The Whipper Whiz FF HLG
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[Courtesy of Harley Michaelis, harleym "at", August 2000]

Harley Michaelis, designer of the Jouster II and Genie open class sailplanes and  inventor of the RDS (rotary driver system) for hidden linkages, decided - "let's do a fun project with the kids!".  The Whipper Whiz is the result of this simple thought.

What's a Whipper Whiz?

The Whipper Whiz is an easily built free flight hand launched glider.  The design is simplified so that it can be built successfully by third graders and above.  

Harley says... 

"I just built another one from scratch in 7 minutes. No need to procrastinate. All you need is 1/16" and 1/8" balsa.

The Whipper Whiz plans (12 kB Acrobat PDF file) are a dimensioned drawing with construction and flying notes.  (For younger kids you may want to provide the wing in 3 pieces with the 10 degrees sanded in the ends of the center section.)

You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to view and print the plan, which you can get at no charge from the Adobe Acrobat download site, at

Here are two more versions of the Whipper Whiz plans, one as a 12 kB PowerPoint document and the other as a 25 kB Autocad DWG file.  These print full size instead of as dimensioned drawings, contributed by our very own Derick Veliz dveliz "at"

Here is a picture of a "flock" of Whipper Whiz's built by John O'Sullivan (spinifex "at", who said "Just finished a flock of 15 Whipper Whizzes. I can give some of them to the local kids and maybe start them off on a life of sinful modeling." 

whipperwhizflock.jpg (123671 bytes)
Flock of Whipper Whiz's - click on this small image to see a full-size one

cliffwhiz.jpg (67546 bytes)
Cliff's "hot" Whiz!

And here's a link to Cliff Schwinger's Whipper Whiz pictures page (see below for his "Contest Squadron Notes" :)

Contest Results and Rules

Harley sponsored an International Whipper Whiz contest to get people interested and create a fun way to try out this one-design model. 

Here are the contest rules, in case you want to use them for a school project or whatever...

1. The airframe parts must first be made strictly stock. The wing must have the 1" x 6" planform. 1/32" balsa may only be used on the fin.

2. Surfaces may be rounded and an airfoil sanded in them before or after assembly. Paper tabs may optionally be attached to a wing tip and stab for roll and pitch trim adjustments. 

3. You can build an unlimited number trying to get best performance. 

4. You can enter separate airframes for duration and distance.  

5. Only pure arm power can be used for the international competition. However, for fun you can notch the fuselage for rubber band launches. Preferably, attach the rubber band at the top of a piece of dowel so you don't hit your thumb! 

6. Remember, other than starting with a 1" x 6" x 1/16" balsa wing, a free hand is allowed in this contest to modify the airframe to push the envelope.

Harley Michaelis, LSF023, 26 S. Roosevelt, Walla Walla, WA. 99362. (509)529-2562 RDS website:

Schwinger's "Contest Squadron Notes"

We took our squadron of Whipper Whizzes to a big field today in order to see if we could snag some bubbles of rising air with our Whipper Whizzes. 

We got a bunch of 6 and 7 second flights but the winner on our field was an 11.30 second flight by John Fulginiti! In second place was Steve Schwinger with a 9.41 seconds. Steve and John both used the same plane to achieve these times. This was also the same glider that Steve used to achieve a WORLD RECORD 8.53 second flight last week. 

For some reason this particular Whipper Whiz (it is the one with the "smiley face" on the wing - see website photos) flies way better than any of the others that we constructed. It appears that the secret to a long flight is for the plane to make a  good transition to level flight at the apex of the launch trajectory. The record setting plane was able to make this transition better than the others. 

I put together a web page of some photos that were taken when we were flying on our street last week. Here is the URL:

I would really like to thank Harley Michaelis for running this international event! As a result of our building Whipper Whizzes, both Steve and John are interested in building Sweepette ff hlg's. A couple of Steve's friends from the neighborhood also built Whipper Whizzes. It was cool to see how excited they were flying these planes that they constructed from scratch! I was also happy to see my son Steve helping one of his friends build a Whipper Whiz - when only a day earlier I was showing him how to build one! 

Cliff Schwinger (laurajean "at", Cheltenham PA 

(Minutes after setting a new flight duration world record, the "smiley face" Whipper Whiz was unfortunately lost in a clump of bushes at the downwind end of the flying field. It was last seen cruising southward at an altitude of approximately 3 feet when visual contact was lost. A search team was unable to locate the missing sailplane.)

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