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This is a request for a new design/plane that can be used in schools:

I have a STEM initiative starting up soon which will focus on aviation and aerial robotics. RC airplanes provide a great way to introduce these topics, and will be one of the first units covered. Students and their parents are so thrilled about this that a smaller-scale pilot program for this initiative filled up in less than 24 hours after I first mentioned that it would happen - and that was just through word-of-mouth spreading of information among teachers and parents.

There is one big hurdle, however. Good trainer planes are expensive and virtually all lack the power needed to handle the wind conditions here in Hawaii. Moreover, there are only 6 public areas where rc airplanes can be flown on Oahu, and none of them are very good for beginners given exposure to wind and being fairly small in size.

What is needed is a plane that is slow and easy to control (suitable for young beginners in the upper elementary and middle school grades) and can penetrate the winds which regularly blow at speeds ranging from 10 to 20 mph. The plane also needs to be cheap and easy to repair - especially since school administrators don't support things like this and it will be money from parents, along with what I pay out-of-pocket, that will fund all purchases. Better yet, such a plane would be able to be built by students out of foamboard.

I'm calling this request/challenge PROJECT AOLANI (aolani means "heavenly cloud" in Hawaiian, and is a combination of the words ao, which means cloud, and lani, which means sky or heaven). Although I'm pretty sure that there are groups of all kinds outside of Hawaii that will greatly appreciate a plane like the one described above.

In case anyone is feeling especially ambitious, perhaps they may be able to create a design for a long-duration, long-range version of the proposed AOLANI plane: one which could be used to fly between schools located on different islands. This would be a huge inspiration for the students, and would get countless more students, parents, and educators involved in STEM and aviation. The amount that can be learned from involvement in such educational opportunties is limitless - as I'm sure you are all well-aware.

Your program sounds pretty cool - peaks my interest. Would love to throw around some ideas. The FT community should certainly have a model that fits the bill here.

As it doesn't sound like financial support is abound for your program, I imagine you'll have some requirement for volunteers? You've got some FT community builders and pilots locally!

Is this program specific to an institution? Or will this be associated with HI public schools
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Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member

Getting materials will be a logistical hurdle on the island -- shouldn't be that much of a surprise to you -- but as for a model built for schools and training, The FT Tiny Trainer was explicitly designed with this goal in mind:

When you get a chance, drop a PM to "Willie G Nome" -- aka Lee Kachner -- who is the gentleman on FT staff coordinating "FT Connections" as it begins to grow from idea to a smoothly running program . . . which is also explicitly designed to help get you information and ideas to do EXACTLY the kind of program you envision.

And BTW, Welcome to the forum :)
The Hawaii Department of Education provides a classroom to have the program in, but no funding for materials, compensation, etc. All adults involved in the program are volunteers. However, the military has decided they love this idea and have sent enough electronics for 12 planes to me, along with 50 pieces of foamboard and some model rocket kits. They have said that they want the program to have a wide reach, and that they hope the program can be a model for other schools to follow - both public and private. Right now I have about a half dozen different schools asking to be involved, and a few more asking to send teachers for some informal professional development in hopes of setting up programs at their home schools. Getting materials to the islands is indeed a pain, but having the military as a partner makes this a lot easier. They are also offering to send some electrical and communications engineers in to mentor students, and one of the senior engineers is pretty excited about the possibility of doing long-distance flights later on.

I just ordered a tiny trainer so that I can check it out and see if it can handle the job outlined above. I'm also in touch with Lee and am on the e-mail list.

Thank you very much for your suggestions - they are extremely valuable. If it wasn't for this type of support, programs like the one starting up here wouldn't exist.
Right on Mike. May I ask, what sort of materials have been provided by the Military (totally cool by the way)? Locally sourced or otherwise? I ask because our local foam board situation is not identical to that on the mainland. Adams Ready Board (Aka FliteTest FB) is unavailable out here in the islands, and Walmart/Office Depot FB Nd Elmer's FB build quite differently than Adams. Just a consideration.

