Under a Blue Tarp

Build a hang glider from scratch.

By Gever Tulley

There’s a photo on Wikipedia of two gleeful brothers flying hang gliders they’ve made from duct tape, plastic sheeting, and bamboo. We at the Tinkering School had been kicking around the idea of making a hang glider for a couple of years, and this picture convinced me that a group of 12- to 16-year-old kids could do it.

The photo shows a design referred to as the Bamboo Butterfly, but try as we might, we could only find one low-res scan of a handmade copy of the original plans. No matter — we had the picture and a dab of collective knowledge of aerodynamics to convince us that it was possible. Some might call this hubris, but we like to think of it as gumption.

The first hurdle ...

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