Monty Welch's F-84 Near catastrophic loss


Just after landing.

Just after landing.


Below is the narrative to describe the pictures above.

I was flying straight and level about 200' upwind, when the right wing snapped and folded.  At that moment, I thought I was going to lose the plane, getting ready to shut down the engine to at least prevent a fie when it crashed.  However, to my surprise the plane just kept on flying but turning to the right at the same time.  I applied left rudder, and brought the plane around to the downwind and turned into final approach and landed on the grass strip in front of me.  I was able to control direction, to some degree, and was able to belly flop it right in front of me.  The only damage on the landing was the left tip tank being torn off, and damage to the nose inlet area. All easily repairable. The wing, however, is another matter.  The rear strut attachment glue joints failed inside the wing, and when it failed it bent the forward spar at the angle you see in the pics.

Top 2 pictures are of the plane after it was recovered to the pit area.

Bottom picture shows the broken rear spar and the bent front spar

To this day I do not understand the aerodynamics that allowedthe plane to keep flying and not go into a right spin.  I dont think it had much to do with pilot ability, just pure dumb luck, which I am very thankful for.

I enjoyed flying this plane over the years, hope to get ready for flying next year.

If anyone has a theory as to why it kept flying.... please email me at

Monty Welch


(When Things Fail)

By Bob Hurley

By Bob Hurley

RC control systems are reliable until they fail. This axiom prevailed for me until my newly acquired FW- 190 hooked a hard left after take-off. Much to my surprise I landed without a body count or damage. A first for me since I had never experienced a left hooker like that since I was in Bangkok in 1972.

The cause of the servo anomaly has not been determined. The HS-425 BB servo gears are not damaged and the servo travel is smooth with normal torque.

Yep, another WTF L


It appears that Santa Clause was not the only one delivering surprises in December, my Rockwell P-51 presented a WTF surprise for me as well. The weather was good for December, temperature in the 50’s, 10 mph wind from the Northeast, overcast sky. The takeoff was normal, I flew figure 8’s with a few loops and rolls. After 5 minutes in the flight I had to make right aileron trim adjustments numerous times to fly a straight course. After a few minutes of making adjustments I felt it was time to land for an inspection. The landing was typical with a cross wind, however turbulence and the wind resulted in a landing in the dirt a few feet from the runway. The landing was good for a non-runway surface, the Rockwell was sitting on the main gear but the wing had more dihedral then it did at takeoff. The photo shows the damage to the wing. The wing spar is broken however the surrounding surfaces kept the wing in place.

This anomaly refreshed a previous lesson, preflight everything including the airframe before takeoff. Land immediately when control trim adjustments require numerous changes.

Timing is everything, be it sneaking in the house with a new airplane or landing your airplane and discovering the receiver has gone belly up. This happened to a club member recently. The airplane flew as directed and there was no indication that the receiver was failing. Upon a normal landing and coasting to a stop the engine died and the elevator and rudder moved to the maximum travel limit. The pilot moved the transmitter controls with no response. A quick check of the radio gear revealed the battery was at 5.7 volts, all servo and switch leads were connected and the fail-safe red light was illuminating on the Spectrum receiver.

If this WTF failure occurred during flight, a crash or a fail-safe landing would have been the result. The pilot apparently did not bind the airplane with the controls at the fail safe position: throttle at idle, slight up elevator and slight deflection of the ailerons or rudder.

·       Prop

Quiz, what makes a high pitch screeching noise?

1.   A 16 inch diameter prop that separates during flight.

2.   My wife at the hobby shop cash register.

3.   Fellow pilots at the club whenever I take off.


Answer: A 16 inch prop attached to a DLE 30 mounted to a Top Flight P51 rotating at about 8k. The other two answers are also correct and will be covered in a future edition of WTF.



          The WTF occurred in the middle of a figure 8 pattern with two other fellow pilots. The out of balance condition caused the engine and firewall to pull lose from the fuselage. The lesson in this case, flex the prop during the preflight checks.



·       Stab covering


August for me was a double WTF month. During a redneck T-34 race, the covering on the top right horizontal stabilizer blew off and caused my T-34 to pull up hard and roll right.

This problem has occurred to a few other pilots. Applying a trim strip on the leading edge to the wing, horizontal and fin surface is suggested to minimize this problem.


·       Radio failure

The plane, the plane, the plane. Radio loss caused a crash to this T-34.  A check of the radio gear at the crash site failed to show the reason the signal was lost.


Until next month, happy flying and hopefully no WTF’s.

I first attempted to fly radio controlled airplanes in 1982. Fortunately for me, I also learned to enjoyed building and repairing crashed airplanes along with enriching the bottom line of the local hobby shops. Nothing has changed in the last 33 years. However, I have noted in most crashes, the cause of my airplanes demise. I made mental notes to avoid those WTF’s by constructing reinforcements in the air frame, selecting dependable radio equipment and performing preflight inspections. I still have WTF’s but not as often.

My latest occurred in May 2015 with my Top Flight 60 size Mustang. The left aileron threaded rod pulled out of the clevis during a flight with other airplanes nearby. I had enough control to direct the airplane away from others and landed with the airplane in six separate locations.

The WTF cause was worn out threads that connected the aileron servo to the aileron horn. The lock nut designed to keep the metal clevis from coming loose backed off and engine vibrations caused the threads to wear away. I now do visual and mechanical integrity checks prior to the days flying.

Bob Hurley's GoPro picture.

Bob Hurley's GoPro picture.


A WTF can surprise us at the field when the incident occurs or sometimes when you review an airborne camera video at home.

This picture was captured from a video taken during a practice run before a T 34 race. However nothing initiates a warm feeling down the leg like the panicky comment of a fellow pilot that say’s “does anybody see my airplane.

Recently, an experienced pilot had a WTF that was not pilot error and no equipment failure could be proven. Within a few seconds after takeoff, a service proven P-51 lost elevator and crashed. The pilot said preflight checks did not indicate malfunctions of radio or airframe. Post flight checks do not show radio or control surface failures.

 The potential for having a WTF may happen at any time any place. These moments reinforce the reason why all pilots need to adhere to the AMA and VVRC safety rules.

Members Projects:  Mark Sawyer with his Gilmore Lion

Tom Gross's plane stand pictures.