1.1 Background Research
Gliders are aircraft that do not rely on engines unlike other aircraft. There are many different types of gliders. Some gliders have engines to extend their flight duration and others to take off.
Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet of Brompton (27 December 1773 – 15 December 1857) was a prolific English Engineer and one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics (Wikipedia, 2013). He was known for inventing the glider. They are principally used for the air sports of gliding, hang gliding and paragliding but are also used for recovering spacecraft. Perhaps the simplest and most familiar types are paper gliders and balsa wood gliders. The wings on a glider have to produce enough lift to balance the weight of the glider. The faster the glider goes the more lift the wings make. If the glider flies fast enough the wings will produce enough lift to keep it in the air. But, the wings and the body of the glider also produce drag, and they produce more drag the faster the glider flies. Since there's no engine on a glider to produce thrust, the glider has to generate speed in some other way. Angling the glider downward, trading altitude for speed, allows the glider to fly fast enough to generate the lift needed to support its weight. So How is a glider different from a plane. Firstly, while an airplane's flight time is only limited by its supply of fuel, a glider's flight duration and trajectory depends entirely on the behavior of air currents. Typically, a sailplane starting at an altitude of 3,000 feet can remain aloft for 20 to 25 minutes, assuming that no rising air currents extend its flight. A skillful glider pilot, however, can extend the journey by flying beneath new or mature cumulonimbus clouds, over open fields, over urban areas or along the ridges of mountains and hills. All of these conditions can produce rising currents of air, which improve lift.
Secondly, the principal difference between an airplane and a glider is its power source. Whereas an airplane has an internal combustion engine that generates the power to propel it forward and to generate lift, a glider has no engine. Instead of an engine, the glider attains an initial velocity, which produces lift, by relying on an external mechanism. In the case of a hang glider, the person operating the glider usually runs along the side of a cliff or a hill. Larger hang gliders and sailplanes rely on a mechanical start. The sailplane may be attached to a tow airplane, which drags it upward into the air. At a given point, the line connecting the two crafts is disconnected. Alternately, an automobile may serve as a towing device until the glider attains lift, much like a person running with a kite. (Danielle and Demand Media, 2013)
1.2 Research Question
● Why does the glider travel further?
● How does launcher affect the speed of the glider?
● In what conditions can the plane fly the furthest?
● When is the best time of the day for the plane to fly the furthest?
● Where is the best location for the plane to fly the furthest?
If wing area or shape of plane is changed, the distance of the glider is affected.
1.3.1 Independent variable(s)
● The size of wing area in square centimetres.
1.3.2 Dependent variable
● Distance travelled by aircraft in metres.
● Type of launcher
● Type of wood used
● Location where the gliders are launched
● Height at which the glider is launched.
● Distance of the stretch of the rubber band
● Type of rubber band used
● Elasticity of rubber band