Don't look down: this week, Early Engineers learned about thermal air currents and took our building to new heights with this model K'NEX hang glider!
A hang glider flies using many of the same methods as birds. Their low density and large wing span makes them capable of using updrafts and thermals (warm currents of rising air) to achieve lift. Because of this, hang gliders can travel huge distances (the record is about 500 miles) without propulsion!
Our Early Engineers got a special look at the power of thermal lift in action: in the video below, a paper airplane flies continuously over the hot air currents created by a ring of candles. Watch and see how easily thermals can give lightweight objects the magic of flight!
Our Engineers had a blast putting together their model hang gliders and imagining soaring above the world from a great distance. We saw all kinds of models and proposed hang gliding innovations, including gliders with multiple wings, wheels, and room for other daring passengers!
We hope your little builder enjoyed this imaginative build and lesson on aeronautical engineering. Join us again next time for more exciting STEAM innovation!