Cessna Free Flight Glider

by Remzak | June 10, 2016 | (0) Posted in How To

I have always loved chuck gliders, and I wanted to share a simple design that I enjoy with the community. It was inspired by the very well known Cessna 172, with several modifications to keep the build very easy. It flies nice,if you use two quarters as nose weight you can throw it hard and get some good flights, or with the center of gravity at 40% it will fly well and glide well with light throws.

Link to YouTube overview of the glider


Hot glue gun

CA Glue or Super Glue

Hobby Knife or Utility knife

13"x3" of 1/8" balsa wood

24"x3" of 1/16" balsa wood


Writing implement

Sharpies (For optional decoration)


These are the basic measurements for the fuselage. It should be cut from 1/8" balsa wood. All measurements are in inches.

Cut out the fuselage and round the corners in the front and on the bottom. Do not round the corners on the top.

Sand off any marks

These are the basic measurements for the wing. Cut is out of a sheet of 1/16" balsa wood.

Draw a line down the center of the wing. This is for reference. DO NOT CUT.

These are the basic measurements for the horizontal stabilizer. Cut it from a sheet of 1/16" balsa wood.

Round the corners and sand off any marks.

Create a slot for the horizontal stabilizer. To do this, draw a reference line from the center of the nose of the plane to the center of the tail, and base your slot off that to make sure it will be parallel to the wing.

Cut out the slot and sand off any marks

Test fit the horizontal stabilizer.

These are the basic measurements for the vertical stabilizer. Cut it from a sheet of 1/16" balsa wood.

Sand off any marks and round the corners.

Glue on the vertical stabilizer with CA or super glue.

Glue on the horizontal stabilizer with CA or super glue.

These are the basic measurements for the struts. Cut them from a sheet of 1/8" balsa wood.

Cut them out.

Bevel the edges on one side at a 45 degree angle to maximize the contact are with the wing and fuselage.

Glue on the wing using CA or super glue. Use the line you drew for reference and glue the struts on either side to provide support.

Use hot glue to glue on the weights. For hard throws use 2 quarters, for softer throws use a quarter and a penny.

All done. Now detail it to your liking and give it a throw!


This glider is great for kids with it's high wing, and with two quarters and a solid throw it can achieve some remrkable distance flights. The build is simple and the design allows for sub-par construction quality. I am happy with how the lines turned out on the fuselage, but I wish I designed it in a way that would have allowed for less nose weight.Overall it is a fun one night project that anyone can enjoy. 


chobson303 on June 28, 2016
What a great design. Thanks, I'm planning to have kids build them using Elmer poster board. I used your plans and built a poster board prototype in about 30 minutes. It's pretty strong and we'll be flying them on grass anyway. I'd love to show you a photo.
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jordy123 on June 18, 2016
Sweet, but on the vertical stab, make the grain the other way.
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Cessna Free Flight Glider