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Glider Anatomy

(Target Time: 15 minutes)

Lets start by looking at the parts of a typical glider. Each of these parts has a very important function.
Remembering what each part does will help you understand how a plane takes off and turns.

1. Airfoil: a flat or curved surface (wing, tail, or rudder) that affects air movement in a particular direction,
providing lift and/or otherwise controlling the motion of the plane

2. Aileron: a hinged, movable surface at or near the trailing edge of the main wing that helps control
banking for turns

3. Rudder: a hinged, movable airfoil located at or near the trailing edge of the vertical stabilizer used for
turning the plane to the left or right

4. Elevator: a hinged, movable airfoil located at or near the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizer that
makes the planes nose go up and down

5. Camber: the slight convex curve of an airfoil (wing) from the leading edge to the trailing edge that
helps create lift

6. Dihedral: the angle created by the main wing (and/or horizontal stabilizer) and the x-axis

7. Flap: a movable, hinged airfoil at the trailing edge of the main wing close to the fuselage used for
increasing drag or lift

8. Stabilizer: any horizontal or vertical airfoil on the tail section used for maintaining steady flight

9. Fuselage: the body of a glider which typically houses the cockpit section where the pilot sits

Caution: In the case of Whitewings Paper Gliders, you should NEVER actually cut your wings or
stabilizers to create ailerons, elevators or rudders. Putting cuts into the wings only weakens
them. Instead, you should adjust each area by lightly bending the trailing edge with your fingers.

The Science of Flight
(Target Time: 15 minutes)

Next well look at the science behind the magic of flight. By the end of this section, you will be able to
explain how the shape of a gliders wings helps it to defy gravity.

!" Four Forces Involved in Flight

1. Gravity: a force that pulls all objects toward the center of the

2. Drag: a force that runs parallel to the flow of air creating

resistance in the opposite direction from the direction an
object is moving (BACKWARD FORCE)

3. Lift: a force that results from areas of differing air pressure

and operates on the wings of an aircraft at a direction
perpendicular to the flight direction causing an aircraft to rise

4. Thrust: a force that drives or propels and object forward (FORWARD FORCE)

!" About Lift

There is an important mechanism built into the curved

shape of the wings.

As a wing moves forward, air flows over the surface

from front to back. When a wing is flat, the air on top
moves at the same speed as the air below.

When a wing is curved, the air on top accelerates.

The faster moving air on the topside of the wing creates

an area of low air pressure, while the slower moving air
on the underside of the wing creates an area of high air pressure. The difference in pressure causes the
high-pressure air below the wing to push the wings of the plane upward. In this way, lift makes a plane

!" How do these four forces work together?

Thrust starts the plane moving forward. The oncoming wind hits the wings and generates lift. Added wind
resistance increases drag.

When the plane reaches a certain speed, the forces of drag and thrust come into balance, as do the forces
of lift and gravity.

If you add even more thrust, the force of lift will exceed the force of gravity and the plane will start to climb.
Youre flying!

Glider Assembly
(Target Time: 30 minutes)
Now that we have a rough idea of how gliders fly, lets move on to assembly.

Follow the directions for assembly below making sure you read each step carefully. Remember to use lots
of glue and allow enough time for the pieces to dry before attempting a test flight.

Assembly can be a bit tricky for first-timers, so before you begin, be sure to read through the tips below.

Also, be sure to flip ahead to page 9 and check out some of the cool experiments you can do with your
glider at different stages of assembly. Curious about how a plane would fly without one of its tail wings?
You can find out by performing your own experiment!

Things Each Student Will Need

1. A Pencil or Pen to write students name.
2. Glue (must have)-- preferably fast-drying glue like Testors Wood and Metal Cement , any
Tacky Glue, and Elmers Household cement; available at hardware and craft/hobby stores or
grocery stores.
3. A Ruler -- or similar straight edge for folding
4. 4 Clips -- bulldog clips, paper clips or clothespins
5. Construction Space -- about 2 square feet

Assembly Tips

Use Lots of Glue For a Strong Bond

When gluing pieces together, apply a generous amount of glue. If you use too little glue, you
will fail to create a tight seal and the structure of your plane will be weak. Planes with weak
structure do not fly well.

