Saturday, 2 July 2011

How to make a Walkalong Glider

How  would it be if a flying object comes along your walk, so lets try to make a colourful human powered glider by this simple steps

 Step1: Print the below plan on large paper and cut out the Pattern Outline of the Wings

First print out the half wing outline twice and cut each form. Turn one of the outlines upside down and tape the two pieces of paper together at the wing root. The resulting outline should have a wingspan of about 28cm (14 inches):

Step 2Cut out Piece of Foam-Mate Material

print out the half wing outline twice on a foam sheet and cut each of them

Step 3Draw Lines for Elevon and Airfoil Bends on Top and Bottom of Wing 

In this step the lines creating the elevons are drawn on the top of the wing cutout and lines creating the airfoil are drawn on the bottom of the wing:


Step 4Thermoform Dihedral and Washout Angle

Step 4 involves thermoforming a twist and upward bend  to each wing. The wing root will have a higher angle of attack than the with tip which prevents tip stalls when applying control inputs about the  roll axis (also called the  wing washout angle). The dihedral in an 
airframe design makes the aircraft more stable in the roll axis.

It is important to do this step before bending the airfoil.

Step 5Thermoform Airfoil shape to Wing

In step 5, an airfoil shape is thermoformed in the wing. Here's a video of making the first bend along the line closest to the leading edge of the wing:

Do the same for the remaining two lines:


Step 6Thermoforming Elevons

Thermoform the elevon surfaces to the trailing edge of the wing:


Step 7Fabricate a Nose Boom Ballast

A paper clip is straightened out to make a forward ballast to be attached to the nose. This weight will allow adjustment of the weight and balance 

Step 8Test Flights
The following step involves elevon and ballast adjustments to get the glider flying slowly, smoothly and in a straight line. Initially, the ballast should be as forward as possible.

Test fly the glider, launching it with a slight nose down attitude and at approximately walking speed:

adjust the elevons to get the glider flying straight. In the last video, the glider flies too much to the right, so the left elevon needs to be flattened:

The turning tendency has been corrected. Here is the second test flight:

In the last video, the elevons are trim too nose up and need to both be flattened:

How does it fly now? Let's see:

After more elevon trimming, the glider flies like this:


Step 9Flying Lessons 




  1. That's pretty sweet, I'll have to make one sometime.

  2. Thanks for the instructions, that looks cool.

  3. Yay! I remember doing those videos. That foam is pretty heavy. We're working on getting much lighter stuff made so you won't have to run so fast (or need so much space to fly in). Here's a preview of the new construction video: