Rocket Powered Glider




About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

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.

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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

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

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

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

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.

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    41 Discussions


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    To increase streamlining and stability cut wings into delta shape.


    8 years ago on Step 3

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

    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!!!

    2 replies

    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!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    11 years ago on Introduction

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