What Goes Up Must Glide Down

Drones & Vehicles Education Paper Crafts Rockets
What Goes Up Must Glide Down
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Ever since Rick Schertle’s original Compressed Air Rocket Launcher project appeared on the pages of Make:, it has been a hugely popular build for people everywhere. I helped my son and his friend build one for their 3rd grade science fair project, and it was a huge hit. We still use it today, when it’s not on loan to our local children’s museum.

“We first brought the air rockets to World Maker Faire New York last year and had no idea how popular they would be,” Rick said. “New Yorkers apparently love rockets as much as folks in California! We’re excited to be back this year ready to build and launch rockets by the thousands in the Fly Zone.”

Although watching the original paper air rockets blast 200-300 feet in the air and then come barreling straight down is fun, recently Rick has collaborated with Keith Violette to add a whole new dimension… wings!

Inspired by a decades-old catapult launched folding wing glider toy, Rick and Keith have come up with the Air Rocket Glider, which launches up, deploys its wings, and then glides down. The Air Rocket Glider project was featured in Make: Volume 39. They’ve also launched a successful Kickstarter for the new version 2.0 of their launcher and the Air Rocket Glider kit.


The Air Rocket Works team will be at World Maker Faire in New York this September showing off the Air Rocket Glider and the all new Compressed Air Rocket launcher v2.0. They will have several units that people can test launch in the Fly Zone. Although I haven’t seen the new glider in person yet, it looks even more fun than the original. You can also build and launch your own paper rocket to keep. So come on out and play!

Rick and Keith have established the Air Rocket Works website. Check it out to learn more about their innovations in compressed air rocketry.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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