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North Pacific gliders

Celebrate these great intro gliders

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Barrie Lever03/04/2020 09:43:58
175 forum posts
41 photos

In the very enlightening message thread on Hobby shops still trading during the 'Wu Flu' crisis, Robin mentioned North Pacific gliders.

I was flying these from about 6 years old and they really helped me to get going in this great hobby.

We were organising a kids birthday party last year and I thought it would be great to get a few of these North Pacific gliders for the kids to play with, however I could not find them for sale.

So I thought we would knock some up on the laser cutter and this also gave the opportunity to personalise each glider for the recipients. I was trying to think of a way to replicate the plastic clip which holds the wings to the fuz and also allows CG and incidence adjustment.

I had just got a Dremel 3D printer, so I designed a clip and got printing, the gliders were a great success. The clip is shown along with a few other parts that I designed and printed at that time last year.



Jamie Cuff03/04/2020 10:44:34
103 forum posts
27 photos


I have very fond memories of North Pacific models, Skeeter, Star Flyer, Space Flyer, Stunt Flyer, Strato and the Sleek Streek. They were available in our local model shop (Trapnells at the time) and also the toy shops in town. I used to have these to keep me occupied when dad was flying, use to chuck them around in the field behind the pits at Westonzoyland and at Weston super mare airfield, before I started RC myself. I learned a lot from these and was still chucking them around after I started RC, many many hours spent running around after these. Have been collecting them when ever I see them over the last few years, surprising what is still about.

Cuban803/04/2020 12:40:46
2911 forum posts
1 photos

Ah yes! the old North Pacific rubber models that came in a slender plastic bag and could be found more or less in any toy shop or sometimes in newsagents if they sold a few other novelties.. Great fun and really couldn't fail to perform in the clumsy hands of a six or seven year old as I was in the early 60s. IIRC the smaller version was about 1/6d (7 1/2p) and the larger one was a pocketmoney destroying 2/6d (12 1/2p). Quite an investment so it was wise to find somewhere open to fly them as they could easily go quite a distance if the weather was right.

Very little else that you could buy at that time for that sort of money flew so well and got many of us off onto more complex stuff later on. Do you also remember the little plastic delta catapult gliders that were around at the time? Worked brilliantly straight out of the packet - about 6d (2 1/2p) each, but had a sort of homing instinct for the smallest patches of concrete in parks and grassy areas and would smash them to smithereens if you were unlucky.

Robin Colbourne03/04/2020 16:57:40
552 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Barrie,

A great thread! Only last night I was wondering if it would be possible to 3D print a North Pacific wing joiner, I then woke up this morning to find you had already done it. Very impressive! That piece of plastic is responsible for many small, and not so small, boys and girls learning about varying the centre of gravity position, the effects of changing angle of incidence and what different sizes and shapes of wings might do.

The Astro Gnat was the one of which we had most.The Skeeter was probably the highest performance model with its large prop and lack of draggy and heavy undercarriage. The Sleek Streak was good although a bit dear for meagre pocket money.

We flew Sleek Streaks in a duration competition in the assembly hall (canteen) at work in the 1980s. Times of around 20 seconds were achievable under the 18 foot ceiling. Someone was heard to comment, 'I never knew North Pacific used such high quality competition balsa and rubber in their models', so the winner may not have been quite what it claimed to be!

A bit of North Pacific history here:North Pacific Model Aircraft

There is a some more info here, including a contribution by Nancy Cleveland, daughter of Charles H Cleveland, one of the North Pacific founders North Pacific Models

Barrie Lever03/04/2020 17:41:46
175 forum posts
41 photos

Hello Robin

Those links are very interesting, if you would like the wing clip file I will send it to you, if don't have a 3D printer I will run off a few clips for you. Today the printer is running 'Wu Flu' protection visors for the family but I will not make loads of those, probably finish this evening.