Since many quick-drying adhesives harden in only a few seconds, you should stick pieces
together immediately after applying the glue.

Apply glue to the smaller parts by spreading the glue evenly over the entire surface (all the way
to the edges) with a piece of scratch paper. For best results, when sticking two pieces together,
try the following:

1. Take a clean piece of scratch paper and fold it in half.

2. Place the parts you have just glued together in between the two folded halves.

3. Sandwich the newly glued parts between the two halves of the folded paper and press out
all the excess glue.

This will help you create a strong bond and keep your fingers clean, too!

Punch Out Glider Parts Carefully and Make Straight Folds

When you punch out your glider parts, try not to bend them. Since paper glider parts are printed
and cut by machine, some of them will be slightly warped out of the package. It is important to
gently remove any bends in the paper. Curvature in pieces like the vertical stabilizer can
adversely affect flight performance.

Scoring indicates lines that need folding. Before gluing parts together, fold along the scored
lines using a ruler to help you make accurate folds.

Apply the Dihedral Angle Gauge to Keep Angles Accurate

Before you glue pieces 3 and 4 together to form the main wing section, lightly bend them along
the scored line in the center to form a 15-degree angle. If you use the dihedral angle gauge
(included) as a guide, you can easily fold the wing section to the proper angle. After gluing 3
and 4 together, be sure to line up the scored lines in the center to eliminate any gaps between
the pieces of paper and then double check the dihedral angle again with the gauge, bending
where necessary to maintain a dihedral angle of 15 degrees. (Hold the gauge like a V with the
point downward.)

Use Clips (or Clothespins) When Gluing to Eliminate Gluing Gaps

When pieces like the main wing section are not firmly glued to the fuselage, your plane will not
fly well, so it is important to apply lots of glue and stick pieces together tightly. If you use clips
or clothespins to hold your pieces together at the edges and at the corners while the glue dries,
you will be able to eliminate gaps in your gluing and form a tight seal between the paper and the

Example Assembly Instructions (Follow the instruction in the kit)
1. Before beginning, write your name on the left wing of your glider. If you have an International
Whitewings Club Wing Number, write it on the right wing.

2. Fold the tabs on parts 1 and 2 outward. Line up a ruler with the scored line to make a straight fold.

3. Glue parts 1 and 2 to the balsa body aligning their edges with the edges on the nose. DO NOT

4. Glue part 4 to the underside of part 3 (main wing). Make sure the dots are pointing in the same
direction and scored lines stay aligned.

5. Locate the two pinholes on the horizontal stabilizer (tail wing, part no. 5). Apply lots of glue to the
narrow top surface of the tail region of the balsa body. After you apply the glue, immediately stick part
5 to that spot using the pinholes to align it squarely. Also align the back edge of the tail wing with the
rear edge of the balsa body before the glue begins to harden.

6. Glue the vertical stabilizer (part 6) to the right hand side (when looking at the plane from the rear) of
the balsa fuselage, making sure that the back edge of part 6 (the vertical stabilizer) comes into contact
with the front edge of part 5 (the horizontal tail wing). Also, align the bottom edge of the vertical
stabilizer with the bottom edge of the fuselage.

7. Place a ruler along the scored line at the center of the main wing (parts 3+4). Then bend each side
up individually to create a dihedral angle of 15 degrees. (Use the paper dihedral gauge included with
your kit to measure the angle.)

8. Apply a generous amount of glue to the tabs and top of the fuselage at the point where the main wings
attach. Using the scored line as your guide, glue the main wing (3+4) firmly to the top of the fuselage
with the dot facing forward. To improve the suitability of the gluing surface, try gently smoothing some
of the roughness off the top of the balsa fuselage with a pencil before applying the glue. In order to
make a strong bond, try holding the main wing and tabs together with clips until the glue dries.

9. Fold part 7 along the scored line so that the angle matches that of the main wing. Glue it to the

scored line of the main wing with the dot facing forward.