Put me down for some volunteer time. PM me if you'd like my credentials.

Outside of putting together this program, are you building and out flying much? Always interested what fellow hobbyists are doing around the island.

The military has provided:
- 12 2200kv/342W motors (http://rctimer.com/product-116.html)
- 12 30A speed controllers (http://rctimer.com/product-146.html)
- 48 9g servos (http://rctimer.com/product-458.html)
- 50 servo leads (http://rctimer.com/product-265.html)
- 15 6x4E props (http://www.rctimer.com/product-217.html)
- 15 gyros (http://www.hobbypartz.com/73p-3axisgyro-fixedwing-plane.html)
- 12 6 Ch. 2.4Ghz Tx/Rx packs (http://www.hobbypartz.com/exrc62tr.html)
- 12 3s 2200mah 35C LiPo Batteries (http://www.headsuphobby.com/111v-2200mah-35C-EZ-Flite-Lipo-Battery-with-EC3-Connector-H-537.htm)

The foamboard they provided is the Pacon 20x30 boards (http://www.amazon.com/Pacon-Value-Boards-Inches-Sheets/dp/B005QVJ1IU/)

Unlike the FAA and some law enforcement organizations, SPAWAR Pacific (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_and_Naval_Warfare_Systems_Center_Pacific) seems to LOVE rc planes, FPV, and UAVs. They think that there is a lot that can be learned by having students involved in their creation and operation, and believe that this type of educational opportunity is exactly what is needed to prepare the next generation of highly-skilled individuals we need to maintain our position on the global stage and ensure our national security. The materials were ordered by BEST (Building Engineering and Science Talent: http://www.bestworkforce.org) with funds from NDEP (National Defense Education Program: http://www.ndep.us).

I really don't think the DOE leadership could care less about the content or curriculum, but they want to stay on the military's good side (and want their money). It's pretty sad, but unfortunately that's the situation around here. There are a lot of teachers and some principals that are very supportive of STEM, however, and will get behind this effort. Certain complex areas are more involved in STEM than others, with Pearl City-Waipahu being one of the best in this regard.

I actually got into rc planes after a bunch of students started expressing interest in drones. Before that, I had some helicopters, and long before that had rockets. Most of my background, however, was with full-scale planes since I grew up flying around in Alaskan bush floatplanes and was very involved in skydiving before. After my students made the request to have flight be a part of STEM and robotics, I figured I had better learn about this whole area. I bought a simulator, a Delta Ray, an FT Versa, and started watching the Experimental Airlines videos. Since then I've been playing with foamboard and learning how to fly. Since I have to learn all this fairly quickly, I'm usually out flying several times a week. I haven't been to the flying field over in Kailua or anything like that, though.
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Wounded Warrior Project

I am on Oahu as well and read your posting here with great interest. I come from a full scale background as well, both civilian ans military (former Army Aviator). I am getting back into the hobby, due in no small part to the Flite Test crew. What I was thinking aboiut was developing a program for flying and building for veterans and families from Wound Warrior Project. I have been emailing the Aloha State RC club about a program where an experienced pilot will take a wounded warrior veteran and their family to teach them how to fly RC, both parent and child as a way to bond and heal. Also, perhaps developing techniques for veterans with disabilities, such as loss extremities. I believe this would benefit PTSD veterans as well. I have a college who is an outreach coordinator for the pacific and am plannning to chat with him about this. It's just an idea now, just putting out there for feedback and suggestions.

Also, would like to get to know other RC types on Oahu.

Hey guys,
Do you have any updates on these projects mentioned above?
My wife and I run some small but growing extracuricular STEM Classes around the Hawaii Kai and Kailua area. Our website is www.FlashPointSTEM.com and we use the FT STEM Curriculum. I am interested in collaborating, and getting competitions for students going. Currently I use the FT Explorer, Tiny Trainer, and Arrow in my classes for beginning but will move towards scratch build EPP foam since its more durable. Here are a couple of videos of what we've been up to.