Why does the Gliders Airshow launch gliders straight up?

Since the goal of Gliders 2.0 is to have the longest flight time (which may not necessarily mean the longest distance), the gliders are launched straight up in the air to get them as high as possible.

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  • 0
    Matthew Wilen

    Is there a way to change the launch angle?  The video White Box Learning has shows a much different angle.  Nearly all of the designs my students and I have tried go straight up, "stall," and drop straight down.  Even the few that have a flight time of more than 1 s seem to just drop out of the air instead of gliding.

  • 0
    Tom Robertson


    The short answer is no, you can't change the launch angle. The reason for this is because the application, and most importantly, the algorithms to predict flight time are based on the TSA competition in which the gliders are launched at a rather high angle into the air. The idea is to get the glider as high as possible so that it has more time to glide back down to the ground.

    I did not realize that the video showed a different launch angle. I suspect this is a video of an earlier version that tried to predict flight time at most any angle. This proved to be an extraordinarily complicated exercise, so we abandoned the old approach in favor of the TSA method which produces pretty accurate results.

    I suspect that if your gliders are going straight up into the air and "stalling" that the designs are "unstable". For that, I would recommend that you use the Optimization tool in the application. You can read about it in the following article. If you and your students use the Research materials and the optimization tool, I can assure you that you will be able to design gliders that will ultimately fly for up to nine seconds or so.




  • 0
    Geoff Pollard

    Thanks for the info It help explain


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