I will figure out a way to make/get hold of a really light prop, 3D printing does not lend itself well to making props with supports and printing to fine/thin edges not being easy.



Robin Colbourne03/04/2020 18:50:54
552 forum posts
17 photos

Barrie, I do have one, although have yet to assemble it. I would love a copy of the wing clip file and a sample when convenient.

Maybe a prop hub on which blades laminated from PET (Lemonade bottles) would be achievable? I've often thought a scaled up Sleek Streak for either rubber or a small electric motor and some 1.7 gram servos would be fun.

Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models)03/04/2020 22:12:41
291 forum posts
79 photos

What a thread! Such a lot to take in - terrific links. My weapon of choice was the Sleek Streek. I managed to pick up a kit on eBay but I’m having problems remembering where I stashed it. There’s very similar models to the Sleek Streek / Skeeter principle on eBay . They are very inexpensive and the props on those remind me of the North Pacific ones. I was probably 6 year old when I first broke a Sleek Streek. I got to 8 or 9 and started buying them from a local News Agent. I had a few Skeeters but the Skeeter didn’t do it for me like the Sleek Streek . I do have some recall of foam models as well - rigid foam. The under carriage on the Streek helped it fly stabilised against the torque of the motor. The Skeet did Skeet for want of a better description - Removing the U/C on a Sleek Streek made it fly totally different. The U/c pulled the cog down , made it more stable.

i was almost 10 and we’d moved to Kingsley . Cars didn’t rush up and down the lane then. So the Sleek Streek would ROG off the lane and circuit around the bushes and trees and sometimes land on the roof or in a Bush. Mothers clothes prop was put to use knocking them out of trees.

I soon hit dads best 1/32 and 1/16 balsa sheet and different wings were made and longer , swept backward , forward , shorter etc . Every flight was logged in the brain , how it trimmed . I even tried making a Tissue and Stick wing when I was about 13 for Sleek Streek. I never bonded to the Skeeter quite the same.

I would make control surfaces that would bend and I could tweak .

I even took my love of Sleek Streek to Hospital with me. When I was 11/ 12 years old I spent 2 years in the Canadian Red Cross , Taplow and flew Sleek Streek off the Dining Table in Ward 3 , also outside the Day Room . One landed on the ward roof and with no clothes prop it stayed there. 1972 /1975 .

Ive been messing about with Foam Models from on eBay that surely were inspired by the North Pacific models . £1.95 to £3 on eBay . Also buying capacitor power models £2to £5 each . They vary in quality but Logan ( my Grandson) who is 7 helps me remove the motor and capacitor into sheet models , foam models. The performance of the Chinese Rubber Foam Sleekish Streekish designs should not be scoffed at. I almost had flyaway , but I admit it was on stretch wound FAI lubed rubber. The double sided tape gave way on the tail plane and it popped looking like it was meant to dethermalise it. If the double sided tape hadn’t failed it would have flown off. It was still climbing motor off. At £1.95? Amazing . Of course my Grandson thought so , but he was 5 then. By the time he’s 9 or 10 like my son I’m sure the XBox will shout at him louder than small inexpensive rubber models.

I only meant to mention the eBay cheapies as they make a good source for props and wheels on wire!

Keep having fun


Just adding - there’s some foam biplane sleek streekish foam models on eBay and a couple of my pals have put Vapor RC in them and they flew very well. 




Edited By Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models) on 03/04/2020 22:17:54

dave windymiller12/04/2020 21:39:37
99 forum posts
134 photos

Ditto, i had dozens of these. I used to spend hours trawling the streets for rubber bands the postey would drop to keep them going.

I also had those plastic deltas with razor sharp wings.  I seem to remember they came in blue or yellow?  With a good launch these things were in excess of 100mph i reckon. How we didnt lose eyes i dont know!!!

Most of mine ended up on my parents roof



Edited By dave windymiller on 12/04/2020 21:44:02

Edited By dave windymiller on 12/04/2020 21:47:51

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