January 23, 2005

Rocket Gliders

One of the neatest types of hobby rockets are gliders. They soar into the sky straight up like a rocket, and then when the motor burns out they transition to recover like a glider airplane. Some are radio controlled. Divided into two general types, there are "boost gliders" which eject the motor pod at apogee in order to gain their flying trim, then there are the "rocket gliders" which keep everything together, usually relying on some sort of mechanical movement to achieve flightworthyness.

Mookie and I have had the extreme pleasure of launching rockets with Rob Edmonds for several years now. Anytime we have a club launch, Rob is usually there, testing new glider prototypes or perfecting existing models. The man is a font of glider-knowlege, and he's more than happy to share his expertise.

The best rocket gliders

His company, Edmonds Aerospace, makes some of the coolest rocket kits around. Specializing in glider designs, Rob has carved out a niche creating the simplest and most fool-proof glider kits imaginable. They're perfect for beginners, but they also fly great! For more advanced rocketeers, he features binary gliders, larger models (for bigger motors) and the simplest RC glider available.

I noticed in the latest issue of Sport Rocketry a full-page Edmonds Aerospace ad. I'll excerpt it here, because it's an awesome educational concept:

The G-Pack

This special package will get your students into the air more quickly and at lower cost than any other rocket-powered product. You will enjoy costs of less than $2.50 per student and build times of as little as twenty minutes! Individual aircraft for 12 students are packaged with a single rocket booster that launches three aircraft at a time. Each student experiences a rocket launch of her own model, yet you can launch all twelve students with only four motors, cutting your flying costs by two thirds. Each group of 3 students can enjoy competing to see which aircraft remains aloft the longest!

He's designed this model to fly on Estes A10-3T motors, which come four to a pack (around $5.00 at WalMart). Plus you get the fun of multiple gliders flying at one time. Too cool.

Rob also suggests using the G-Pack for birthday parties, which would make for a memorable (and easy to do) event. The glider kits in the G-Pack consist of 5 parts, no cutting is necessary, and, being the owner of several Edmonds kits, I can tell you that they fly like a dream.

Just for fun, here are pictures of several of our rocket gliders. Click on the links to open in a new window.

Edmonds Deltie, Mookie has one of these too.

Another Edmonds kit. This one isn't a beginner model, it takes some effort to make it fly nicely.

Edmonds Tinee, another beginner-level kit. Isn't that the coolest looking thing?

Flying Jenny. This biplane glider is available from plans here. It's an old design, and when I lose one I just build another.

A Holverson Zoomie. No longer in business, I've got one of their Silver Hawk flying wing gliders in my 'to build' box.

There are a couple of others we fly, but I don't have pictures right handy. Something you might have noticed was that the gliders are mostly undecorated. I use pink highlighter to add some flair without adding the weight of paint. Makes 'em easier to see too.

Posted by Ted at January 23, 2005 09:06 AM | TrackBack
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