The author describes below how to set up an efficient pit box for combat competition. Buzz is seen here using his pit box to prepare an 80mph combat plane for a match at the Fall Follies. Buzz won the contest. Flying Lines photo.

Musings from the Combat Pits

The Pit Box

By Buzz Wilson

With the indoor building season upon us ,look at your pit box, or lack there of. There is nothing more frustrating when someone asks you to pit for them and then hands you a plastic bag with what they think you will need to get them back in the air (including the Halloween candy the kid forgot to eat) right after they take their fast combat plane and turn it into a lawn dart.

Then again, you can use the Burdick method taught to him by Phil Granderson ­ Buzz, grab Jeff's box I am up next. I understand that for next season Jeff is adding a credit card scanner to his box. This will be used to sell shut offs, CD's, and debit any supplies you consume when using his box ... I think it also needs to have a bar code scanner to expedite the transaction. Contact Jeff for specifics or suggestions.

Plan the layout of the box to hold the materials so they do not bounce or fall out when your pitman is running toward the downed airplane. Keep the box light. I keep my box to what is needed to service the plane at the edge of the circle. I bring backup tools and materials in separate containers that stay in the pits. I set the box for the event. If I am flying 1/2-A, the bladders are changed out, the props are changed out, electric starter is added, fuel container is changed out, special wrenches added. Tools that are not used on 1/2-A are removed. These include 6-32 drivers. Jeff's box is complete (complete = heavy), he has no back up boxes in the pit. Well that is not true ­ hey, Buzz do you have...?

Speed limit and fast events require changing out the props and glow plugs from the basic box. Since D-bat does not need most of the materials in the pit box, and the last thing I want to do is get diesel fuel all over my pit box I do not use one. I will probably convert an old box.

Since I have started playing with stunt, (I am not serious yet; I do not own any orange traffic cones), I noticed that my pit box has some shortcomings. There is no place to put the large electric starter or the battery system that I am using for stunt. Looks like time to build another box. Perhaps a combination box, D-bat and Stunt.

While you are looking at your plastic bag, take the time to look at the leads for your battery clip. Make sure the wire is still in good condition. After writing this, I was working in my shop, looked at my pit box, and thought I am going to check the leads on my battery clip. Guess what, the wire was starting to fail. Also clean the filter and replace the tubing inside your fuel bottle. Over time, silicone tubing will turn into something between bathtub caulk and bubble gum.

That first contest will soon be here -- might as well unveil that new pit box. Remember when you are flying against me; fly level.

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This page was upated March 4, 2007