Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Balsa Glider Toy Sparks Some Great Memories

I recently ran across a link on Facebook of a short video clip on the website Answers.com entitled Kids These Days Will Never Understand – How Many of You Remember What These Are? The video featured the stingray bicycle, a toy with balls, a rotary dial telephone, and a balsa wood slip-together glider. Packaging indicated it was a Guillow’s Jetfire glider which is still available this one had cool printing on the fuselage which is lacking on newer ones but the image made several people think of the gliders sold by the American Junior Aircraft Company started by famous model aviator Jim Walker. 

It is again possible to purchase these types of gliders through American Junior Classics company and learn more about Jim Walker. I had purchased the Plain Jane folding wing glider from them and had it flying pretty well after some adjustments. On one flight it caught a thermal air current and flew across a field and a small lake, I was lucky to recover the glider on the other side of the lake.

Plain Jane Glider

The number of Likes and comments on this article when I re-shared it to Facebook absolutely amazes me. Interest in model aviation by the youth in the United States appears to really have declined over the years although many people like myself try to revive it. From what I see on the Internet the largest concentration of youth interested in model airplanes are in Indonesia, Russia, and Romania. Why that is I don’t really know.

I would like to share some of the comments regarding my re-sharing this article.

AB - Loved it    
B W - That's a fancy one, lots of fun and exercise!   
RM - Balsa wood glider. One of my favorite toys as a kid.    
BVW - Are those still around?   
JT -  I would buy 3 balsa gliders at a time, using only 1 fuselage and extend the wings and horizontal by gluing the surface areas of 2 planes onto 1 over lapping the panels gave it poly and dihedral. They would do really well off slopes in mild conditions. SH - Couldn't wait to get home to put it together and fly away with my 2 brothers.
ST -  oh i loved these! I had the rubber band powered ones too!
CT -  I seem to remember a fancy version with folding wings for catapult launching.
BS - I had so many I used to bug my parents every time we went to the dime stores.
CB -  It gave a lot of fun for the money!
RW - .10 cents and hours of fun experimenting with wing location for sustained flight, adding weight to the nose for distance!!
CT - I had a couple dozen of those.
BC - I flew its predecessor, the Martin B-10 glider by Jim Walker. I'm 83.
DM - I remember flying those for hours outside what fun we had. Wish my grandkids had these to play with instead of all those electronic things.

Bill Kuhl


1 comment:

  1. My recent glider event show youth interest. But a lack of encouragement by parents in simple pleasures.