Outreach event 'A flying start'

Date: From 13/04/2015 to 13/04/2015

Location : Cercle Paul Bert in Rennes

Paul Lancelot of TU Delft helped children at Cercle Paul Bert get the school holiday off to a flying start building their own model wooden gliders.

Eight very enthusiastic children took part in the activity, ranging from 8 to 11 years old. The first step was to show the children the “Oyonnax experiment”, which allowed them to figure out the basics variables for the flight of a glider using only a simple sheet of paper and some paper clips.

Then they got stuck in building their own glider in balsa wood. To make it easier, they started with a printed layout that they glued on to the wood before cutting out the different parts. Once each part was made, they glued them with a hot glue gun (a life skill in itself) following the little scheme on the blueprint. The wing and the fuselage were cunningly attached with an elastic string, which allowed the wing to detach by itself in case of a “crash” and so not breaking the plane. This arrangement also allowed the children to play with the relative position of the wing to the tail, which - as they found - alters the equilibrium of the entire glider. Finally, after all the parts got assembled together, they had to balance their glider with some weights on the aircraft nose.

Next they learnt how to properly launch the aircraft, a vital stage to the success of any aerospace mission. Then, armed with insights into why planes fly, top tips on launching and their own handcrafted model glider to boot, the children went home very happy. 

The Cercle Paul Bert is a non-profit organisation based in Rennes that provides extra scholar activities for children. Paul would like to especially thank Claude Le Quellenec and the others staffs of the Cercle Paul Bert for their help and support in running this outreach event.

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