How to make dropping parachutes from an RC Plane more fun? Speedy help appreciated! - RC Groups
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Jul 17, 2005, 05:39 PM
Hogster's Avatar

How to make dropping parachutes from an RC Plane more fun? Speedy help appreciated!

Hi all,

At the end of this week I'm off on a two week holiday camp, part of which (two mornings and an afternoon) is dedicated to arts and crafts. Anyone who wants to run an activity group can, and I thought it would be great fun to run a group where people can make parachutes from cut-up bin liners, string and bamboo (for the weight), and then drop them from a drop-box mounted to my Tiny:

Thing is, making parachutes is the only thing the attendees can do, so I'm looking to add another dimension into the event. Perhaps releasing a lot at once and whoever's hits the ground first gets a prize/sweet/something?? ..... I really don't know!

As I'm leaving at the end of this week for the holiday, I would like to settle on an idea, build it and give it a few test flights before the end of the week so I know whether it'll work or not. So, err yah, time is not on my side!

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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Jul 17, 2005, 05:43 PM
Registered User
schorhr's Avatar
I like the "Perhaps releasing a lot at once", but from one plane. There might be an open world-record spot for this ;-)

Another thing could be a target- to actually try to get as close as possible... Or try to catch it with a fast plane before it hits the ground :-)

Also, who hits the ground first- BAD idea. Rather: Who flies the longest/farest?
Jul 17, 2005, 05:46 PM
Got H2? Fuel Cell R/C Car
Keith43221's Avatar
Alrighty, First off, these will hold only a few parachute men, but, the bigger the servo, the bigger the rubber O-ring, The more you can hold.
Picture 1: You see the servo laying on its side with the top facing you. There is a O-ring that comes from the back, over the parcute man, and on to the arms. When the arm goes up, the O-ring comes off and the man comes out.
Pic 2:Top of the servo as it lays on its side. The orange is the parachute, the man in under it. If you take off the bottom of the servo, then cut out the blue areas, there will be two litte holes, put your o-ring on the little tab that will be left, then screw the bottom back together, a drop of CA will reinforce everything.
Last edited by Keith43221; Jul 18, 2005 at 10:10 AM.
Jul 17, 2005, 06:07 PM
Hogster's Avatar
schorhr - yes it would be from one plane. The thing I don't like about trying to hit a target is that is down to my skill, rather than anything related to the people who made the parachutes ... oh and the wind I suppose.

The 'whose flies the farthest' might be good IF I let people design their own parachute from a set size of material - if they're all the same design then it would all be down to luck which aint much fun ...

Keith - Can you give me a little description of each idea please? I'm probably being really dumb, but I can't quite work out what you're trying to show here!

Thanks for the lightning fast response guys! Let's hope this speed of posting continues!

PS. Sorry if I appear to be bashing your ideas but I'm just thinking out loud here.
Jul 18, 2005, 01:11 AM
Registered User
vpatron's Avatar
Hogster, along similar lines, how about they all get the same weight as payload and same size parachute material. And the builder of the parachute that LANDS LAST wins a prize.

I would imagine a really well built parachute will drop slowly and gently.

Sounds like a blast! I'll have to try it with my nephews...

Jul 18, 2005, 08:20 AM
Hogster's Avatar
Yeah that sounds good. I wonder what the prize should be .... My Dad is running a stall making wire puzzles from old coat hangers so perhaps the winner could win an 'RTF' wire puzzle!

I'll work on a bomb-drop box that can hold about 5 parachutes, perhaps a little more depending on how much room there is under the plane ....

Oh and I was also thinking of dropping sweets on streamers just for fun too.
Jul 18, 2005, 10:30 AM
Got H2? Fuel Cell R/C Car
Keith43221's Avatar
I updated my post Hogster.
Jul 18, 2005, 02:40 PM
Hogster's Avatar
Keith - Sadly I had already started on my release mechanism this morning (a couple of hours before my last post), so I didn't see your post until it was too late (!).

I understand your idea now but I really need to drop at least 4 or possibly 8 parachutes in one go ... so I give you .... THIS!!

