Years of experience in Engineering and crashing radio controlled planes
From the founder of SoarKraft:
I've been building balsa planes since I was 10 years old (rubber band powered, tissue covering) and flying RC since I was 12. Gas powered, went through lots of kits, even built several ducted fan jets...
~ Age 14 - 1984
Had many pylon racing planes I thought were fast, until I saw a guy flying an F5B (36 cell, 3M, but weight was many kg). It went straight up faster than anything I had ever seen... and then, prop folded, flew twice as fast doing the competition speed course.... then landed softly right at his feet. He was on the USA national team and was practicing for the worlds... very impressive... that's what started me on gliders.
I was in college at the time getting my Aerospace Engineering degree (yep, Im a rocket scientist).... there were no jobs in aeronautics at the time, but I did take all of the aircraft design, structures, controls, etc. that I could because I was interested... went on to work for Lockheed Martin in both the rocket program and several spacecraft programs. Hated working for such a big company, but learned CAD very well... went on to work for many medical device companies and others, designing products from just-an-idea all the way through production and sustaining engineering. I have 20+ patents, lots of experience with manufacturing and material sourcing, and loads of experience making real stuff....
Never flew in competition, but I have flown / crashed 30+ different performance gliders.... Love dynamic soaring, my personal best is 199mph, the speed and the sound is so intoxicating..... hot wire foam cutting, vacuum bagging, molds and lay-up... gallons of epoxy... fun, but so time intensive, and they still crash.
I have 3D printed stuff for projects since the mid 90s... early on it was expensive and the materials were horrible, but perfect for prototype testing. The technology and access today is amazing... I have 6 printers for work projects in my office with the largest being a 450 x 450 x 470, awesome capabilities.
My son was 11 (dec 2020) and I got him a RTF foam plane for a gift... It flew terribly and he broke it right away. Because of covid no parts were available... I had to buy him a completely new plane..... or fix it another way... well, that's when I found videos of 3D printed planes and started this whole SoarKraft thing for me... It has been part passion and part therapy to get back into something I have loved doing for so long, get my head into a creative place, and get out of the house. I design what I want to fly, hope you enjoy it too.
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