The Questor Project
Bill's Project Notebook


Questor is the working title I have given to this project, which involves the design and construction of a modular night-flying model airplane. The idea is to build a small model airplane that can break down into smaller, manageable pieces, and be carried in a lightweight custom backpack, or travel case, to allow the plane to be easily transported or carried into remote areas.

The primary motivating force behind this project is not the plane, itself. It is a project to assist in my own self-improvement. As we grow older, we lose some margin of brain function and memory, and the older we get, the higher our risk for Alzheimer's disease. One effective way to combat, or at least delay, the effects of this disease is to keep one's mind active - the more active, the better.

Our brains respond, physically, to our thoughts, building new networks and pathways to ideas, concepts and information. Thinking creatively helps stimulate the brain in many areas, and the design and development of a new thing - in this case, a model airplane - is a sure form of mental stimulation.

Another facet of this project is to provide motivation for me to become more physically active. I met with a woman who explores caves around the world, in places like Peru, and she mentioned that she and her team wanted to have an airplane to survey cave entrances - either to find them, or to help plot paths to reach them. In order to get to these caves, one generally has to hike a considerable distance. And if I have an airplane that I can carry in somewhere, I'd like to know that I can make it in there on my own two feet.

I have also had this idea from many years previous that I want to be able to hike in to an excluded lake somewhere and fly my plane off the lake at night. Since I am into night flying, this would only be a next logical step for me. This also requires that my new plane is wired for lights, and eventually will need pontoons for water take-offs and landings.

The project is not a simple one, and is not an easy one. If it was, it probably wouldn't be worth doing. This may not be the actual plane that carries any survey instruments (it may be too small), but it will certainly stand as a learning experience and as a stepping stone toward that eventual goal. My first step is to just create a modular plane that can travel with me wherever I go, and to get me to that secluded lake, once I find a suitable one.

[06/26/2010] Update:
My motives for creating Questor have changed slightly. Questor will be a multi-purpose airplane, both for fun and for serious exploration, but not likely to ever fly in Peru. I do fully intend to put together a travel case for it so that I can take it with me (like, say, when I visit my home town of Tucson, AZ). It is also a means of getting away from working all the time, which is taking its toll on me, physically. Getting back into flying will help me get outside more and expand my social horizons as well. It's time to put some fun back into my life - and to recognize I still have a life.

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