And here's a quick explanatory movie!

Parachute drop-box in action

It's made from the following:

3/32" balsa for the walls, 1/16" balsa (grain going across the WIDTH of the box, not length) for the base, 1/16" balsa for the divisions, and 1/16" balsa for the ejector plates. The ejection springs made from a recycled 'slinky', the hinge material is 'Diamond tape' (like normal tape but the adhesive doesn't rot over time), and the lid spring mechanism consists of a piece of rubber band held to two blocks of 1/4" balsa with homemade copper staples and thick CA.

Now I've just got to find a way to a) mount it to the plane and b) streamline it (!!).
Jul 18, 2005, 02:46 PM
Registered User
ashdec87's Avatar
using a drop box works very, very well. you can pack a ton into it and it will always release.

Jul 18, 2005, 02:54 PM
I'm dangerously carefree
SaMx's Avatar
here's another idea, you can have people make small balsa gliders, and drop them, or just do standard hlg.
Jul 18, 2005, 03:57 PM
Sussex, UK
RobinBennett's Avatar
How about an egg drop? The complete egg and parachute has to fit in (one cell of) your box. Points are awarded for the last to land, innovation, decoration of the egg and of course, deducted for any damage to the egg.

Basically it's an egg launch, familiar to model rocketeers, but without the rockets...
Jul 18, 2005, 04:12 PM
When in doubt whip it out
Here is my drop box from a few months back. No spring loaded goodness, but it still gets the job done.
Jul 18, 2005, 06:36 PM
Hogster's Avatar
SaMx - I had already considered balsa gliders actually (here if you're interested), but a) I'm not sure whether people would have the patience to build one of those models, and b) it involves buying equipment (in particular the propulsion system). Dropping parachutes from one of my models doesn't require any bought materials - the bin-liner, string and weights can all be recycled.

Robin - Ahh, the ubiquitous egg-drop contest! I'm all for the idea but am wondering how heavy the egg will be .... one egg would probably be the limit of what the plane could lift - four? I think not sadly!

If I had a bigger plane (well I do but it's not built yet!) then I'd love to run an aerial egg-drop contest!

snowjackal - nice box! Looks pretty similar to mine, and I swear I'd never seen yours before when designing mine!

Edit: Two more piccies!

Note: I haven't added any streamlining yet ... as you can see! Hopefully I can give it a test flight tomorrow, and I'll see how it handles in the air - if it's really bad I might add some streamlining to the drop box!
Last edited by Hogster; Jul 18, 2005 at 06:44 PM.
Jul 18, 2005, 09:39 PM
I'm dangerously carefree
SaMx's Avatar
hey, just had a cool idea, what about a paper airplane drop? jsut make a new drop box without the divisions, and have a bunch of paper airplanes stacked up inside. last one down wins. you could do both.
Jul 18, 2005, 10:29 PM
Hogster's Avatar
That IS a cool idea! Thing is, if they were to be the sort of paper planes made from standard sheets of writing paper, I'd need a pretty big box under the plane to hold them .... attaching them loose isn't really feasible as they'd flutter way too much ...

I will be dropping sweets on streamers though - that should be great fun!

This evening I've been busily making parachutes so I can test the system. I've made eight of 'em (all I need for the full test) from 12"sq. pieces of light plastic (cut from the plastic bags that dry cleaning comes back in). They're just the squares of plastic with a string coming from each corner to a knot on the other side of the 30mm piece of bamboo (1.5g). I did try making one whilst taped over a football to get a more hemispherical shape to the chute, but it took ages so I only made one of them.

Part of the 'rules' will be that the parachutes have to roll up to this sort of size ... any bigger and I don't think I could fit two in each release-box compartment! That little package comes in at about 3.5g.

Eight little bamboo paratroopers itching to jump!

Hopefully I'll get a chance to test everything tomorrow!

Oh, and the whole box, servo, eight parachutes et al comes in at 61g - not *too* bad ... The sinkage rate of the parachute shown above is about 1m/second - pretty darn slow, particularly if it's released high up!
Last edited by Hogster; Jul 18, 2005 at 10:34 PM.

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