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Old 02-17-2007, 11:10 PM
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CPMcGraw CPMcGraw is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Posts: 5,357
Default New Themed Package Sets

We've had a number of newbies ask about beginners' models this weekend on the public forum, and as I tried to create an answer, I found myself thinking along the same roads that NASA went down in the early years. One thought that I started to develop was that NASA simplified their projects to gain bits of experience with each flight, instead of a "go-fer-broke" single mission to do everything needed to get men to the moon. Project Mercury was like their Alpha/Astra/Astro-1 flights, showing them how a flight should look when it does go right. Project Gemini allowed them to increase the complexity in small steps, and could be likened to the Vigilante/Bandit/ARCAS models. Project Apollo would be still more complex, like scale birds such as the S1-B and SatV.

As Estes had the "Estes Aerospace Club", where you built up models of increasing complexity to gain those additional color bar decals, what about a series of special model packages designed to progressively advance a builder from simple 3FNC designs to detailed scale subjects? Each of these models would be sold as part of a "curriculum series" to teach the builder a different skill. To achieve a "diploma" for a given "Skill Level", the builder would have to build and fly a pre-determined number of "skill subjects" within each "class", and answer a simple "quiz" provided with each kit. The questions would be taken from various chapters of The Handbook; the builder would also have to have a personal copy of The Handbook in order to find the answer.

This might also provide a simplified answer to what we need in a starter's set. Some of the printed material might be the first "lesson" in this program; an included copy of The Handbook would be an important "premium" for completing the "course". No one could gain the diploma without having this starter set, as the paperwork for beginning this "course" would only be included in this set. No one could complete the "quizzes" without The Handbook, as some questions might be along the lines of "What problem did G. Harry resolve from the MIT research work of Trip Barber? What technique did this research lead to?" If you haven't read the book, could you answer these questions?

Each "Skill Package" would include a model kit designed to demonstrate a specific subject. Each skill "level" would have eight or ten "packages" of separate "skills" to be learned; to complete the "course", the builder is given a requisite number of "skills" to master, and one or two of these may be a "pre-requisite" set of must-haves. When the builder has achieved the complete set of diplomas, a special "award" might be presented including maybe an upper-end kit like the S1-B (or a kit of similar value that is not yet developed). The builder's name could be included in a "Hall Of Fame" page on the website, as a way of encouraging others to "get with the program".
Craig McGraw

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