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  1. #1
    wingnutEOD's Avatar
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    Shocky Travel Kit Build

    This post is serving as the entry point for me to document my "Shocky Travel Kit" build. Like everyone here (I'm sure), I have a deep love of aviation. But like some here, work sends me away from my shop, local club (The Ogeechee Aeromasters of Statesboro, GA), and hanger on a fairly regular basis. The nature of my work is such that even on these "business trips" I still have a lot of down time that would be best served out at an air field making new friends and pulling balsa and carbon through the air. To make that happen I could either: hit the LHS in the area and buy a new plane everywhere I go and then gift it to whomever at the club I flew at that week or build up a travel package that could travel with me or be sent ahead to wherever work takes me. (Note: I'm discounting the idea of simply taking my laptop with RealFlight 5.5 installed as this, although a great way to feed the need on bad weather days, doesn't involve the social aspects of our hobby and really isn't a complete substitute for piloting your aircraft in real life.)

    Since I don't have all of the money in the world, buying a new aircraft for every trip isn't really an option. So, I have to take a look at the bigger picture of setting up some sort of kit of bits and bobs that will allow me to enjoy this hobby on the go. To start that process I have to look at what needs to get where. I'll start with the where; work takes me all over the world. More specifically, anywhere in the USA for up to a month at a time and either Iraq or Afghanistan for nine months to a year and a half at a time. There is also a mission load that comes from another source that tends to send us to any point on the globe for shorter periods of time. (During those missions though, I won't take my kit but settle for just taking my Heli-Max Novus 125 CP. This is my shop toy. Like when I start getting a little too numb headed while working in the shop I'll pop that up into the air to take a break.) In the case of traveling in the US we have restrictions on traveling with LiPo so those will need to be sent by mail ahead of time unless I'm driving to the destination. And in the case of overseas travel, all that's needed is proper packaging and a bit of paperwork and all is well. So, the kit should have provisions for all required items, but knowing that usually the LiPo packs will not be traveling with me. Also, size matters. [No matter what she says.] Assuming air travel in the US (as this is the most restrictive form of transportation that I am likely to use) the kit can be no larger than what is possible to check in as luggage. This also demands a certain amount of resiliency in the packaging of my kit, as I will be handing it off to persons unknown and would really rather my aircraft aren't damaged along the way. Size and weight restrictions will need to be figured out, but I'm going to assume an unlimited parameter here to start with, because when traveling to Iraq or Afghanistan I will have [functionally] unlimited space and these are the trips that really require a complete hobby kit.

    Next is what is to be contained in this kit. Again, this is based on a full blown, get through a year, perishable skills maintenance, I'm having it all kit. Later in the design process I will break down contents and packaging into a modular kit that is scalable to desires and destination. That being said, I have in mind two air frames that I think will encompass any sort of flying I might be interested in on any given day during a trip. By this I mean: some days I will want a nice sunday flying experience to relax after intense operations or an extreme 3D Aerobatics session to blow off steam from a tense work day or a pattern flight when I'm feeling particularly in-tune and ready for some laser focus. This requires quite the flight envelope right? Let's throw a wrench into the works... if you couldn't tell from my workshop toy I'm also interested in Helis. So, an all out have it all kit doesn't just need a plane that has a flight envelope of Mercury but also a Heli that is cut from the same cloth.

    Stay tuned: The next post will get into my choices of air frames and kit contents. Following that I will start to explore packaging in detail and then modularization.
    -Rob
    766th EOD FSGA

  2. #2
    wingnutEOD's Avatar
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    RE: Shocky Travel Kit Build

