A Chat with the Editor

A History of Gliders throughout Aviation History—by Jeff Nisley—

As a novice aeromodeler and one of the many editors for the Web site—I  welcome new visitors and our existing members to visit this site often, and hope that you stay a while and learn about our club.

As a new feature page for our website, I wanted this page to have a vintage look and to make it look like it’s a regular feature, so I “borrowed” the graphic shown above from a May, 1934 copy of Popular Aviation. I’d like to be able to tell you that I am giving the graphic artist
the proper credit but I unfortunately do not know who the graphic artist is (or was) to thank him or her. This paragraph, then, will have to suffice as gratitude to the person responsible.

As a new memberI can tell you that all the members I have met have welcomed me wholeheartedly into the club and have willingly offered their help and expertise to me that wants desperately to learn as much as he can about the hobby and sport of aeromodeling.


“Stato” Toss Glider With/Package  (10 cents) — circa 1950’s

When I was a bit younger, I would purchase dime store balsa wood gliders like the one shown at right. Less frequently I would “splurge” and get the more expensive ones (shown below) that included a wire landing gear with two plastic wheels, a propeller, and a rubber band. They were always “way cool”.

That is, I would get them if I had managed to save up enough money from my allowance.


“Sleek Street” With Rubber Band Motor (25 cents) — circa 1950’s

I would then play with them until I was unable to Elmer’s™ glue the broken parts back together, or repair the wings and stabilizer with Scotch™ tape. I could never understand why they often did unpredictable things that would be difficult to correct, like stalling and then dive bombing until they met their demise. I could figure out their maladies up to a point, but for the life of me I could never fully understand why they did what they did. I usually gave up and blamed it all on the unpredictability of the wind.

Fast forward to 2016—I’m amazed that rubber powered model aircraft have not completely lost out to the Remote Control Styrofoam Models the hobby shops choose to cater to and almost exclusively carry. (It’s hard now to find good parts for rubber powered aircraft at my local hobby shop, however I can get very good materials and products for them on the Internet if you know where to look at reasonable prices.) For a further discussion on this topic—see my second “An Airy Chat with the Editor” titled Rubber Band vs Remote Control.

So—now as a retired person, it’s great to return to the innocence of my youth in a sense, by watching gliders tossed, and rubber powered aircraft being launched into the air. But now, like never before, I come back to it years later eager to learn the specifics of flight—the “how and why of it” and to some extent, experience the same joys the Wright Brothers Wilbur and Orville experienced as a result of their own experiments to gain insight into the mechanics of flight and to learn for themselves what it really takes to fly.


It was the Wright Brothers experiments with “Gliders” that eventually lead them to mankind’s first powered, controlled flight December 17, 1903.

“Gliders” in fact have played pivotal rolls in the advancement of aviation over the years. This summer here in Kansas City, in the year 2016, the members of our club have had a wonderful time competing among themselves with their meticulously handcrafted gliders.

I sense that all
aeromodelers by their own methods of trial and error in learning how to get their own models to fly, experience similar feelings to those the brothers felt that windy and cold day back in December 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Fortunately for me, mankind has taken some major steps forward by having over 100 years in the air, but more specific to my circumstances, is the benefit of having the
availability, experience, and know-how of the fantastic members of HAFFA—KC— and their aeromodeling skills to teach me the time honored ways of doing things.

Come to think of it—we’ll let you know when and where our next (as we like to call it) “Toss and Launch Flying Event” will take place “. It may not be in the fields next to the town of Dayton, Ohio at the turn of the last century that we are conducting our latest “Flight Experiments”—but to us—it’ll be just as exciting. —Jeff—

If you feel the same way as I do—consider joining our club—or at least come and watch us at one of our “Toss and Launch Flying Events”. For now during the summer and fall it would be for an “Outdoor Flying event”. Pretty soon we start our “Indoor Flying events”. Here is a link to our Contact  page on our web site, www.flyhaffa.com. Also check out our “About” page while you’re at it. Thanks for coming to our site.