Parasite Gliders

Guillow Delta DartWhen I was young, my favorite rocket was the Estes Omega.  I had saved for weeks to purchase the Omega and the Cineroc movie camera payload for it.  I flew the Omega only once with the movie camera. But, I flew it many more times without the camera.

At the time, it seemed like a really big rocket. And it flew using really big (and scary and expensive) D motors.  Although it was a two-stage kit, I always flew it as a single stage rocket.  After all, two D motors were even scarier (and more expensive).

For some of the later flights of the Omega, I attached two small gliders to the rocket. The little foam gliders would separate and glide back to earth as the rocket came down under its parachute.

The little foam gliders I used back then were delta shaped, looking sort of like the Space Shuttle’s orbiter which was still just a design on the drawing board at the time. Manufactured by Guillow, the gliders cost 25 cents each.

The gliders were designed to be hand-launched or launched with a rubber band. But, I stuck a small dowel into the foam hook on the bottom of the front of the glider. Then I cut a small section out of a launch lug.  I glued the launch lug section onto the rocket’s body tube centered between two fins and just high enough above the fins so that the glider would hang on the lug with the back of its wing resting on the fins.

After I placed the rocket on the launch pad, I’d hang the glider on the launch lug segment.  At apogee, the glider would fall off and glide down on its own.  The Omega’s mighty D engine was powerful enough to allow the rocket to carry two parasite gliders at once.

We recently added Guillow’s Delta Dart gliders to our online catalog. These are almost the same as the gliders I used so many years ago.  The are are a little lighter than the ones I remember.  And they cost a little more than 25 cents each. But, they work just as well as parasite gliders.