What are Gliders and what makes them special?
Gliders, also known as sailplanes or gliding aircraft, are fascinating and sleek flying machines designed to operate without an engine. They rely on the forces of gravity, air currents, and the expertise of the pilot to stay airborne and navigate through the skies.
Wait a minute, how do gliders fly without an engine? Isn’t thrust required to fly?
These aircraft are typically made of lightweight materials such as fibreglass, carbon fibre, or aluminium to maximize their glide performance. The aerodynamic design of gliders minimizes drag and optimizes lift, allowing them to soar effortlessly through the air. This is the reason that gliders cannot lift off on their own. They do not produce any thrust at all. They are pulled into the air by an aircraft or pulled up by a motor on the ground.
So, only three forces act on gliders: Lift, Drag, and Weight. They are propelled forward by the initial momentum they gain from the motor or airplane. Since they are aerodynamic, they lose momentum very slowly. Gliders are mainly used for recreation, sport, education, and military purposes in today’s world.
Now that we know all about gliders, let’s make our own!
Got a kit in your hand? let’s see what it consists of.
Steps to be followed for making your own Glider:
Step 1: Stick parts 1 and 2 by marking 3cm from the nose of the fuselage and glue the wing’s leading edge in the marked point with equal halves on both sides, as shown in the figure.
Step 2: Glue part 3 on the top of the vertical tail with equal halves on both sides, as shown in the figure.
Step 3: Add clay weights to the nose of the glider such that the glider is balanced.
The Glider is done. But how do we launch it?
Now, Let’s assemble our gun to launch the glider.
Step 1: Join parts 5 and 6 and parts 7 and 4 as shown in the figure.
Step 2: Assemble the upper part in the slot given in the part below, as shown in the figure.
Step 3: Join parts 8 and 10 as shown in the figure.
Step 4: Fix the part from step 3 in the part from step 2, as shown in the figure.
Step 5: Fix part 9 in its slot and the trigger for the gun is fixed with a round wooden stick if required the joints can be super-glued for the strength of the gun as shown in the figure.
Experimenting with our new Glider!
The Glider must be fixed in the launcher gun using a rubber band, as shown in the figure, and the trigger must be pressed for our glider to be launched and to GLIDE.
Now that you have built your own Glider with the launcher,
- Launch and clock the duration of how long the glider remains in the air.
- Launch and check how far your glider goes.
- You can try launching in hand and see the difference.
- Remove the extra clay that was used for balancing the glider and check how far your glider goes.