Gravity, Friction and Air Drag were at Work at Hudson Fish and Game

April 7, 2017


by Len Lathrop

When you think Hudson Fish and Game, can you see pinewood derby cars zipping down a wooden track?  Now add roughly 50 Scouts and parents and brothers and sisters in the converted range area and you have a wonderful and fun Sunday morning.

Just a bit of history.  The first Pinewood Derby was held on May 15, 1953, at the Scout House in Manhattan Beach, Calif., by Cub Scout Pack 280C.  And just to make sense of the story title, the force accelerating a pinewood derby car is gravity; the opposing forces are friction and air drag.  Therefore, car modifications are aimed at maximizing the potential energy in the car design and minimizing the air drag and the friction that occurs when the wheel spins on the axle contacts the axle head or car body, or contacts the track guide rail.

Too much detail?  Well Sunday you could find parents, mostly dads, adding or subtracting weight from their child’s car and some adding graphite to the axles.

While the pictures tell some of the story, let’s draw one other, the members of the Fish and Game just standing around with big smiles as their club was bustling with scouts just having fun.  The scouts had all types of food for the day and many donations of food and door prizes.