmitted along the structure, made some minor internal damage. Moreover, the left wingtip was dented, but not broken, thanks to the carbon balsa force generator which took most of the hit. All the momentum then transferred along the wing to the fuselage, through the wing tubes. And that’s where most of the repairs where needed. A crack appeared on the covering balsa of the fuselage, just behind the aft wing tube, and a few ribs appeared to have little cracks around the wing tube holes.
To avoid any surprise, I decided to give the Juliet2 a full inspection. I removed the motor cowling and checked the motor mount for damage and alignment. To better asses the damage behind the second wing tube, I then cut a portion of the covering film out from the bottom of the fuselage, gaining access to the entire section. The wings were also opened, and I repaired several ribs for cracks and missing bits there. The hinges of the left aileron and the rudder (although the latter probably unrelated to the crash), detached from the wing. Since there wasn’t any real damage there, I just glued them back. Having removed the covering film only from the underside, it was easy to close the Juliet2 back after the repairs. To complete the process, I tested servos and receiver in the lab for signs of damage.
Finally, I had to fly the plane and check that all was good as before. As with all maiden flights, I started slow and “nice”, gradually moving on to more demanding figures to stress test the repairs. As of today, the Juliet2 has flown a dozen times after the repairs, including one flight with buddybox to let a friend try it safely. Here below are some pictures from the last flights, with more certainly coming in the next weeks!!! In the end, I’m not sure I will ever officially “close” the Juliet2 test flights. Yes, I’m spending more time than before just having fun with it, but the more I do, the more I think of new things to try.
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