Innovative ways of managing lots of planes when volunteering

I do lots of volunteer work at community centers. As a rule, I don’t let kids bring the planes home until they are ready. I usually start letting the kids bring planes home once they can make 20 second flights. By then, they are adept at building, fixing and handling. If you send planes home with children right after a building session, not only have they not received coaching on flying but they don’t value the airplanes enough to protect them from dogs, cats, siblings, parents, rain and such. For every hundred planes that goes out, you get back about 2 if the sessions are a week apart. If you wait till kids reach 20 second flying times, they almost all come back after a week.

Here are a few of the techniques I use for storing and transporting the planes. This is how I deal with the planes between sessions.

If you have a lot of working planes, you can use the “aero-blob” technique. With this technique it is important to make sure the propeller sticks on tightly. If not, you should remove it, glue a piece of toothpick underneath the motor stick and replace the propeller. You can carry many Squirrel model airplanes by the elastic. You can put them on the dry cleaning hangar found in the back of most sedans.  Here is an example.

If you have a storage area at your volunteer site, the “Squirrel-O-Store” technique works well. I made a large box and strung a couple of strings across the box. You can hang the planes from the strings as well as use clothes pins. Notice the leader-board which is great for kids that enjoy competition.

The string technique can also increase the capacity of a smaller box. I just wrap the box with loops of string and use it as hangers.

Smaller quantities can fit well into a small box.

Here’s a design I made that fits into the mail boxes at the Ottawa Mission. It also fits into a knapsack as well as the leather side bags on my motorcycle.

If you have a lot of Squirrels at home, here’s an easy way to keep them from getting broken and keep them accessible:

The idea is to use two nails or screws. Use a rubber band to keep tension:

Also for storage at home of one or two planes, there is a great technique of hanging the plane on a picture frame. This is what I tell kids to do at home because it gives the planes greater visibility.

Here’s my “three holder” I made from cardboard. Half the box is for three assembled squirrels and the other half is for supplies.