Balsa Model Flight Competition


Balsa models are judged on both their construction and their ability to fly.

The balsa glider design to be used is in the AAL Aircraft Modelling Class 4 Booklet and is to be built using the standard balsa sizes shown in the plan without excessive modification.

The wingspan of any model will not be less than 30cm.

Models will be capable of stable flight. Catapult launching of gliders is not be allowed.


Entry Code Age Group
B23 8 – 11 years
B24 12 – 14 years
B25 15 – 17 years
B26 18 years and over

All entries in the Balsa Model Flight Competition must comply with the following:Balsa Model2

Individual members shall enter only one balsa model each.

All balsa models entered must be the work of the entrant entirely.  In the case of Group 1 (8–11 years) entrants, an absolute minimum of help is permitted, but not encouraged.

Age of entry is at the date of the Australian Air League Review 2018 – 23 September 2018.

All balsa models being entered in the Modelling competition(s) will be set up between 0700 hours and 0900 hours in readiness for judging at the Education Modelling Area.

Members will be notified by an announcement when judging is completed.  Members then take their model to the Flight Line area for flying.

Entries are to be made on the Modelling Entry Form (Form E) and forwarded to the relevant Group Education Commissioner/Officer by Saturday 26 August 2018. The Group Education Commissioners/Officers then have until Saturday 2 September 2018 to pass all entries to the OC Education competitions.

Late entries may be accepted at the discretion of the OC Education Competitions up to the date of the Review. Late entries will not be accepted on the day for judging, but any models that have not been entered may be displayed in the display area subject to available space.

Members entering balsa models will be current financial uniformed members of the Australian Air League. Membership cards may be checked, therefore entrants or their representatives shall ensure that the entrant’s membership card is brought to the competition area.

Balsa models that have previously won 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in an Australian Air League Review Modelling competition will not be accepted. It is encouraged that entered balsa models which did not win a place at a previous Australian Air League Review are also not entered again and new ones are built. Balsa models that have been entered into respective 2018 Group Review Competitions will be accepted.

Whilst all care will be taken to safeguard balsa models from damage or loss, the Council of the Australian Air League accepts no responsibility for any model or diorama entered.Each entrant will be allowed three flights (throws) of which the best distance flown will be recorded; the longest distance flown within the guidelines of the sector will win. A glider landing on or outside the sector line will be deemed out of bounds and a “foul” throw will be recorded.


The outline of the balsa model will be sharp and smooth. For example, straight edges to be cut straight. Avoid scallops or missing chunks. Curves to be smooth, avoiding missing chunks. Both halves of the wing shall be isometric. For example, if the wing was cut through the chord at the centre of the span and folded one side over the over, sides should be the same shape. The outlines of parts are not to be undercut. In order to avoid undercut, the knife of the blade shall be held so that the cut remains vertical to the cutting surface.


The whole model shall be sanded to a smooth finish using very fine sandpaper.  Chuck gliders are not usually decorated. However, it is recommended that the model be given two coats of thin dope or banana oil to seal from moisture and this also assists to obtain a smooth finish. No additional points are given for decoration.


The different parts of the model shall be glued to ensure all joints fit tightly together. Gaps between joints are to be avoided. Similarly, excessive use of glue and smearing of glue is also to be avoided.


It is important to ensure the chord of the wing and tailplane are parallel to the centre line of the fuselage. Also, the fin shall be mounted vertical to the fuselage.  The wings shall be mounted so that if a line was drawn horizontal to the fuselage under them, the distance measured from this line to the leading edge of the wing at any given point is the same on both sides of the fuselage.


It is recognised that on some models the tailplane may be offset from the horizontal and the control surfaces may also be offset. This is necessary to trim the model for flight. Such a model shall not incur any penalty.


The Flight Line will be in an arena on the main field and similar to that utilised for a javelin competition, with a throw line and sector lines which the glider must land within to be recorded as a valid throw.

Each entrant will be allowed three flights (throws) of which the best distance flown will be recorded. A glider landing on or outside the sector line will be deemed out of bounds and a “foul” throw will be recorded.


Construction:     50% of the mark

Flight:                   50% of the mark. The competitor with the longest flight will be allocated 100 marks.  Other competitors will be award a percentage of the distance of the winning flight depending on how their glider flew.  This mark will then be divided by two to obtain 50% of the total competition mark.
For example: The longest flight (say 20 metres) would be award 100 marks.  If the next longest flight is 18 metres it will be awarded 90.  These figures are then divided by two: The longest flight would be allocated a full 50% and the next flight 45%.