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Elastic Launched Glider

Division: Div B – Middle School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry

Event Rules: See the National Rules Manual

Event Score Sheet: None

National Event Page: Here

Required Materials: Teams may bring up to 2 gliders for final inspection, flight log(s), and any tools. Participants must wear eye protection. Participants without proper eye protection must be immediately informed and given a chance to obtain eye protection if time allows. Event Supervisors will provide all measurement tools and timing devices

Clarifications: None


Prior to the tournament teams design, construct, and test elastic-launched gliders to achieve the maximum time aloft.


Teams MUST bring Safety Spectacles, their glider(s) and flight log.

Event Leaders will bring tools necessary to measure and check the gliders, and the official scoresheet.


High score wins.

Common Mistakes:

Don’t forget your flight log! This is an easy penalty to avoid.


These flights will take place in some sort of gym, either a basketball court or an open arena, depending on where you compete.  If you do not have access to a gym, reach out to other competitors at nearby middle or high schools and see if you can share practice time with them.

Balsa wood can be bought at most hobby stores, or in bulk from Tower Hobbies or other online stores

Event Resources:

2018 Elastic Launched Glider Coaches Clinic Presentation (2019 Rules) – more in depth

2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation – Flying tools

2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation – Wright Stuff

Guru Engineering Tech


How to attach wing covering- tissue paper shown.
In flying events in Science Olympiad (Wright Stuff, Gliders, Flying Bird, Helicopters, etc) it is sometimes necessary to curve balsa wood to get a desired shape for the outline or a rib of your wing. This demonstration shows one way to achieve a significant curve.