Snow! Skis! And a kid flies solo!

I’m sitting at my computer tonight drinking coffee and watching snow blow past the window. The fireplace sure feels good! Do you fly off of snow? If not, maybe you’ll want to give it a try! Last winter I threw some quick skis together for the tattered old trainer that we use for all sorts of experiments.  I decided to put together a blog post tonight with some pictures and description of how I accomplished the project. Here goes…

First, I cut some scrap pieces of .032″ aluminum into the necessary sizes for each piece. Then, using a sheet metal brake, I bent the brackets and keels to shape. You could do this with a vise if you don’t have access to a brake. Then I shaped the pointy front ends and curled them up around an old piece of pipe. Everything is held together with pop rivets.


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I also made a little tail ski to replace the tail wheel. It is held in place with three wheel collars.

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Here is a bottom view of the skis. The keels help to keep everything going straight. I tried to grind the rivet heads down as thin as I could. Countersunk rivets might be a good idea.

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This picture shows the nylon spacer that I put in the mains. These are available at most home improvement stores. I also bent the corners of the brackets to provide stops that keep the skis in the desired range of travel. This worked fine, but I’m sure a better solution could be implemented. Make sure that you mount the brackets a little forward of the center on each ski. You want the skis to droop a little in the back so that the tips won’t dig in on landing.

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Now for the flight pictures…

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It was bitterly cold, but flying off the snow was great fun! My daughter got to do her first flight off the buddy cord that day. We froze our fingers and had an all around good time! If you live somewhere with snow, I hope this will inspire you to get out there and try it. Of course there are some commercial skis available also, but if you have access to a few basic shop tools this is a simple project that you can build yourself! Drop me a note; I’d love to hear about your skis or answer any questions that I can.

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