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.