Make Your Own Walkalong Glider Party

I’ve been drawn into the walkalong glider movement by Slater Harrison, Phil Rossini and other friends. I really love the accessibility of walkalong. I designed the Squirrel rubber band plane for accessibility but walkalong gliders take the cake a bit.

Not only can you promote simple aviation, science and nature at any party or venue by demonstration you can get people flying them quickly. They become the life of the party.

I’ve done various meetups and workshops and wanted to share what I’ve learned so far. You can have any kind of workshop you want of course but this is what I’ve been working towards for the “pub style” meetups where there is an event start time.

For other events such as a walk-up at a museum, I think it’s different and I’ll add a section to this article as I explore that. I have 6 of these events planned at the local science museum so will hopefully learn something there.

Organizing a Walkalong Glider Party

Pre-Social

30m

  • Arrive early so can engage in social with early comers.
  • Have a signup sheet to grab people’s email (guests may not have RSVP or they may be discovered in the venue). Get permission to add them to a newsletter.
  • The signup sheet will help remember names.
  • As people arrive introduce people to them (this keeps the social distributed and you won’t get mobbed as much).
  • Have some sort of a handout.
  • Hand out business cards.

The Hook

30m

  • At time of event start perform a demo of a tumbling glider. Even though there are better flyers, start here so people will be able to make a plane at any party since these things are based on common material.
  • Hand out paper and get everybody going.
  • Have a prize for the first to complete a mission. Perhaps two pieces of tape on the floor. one for launch and the other for the destination. Or a piece of tape and a table for landing.

Introduction to Foam

30m

  • Perform a demonstration of a foam model that’s easy to fly.
  • Hand out 3-4 of them for people to experiment.
  • Have a prize for the first to complete a mission. Perhaps a flight path with a checkpoint (turn). Perhaps an “L” shape marked with tape.
  • I’ve not really tried the prize thing yet. I’ve been having these gatherings and workshops for free so I never really got go busy with that concept. I’m just including it here as it may fit with many situations.

Make a Foam Plane

30m

  • Perform another demo of another model that’s easy to make.
  • Hand out materials and perform a construction demo so people can attempt to make them.
  • First to complete a mission gets a prize.
  • You can have people write their names on their model or decorate them. Or at least have some colored markers around. Perhaps bring the markers out once people are flying.

Wrap-up

30m

  • Hang out for an after-social.
  • Have some kits and materials available.
  • Verify that people have the handout.

Concepts

I’ve shown five sections above each as 30m. The event is really only 1.5h with a social before and after. Not all people will attend the presocial and aftersocial but I think it’s important as it’s an opportunity for people to make friends, reflect on the activity, enjoy the venue and so forth.

Bring a small marker so people can write their name on their model. This is there nametag.

Use a registry such as meetup or eventbrite to keep track of guests. Gather nice pictures of people and the models to use in these event registries.

I think it’s good to have some alternate activities for different ages. Paper planes on hand in case younger children are there. A printed paper plane is nice takeaway. Not only for your guests but onlookers and random people from the venue.

If you study the pictures you’ll notice that the cardboard has handle slots in them. This makes it very easy to carry a few of them.

Related

I’ve been using the I♥U Glider for the Introduction to Foam section.

Slater Harrison has a great Mosquito glider that comes out of the box ready to fly. What an awesome prize that could be! He’s also a good supplier of foam sheets.