Introduction: Rocket Powered Glider

Picture of Rocket Powered Glider

Glue a micro rocket engine to a balsa glider. This is NOT a launch it entry, I didn't feel like doing the safety stuff, this was done to blow off steam between bouts of statics and statistics homework.

Step 1: Wacha Need?

A balsa glider
super glue
micro maxx rocket engines
aluminum tape
a spring from a pen
bamboo skewer

Step 2: Start by Assembling the Glider

Picture of Start by Assembling the Glider

Let's skip that part.
Then apply a strip of aluminum tape down half the length of the body on the underside. his keeps the rocket from igniting the balsa.

Step 3: Set Up the Rocket Motor

Picture of Set Up the Rocket Motor

These motors come with a proprietary igniter, we start by disassembling the igniter, the two halves are held together with sticky tape. Separate them with an xacto knife and remove the igniter . Now use a spot of superglue to secure the igniter in the rocket motor.

Step 4: Step Four

Picture of Step Four

Glue the rocket motor onto the aluminum tape just under the nose of the glider, and then, as a launch guide, glue the spring halfway back on the side body of the glider.

Step 5: Dagnabit, I Said Lunch

Picture of Dagnabit, I Said Lunch

THe launch rod is a bamboo skewer propped in a roll of solder, should have secured it, oh well. Wires are hooked to the igniter, a 9.6 volt drill battery as attached to the other end and fire happens. Reloads are accomplished by snapping off the old, and gluing on a new engine.


atomikieran (author)2016-10-02

but this will reduce the "glider" part of this..

atomikieran (author)2016-10-02

To increase streamlining and stability cut wings into delta shape.

mrbones121 (author)2011-06-26

are these the standard ESTES model rockets, or are these form some sort of fireworks?

trike road poet (author)2010-02-28

A trick I've used is to mount the motor on a small sub frame of balsa, that slips over the nose of the aircraft.  The thrust of the motor holds the sub frame (against a small pin across the nose of the aircraft)  When the thrust quits, the motor will dislodge and fall away, leaving the glider free as the motor tumbles back to the ground.  On a larger glider, I put the motor in a paper tube on the belly of the model and when the ejection charge in the nose of the motor blows, it forces the motor out of the tube and the glider is free. 

IF it survives launch, and IF the motor releases smoothly, the glider is high up and free. (be ready for a long walk!  A trick a buddy showed me was to hinge the rudder, add a pit of spring from a pen to force the rudder over, and a bit of thread to hold the rudder straight, (the end of the thread is across the inside of the paper tube ahead of the motor, and burn through on ejection.  The rudder swings over and the model goes into a wide circle and stays close to the launch area so its not so hard to recover.  Check out the control setup of old time gliders and you'll see the sort of thing I'm talking about.

By the way, GLUE the wings ON, or they will come off on acceleration!!!

i have often thought about doing something similar to that, except i would fold back the wings on a rubber band sort of hinge giving the plane more of a rocket look, cut down on drag on power take off, when rubber band burns through wings take on normal position, and glides back to earth, a buddy of mine told me they already have something like this, well more fun to build it myself,

The folding wings idea is sound, but be aware that construction is important as the shock load of launch can cause problems. One thing you can do is hinge the wings and clip them together, held together by the clip which is held in place by the tube body of the rocket motor. When the boost motor burns out, the parachute charge 'ejects' it from the motor tube, along with the clip. The wings (spring-loaded) now flip out as the glider slows at apogee (high point) where there is the least wing load. Simple spring latches hold the wings fixed, and the glider now descends as a pure glider. There are some este rockets like this for a starting point.
The other idea is to have a wing angled back like a delta wing with low lift wing capability at launch (to rise straight up), and at apogee, the wings pivot forward (like an F-111) to make a high lift wing and make the glider fly slower but for longer distances. The wings could be extended by a mechanical unit (spring loaded) that pulls the two wing around the pivot point in a strong pull, when released. Its all about what you want to experiment with, but the concept is solid and do-able. Best of luck!

