Product Idea |

Gliders In Flight - Mechanical Model

This project was inspired by my own experiences as a glider/sailplane pilot. It proposes a LEGO set based on the sport of gliding.

What Does The Proposed Set Contain?
  • 3 different glider models 
    • Modern fiberglass glider
    • Classic 30s style wooden glider
    • Ultralight pioneer-era glider
  • 3 pilot minifigures and 2 brick built eagles
  • A base with a hand-cranked rotating mechanism
    • Fits 2 gliders of your choice
    • Spins the gliders and the birds around to create the illusion of flight within a thermal (see The science of Glider Flight section below)
    • Open centre to show off the mechanism 
  • 885 parts in total

How Does It Work?
I've prepared a short animation which shows how the mechanism works when the hand crank is turned. Although this is a virtual creation, all the part connections are legal and the model should work in this manner in real life.

The Science of Glider Flight
To stay up in the air without an engine, gliders search for columns of rising warm air, known as thermals, which provide lift. Performing a circular turn within these thermals allows a glider to gain height and continue flying. This maneuver is known as "thermalling" or a thermalling turn. Birds can often be seen thermalling together with gliders and this is one of the highlights of the sport.

The purpose of the rotating mechanism was thus to create the illusion of gliders and birds circling around a thermal together, just as they would in real life. I feel that it would make a great play set, unlike anything which LEGO has produced before, and it could also be a great way to teach children and non-pilots about the fascinating science behind unpowered flight.

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