Saturday, April 23, 2011

Michael LaFosse's Art-Deco Wing glider Off a High Rise

This was originally taught to me by Tom Stamm years ago and I've always loved the folding sequence and the flight path of LaFosse's unusual glider- under "normal" circumstances it usually skims across the air in a bit of an up-down motion reminding me of a rock skipping across water. A truly ingenius design. I haven't filmed an example of that flight pattern; but what I did do was throw a couple off the 20th floor of my client's high rise:

*UPDATE* 4/24/2011

Michael LaFosse sent me this story regarding his Art-Deco Wing:

I designed this model while I was a freshman at the U. Tampa, in Florida, 1975. My dorm room was on the 8th floor of Delo Hall, which was situated near the athletic field (The building has since been replace, I believe.)

Many times a week I would launch an Art-Deco Wing out my window and watch it glide over the parking lot, across a street and continue across the athletic filed and out of sight. I never saw one land, but they all seemed to prefer the same path, across the athletic field.

On day, towards the end of my second semester, I took up jogging with a friend. We would jog around the perimeter of the athletic filed, outside of its great walls. To my surprise and delight I found these wings, all in a heap, caught at the base of a fence!


The accumulation of wings was an interesting sight. They were mixed in with other windswept paper and plastic trash. They had been rained upon and covered with dirt from many months of exposure; though quite deformed they were recognizable. If I remember correctly, the collection spanned a length of the fence area for some twenty feet or so. The area looked as though it got little attention from groundskeepers and the city's cleaning force. I did reach through the fence, and grabbed a decent looking specimen to show my friend and explain what it was all about.


malachi said...

Wow. I always loved that art deco design, but it always seems unimpressive to other people when it just sort of skitters across the room. This was a very nice, unexpected, flight.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I updated the post with a bit of background from LaFosse.

Tom Stamm said...

I am currently working on the 27th floor of the Watermark building in downtown LA.

A couple times a week we toss a few deco art wings and many go 6 to 8 blocks before we can no longer see them.

They fly best in the afternoon after the heat of the day picks up and the planes hit thermals. Also, 24 hours in a heavy book greatly improve the flight characteristcs -- in this design, the flatter the better.

Best regards,
Tom "the other tom" Stamm