Wright Stuff

How To Make Your Plane Fly In Two Different Directions

What is wright stuff

Wright stuff is a competition where students are tasked to build a model plane that is powered by a rubber band and propeller. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, host wright stuff competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students.

In this post, we will discuss how to make a your plane fly in two different directions.

flying in two directions

do you need to travel in both directions?

In the Science Olympiad Wright Stuff rules from the 2019-2020 season, there is a bonus given for being able to fly your plane in both a clockwise and. counter-clockwise circle for your official flights. Although the difficulty of perfecting such a task is ver high, the reward is just as great. The bonus given is the addition of both your official flight instead of just one of them. 

Although I disagree with the decision of including this bonus in the rules simply because it creates a larger barrier to entry for new fliers to pick up then event and het success, it is in your best interest to use this bonus.

The impact of rudder on flight

If you have built a wright stuff plane, then you have probably included both a vertical and horizontal stabilizer on it. The functions of both these parts are self explanatory: they stabilize your plane during its flight. However, we will focus on the vertical stabilizer, or rudder, for this topic.

Now, if you have ever wanted to tighten or loosen the circle diameter that your plane travels in then you have probably changed the angle that rudder is offset from zero. The more the rudder is offset, the tighter the circle is, and the less offset, the larger the flight circle is.

How to make your plane travel in both directions

If you want to make your plane travel in both directions then you need to take advantage of the rudder attached to your plane. Put very simply, you should adjust the offset of your rudder to adjust the circle. If the rudder is offset to the right of the plane, then the the plane will tend to circle right. If the opposite is true, then the plane will tend to circle left.

Now I use the word “tend” because the actual circle of your plane is largely influenced by the way it is built and the amount of necessary offset is dependent on that fact. And finding that necessary amount of rudder offset and being able to replicate it consistently is the real time waster of this bonus.

The best way to go about replicating the rudder offset consistently, is to mark or measure the place where you want the rudder to be offset on your plane so that you can quickly adjust your plane to travel in both directions.

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