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Spooler Pod / Hooks    R&D

"Improving Reliability of Pop-pod Boost Gliders

by use of Spooler Pods and Cast "L" Hooks."

2006 R&D at NARAM-48
First Place

Southern Neutron Team
George Gassaway, Ed LaCroix, Terrill Willard, & Ryan Woebkenberg

Update April 10, 2010

Cast Glider L-hooks are now for sale!

Go here for more information


A B/G with Spooler Pod & "L" Hooks

4 different "L" Hooks

Report Summary:

This report is on the development of a pop-pod system which addresses two significant problems for those who fly Boost Gliders.

One problem was the pop-pod getting hung up on the glider after ejection, commonly called a Red Baron. Through a series of design improvements and testing, a pop-pod system called "Spooler" was developed. The Spooler ejects off the nose section, which tumbles down safely, exposing a wrapped up (spooled) streamer in the main pod so it can unspool and bring the main pod down safely

The other problem was how the glider attaches to the pod. Common hook attachment methods are sometimes too loose so the glider comes off early, too tight so the glider does not come off of the pod at all, or inconsistent fit between different pods and gliders of the same design. This problem was

first attacked by the use of a "universal" cast glider hook design, later sold commercially by Apogee Components. However, that design had some drawbacks in allowing gliders to come off a bit too easily, and were somewhat large. So, a dual interlocking hook system was developed, which

did not allow the glider to come off until the pod slid backwards a certain distance (usually 1/4") at ejection. Called the "L Hook" due to the hooks being similar to very short but wide "L's", they also have a lower profile than the Apogee Universal hooks. Being cast parts, they have a consistency of fit

that allows any glider to be attached to and flown by any pod that uses the same hook size.

When combined, a Spooler Pod and cast L hooks make for a very reliable pop-pod system for Boost Gliders.


Click here for a PDF Copy of the full Spooler Pod and Glider hooks R&D report. (11.9 MB)

Click here for a PDF Copy of the Drawings Index. (12 KB)

Consult the Project PDF files above for full information.

Original Spooler 18mm
June 1990

Next 1990 Spooler- streamer on nose section
(Streamer on nose later deleted as not needed for NAR)

13mm Spooler noses for FAI and for NAR

1998 FAI Spooler P:od for 11mm
engines, plus Piston Latch

NAR 18mm Spooler Pod

NAR 13mm Spooler Pod

Apogee Cast Glider Hooks

"L Hooks" Interlocking Glider-Pod Hooks

Basic parts and assembly
for an 18mm Spooler Pod

Wide range of Spooler Pods and Gliders using
L-Hooks. BT-55 Spooler Pod at Top

1998 FAI S4B Glider with L Hook and DT

FAI Glider with Piston Latch on Pylon

A sized glider with L Hook sand Spooler Pod

L Hook on Glider and Pod Pylon

Apogee Universal Hooks and Mold

Four different "L" Hooks

Top: Master L Hook parts placed for making RTV Mold, with existing mod below

Alumiite Resin in place, starts to gel in 2-3 minutes

Hook areas starting to gel, note color change. you would want to have applied the plastic backing sheet before gelling starts.

Gelling changing over to hardening. This pour is worthless since here was no backing sheet was applied

Two sets of raw cast hook parts, with plastic backing sheets, and a third still in the mold (right). After curing hard, the raw cast pieces can be removed then trimmed and cleaned up.

RTV mold and assembled Pod Hook (side plate glued on), plus Glider Hook at bottom

A bunch of cast L Hook sets.

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