Finding a Lost Plane

Airplane lost in high grass

Crashing a plane is a reality in model aviation, it happens to all of us.

A plane going down in high grass such as a hay field is a mixed blessing in that the grass cushions the impact and more often than not the damage is minimal. The downside is finding the dang thing in that the grass very effectively hides the plane. It is not fun traipsing around in the high grass in the heat of summer especially for those of us that are a little long in the tooth, not to mention that flying is suspended for the searchers and those waiting to fly.

Here are a few pointers on finding a plane lost in the high grass or woods:

  • When a plane goes down make a mental note of where it went down, referencing trees or other prominent points of reference. Also, have someone remain and direct you using cell phones or radio. Ham radio VHF is perfect for this. This underscores the practice of not flying alone.
  • When you go to look for the plane, take your transmitter. When you think you are near where the plane went down. Apply some throttle. Hopefully, the spinning of the prop slapping against adjacent vegetation will make enough noise that locate the plane.
  • Noise will help, so install a lost plane locator in all your planes. As long as the device sees a control signal pulse coming from the receiver, it remains quiet. If the control signal is lost, it begins a 100 second countdown. After 100 seconds, if there is still no control signal, the device will beep once every 15 seconds until power is shut off.

Finding a plane in the woods presents its own challenges. Do not attempt to climb a tree; in most cases, the wind will bring down a plane… eventually.

If you have any ideas about finding downed planes, please let us know.