Walkalong Glider Made From Phone Book Paper

What's a walkalong glider and how does it work? Here's a video by the students of Slater Harrison at the Jersey Shores Middles School:

Here's another video of a completed paper tumblewing walkalong glider on a 30 second "cross country" soaring flight:

Build your own walkalong glider

The first step: Creating a tumblewing walkalong glider from telephone book paper (tissue paper (wrapping paper) is lighter and works better if you have any). This video summarizes steps 1-4:

Step 1: Cut Out a Piece of Paper

Cut out a piece of paper with approximately 1:5 or so (slender). Here I've just sheared the end off a 8 1/2" by 11 sheet of paper to make a ~21cm by 5cm strip.

Step 2: Fold Up the Ends of the Strip of Paper

Fold up one end, then the other end. Make sure the folds are symetric and at right angles. Here each fold occurs 2 cm from each end (approximately %10 of the length of the strip).

Step 3: Make 45 Degree Folds on Leading and Trailing Edges

make a fold in the center of the trailing edge (trailing edge goes up). It is important that the fold not disturb the right angle fold you have just created at the ends of the strip in step 2. Turn the strip of paper upside down and fold the trailing edge, taking care the fold again does not disturb the right angle folds at the ends of the strip. You may need to reform the right angle folds at the ends of the strip which might have been disturbed by folding the leading edge with the strip upside down.

Step 4: Launching the Tumblewing

Hold the folded strip at the center of the trailing edge (the trailing edge has the fold which goes up) with the wing tips pointing up. Let the glider go. It should tumble slowly down and forward. If it "falls off" and angles to one side or the other, the wingtip folds may not be symetric and will need adjustment. Make sure you fly the tumblewing indoors and in a location with as little drafts as possible.

Stay tuned for the next installment instructable on how to sustaing and control your tumblewing with a suitably positioned paddle.

Step 5: Video on Launching a Tumblewing Walkalong Glider

Video on how to launch a tumblewing walkalong glider:

Step 6: Video on Launching and Sustaining a Tumblewing Walkalong Glider

Make sure you launch the tumblewing from as high as you can so it has enough altitude to get into a stable flight regime:



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    42 Discussions


    1 year ago

    omg I've been looking for a tutorial of how to make a tumblewing everywhere.


    5 years ago

    That was cool


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, I am looking for some more technical stuff about this, is that I have a job to do to college this topic, and I have only found how to make gliders, would like information on flight mode, and other information ...

    if someone can show me where to find literature on this subject.

    do u people know there is better one, but u need to be a good pilot. they are fast

    In theory, a car does produce lift above it. More aerodynamic models have less lift as the lift is a source of drag. I think there is a video out there of an RC glider being flown in the ridge lift above the windshield of a moving car. The pilot was standing up in the car holding his RC controller poking out of the open sun roof flying the glider! Someone else was driving the car. It looked a little dangerous but not impossible.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    no because the whole principle of the walkalong glider is that the cardboard pushes the air up to provide lift for the glider, for a car the air glides right over it and is NOT directed above


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Mine keeps going down, it is spinning, but even though I have it moving forward, it keeps falling. What am I doing wrong?

    1 reply

    same with me, but that was a trial and i didnt have the right kind of problem im going to try it with different paper.

    we have an airplane contest tomorrow to see who can fly the slowest airplane and have it land past ten feet- i am going to totally win it! thank you sooo much. this is rlly cool stuff u have here.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     i have seen all your ibles and YOU ROCK!!!!!!! omg wow !!!! your stuff is awesome!!! i subscribed!!!!

    Yes, but bear in mind that as the mass per unit area of the paper goes up (tissue paper is the lightest I've found), so does the wing loading which means the glider will fall faster and in the end the pilot will have to move faster to sustain the glider.

    OMG just today at the elementry school i through one of these and the thing went so high up i couldn't even see it no lie.


    How did you throw it?