Beginner Series - Crashing and Repairing

by FliteTest | December 18, 2013 | (22) Posted in How To

The Flite Test Beginner Series is brought to you by Horizon Hobby

Episode 9: Crashing and Repairing


The most common things you’ll experience from a crash are:

  • Bent shaft
  • Motor angle / firewall cracked
  • Dirt in motor
  • Stripped servos
  • Loose control horn, wires or prop
  • Stressed, bent or broken prop
  • Broken or crinkled fuselage
  • Damaged Battery (very dangerous)

What to do if you crash:

First off, remain calm. Remember, everyone crashes. After you crash, check your C.R.A.P.

Control surfaces - Pull on everything, make sure everything is secure and moves properly.

Rips and tears - Examine the body of your plane closely looking for rips, tears or crinkles.

Angles - Look for structural weaknesses. Check the angle of your tail and make sure it’s not crooked. Make sure angles of repaired area are the same as before the crash.  Even if it is not a control surface.

Power system - Check all electronic connections and make sure everything works. Turn the motor by hand and make sure it turns freely.

Let’s talk about what to do for each of these issues:

Bent shaft

    1. The vibration can negatively affect your plane’s performance

    2. It’s rare you can bend it back straight.

    3. It’s best to replace it or swap the whole motor

Motor angle / firewall cracked

    1. Can usually be fixed with some hot glue or CA

    2. Remove the motor repair and reinstall

Dirt in motor

    1. You’ll notice when you turn the motor by hand.

    2. Remove the bell and clean it out

Stripped servo

    1. Replace it

Loose control horn, wires or prop

    1. Tighten or repair

Stressed, bent or broken prop

    1. Replace it!

Broken or crinkled fuselage

    1. Repair with hot glue, tape, or foam safe CA.

    2. Use hot water to bring it back to shape

    3. More glue does not mean more strength. Thin even glue over a tight joint is GOOD!

Damaged Battery (very dangerous)

    1. Get rid of it!… Recycle

    2. If you're not sure if it’s damaged check individual cell voltages frequently.

If your aircraft is manufactured by a reputable manufacturer, common replacement parts can easily be purchased at your local hobby shop.  Always try to carry extra props for your plane!

Crash Prevention: Things that cause a CRASH

  1. Neglecting your preflight check (see Ep. 4: Launching and Landing)

  2. Too windy

  3. Flying a plane beyond your ability (see Ep. 1 Choosing a Plane)

  4. Getting distracted / Looking away

  5. Flying out of range / getting disoriented

  6. Flying close or behind to objects

  7. Too small of a flying field

Most of all, don’t be afraid to fix you plane. Be creative with your repairs. Keep your repairs simple. Damaged areas can often be covered with strategic decoration. If it flies… you did it right! Remember: crashing is just part of the hobby.

Check your C.R.A.P.




Willsonman on December 19, 2013
IF the hot water trick does not work... Try DAP lightweight spackle over the dent. Once dry it easily sands. Then coat with water based polyurethane (WBPU) to harden it up and its easily paintable after that. For extra reinforcement you can then do a layer of tissue paper and WBPU over the spackle. Depending on the repair this can make a cleaner look like it never happened. Fixes with hot glue WILL eventually wear out. I recommend white gorilla glue. It expands into joints as it dries. Wipe away excess as it dries as well because it does NOT sand well. It will last forever after that. Split joints can be reinforced with toothpicks into the foam rather that more expensive carbon fiber rods. Again, use gorilla glue.

All these tricks are very strong, aesthetically pleasing, light weight, and will last a bit longer than hot glue and tape methods.
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agentorange2000 on June 18, 2015
Ever pilot needs gorilla white glue in their tool box. I rebuilt the nose of my plane with it. For repair clean breaks I use Super Gold; it's strong, foam safe, and sets really fast. Hot glue is good for bonding parts to foam like motor mounts or other plastic parts; then also for things like servos and receivers. The good thing about hot glue is it creates a strong bond but allows you to remove the parts without destroying the foam. I made that mistake with gorilla white glue. To remove the part you end up tearing the foam.
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Jon on December 19, 2013
Next look at and evaluate simulators the best way to learn to fly without a doubt
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timbarnes on December 19, 2013
I agree, simulators are useful. However, as I work with mine, I find depth perception much more difficult than in real life, so I don't know how well it translates.

But the basic coordination can be developed - you're right.
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Crashpilot1000 on December 19, 2013
Nice episode and tips.
Rebuilding Helicopters is much more fun after a crash..... in case of RTF kits they normally fly better after the repair since you took the time and did a proper setup.
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stevevm on January 16, 2014
My advice when you crash. Take a good look around the site for pieces that fell off the plane. Otherwise you will get it home and find that something is missing and it can be very hard to find the place you went down if you go back to the field.
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Afro Donkey on January 3, 2014
Thanks for that advice I keep crashing my planes. Can you give me advice on what plane I should get next.

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timbarnes on December 19, 2013
Good advice. Last weekend was my first day flying, so I had a number of crashes - one tree, several ground, one fence. And I was flying in a big area...

I was happy because what I was bending was my FT Flyer, which was easily repaired, on site, with tape and hot glue. And a new prop. So one more piece of advice for new pilots - fly something cheap! If you built it, you already know how to fix it.

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ColinTastic on March 22, 2015
Alright I'll check my crap after I crash!
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Beginner Series - Crashing and Repairing