10. When the plane is dry, gently camber (add curvature to) the main wing using the paper camber gauge
as your guide. (The camber gauge is the opposite end of the dihedral gauge.) The peak of the
curvature should be 30%-40% from the front edge of the main wing.

11. Using the dihedral angle gauge, make sure the dihedral angle for the main wing is still set at 15
degrees. Adjust with gentle bending where necessary.

12. View the plane from both the front and the back. Straighten any warps or bends in the wings. When
viewed head on or directly from the rear, the plane should be perfectly symmetrical.

13. Set your plane on the display stand and let your plane dry thoroughly (at least 30 minutes)
before attempting a test flight.

Finishing Touches
(Target Time: 15 minutes)

While waiting for your plane to dry, you can perform a simple pre-test flight inspection. Hold your plane up
in front of your face and examine it carefully from the front. Then ask yourself the following questions.

1. Is the fuselage bent? (If your fuselage is made of

balsa wood, the answer is most likely no. In the
case of paper-bodied planes, you may have to
straighten out any bends in the fuselage.) Fix any
warps with gentle bending.

2. Are both the right and left main wings straight and
perfectly matched? Does each wing have a
15-degree incline? (Use the dihedral angle gauge to measure.) Fix with gentle bending where

3. Are the horizontal stabilizer and main wings warped or bent? Straighten if necessary.

4. Is the vertical stabilizer warped or bent? Carefully straighten where needed.

Now examine your plane from the rear and repeat steps 1-4 above.

Optional Experiments
(Target Time: 15 minutes)

If you have time, we recommend doing one or more of the experiments below. These hands-on activities
take only a few minutes to perform and build on what we covered in the section on flight science.

Vertical Stabilizer Experiment

You will need:

!" a partially assembled Whitewings glider without the vertical stabilizer

During the assembly stage, have one of the students assemble his/her glider without attaching the vertical
stabilizer. After the plane is dry, try to fly it and see what happens.

The vertical stabilizer keeps the plane from rolling sideways. If you remove the vertical stabilizer, your plane
will spiral.

Horizontal Stabilizer Experiment

You will need:

!" a partially assembled Whitewings glider without the horizontal stabilizer

During the assembly stage, have one of the students assemble his/her glider without attaching the
horizontal stabilizer. After the plane is dry, try to fly it and see what happens.

The horizontal stabilizer keeps the plane from rolling forward. If you remove the horizontal stabilizer, your
plane will tumble end over end.

Center of Gravity Experiment

You will need:

!" a fully assembled Whitewings glider

!" a tweezers

Find the center of gravity on your glider. Pinch the fuselage lightly with a tweezers near the center of the
main wings. The center of gravity is the spot where the plane leans neither forward nor backward.

If the center of gravity is too far forward, the plane will nosedive. If the center of gravity is too far back, the
plane will decelerate as the tail wing drops. (Center of gravity is mostly a product of design, not assembly.
If you put your glider together as directed in the instructions, you should not need to adjust the center of

Test Flight
(Target Time: 30 minutes)

The single biggest reason why many paper gliders don't fly well at first is because they haven't been
properly adjusted. The importance of the test flight cannot be overemphasized. You must perform one
test flight after another until your plane flies straight and smoothly. Once a plane is properly adjusted, it will
fly perfectly every time. Always remember that the most important part of the test flight is patience.

Test fly your glider when there is as little wind as possible. You can even test fly your plane indoors, but be
sure not to launch it into a hard wall. (Doing so will not only scar the wall but also damage the nose and
wings of your plane.) Instead, try launching your plane into drawn curtains or a hanging sheet.

A test flight has three simple steps that need to be repeated until the plane flies straight: 1) execution, 2)
observation and 3) adjustment.

Step 1: Execution

Face into the wind and gently toss your plane forward at a horizontal angle (or at a slightly downward
angle) just as you would toss a dart.

Step 2: Observation

Observe the direction of the flight path. Did your plane fly straight? (If you are working with a newly built
plane, chances are it will not fly perfectly straight the first time.)