Sidney Floyd (author)2007-09-11

Uh, isn't "Rocket powered GLIDER" an oxymoron?

nice call Miko
should be rocket launch assist glider

You buy GLIDER from the store, then attach a ROCKET! So pedantic...

pinski1 (author)Sidney Floyd2007-09-11

Maybe more of Rocket-ASSISTED Glider?

Wyle_E (author)pinski12009-04-12

G. Harry Stine, in the old "Handbook of Model Rocketry", calls them boost-gliders.

or rocket launched, whatever.

or better yet, a boring Tuesday.

Tycho7 (author)pinski12007-09-29

Rocket propelled aircraft would probably suit it better. Or Wooden-thingy-that-goes-really-fast.

TSC (author)2010-07-31


Re-design (author)2009-09-30

I watched the video and didn't expect it to have power to fly. Boy was I wrong. How well did it fly after the motor quit?

km94 (author)2009-09-14

Where do you get the balsa glider?

Tool Using Animal (author)km942009-09-14

Hobby store toy store Ace Hardware has them at the cash register

kittycat123 (author)2009-04-12

im with kicker109 it aint a glider

theXmaker (author)2008-09-26

can't u replace the motor with a non-explosable firework rocket?

mikemmcmeans (author)theXmaker2009-04-12

wait... fireworks dont explode?????!?!?!?!?

That's what we did as kids ;-)

dcutter1 (author)2009-02-09

Back when I was a kid in the 50's we had these metal rockets that had little tabs that you put in them and then sealed it and had a little fuse that went through the exshuast hole. I hooked this up to a small balsa plane and it flew well though the rocket got red hot and burnt the bottom of it some, It landed in a tree but I was lucky and it didn't catch on fire. I was all out of fuel by then and never tried it again (most likely a good thing!!!)

electronicfreak22 (author)2009-01-02

Does anyone know where to buy Micromaxx engines in Winnipeg (Canada)?

I seem to remember Toad Hall Toys had all kinds of estes rockets, probably engines too.

Yeah.. I have some estes engines.. I just find the MicroMaxx engines interesting. Does anyone know how to get the fuel out of a estes "A" engine.. and what to put it in to make a rocket similar to the size used?

themasterpyro (author)2007-11-06

nice but wouldnt the rocket engine put too much stress on the glider or set it fire(WOOT!!! BURNING FRAGMENTS OF BALSA GLIDER FALLING ALL OVER THE TOWN SETTING IT ALIGHT!!!!WOOTAGE!!!!)?

Plasmana (author)themasterpyro2009-01-02

What is the problem with fireworks that are made of paper and explosives?

kicker109 (author)2008-09-14

if it is rocket powered then it isn't a glider

power (author)2008-08-07

can I use foam gliders?

Tool Using Animal (author)power2008-08-07

Probably, but be aware of the greater flammability of the foam.

salaok (author)2008-01-27

dude that is so funny i put like ten small motors on a remotecontroled plane i got for like $20 and launchesd it mid flight it was coll becuse i launched it just before it stalled and it shot up but blew the wings off.

evilgenius 398 (author)salaok2008-08-07

:D hahahahaha

btop (author)2007-09-11

Cool, I like!

MayolaTikaka2 (author)btop2008-02-02

you mean it is cool i have not tried it

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-11-30

did u burn ur house down?

jdyahoo (author)2007-10-19

I did that when I was a teenager. It went straight up, ripped the wing into pieces and came straight back down onto the hood of a car. I got what was left of it back after the attention had died down about half an hour later.

fd93 (author)2007-09-12

That works but to launch it it tkes a metal rod and very carfull balencing or zipline it

Ward_Nox (author)2007-09-11

or you can just crazy glue a ESTES engine (or two if you have the multi engine launcher) to the under side a guy at my in Highschool rigged a toy car with one as long as you don't block the recovery charge theres a good chance the plain will survive (unlike his car)

Yes, but these micromaxx engines are cooler ;-) also they only weigh a gram after burn so the glider will still glide.

Ive never used micromax b4 so I'll take your word for it heh if u fix flash cotton to the front of the estes it'll not only explode but do so fantasticly (consider this idea listed as Not Liable btw)

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