In a brightly lit room full of yellow lights, a group of children are learning how to make gliders.
At the three-day Aeromodelling Workshop at the Epicentre in Gurgaon from 14 June, the children, aged between 7 and 13, listened with rapt attention to treatises on Newton’s Laws and Bernoulli’s Principles, while they used hammers and pins to graft the miniature balsa wood body to plastic wings.
Learning to fly. The instructor at the Aeromodelling Workshop teaching a child the nuances of making a chuck glider at Epicentre.
The classes were the second in a series of aeromodelling workshops being organized by Karishma Julka and Priyanka Chaggar in Delhi and areas around it. These are essentially divided into two parts—learning about the theoretical aspects of aeromodelling and then going on to make model gliders and fly them.
A 10-day workshop for people of all ages is now on in Saket. This will cover more ground. For aeromodelling enthusiasts, the good news is that more workshops are in the pipeline.
The three-day workshop begins with a little bit of physics and aerodynamics theory, and then goes on to explain the different parts of an aircraft, how to assemble parts of a “chuck” glider and finally, fly it. Chuck gliders are miniature gliders usually made of balsa wood. The materials used—apart from the balsa wood for the body of the chuck glider—include plastic sheets for the wings, plasticine for the weight on the glider, hammers, pins, etc. The chuck glider made at this stage is a model called the Yellow Bird—a generic name given to a few radio-controlled (RC) glider models.
Deepak Sharma, an instructor at the children’s workshop, says they try to avoid technical jargon and keep the language simple. “If you make classroom learning fun and provide them with options, the children would be interested,” he says. “Flying is fun,” is how he sums up his opinion on why these little children find something like aeromodelling so interesting.
Once the chuck glider is ready, it’s launched in the air in the direction of the wind. Depending upon wind conditions, the chuck gliders can be in the air for 30-45 seconds and go up to a height of 10-15ft. These can be flown in any open space, including gardens.
The key to making a good chuck glider, says Sharma, is in keeping it as close as possible to the blueprint provided with the apparatus kit. A well-made chuck glider will have correct placements of wings, vertical stabilizers, tail unit, radar, correct glider angle and balancing of wings.
Chaggar says parents must encourage their children to attend workshops like these because they require both mechanical and engineering skills. “It is not like painting, where one stroke can go here and there. In aeromodelling, one has to be sure about each and everything,” she adds.
Ansh Singh, 8, attended last week’s workshop. Seema Singh, his mother, says: “I myself had no clue that something like this exists. My husband always wanted to learn how to make aeroplanes and so we made our son join this.” She found out about the workshop from the list of children’s workshops that Epicentre puts out.
As the mother of an eight-year-old, she feels today’s generation is inclined to such new activities because of a newer environment and exposure to newer ideas.
The children have their own explanations. Seven-year-old Arla Dwivedi loves adventure—and that’s why she wanted to attend the workshop. Her mother Rekha Dwivedi, however, notes that not many girls opt for such adventure activities, which involve mechanical and engineering skills.
Rewant Goenka, 8, says, “I like learning it, it is interesting.” Ritwick Bhargava, 10, sums up his reason in one word— aeromodelling is “creative”. Soham Bagchi, 10, and Ansh love the idea of flying planes. A few other children were too busy making their chuck gliders to talk.
Ongoing workshop: A 10-day Aeromodelling Workshop is on till 29 June, 9-11am each day, at E-47, Saket. The workshop, priced at Rs3,500, is open to people of all ages. Registration is on till Tuesday. In this workshop, participants will be taught how to make, and fly, the Yellow Bird and GNAT models of chuck gliders. They will also be shown how to make the Control Flying Line and the Radio-Controlled Gliders. The radio-controlled chuck gliders can fly as high as 200ft and stay in the air for over 45 minutes.