If so, STOP at Step 2. There is no need to proceed to Step 3. Your plane is ready to fly.

If not, carefully observe the direction your plane flew. Did it veer to the right or left? Did it stall or
nosedive? Take careful notes. Now proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Adjustment

When you adjust your plane, you have to make adjustments to both the horizontal flight path and the
vertical flight path.

First, let's look at the horizontal flight path. On your first test flight, your plane will likely veer off to the left
or to the right. Since the goal is to have a plane that flies as straight as possible, you will have to make
some adjustments.

Here is how to correct the flight path of a plane that veers to

the right or left.

If the plane veers to the RIGHT, you should

!" slightly bend the back edge of the right main wing
!" slightly bend the back edge of the left main wing UP.
!" slightly bend the back edge of the vertical tail wing to
the LEFT.

If the plane veers to the LEFT, you should

!" slightly bend the back edge of the right main wing UP.
!" slightly bend the back edger of the left main wing
!" slightly bend the back edge of the vertical tail wing to
the RIGHT.

Please note that the right and left adjustments are exact opposites.

Once you have made your adjustments, return to Step 1 and start over again. Continue to adjust your plane
with each test flight until the plane flies perfectly straight.

Once you get your plane to fly straight without veering to the left or right, pay attention to the vertical flight
path. Your plane should do one of three things.

1. Pull up hard, stall, and then nosedive.

2. Nosedive upon release.
3. Fly in a straight line.

If your plane glides smoothly in a perfectly straight line (3), then no further adjustments are needed. In the
event that your plane nosedives upon release (2), bend up the back edge of the horizontal tail wing just a
bit. If your plane pulls up hard (1), stalls and then nosedives, bend down the back edge of the horizontal
tail wing just a bit.

Continue to make subtle adjustments as you did with the horizontal flight path until your plane glides
smoothly in a straight line without banking up or down.

Once your plane is properly aligned, it should fly perfectly every time; however, if your plane is roughly
handled, bumped, or otherwise damaged, it will be knocked out of alignment, and you will have to repeat
the tuning process above to correct the direction of the flight path. When picking up and holding a plane
that has been tuned, it is important to grip it by the nose and not by the wings.

Piloting Your Glider
(Target Time: 15 minutes)

Now that your plane is adjusted to fly in a straight line, it's time for the fun part: piloting your
glider. Provided you did a good job on construction and adjustment, your plane should soar like an
eagle. In this section you will learn the proper techniques for launching to get the best performance out of
your Whitewings glider.

Launching your plane will require a lot of space. Large, open, grassy fields are best. Try to avoid
launching on days when the wind is gusting strongly.

There are two techniques for launching a Whitewings paper glider: hand launching and catapult
launching. (Rubber band catapults are not included in the AG5000 Competition Kit.) Although the
launching techniques are different, the results can be comparable with practice; however, since the
potential for injury is greater when launching with a catapult, we recommend the hand launching method for
school competitions.

The Hand Launching Technique

When you execute a hand launch, you do not need a catapult launcher.

There are two ways to grip your plane. One way is to pinch the
fuselage comfortably with your throwing hand right below the
main wings. Another way is to place your index finger behind the
back edge of the main wing.

When you launch your glider, stand with your back to the wind and launch
your plane at a right angle to the direction the wind is blowing. Hold the
plane in your throwing hand as shown above. For best results, tilt the
plane so that is leaves your hand at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Then, throw
it up and forward in an overhand motion as if you were a center fielder
trying to throw someone out at home plate. Be careful not to injure your
shoulder or elbow by throwing too hard.

Your plane should fly crosswind. As it climbs, it will level off and glide
smoothly. The ideal flight path will be a giant circle where the plane goes round and
round gliding smoothly and gradually until it reaches the ground.

Classroom Glider Competition
(Target Time: 60 minutes)

Once you have properly adjusted your planes for optimal flight performance, you are ready for a climactic
paper glider competition. This activity gives students an opportunity to apply all of their newly acquired
glider skills and flight knowledge.

