2012 San Francisco Flugtag Flying Aircraft Model

We will be in the 2012 San Francisco Flugtag. Unlike most of the entries our goal is to fly the longest distance. The current record is 225 feet.

In pursue of this goal we have designed a circular flying wing. We have make several versions of varying thickness, and with the thickest point in various locations.

This Instructable will walk you through building and flying a model of the version we are building for the contest.

The model is a 20 inch circle with the thickest point 3 inches and placed in the center of the wing.

Our models get a 12 to 1 glide ratios. Launched from 5 feet they will fly 60 feet. This is made more impressive given they don't look like they will fly at all.

For more information/Video please see


Step 1: Materials & Tools

2 each 20”x30” foam board from the Dollar Store – For wings - $2
3/8” square basswood 9” long – For fuselage -$1.25
1 wood stir stick, used coffee stirrer – attachment point for rudder-Free

Straight edge/ruler
Exacto knife
Scotch tape
Foam safe CA(Super Glue) glue – non-foam safe will eat away at the foam.
Elmer's Glue-all type glue
12 spring clamps, more is better
Sand paper

Step 2: Building the Wing

Step One
a) Mark a 20” diameter circle on the foam board and cut it out with an Exacto knife
b) Peel off paper backing from both sides
c) Mark a bisecting line through the center point of both circles and mark the line on the edge of the foam circle.

Step Two
a) Mark a point on the bisecting line 1(one) inch from the edge
b) Mark  two points, 3/8” one each side of the first point- perpendicular to the bisecting line
c)  Draw a line from the center point of the circle through each of the points
d) Cut out the resulting wedge

Step Three
a) Bring the cut edges, where the wedge used to be together to form a cone
b) Tape the inside together to keep the cone together
c) Repeat on disk two.

Step Four
a) Using a thin layer of glue attach the Fuselage stick along the joint edge. It should over hang the edge of the circle by an inch.
b) Weigh down the fuselage onto the wing and allow the glue to cure for at least two hours.

Step Five
a) Apply a thin layer if Elmer's Glue-All  along the inside edge one of the disks. Line up the second disk on top of it, line up the bisecting lines and wedge cut out line
b) Clamp together using small spring clamps
c) Allow to cure for several hours

Step 3:

Step Six
a) Using some of the scrap foam board cut out a Rudder shape. The bottom of which should be a straight line. It keeping with the theme I use a circle shape, but other shapes will work
b) Super Glue the stir stick to the flat edge of the rudder.

Step Seven
a) The leading edge should be rounded using sand paper
b) The trailing edge should be sanded to a gentle taper

Step Eight
a) Super glue the rudder on top of the bisecting line.

Addition of 'pilot pod' below the fuselage. I used a small length of wire hanger, bent to shape, and glued into two small holes half way through the front and back of the fuselage.

Step 4: Flying

Add balancing weight to the protruding part of the fuselage. The aircraft should balance at 25% from the leading edge. I would start with approximately 1.75 ounces. I used washer that fit over the fuselage stick, and held in place with a rubber band

When ‘launching’ the glider it is important that the line formed by the intersecting wing halves be parallel to the ground, or a few
degrees up.

The ‘throw’, should feel more like a firm push forward



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    8 Discussions

    I entered the Red Bull Flugtag here in South Africa, but my "Pilots of the Caribbean" theme wasn't accepted for some reason. The Flugtag itself was on 9 December. Glen Dell did an aerobatic display in a Red Bull paint scheme Extra 330s and Franky Zapata performed the first flyboard "flight" in Africa. If you've got time, you should look it up on youtube, it is basically a jet-ski powered jetpack. I also built a series of circular-wing model aircraft at the beginning of the year for a science expo.

    2 replies

    I am sorry you weren't accepted.

    I would be interested in seeing pictures of your circular wing models.

    To see more information on our circular wing flugtag craft see



    6 years ago on Introduction

    As I mentioned, this model was the prototype of Team Bumblebee full size version for the San Francisco Flugtag. I have attached a picture of our progress

    Color on hub.JPG

    Based on similar experience, I would suggest you do testing with more models scaled further up, as things can change as they are enlarged.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    It is beautiful, and flies quite well.

    Maybe a little horizontal tail or spoiler may help to raise the nose.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    If your glider flies nose down into the ground, remove some weight.
    If the nose of the glider pitches up and then stalls, add weight
    The first launches should be gentle until you achieve a flat glide