Introduction: How to Make the Albatross Paper Airplane
Fast, long range and equipped with landing gear, the Albatross is a small paper airplane with a wingspan of only 11.5 centimeters. The Albatross' size gives it excellent performance whilst staying small for easy flights indoors. I believe the Albatross is the smallest paper airplane with landing gear, (or at least the only one featured in an instructable) on Instructables.com.
Although the Albatross is among the first "drones" I've designed with landing gear, it isn't the first. The first plane I designed with landing gear was the Tomahawk, which relied on its twin ventral vertical stabilizers as skids. Due to the vertical stabilizer/skids' direct relation to the horizontal stabilizers, the Tomahawk would constantly be thrown out of trim by using its landing gear. Since then, I have tried to incorporate landing gear into my drone designs, without hampering the performance of the aircraft it is to equip. The first drone to have conformal landing gear was the "-1G" variant of the popular Dragonfly paper airplane. The "-1G" was eventually used as a test platform for the Albatross, which was designed from the start to feature landing gear. As it turns out, the Albatross adopted the landing gear shape of the "-1G" itself.
Although few designs and concepts preceded it, the Albatross seems an effective drone paper airplane with landing gear. It is a design I am quite proud of it.
TAA USAF Designation: D148-1
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper (4 boxes per inch)
Step 2: Begin Construction
First, begin by folding your your graph paper in half (excluding three boxes on the perforated side). Once the paper has been folded appropriately, make two marks--17 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 17 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the elevators, rudder, spars and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Once all is marked out, cut out the fuselage.
Solid lines indicate places to cut. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.
Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches
Step 3: Making the Rudder
Begin making your rudder by separating it from the elevators. Then cut one of the two layers of paper where the rudder should be off (I usually cut off the left myself). After you've cut these 6 boxes (3 by 2) off, you may discard them.
Step 4: Making and Taping the Fuselage
After having cut out all of the fuselage. Begin folding it along the dotted lines. After you've folded all the lines correctly, it should appear as it does in the second picture. Then tape your fuselage together at the front, back and across the spars.
Step 5: Applying the Wing and Stapling
Now it is time for you to work with your wing. Cut it out along its lines as shown. Then apply the fuselage to the bottom of the wing with tape. Cut off any excess. Once the wing is in place, flip the airplane over, unfold the landing gear and add two staples to the front (over the counterweight fold).
Step 6: Flight
Unlike other straight-wing paper airplanes of its relative size, the Albatross is a fast little plane. Although it is a paper airplane with lots of wing area, it is able to fly quite quickly. At launch give your Albatross a quick but gentle toss. Landings and storage conditions should be pretty mild for this plane, because of the Albatross' landing gear. Due to its large wing and control surfaces additional devices can be worked into the basic airframe, such as: ailerons, flaps, elevators and a rudder. Enjoy!
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