Before beginning your competition, be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions to prevent
unnecessary injuries. Failing to take the proper precautions may result in injuries to the eyes and/or face.

!" Select an unoccupied outdoor launching area that is spacious enough to accommodate numerous
participants. Athletic fields and parks are ideal, but be careful of bystanders who may inadvertently
walk into the flight area. Avoid areas close to buildings and roadways.

!" Make sure each participant is outfitted with eye protection. Prescription lenses, sunglasses and lab
goggles work best.

!" Avoid having participants launch gliders in close proximity to each other or to bystanders.

Things you need include:

!" 1 fully assembled paper glider for each participant

!" Eye protection for each participant
!" Several stopwatches (one for each group)
!" Several flight records sheets (original included, one for each group)
!" Several pens or pencils (one for each group)
!" 1 Windsock or flag to determine wind direction (optional)
!" 3 certificates (optional, not included)
!" 1 Wright Flyer glider for grand prize (included in the AG5000 Whitewings Competition Kit)

Time Aloft Competition

Divide yourselves into groups of about 10 students each. Each group should form a circle with a diameter
of approximately 10 meters. Be sure to put enough distance between the groups. Also, make sure that
no group is downwind of another. (Paper gliders tend to fly downwind.) For each group, appoint a timer to
time each flight and a record keeper to record the flight times for each participant. Have the record
keeper take down the names of everyone in the group.

The record keeper begins by calling the name of the first participant. The participant steps to the center of
the circle and launches his/her glider. The timer starts the stopwatch at the moment the glider leaves the
throwers hand and stops time at the moment the glider touches down or hits an obstacle. At the end of
the flight, the timer calls out the flight time, the record keeper records it, and the group proceeds to the next

Each participant executes three flights in turn. After all participants have finished, total the three flight
times for each participant. The participant with the best total flight time is the winner. Give certificates to
the top three finishers and the Wright Flyer to the participant with the best total flight time.

Whitewings Paper Glider Competition
Flight Records Sheet
Record all flight times to a tenth of a second.

Name 1st Flight 2nd Flight 3rd Flight Total
















Reproduce as many as you need.

Paper Glider Games
(Target Time: 30 minutes)

If you still have time after youve finished your classroom glider competition, you can wind up your unit on
flight with the following paper glider games. In addition to being fun, these games will further develop your
students glider adjustment skills. They are also great indoor alternatives to the glider competition in the
event the weather fails to cooperate.

Target Game

You will need:

!" a fully assembled Whitewings glider

!" a Whitewings Target (included in your AG5000 Whitewings Competition Kit)

The object of this game is to score the most points by hitting designated areas on the target.

Hang your Whitewings Target on the wall at eye level. Draw a line 3 to 5 meters from the target.
Participants take turns hand launching their gliders at that target as if they were throwing a dart at a
dartboard. Points are scored when a glider hits an area marked with a number (10 points for the 10, 5
points for the 5, and so on). Each participant takes from 3 to 10 turns. Between turns, participants may
adjust their gliders to correct deviant flight paths. At the end, the participant with the total number of points

Airport Game

You will need:

!" a fully assembled Whitewings glider

!" several hula-hoops or long pieces of rope

The object of this game is to successfully land the most gliders inside the airport rings on the floor.

Prepare 6 large hula-hoops or 6 rope rings 1 to 2 meters in diameter. Draw a line several meters back
from the closest target ring (the larger the target rings, the farther back you should draw the starting line).
Have each participant take 3 to 5 turns trying to land his/her glider successfully inside the rings on the floor.
The participant with the most successful landings is the winner.

(You can even teach the students a little geography by writing the names of international cities inside each
of your airport rings.)

Time Accuracy Game

You will need:

!" a fully assembled Whitewings glider

!" a stopwatch

The object of this game is to be the participant with the flight time closest to a pre-selected target time.

Arbitrarily choose a flight time in seconds (preferably between 5 and 20 seconds) and write it on a board
where all can see it. Each participant takes 3 to 5 turns. Time each flight with a stopwatch. The
participant with the time closest to the target time is the winner.