This article is from the Model Rockets FAQ, by Wolfram von Kiparski with numerous contributions by others.
Several model rocket manufacturers make glider kits. Very few
make really good gliders. Among the non-spectacular performers
are the Estes Space Shuttle and Tomcat, and assorted parasite
and foam gliders.
The Quest Flat Cat is an improvement on an old design that can
fly reasonably well. Edmonds offers several excellent glider
kits, also sold by Apogee and BMS. QCR has several glider
kits, including a good booklet on flex-wing gliders. The Estes
Trans-Wing and MRC Thermal Hawk are reasonable fliers.
NCR glider kits are gone, but plans may resurface in the
future. Eclipse has a few glider kits as well. Holverson had
some unique gliders, but they've been replaced with RTF foam
that just isn't what the old kits were. Apogee had glider
kits, but I don't know what their status is today.
My favorite BG plan for the beginner is the Flanigan Flyer,
designed by Chris Flanigan of the MIT Rocket Society. Plans
for it can be found in the MIT Competition Notebook available
from NARTS. It is suitable for A-C 18 mm motors.
Try Mark Bundick's Parksley Eagle for 13 mm 1/2A & A motors,
available from NARTS in the "NIRA Glider Plans from 'The
Leading Edge'" reprint. There are several other glider related
NIRA Reprints also available from NARTS. Guppy's Fish & Chips
(1/2A) and High Performance Sparrow (A) BG (both in the MIT
CN) were some of my favorites, but are very touchy to trim
(more about that later), thus not recommended for beginners.
For C/D BG I've been flying a Gold Rush HLG using either a
C6-3 or a C6-3/A3-4T cluster. While I haven't tried it, the
Apogee D3 should work fine with this model. Many of the
outdoor HLG designs are suitable for this class glider. Also
check out Trip Barber's D-Light in the Nov/Dec 1997 Sport
For higher power events, the old Centuri Pterodactyl parasite
glider is one of the few models that can hold up to composite
For a first RG, I recommend the Seattle Special, by George
Riebesehl. Plans for this model are also in the "NIRA Glider
Plans from 'The Leading Edge'" reprint. It flies on A-C 18 mm
motors. For 13 mm motors, try Tom Beach's Status-4 in the
Winter 1995 issue of Sport Rocketry. A good D RG is George
Gassaway's Stiletto-D from the May 1985 issue of American
For a FW, I recommend the QCR kit and manual. This proved good
enough for NAR V.P. Trip Barber, a fellow FW hater, to take a
first place with at NARAM-37, building the glider right on the
field. Also refer to George Gassaways articles in American
Spacemodelling, December 1980 and September 1986.
Many more plans are available from NAR, NARTS, NARTREK, NFFS, and AMA
publications. See the references at the end of the FAQ.
Many competition plans are now on the NAR competition web site
of classic glider kits and plans are available on the JimZ web
site at http://www.dars.org/JimZ