Modeling the Wright 1902 Glider

Note: Although this is an older article, the information about how this group of students built a replica of the Wright 1902 glider can still serve as a useful guide for those who are interested in participating in this fun DIY activity.

By Richard Glueck

Over a period of 12 years, the Orono Middle School has involved the sixth grade in an aerospace program that was designed by teachers Richard Glueck and Christopher Chilelli to go beyond the state educational standards. Since 1991, 6th graders have annually combined their math and science skills to reproduce faithful, full-size replicas of the shuttle flight deck, the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, two Apollo EVA suits, the M2-F2 lifting body, flying copies of several Wright and Chanute gliders, the Ritchel 1896 bicycle powered airship, and a hot air balloon.  Before any of the full-scale replicas could be undertaken, understanding construction and engineering by modeling. What follows is a description of that modeling process, as adapted to building a replica of the Wright 1902 glider, in celebration of the Centennial of Flight.

To set up the program, a black line drawing of the air or spacecraft being modeled had to be obtained. The teacher undertook this job, searching museums, libraries and the web for appropriate guidelines. One resource that has proven very useful has been World War I Aero Magazine. For the 1902 glider, I chose to utilize plans made available on the web at: These plans are very complete and I edited them a bit to make them 6th grade friendly.

This article was originally posted on

To read the full article, please click here!