This is a how-to on building a Bungee or Highstart Launcher for model gliders: no gas or electric motors are used just a re-usable length of rubber tubing and some fishing line.

And it's very inexpensive too: less than 30 bucks for a small set up.

I use this to launch my six foot wing-span model glider hundreds of feet in the air. This will also work if you have a gas or electric model plane and wish to conserve fuel at takeoff.

The video above gives you an idea of how this works, launch and release of tow line, including shots from the camera I installed on-board giving us a bird's eye view!

But please read all of the instructions before proceeding.

Successfully flying and landing an RC plane is beyond the scope of this instructable, so in the video I thought I would add some more excitement and show what you don't want to CRASH into!   Plus, there's a little how-to on getting your plane out of a tree ;-)

I hope you enjoyed this instructable.  Questions, suggestions and comments are welcome!.
Brett @ SaskView

Step 1: Overview

No rocket science here. Basically you are using a very big elastic band and some string to catapult your plane into the air!

50 to 100 feet of rubber tubing is anchored to the ground at one end. A tow line is connected to the free end of the tubing.

At the other end of the tow line is a ring that goes over the tow hook mounted on bottom of your glider. The tow hook is located just behind the center of gravity of the glider. The tow hook usually is adjustable and can be moved forward or ahead within a slot and tightened down. This is to allow fine tuning so that a steep enough launch angle is achieved.

To launch launch your glider using a bungee requires the pilot to start walking backwards stretching out the tubing until there is enough tension for launch.

You then throw your glider into the air and the high-start rapidly hurls it sky ward at steep angle at a steep angle. This all happens without pulling back on the stick. The only radio control input during launch is left/right as needed to keep the glider from veering off to the side.

As your plane passes over the anchor point, the tow line slips off of the tow hook and the plane is free to fly on it's own.

When learning to use this method of launch it's best to get the hang of things gradually, so the first few attempts don't try to go for height and therefore use less tension than what you would for maximum altitude. As you get more comfortable with catapulting launching you can start increasing how far back you stretch the bungee, and how much tension you use when launching. The reason for this is because the high-start launch is quick and it's very easy for a beginner to lose control and smash their glider, and possibly cause injury.

I've attached a video tutorial called R/C Glider High Start Tutorial With Mike Smith that's gets into more detail and is well worth watching.

