Glider Making

A glider is a fixed-wing aircraft that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its lifting surfaces, and whose free flight does not depend on an engine. Most gliders do not have an engine, although motor-gliders have small engines for extending their flight when necessary by sustaining the altitude with some being powerful enough to take off self-launch. Gliders are amazing and graceful machines, and are about as close as humans can get to soaring like birds.

There is a wide variety of types differing in the construction of their wings, aerodynamic efficiency, location of the pilot, controls and intended purpose.

A glider has many of the same parts as an airplane:

  • fuselage

  • wings

  • control surfaces

  • landing gear

Landing a glider is much like landing a conventional plane, except there is usually a single small wheel located directly under the pilot. The wings on gliders are very strong, and the tips are reinforced to prevent damage in case they scrape along the ground during a landing. Even so, pilots can usually manage to keep both wing tips off the ground until the plane has slowed sufficiently. Glider tails typically have a tiny wheel that prevents the tail from scraping while on the ground.


Gliders are principally used for the air sports of gliding, hang gliding and paragliding. However some spacecraft have been designed to descend as gliders and in the past military gliders have been used in warfare.

Some simple and familiar types of glider are toys such as paper planes and balsa wood gliders.