How to Build a Simple Free-Flight Airplane


One of the most satisfying aspects of a hobby is to be able to move from plans to a completed project. Building a free-flight model glider or rubber-powered airplane allows enthusiasts young and old to watch their hard work take flight.


  1. Decide what you want to build. Free-flight model plans and kits are available in every style from near replica to unique designs.
  2. Join a modeler’s club or participate in Internet discussion groups.
  3. Discuss kits and plans with more experienced modelers.
  4. Choose a model at your skill level. Beginners should first build a simple model, one that flies slowly and is easy to adjust.
  5. Understand component terminology. Read and learn about ailerons, airfoils, dihedral, center of gravity, elevators and vertical stabilizers.
  6. Select a clean, well-lighted area to work. An area that can be closed off when work is left in progress is best.
  7. Secure a large table or building board.
  8. Make sure it is smooth and clean.
  9. Work only with clean, sharp tools. Use quality sandpaper.
  10. Cut straight lines and proper angles. “Measure twice. Cut once.”
  11. Cut outside the designated lines and sand to fit.
  12. Cut by using multiple strokes rather than trying to cut with a single, hard-pressed stroke.
  13. Use the minimal amount of glue.
  14. Be neat in the entire assembly process.
  15. Make sure the material covering the frame is smooth, tight and unwrinkled.

Use the Internet to interact with other free-flight enthusiasts.
Find a mentor among model club members to give you tips on lubricating and winding the rubber bands that can power propeller-driven free-flight models.Take along a camera or video recorder to preserve memories of your free-flight adventures.

Sharp tools in the hands of youngsters need adult supervision.
Glues and doping fluids used to assemble parts and seal fabric coverings to frames should be used in a well-ventilated area.Be prepared to trim and adjust your free-flight aircraft to enhance performance.