How To Make An Elastic Launched Glider Launcher

What is elastic launched glider

An elastic launched glider is model plane that is launched into the air by elastic potential energy. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, host elastic and catapult launched glider competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students.

In this post, we will discuss what makes a good launcher.

what makes a good launcher


If you have competed in elastic launched glider or plan to do so in the future, then you have probably seen that the most common type of launcher is a small dowel rod with a tiny loop of rubber. While it may be extremely simple to construct such a launcher, it is very poor in terms of power you can utilize and consistency that you can achieve.

Before I get into any methods to improve consistency, you first have to capable of using the full power of any launcher. To maximize power, you have to maximize the size of your launcher.

If you have ever played around with a rubber band, you would notice that the father you pulled the rubber band back, the faster the rubber band moved when you released it. The same concept applies to elastic launched glider launchers; the farther you can pull back the rubber band, the more energy you can use to launch your glider.

By increasing the size of the launcher, you are able to increase the physical length that you can pull the rubber band. Think about the launcher as an extension of your arm; if you use a super short launcher, then you could only pull that rubber band to the length of your wing span. However, with a larger launcher, you are able to pull to the length of your wingspan plus the length of the launcher.

Rubber band

The rubber band that you end up using for your elastic launched glider launcher is something that you need to personally adjust and play with depending on the specific characteristics of your glider.

Generally, however, the areas that you should focus on adjusting are, the length of the rubber band loop and the thickness of the rubber band.

If you decrease the length of the rubber band loop, then the amount of power that you can utilize will increase. Conversely, if you increase the length of the rubber band loop, the you will have less power to work with.

If you increase the thickness of the rubber band, then you will have more power to work with. Conversely, if you decrease the thickness of the rubber band loop, then you will have less power to work with.


If you want to be consistent with each and every flight of your elastic launched glider, then you have to have some way to record and measure how you set up and flew each and every flight. The easiest way to do so is by incrementing your launcher by every 5 cm along the length of the launcher. This allows you to approximately measure how far you pulled the rubber band loop for each flight.

Additionally, you could invest in some cheap protractors or print paper protractors yourself and attach them to your launcher. This will allow you to measure and record the bank angle and launch angle of your glider, and take your consistency to the next level.

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