As the title says, this story is about the day I had a plane catch on fire. The manufacturer sent us the very first prototype, hand carved and all, before the final molds were made. The foam was obviously rough, but you look past that when in R&D mode. You look for the potential and scale lines. We assembled the parts and had a nice looking Mosquito on our hands. We took some photos for reference points to help make the design even more scale and then headed to the field for flight testing.
When we got to the field it was a clear warm day with light winds. Perfect for flying. The Mosquito is a twin, so it had two brushless motors and ESC’s, and had one battery. We powered it up and everything checked out fine. We were about to commence aviation, AND this was the first time this plane would be flown by anyone in world, ever. I was pretty excited as I throttled up and watched the Mossi gracefully take to the skies.
All was going well. Controls felt nice, power was good, and it looked great in the air. Then something unexpected happened. A thick cloud of black smoke appeared from the right wing. I thought I accidentally hit the smoke switch, but wait, there’s no smoke switch on this plane… I declare an emergency and head for the soccer fields. I make a perfect landing and we walk over to the field to check it out.
As we approach, the smoke had thickened and now I see FLAMES! Bright orange flames eating away at the very flammable foam. “Oh No” I think as I run up to it and start blowing as hard as I can. I managed to put out the flames before it caused any real damage. No, I take that back, this thing was toast, but I did save most of it. Turns out, the ESC’s weren’t up to the task and one of them decided to let the Genie and his magical dragon out. That’s a one of a kind prototype that won’t be flying again. We’re laughing at it now, but it was pretty serious at the time. Here’s some photos that should bring this story into perspective. Enjoy!