<p>OK! Thank you for the tip, I didn't know that. But I'm surprised by the hook being behind the center of gravity, I alwys read not to go behind the CG. Tomorrow I will back a bit the hook and try a softer sandow. I belive my 6 mm sandow is too powerful for a so light glider. I 'll let you know aboiut the next launches! </p>
<p>Usually it only needs to be a tiny bit behind the CG. </p>
<p>Hi, I'm trying to bungee launch a mini glider of 60g TAW ( anout 2 ounces) with that method. I use 8 m of fishing line and 3 meters of 6mm sandow. I stretch to 2 or 3 times the weight of the glider but I never can't get this climbing slope. instead my plane is accelerating for 2 or 3 meters and then releases the hook whimle she's only 1 meter height!</p><p>How do you get this climbing slope on departre? By puling the stick?</p>
<p>I've added the info about tow hook location and not needing to pull back on the stick.</p>
No. That steep angle happens without pulling back on the stick. The tow hook is just behind the center of gravity and can be adjusted forward or back to fine tune the launch angle. The only control input is left/right to keep the glider from vearing off to the side.
&nbsp;agreed with both of you two. someone really needs to make a banshee bungee and show everyone how to. ive been trying to find bungee but i cant get any anywhere
you can also find the tubing for this on hobbyking.com, $6ish each.
There's lots of latex tubing available on EBay.<br />
can i buy bungee tubing at my local ace or lowes , homedepot or ANY OTHER tOOLS AND SUPPLIES SHOP OR do i have to go on ebay cuz id like to get my glider fliing like tomarrow
it's a bit late now, but you can use rubber tubing from dive shops, just be prepared, it is EXPENSIVE
Not that I've seen.
Where would i best put the hook? The bottom, yes, but if not the bottom, where? <br> <br>
by the way, just in case you are new, the center of gravity should be about 25% back from the leading edge of the wing. that is, one quarter of the way back from the front of the wing to the back of the wing.
Bottom is the only place, just in front of the center of gravity on your plane. The CG is the balance point along the fuselage. Any other spot will most likely not work.
Another good anchor for a hi start of this size is a large automotive lug wrench. $1 at the junk yard. I'm talking about the kind that has a chisel point at one end and a bend near the other end. The bend allows you to work it back and forth to get it in or out of the ground. It would be better if it was a right angle, but that's not how they're made. Even with the angle it has, you can still pound it in if the ground is frozen, depending on how wet it was when it froze. We have some soft, wet ground at one end of our field, but this stake still works fine, even when it's thawed, with the 3/8&quot; OD tubing I use.
Good tip.<br><br>The thing to keep in mind is you want the anchor firmly embedded when using the launcher. If the anchor pulls free while you are stretching out the bungee it could cause injury.
THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO EXPLAIN ALL OF THIS, I really like the spool idea to keep it all from getting tangled up, NICE JOB AND THANK YOU.
That's the glider that I started my r/c life with about 14 years ago - The Gentle Lady !
Well chosen name too: slow, easy to fly, loves trees...
What year is that transmitter? It's got to be at least 25 years old.<br><br>I'm missing something here. This high-start system has been on the market even longer. When I built my first plane in the 80s, the same Gentle Lady, the high-start system sold for about $30. It included everything needed to launch right away: the surgical tubing, non-stretch line, metal rings, parachute, reel, spike (for wood fence posts), and a clamp (for any surface: metal post, fence, tailgate, etc).<br><br>I guess the new thing could be the dog anchor.<br><br>Here's a link for the current kit.<br>kit http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?Q=1&amp;I=LXYXK4&amp;P=N<br>
Who said this was new? I never said in the instructable that I invented this. I suppose I should have mentioned that it's been around as long as model airplanes.<br><br>Sure, you can go out and buy a ready made high-start, or you can build one from scratch like I did.<br><br>As far as I know, this is the only instructable on High-starts and that's why I uploaded it. <br><br>
the camera shots from the plane are amazing
such a good plan
How many paces do you usually put on it before launch?<br />
Never really measured it, but I'm guessing 60-80 feet.&nbsp; The important thing to keep in mind is not how far you back up, but how much tension the bungee is applying to the glider.&nbsp; Stretch the bungee back until the desired amount of pull is reached.<br /> <br /> For my glider, I launch it using about 8-10 pounds of pull.&nbsp; Step 3 talks about this.&nbsp; How much pull YOU use will depend on the size, weight, and type of plane.<br /> <br /> When starting out, you can use an angler's fish-scale to get an idea of how much stretch is needed.&nbsp; Once you get a feel for things the scale isn't needed.<br />
were&nbsp; do you live.??? im a saskatooner...<br />
Me also from Saskatoon, but originally from Assiniboia.<br />
Regina!&nbsp; Small world, huh?<br />
guess so... hope to see you flying sum time...<br />
thats a fair sick glider! you should make it an R/C (unless it already is). it would be so much more easyer than a discus or throw start. good job.
Thanks! It's RC but the way I fly you wouldn't know it.
My RC attempts are failing :) Nice instructable
Thanks Cool! That's why I originally got a cheap tiny camera to put in my plane. I was having so many crashes I figured it would be one or two more flights before I totalled it, so why not get some cool footage. That was more than two years ago. Other than landing in trees, it seems to have changed my luck. One thing that really did help was www.flying-model-simulator.com I practiced on the sim until I wasn't having any virtual crashes. I highly recommend using this free program and a 5$ USB game pad or compatible transmitter.
Im having tech problems right now.<br/>I should really try gliding, but takes too much space for me<br/>right now im flying electric, but either the ESC or motor is broken.<br/>I have a nice durable foamy right now, really easy to repair from my many crashes.<br/>Once I broke the Fuse in half, repaired in 5 with hot glue :)<br/>Here is the model:<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://blackdogrc.com/blackdogrc/eppCherokee.jsp">http://blackdogrc.com/blackdogrc/eppCherokee.jsp</a><br/>Ps Devon from BlackDogRC is really nice.<br/>
Cool,.. cool!
That's one of the coolest things I've seen in a while!
Thanks! Exactly what I thought when I first saw a highstart launch.
Wow, I have never seen anyone launch a glider like this. Me and my dad have been flying planes and gliders for a few years and this is much different - I like the idea a lot! I never saw a full picture of the plane, so I don't know if it has servo controls (I know the idea is green and no battery power though) but that would be a heck of a lot of fun. Keep up the good work
Thanks msweston! Of course the receiver and transmitter use rechargeable batteries. There are two servos to control the elevator and rudder. I've added step 9 to this instructable showing the glider and a short video of it. Check out the League of Silent Flight: www.silentflight.org for more info on high-start and other cool green ways to soar. Catching a thermal updraft with your glider will get you hooked on this unique sport.
Cool, love the idea - might go try it on a smaller scale this weekend if its not too windy
did you make the plane or did you buy it either way i would like either a site or instructions
I built the glider from a kit. It's from Carl Goldberg Products Ltd and the model is called Gentle Lady. You can also get it "Almost Ready to Fly" too. www.carlgoldbergproducts.com
very cool - loved the camera view from the plane!
That's very smart!
Thanks, but you're too kind! I learned this from The League of Silent Flight, they're the smart ones...
This is a great project, the film is ace!
Just checked out Recycled Cardboard Lamp. Very creative, sir!
Thanx Euphy!

About This Instructable




Bio: Frivolous Engineering is the end result of a hobby that got out of hand.
More by Frivolous Engineering:The Bloody Nail-Through-The-Head Costume The Turn-Me-Over Stone The Most Useless Machine EVER! 
Add instructable to: