Pinewood Derby Memory – The Flying Car Investigation

Last night was the practice and “unofficial” weigh-in for our Pinewood Derby. This being the rookie season for my Tiger Cub we decided to practice positioning our car on the track. The first run was great – all went well and the car was fast. The second run was a cardiac tester!

As background, the starting gate mechanism on our track is controlled by an electromagnet. A long plate of steel holds the starting pins in place. When the switch is thrown, the electromagnet is disabled, causing the steel plate and the starting pins to fall.

Here is the official account of the incident.

THE SETTING: Four or five Tiger Cubs curiously milling around the starting gate (actually the launch pad for this story), two or three parents checking out the competition, one Webelo manning the starting switch, and two cars on the track.

THE LAUNCH EVENT: As the starting switch is thrown, the cars take off for a split second and then are abruptly jolted. One of the cars goes airborne (you know which one don’t you) in quite a spectacular fashion and climbs to an altitude of five feet above the launch pad. The car appears to be in slow-motion as it flies about twelve feet, trying desperately to defy gravity.

THE IMPACT: A padded concrete landing followed by alternating impacts with two folding chairs, and a final bounce to the concrete for good measure.

THE ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION: No mechanical defect was found in the starting mechanism; no earthquake reported or predicted, leaving only the four or five curious Tigers to interrogate.

THE FINDING: Two Tigers found it fun to grab onto the steel weight at the start. Apparently the cars started but a Tiger reversed the direction of the weight causing a starting pin to launch the car.

THE DAMAGE REPORT: The car was nicked and scuffed a little but still performed well.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: Keep little hands away from the machinery.

Keith Lindsay
Halifax, Pennsylvania

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 6

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – January 22, 2016

Here are some unique cars from our race held in November.

TMNT

The TMNT car had to be fully hollowed out underneath to make weight. Not terribly fast but it won a design award.

Football and Minecraft

Both of these were design winners.

Caterpillar

This cute car was actually quite fast, and it won a design award. But it had the nasty habit of shedding green stuff on the track. Yuck.

DeLorean, Cake and Snoopy

Some great cars from our parent-sibling race. Snoopy took first in design. (I really like the DeLorean, but the participants pick the design awards; likely the kids were too young to recognize the DeLorean from “Back to the Future”.)

Olaf and Batmobile

More cars from our parent-sibling race. Olaf took a design award. The other design award went to a Lightning McQueen car. Unfortunately, the photo of that car came out blurry.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 6

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Up In Flames!

PINEWOOD DERBY MEMORY
Up In Flames!

We were building four cars for the upcoming derby race. It was the weekend before the race, and the cars were finally painted. For some reason the yellow paint on one of the cars just didn’t seem to be drying.

A dim light bulb suddenly switched on inside my head – I could use the microwave to dry the car! Quickly, I put the car on a paper plate, stuck it in the microwave, and turned it on. I left the room for a few moments, and then all of a sudden I heard a scream coming from the kitchen. I quickly rushed back in and found the car in flames, with the owner (my lady friend’s 13 year old) screaming in horror! I quickly shut off the microwave and removed the car. It was rather warm to the touch, the paint was burnt and slightly bubbled, and the 13 year old was crying, (not to mention the stench which remained in the house for a week). With a lot of sanding, repainting, and consoling,we managed to get the car completed on time.

On race day all of the trouble was justified. The car won 1st place for speed in its division and took 2nd place in the design category.

I don’t think we will quickly forget the “Flaming Car”, and will certainly leave the microwave out of our car building process in the future.

Duane Hittle
Capac, Michigan

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 5

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – January 8, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Here are our two cars for the Outlaw Race this year. The rules were tightened up so they are pretty much stock.

Flower Garden – Elisa Davis

This was the original prototype of the new Annihilator body style. My wife used her Cricut to make flowers out of sticky-back vinyl. The car placed 1st in the Adult race.

Fender Bender – Randy Davis

This car was built to show fenders, and had never been raced. So I fixed it up for this year’s race. The car placed 2nd in the Adult race. (Always a good policy to let your wife win!)

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 4

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