    Thanks for your continued attention. As I said, two air frames are needed. One airplane and one helicopter. I'm going with electric power here for obvious reasons: fuel isn't guaranteed at every destination, nitro/gas/diesel powered aircraft require too much maintenance for an "away from the shop" environment, noise in an issue when trying to fly on a FOB (Forward Operating Base) where SGM and Majors run around looking for reasons to jump into people's butts, and let's be honest I'm a member of the gime gime generation and thus all about instant gratification. [Note: No offence to the SGM and Majors out there. At some point someone has to make a stand against behaviors that go against good order and discipline (SGTs to 1SGs). And even they need a catch-all backup within the organization that can be counted on to back us up. I understand why you gentlemen and ladies do your thing.] Now, given that nitro is out and shockies are in... which air frames do I have in mind? Enter the PA Bandit. This thing is a beast. Going with the iPAs offered by the good folks at Precision Aerobatics you have the ability to prop up or down straight into your preferred flight profile not just for that day, but for that flying session. Put a 12x6 from APC on the nose and have a nice sport flying experience (read relaxing). But prop up to a VOX 14x7 up there and you have a dig deep 3D/Pattern machine. These guys have designed this plane just for me. Extremely wide flight characteristics profile in a tight (smallish) incredibly attractive package. (Side note: the bullet hole stickers rock, but I'll hold off on putting them on until I've snapped out of a hover into a knife-edge departure and see what kind of line would show up if a machine gun was barking at the plane. Just think about it... a pilot is hot-dogging in a hover and someone gets testy and starts firing. The pilot then flips him a snap roll out into a stylish knife-edge departure basically saying "Screw you bud!" to the shooter. This is what I feel when I look at the PA Bandit.)For the helicopter I've selected Align's Trex 450 Sport Kit comes in at number one. Just like with the PA Bandit one change and the attitude of the aircraft is dramatically adjusted. All it takes is the proper pinion gear and the whole temperament of this aircraft changes. The 11T gear will give you a nice beginner's style tootle around flight; while changing out to a 13T pinion gear will choke this bird up into a strong 3D performer. (Although admittedly heli-3D is way above my head. I can't really comprehend it at the moment... but that just means that I have something to work towards.) This aircraft is also interesting because of it's quickly replaceable front canopy. Why you ask? Well good sir (or ma'am), that's because for $16 I can get a completely blank one to work on my airbrushing skills with even over seas. . ) This is a kit version and the reason I'm going with a kit here is that I want to know that it is set up from me from the word jump. RTF and ARF versions of this craft have been handled by folks that I don't trust (read chinese). Enough said I believe. Both of these aircraft are powered by 3S lipos of the highest *mAh that I can manage, so batteries are common between them. Also I will be running controls through Hitec's Optima 6 receivers for both of the air frames, so my Aurora 9 can easily be set up to control them with completely independent settings on each model. Nice huh? And with that we run into the contents of this travel kit: Air frames:-PA Bandit (Blue)-Align's 450 SportBoth with Optima 6 receivers which can conveniently be purchased in packs of three: for only $114. Transmitter:-Hitec's Aurora 9Batteries:- Any quality 3S Lipo Packs- 2S Lipo packs that have a high mAh rating and will fit into my Aurora 9 (future upgrade)Battery charger- Venom's Pro ChargerThat gets us up into the air, but what about maintenance and modifications?Support Equipment- Tools (I'm not going to write out all of them. Pretty much a complete set that would allow me to disassemble each of the air frames.)- A selection of adhesives- Raw materials. Tower Hobbies sells a Box-A-Balsa of various size and shape balsa/ply that would work as repair stock. - Spare parts set. I'm thinking about the highly breakable items such as the main rotor shaft and control linkages of the heli and hardware components like hinges and screws of the airplane.Anything above and beyond this would have to be jury rigged as I believe there couldn't be a more complete set of air frame, flight line, and shop items packed into one travel set. Input here would be greatly appreciated. Other than that; stay tuned for the next post that explores that packaging of this gear set. I have an interesting idea about the case, but it doesn't leave room for modularization, so I'll have to do plenty of thinking. And hopefully you folks with lend a hand there.... stay tuned.
    -Rob
    766th EOD FSGA


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