Thomas Buchwald Walkalong Glider Interview
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Thomas Buchwald is a "Technik" teacher of students in grades 6 to 10 in Germany He is a great friend, though I have yet to meet him in person. Thomas and his students make wonderfully creative engineering projects. Lately he has turned his attention to creating bionic walkalong gliders: pterodactyls (pterosaurs), manta rays and other sea creatures. I particularlyy like the sea creatures.

Thomas is a great innovator. He discovered the best source of foam for slicing into thin sheets (seafood packaging). His insight of using an old spinning glider design let directly to the Big Mouth Tumblewing and Spinny Bug designs.

If you click here or on the picture, you can see the interveiw (I sent questions) and extraordinary pictures and video of his work.

Here is Thomas' amazing YouTube Channel




To make walkalong gliders like this you must have EPS foam. Thomas was the one who discovered the best source I know of: fresh seafood packaging. It must be cut very thin. If you can make thin foam, the patterns for 4 bionics are the last two pages of this Word file.

Click on the picture to open the Word file, including patterns. It is written in German. "Bergfalte" means "mountain fold"; "talfalte" means "valley fold"; "oben" means "top"; "hochbiegen" means "bend up" and "leicht hochbiegen" means "slightly bend up."

Dies ist in Deutsch geschrieben.

Several of Thomas' creation, the full Manta and Pterasaur, use an interesting wing that bends up, then down, then (at the tip) up again. I'd never seen a glider lide that. I thought it looked cool, but I wasn't sure it would actually fly. It did fly, with great stability and very responsive to turning.

I asked Thomas about it and he said, " Dear Slater, I am very happy that you like the pteranodon. The mountain folds on the wings produce an airfoil similar to the jedelsky airfoils (  Jedelsky was an austrian model aerodynamics pioneer who tried to get close to bird`s wings ) which work well at low reynolds numbers. ( They are bad at higher speeds but that is not important for walkalong gliding ). At the same time the mountain folds produce a kind of downwash, which adds flight stability. If they are behind the centre of gravity, they work as elevons, as well.

SO MUCH MORE! Flying superheroes! ***Student designed Biplane!***Flying angels!***Robots, rockets, RC flying machines...check out Thomas' web page and archive. Extraordinary!