Zoot's Mixture

December 2009

Putting together the Ultimate Field Repair Kit

By Zoot Zoomer

Once upon a time at a contest far, far away, I had a minor crash with one of my planes.  More specifically, I was flying a rat racer in the Formula 40 speed event and very clumsily tweaked the down wire when exiting the pylon yoke.  The plane did a pancake landing, bending the landing gear and sustaining some minor damage to the wing and tail.   The plane was doing double duty that weekend, and while that speed flight was sufficient, it was going to be rat race time later on and there I was with a broken plane.  What to do?

Since the plane was not damaged too badly and I had some time on the schedule before the official racing, I decided to try and repair the bird.  As I didn't have much in the way of tools or materials with me, save for the obligatory X-acto knife, I went into mooch mode.  After acquiring a torch, some solder, wire, glue, and some wood scraps from somebody's  broken plane I set to work.   Sometime later I once again had a fully-functioning rat racer to use in the contest.  Was it worth the hassle of an on-field repair job?  I will have to say yes, since I won the rat event at that meet. 

On the drive home I decided that it might be good to put together a decent repair kit so things like this wouldn't be left to chance.  Most folks carry around some instant glue and a couple of knifes in their toolboxes, but obviously we are looking well beyond that scope.  So I found a small toolbox and threw in several items that I thought would prove useful in the future.  That toolbox and contents did prove very useful over the years,  however now it's time for an upgrade.  I made up a list of the items that were useful to have, eliminated a couple of things that weren't, and added several more items that should be included.

Bear in mind that putting together something like this obviously  will be custom tailored to the type of planes and flying that you do.  Also take into consideration whether the repairs will only be of the on-the-field variety, or back in the motel room on a contest weekend.  Having convenient access to 110 VAC will certainly make some tasks much easier, and will allow you include additional tools such as a heat gun or soldering gun. 

Another tip will be to gather up all of the materials  to see just what size of toolbox will be needed, and of course always allow a bit of extra room.  Following is the repair toolbox list of contents that I will be putting together.  Let me know what I have forgotten!  It is assumed that one will already have access to the typical handtools like pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.  I have split the list up into two parts:  Tools, and Materials.

Tools and Related Items



  -- Zoot

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This page was upated Dec. 22, 2009