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Chuck and fly!

I held the aft section of the glider in my hand and I heard Mr Darius, my instructor, saying, “Don’t throw it too hard. Throw it lightly into the air and the glider will fly smoothly.” Part of me hears what he says and the other part of me is thinking, ”Come on, it’s finally done. All you want to do is fly this well!” With a flick of my hand, my glider flies ever so smoothly across the room and I fist bump the air in celebration. But with completing this glider, there was a lot of help and advice I took, as well as many mistakes I made. Here is my entire process of making my glider:

First, I examined the plans for the chuck glider that I was going to make. I was going to make a replica of the legendary warplane, the Spitfire Mk VIII. Using hand-drawn plans from Mr Darius and a pen, I traced out the parts that I needed for my glider: the fuselage, the wing and the tailplane. I managed to trace the parts directly on to a piece of foam board using carbon paper. The trick to draw the pieces as neat I could was to take as much time as possible and trace slowly.

Then came the part where I had to cut the pieces and then sand them accordingly to make the glider fly properly. I found this most challenging as it was hard to get the balance and make the shape symmetrical. The fuselage was the easiest to cut as it had smooth curves which led to the fuselage of my glider being cut out perfectly in one go. The wings and tailplane, however, took much longer than the fuselage, because I was struggling with getting the right shape. The edges were too rough, or it was not symmetrical, or it was not rounded well. Both the pieces took at least a few retries until I asked for help. I figured out that I have to cut the piece into a rectangle and then sand the edges down to the exact shape. With that, I managed to finally cut out the wings and tailplane perfectly.

I sanded the wings and tailplane and make an airfoil shape so that more lift was generated. I did this by drawing a line in the middle along the depth of the part and then sanding it down to the line. I sanded the aft section of the fuselage from the sides to reduce the weight at the back of the glider, to help balance the plane. The slots for the wings and tail were also cut out in the fuselage.

After detailing all the parts, it was finally time to put them together and fly the glider. The wing managed to fit into it’s slot in one piece, but since the thicker end of the tailplane was not going in, I cut the tailplane into half and attached pins on one tailplane so that when the two pieces are joined together in their slot, they are bound together by the pins. I put a piece of clay around the nose of the glider to balance the weight (because of the aft section being heavier than the fore) so the plane would fly steadily. Then I began test flights. The first few test flights were failures, because I was throwing it too hard and the glider was too heavy from either the front section or the aft section making them unstable to fly, I made the adjustments until…..success!

Now that the glider had been made, I decided to enhance the looks. I decided to paint it all silver and have airline colors on top. The problem was that the foam was soaking up the silver paint and that pen lines drawn on the wings and fuselage earlier were not going away. So I had to paint it light grey (instead of silver) using a white texture liner paint and regular black paint. After a few coats of this mixture, the pen lines disappeared and that problem was solved. After painting the whole glider grey, I added the airline colors with the airline of choice being Lufthansa which included light grey yellow and dark blue.

So after 4 weekends of hard work, my glider was finally complete. I really look forward to make whatever comes next, perhaps another glider or even a remote controlled plane. I thank Mr Darius for guiding me through this journey of craft.

Here is the image of the gliding beast:

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Oct 15, 2018


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