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Published on Apr 24, 2010
On the Saturday before the 2009/2010 DBF competition SDSU was performing what should have been final testing on the competition plane. After we were done testing we decided to do mission 1 at full speed to see if we could blow the fuse... things didn't go as planned.
The wing broke outside of the main spar and the mid-wing rib. After reviewing the damage we came to the conclusion that a rough landing during the bat mission (which we had flown prior to the crash) one of the bats clipped the ground and partially bent the pylon where it was mounted, externally the wing was fine but internally the pylon had crushed some of the foam inside the wing causing the outer layer of materials to delaminate.
The plane ended crashing in Mission Bay, we lost all of our servos as well as battery packs.
Luckily the motor was able to be partially fixed (some of the bearings still have to be replaced), both landing gears were intact (20+ layers of carbon make a pretty strong landing gear), and we also estimated that the plane was flying around 130 mph, so at least we knew we had a very fast plane.
We stayed up all night Saturday through Tuesday (technically Wednesday) rebuilding the plane from scratch, we flew the new plane on Wednesday (a few hours after it was finished), trimmed it out and left for Wichita.