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Watch the World’s Largest Rubber Band-Powered Plane Take Flight

Remember shooting tiny rubber band airplanes when you were a kid? This is that, but much, much bigger.
YouTube/Think Flight

In many ways, adulthood is all about indulging in and exploring the things you were really into as a kid—but, bigger. YouTube channel Think Flight took this idea and ran, building what is claimed to be the world’s largest rubber band-powered airplane.

With a wingspan of 16 feet, it’s almost three times larger than the smallest human-carrying aircraft ever to take flight. For those unfamiliar, rubber band airplanes are exactly what they sound like: a toy plane with a propeller powered by a wound-up rubber band. Despite its status as a toy, the rubber band airplane’s impact on aviation should not be ignored. The Wright brothers, who are widely credited for inventing airplanes as we know them today were apparently inspired by the rubber band kind back in the day.

Using spearfishing rubber for the giant rubber band, 3D-printed propellers, quite a bit of carbon, foam, fiberglass, and seven months of trial and error, Think Flight’s end product actually works… kind of. It’s able to stay in a forward-moving motion in the air for about 12 seconds, just as long as the first trial conducted by Orville Wright back in 1903.

It took a few iterations of the giant rubber band plane to achieve those results. The first attempt weighed 27 pounds, which was much too heavy. In order to create a rubber band plane light enough to take flight even very temporarily, trusses were used. Foam pieces sandwiched by carbon kept things strong but light.

As for the next childhood toy we’d like to see an enterprising YouTuber to tackle next, let’s get a life-size version of slot cars going, one-button remote-control operation and all.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com