The Inventor

Documentary by Abby Vara and friends. This was a lot of fun to shoot. Met lots of new friends. We’ll be doing a Squirrel building party this summer for sure!

Squirrel Model Airplane

I do a lot of volunteer work at community centers and such. I do workshops to teach people how to make simple rubber-power model airplanes. The issue was that the designs that fly well were all complicated to build.

I would prefabricate some of the parts so that the children would not have to carry out the more complicated or dangerous steps.

One day when I was preparing a workshop for a bunch of children at Jack Purcell Community center (I was in a rush because my ballroom partner Susan was picking me up soon), I cut myself.

It was a nasty cut and I should have gone to emergency. I didn’t want to miss my ballroom so I did that instead. The next day I was able to carry out my workshop but it was obviously quite difficult with a huge dressing on one of my fingers.

I decided to re-invent the simple model plane. After a couple of months (or a month) of contemplating, I finally sat down to finish the design. I started with a list of all the current issues (I had a lot of experience with the various models). For each issue I made another list of candidate solutions. I spent about 80h doing prototypes over the holiday season of 2004-2005. It was fun. I made prototypes with friends, at parties and at home.

I eventually settled on the design that is now known everywhere as the Squirrel. It’s a great flyer and is very easy to make.

If you want to make one, here is a video of how easy it is:

If you want to build one, you should try the video series at The 6m build is to show off and it’s not the best way of building for a beginner.

You can get a kit at

Here are a few flights:

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