Excercise Ball Makes A Passable Landing Gear

Exercise balls are great for many things, from amusing children to breaking everything in your living room, often in quick succession. After seeing some German WWII prototype aircraft with wild landing gear designs, the [FliteTest] crew decided to see whether they could use an exercise ball to build a plane ready for even the bumpiest of runways.

Comparisons to the Gee Bee R-1 abound in the video.

The exercise ball created some constraints on the design, due to its weight and the large amount of drag it creates. To work around this, the design features a foamcore and carbon fibre construction to save weight. The exercise ball is placed front and center, serving as both the nose and landing gear of the aircraft. V-tails are used to place the rear control surfaces outside of the shadow of the ball, to help maintain control authority. Initial tests of the airframe showed handling problems. The team solved this by using a pair of gyro stabiliser boards of their own design, named Aura.

With the issues solved, the final aircraft is hilarious to behold. The huge, bouncing ball makes an excellent landing gear, able to launch off lumps and bumps and even skim over water. We’ve seen [FliteTest] get up to other escapades in the past, too. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]

17 thoughts on “Excercise Ball Makes A Passable Landing Gear

    1. Thanks for the suggestions!
      But, they were thrown out years ago.
      BTW, they weren’t just small punctures, but caused by a letter opener on one, and a ball point pen on the other.

    1. This. If you’re going to drag that huge ball around, why not spin it up and make it useful – pretty soon you’d be down to engines mounted on the ball’s axle and a lot of control issues.

  1. Passable? Spectacular! The number of RC projects destroyed by scale landing gear is uncountable. With a little work, this thing could be indestructible and handle all the elements but fire.

  2. My thoughts exactly.
    Not only would it add extra lift with the Magnus effect but it would also act as a gyroscope and give it extra stability. It could be interesting to see if it can take off and land from water.

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