Monday, July 20, 2015

Rubber Powered Foam Airplane and College for Kids 2015

I have been an instructor for a summer camp at the local university known as College for Kids for several years. For a couple of years I taught a model aviation class and then I took a couple of years off. It was getting increasingly hard to find time in the gyms for indoor flying so I decided to come up with a class that offered more variety in model projects with only a small segment being model airplanes, this class was entitled “Engineering Through Models”. Projects have included; electric motor, model solar car, model wind turbine, syringe hydraulic arm, and mousetrap cars. Every year I have started with the FPG-9 foam plate glider as it is a simple project to get started with, over the years I have tried other model airplanes built mainly from foam.

For a couple of years I let the students design a rubber powered airplane using a balsa fuselage I supplied and they were free to cut the foam as desired. I gave them general parameters but much of my advice was ignored. Some of the airplanes flew but many did not, the students did enjoy the creativity. 

This year I had been experimenting with a new rubber powered airplane with foam plate surfaces that really flies well. I traced out surfaces on the foam plates and built the fuselages, students cut out the foam and glued it together with low temp hot melt glue. In about 20 minutes the airplanes were ready to fly.  It was hot that day so the planes were flown indoors in an atrium. As the students had previously launched their FPG-9 gliders from catwalk, they wanted to launch the rubber powered airplanes there also.  It became apparent that this rubber powered airplane could climb from the floor to the high ceiling above.  For the most part the airplanes were flying well and breakage was really minimal. I have been moving away from building balsa and tissue model airplane construction which I really enjoy to the foam for a few reasons. The cost, only a scissors is needed for constructions and no sharp blades, and less repairs are needed.

Currently I am working on a construction article for my website on the new rubber powered free flight airplane and a video of it to be shown in a 30 Second Film Festival the end of next month.

Bill Kuhl

Fantastic Foam Flyer Construction Article- Build the Plane that was a hit this year

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