- This article is about the gliders made by the mechanist. For the equipment used by airbenders, see airbender staff.
These gliders are a form of aerial transportation designed by the mechanist, who developed the idea when he saw murals of airbenders and found many Air Nomad gliders lying around the Northern Air Temple. They gave him the idea to build a new life for his son, Teo, up in the air, so he modified the design and made it possible for non-airbenders to fly using his gliders.
In early 100 AG, Team Avatar traveled to the Northern Air Temple after they heard from a storyteller that "air walkers" had been seen around the structure. When they arrived at the temple, they saw that there were several people circling around its towers. At first they thought they were airbenders, but Aang quickly deduced that they were just gliders. When Team Avatar drew closer to the temple, Teo silently challenged Aang to do gliding tricks with him, a challenge the Avatar gladly accepted.
After seeing so many people gliding in the air, Katara was encouraged by Teo to try gliding herself, but her enthusiasm for it was somewhat dampened when she had to make the leap of faith. With extra encouragement and mentoring from Aang, she began to trust in the design and in herself too, finally urging her to make the leap.
The gliders played a key role in the defense of the temple during the battle for the Northern Air Temple. As the only party controlling the sky, the defenders held an advantage over the invading Fire Nation forces and were able to drop different kinds of bombs on them to successfully repel the attackers.
The mechanist's gliders are simple in design. The spars and frame are made from light, flexible wood, and the wing covering appears to be cloth or possibly waxed paper, all of which is fastened with twine. A lack of moving parts makes the glider simple and quick to produce.
The gliders are monoplanes by design and do not use an engine or airbending for propulsion. Instead they are designed to glide on various forms of air currents, including thermals, ridge lifts, and lee waves. Launching is by foot, leap, or, in Teo's case, a wheeled launch, usually from a cliff edge. They have no moving parts and are controlled by the rider shifting their center of gravity.
- The first gliders are thought to have been invented by a multi-talented Chinese innovator known as Lu Ban, referred to as the "Asian Leonardo da Vinci". He supposedly invented a piloted kite that could stay aloft for many hours, up to as long as three days.
- Concept art of The Legend of Korra has shown an Equalist using a kite to fly.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (November 4, 2005). "The Northern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.