We're continuing to fly the Foamaroo and are constantly amazed by what it will do.  I wanted to try using a flat spin as a failsafe/abort system for the plane and actually tested by spinning it until it impacted the ground.  My suspicions were correct - I was able to pick up and relaunch the plane after every flat spin and impact.  Only damage was a slightly loose wingtip at the end of the day.

This method of recovery in the event of loss of control will not only protect the plane and its systems but would also protect anyone/thing on the ground in the unlikely event that it came down in a populated area.



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Comment by brakar on March 14, 2012 at 3:32pm

Cool demo! From the look of it, introducing a flat spin like this could more or less substitute the use of a parachute as a fail-safe mode.

Comment by Jimmy Prouty on March 14, 2012 at 3:49pm

Thanks, Brakar.  That's what we're hoping for.


Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on March 14, 2012 at 4:06pm

Nice idea!

I guess what you're going to do is program the failsafe to go for pro-spin control surface deflections and hope it happens?

If you have an APM on board, perhaps you could log vertical acceleration and see what sort of spike you get on impact...? (or perhaps just add some code to store the maximum instantaneous acceleration values whilst the yaw rate exceeds some value - i.e. spinning?)

Comment by Jimmy Prouty on March 14, 2012 at 4:49pm

That's the plan.  My next step is to setup the failsafe on my radio and then turn it off with the plane over the landing area.  Results should be exactly the same as in the video.  

I don't have any means of measuring this plane so can't measure vertical acceleration.  My try a data logger to see what it's doing.  On a test earlier in the day I entered the abort maneuver at high speed, forgetting that I hand't taped on the nose cone.  Got some great video of the nose cone coming off due to the high spin rate!  All of the video that's in the spin test was also done with the nose cone simply stuck on (no tape) and didn't separate until the plane impacted.


Comment by Mark Colwell on March 15, 2012 at 4:59am


Great alternate failsafe mode ! It will be useful for semi-flexable air frames, wonders what max sink rate is?

sounds like you could use a TM set?

Comment by Jimmy Prouty on March 15, 2012 at 7:42am
Thanks, Mark.

What's a "TM set"?

Comment by Mark Colwell on March 15, 2012 at 11:07am

TM =Telemetry, sending flight data over radio link, we use 2, Xbee s  or 2, 3DRRadios transceivers. one for aircraft other one connects to laptop running the Mission Planner.

Comment by Jimmy Prouty on March 15, 2012 at 11:32am
Thanks, Mark. Didn't make the connection. I have several XBees and need to set one up for telemetry on my test aircraft. Anyone know of a data logger the I can add an accelerometer to?


Comment by John Arne Birkeland on March 15, 2012 at 12:15pm

Looks promising. A snap off release on the winglets, should prevent damage.

I would also do tests in strong winds to see that affects the spin.


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