Rc airplane in tree

Today we had 2 tree crashes! I managed to fly my Phoenix Model Decathlon into a tree, and another club member flew his Freewing JAS-39 Gripen into a tree.


Today was a good day for flying. The temperature started at 38 degrees, but raised to 45 degrees. The winds were at about 3 knots and gusting to 6 knots.

You know it’s a good day to fly when the club is crowded.

Decathalon Crash

I hadn’t flown this airplane in months, so I decided I wanted to dust it off. It’s a 65″ balsa airplane with a gasoline engine on it. It’s a fun airplane. The flight was fairly normal without any surprises. As I was coming in to land however I hit a tree that’s growing off to the side of our club’s runway.

Rc airplane in tree
Rc airplane in tree

Well it took some work retrieve it. The airplane was approximately 15-20 feet in the tree. It’s not a very climbable tree, and shaking the tree did not loosen it. A club member who lives nearby drove back to his house to get a suitable ladder and a hand saw. Another club member’s grandson was there and he also provided assistance.

Decathlon Damage

The damage to my Decathlon airplane was very minimal. The horizon stabilizer was broken off from the fuselage, and the control rod to the elevator was bent. Both will be fairly easy and straightforward repairs. Surprising to me the propeller seems to be in good shape. However I will still replace it because I no longer trust it’s structural integrity. This will be flying again shortly

Phoenix Decathalon Damage
Phoenix Decathalon Damage

Freewing JAS-39 Gripen Crash

This crash was actually a bit more exciting, however it was not my airplane and I was not flying. During this flight there were 3 EDF jets flyings. The Freewing JAS-39 Gripen and 2 E-flite Sukhoi SU-30.

The Gripen pilot was having fun chasing the SU-30 airplanes. He followed one of the aircraft into a loop. However with his speed, he was barely able to clear the ground. But after clearing the ground, he did not clear the trees. The result was that his airplane broke into many pieces. The airframe took major damage. Even the carbon fiber wing spar broke apart. The aircraft does not appear very repairable. It’ll be interesting to see if the owner of this airplane decides to repair this airplane. He really likes this airplane, so I’ll be waiting to see what he does. Often with a crash like this it’s possible, and easier, to harvest most of the electronics and transplant them into a new airframe.


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