Introduction: How to Make the Dragon Paper Airplane
Designed to supplant other miniature cruiser paper airplanes, the Dragon is a miniature paper airplane with long range capabilities. With a wingspan of just 4 inches, this airplane is quite small compared to others, but still has landing gear!
I began designing the Dragon after I realized the Ranger was the last miniature paper airplane I specifically designed as a cruiser since early August 2011. When I realized the even older Cardinal was the last cruiser with a wing shape that was not constant chord, I decided the Dragon would have to differ from the Ranger in that way as well.
Eventually I chose a tapered, high aspect ratio wing for its good glide characteristics and higher efficiency. In flight testing though, the wing showed it needed larger vertical surfaces to accommodate it. As a result, the Dragon adopted the large tail of the Super Tomahawk before it. It flew excellently and proved itself more than worthy of an instructable of its own--and here it is!
Some potential experiments possible with this airframe include:
•Weight and balance
•Hangtime versus other aircraft
TAA USAF Designation: D181-1
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 8 by 10 inch graph paper
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--13 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 15 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the elevators, rudder, spars, landing gear and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Once all is marked out, cut out the fuselage.
After the fuselage is made, take another sheet of paper that is folded in half along the lines of boxes. Mark out the wing as shown (3 boxes in length at the fuselage, with chord decaying 1 box every 8 boxes outwards and 8 boxes in width).
Solid lines indicate places to cut. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.
Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches
Step 3: Making the Rudder and the Fuselage
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 8 boxes (4 by 2) off, you may discard them. Once you've done this, tape your airplane at the marked points.
Step 4: Applying the Wing and Stapling
Now it is time for you to work with your wing. Cut it out and fold along the given lines as shown. Then apply the fuselage to the bottom of the wing with tape. Cut off any excess that goes being the wings' edges. Now that the wing has been mounted, flip your airframe over. Then apply one staple to the airframe around the area of the counterweight.
Step 5: Flight
The Dragon is a relatively simple airplane to fly. Give it a light toss at a neutral attitude when launching. This should give you the longest flights, though conditions may require different procedures. Additional surfaces applicable to the Dragon are rudders, elevators, and ventral fins. Enjoy!