Introduction: How to Make the Mite Paper Airplane
The Mite is a simple, fast "drone-fighter" miniature paper airplane designed as a less complex alternative to the very popular SkyGnat. Unlike the latter, the Mite does not require a staple, enabling easier construction.
The Mite was designed shortly after the SkyGnat; between the two is a huge amount of commonality. The Mite was conceived as a smaller, lightweight variant of the SkyGnat without a staple. To test the concept I converted an incomplete SkyGnat airframe, I shortened its spars and fitted a new smaller wing; this prototype met with great success in flight testing. The Mite's performance was found to be on par with the SkyGnat's--in spite of its lack of staples. I found this an excellent result and began work on an instructable for it shortly thereafter.
TAA USAF Designation: D258-1
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--10 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 10 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the rudder and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Then, mark out the wing spars and landing gear. From the back, measure 2 boxes forward and make a solid line 2 boxes long. Measure 1 box back from the beginning of this horizontal line and mark out a dotted vertical line. 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 by 3 boxes in width, and a swept portion in front of this box of 2 boxes eliminated every 3 boxes away from the root). In addition, measure 2 boxes along the crease and 2 boxes upwards from one side and the 1 box forward. Then draw a diagonal line connecting this line the other edge of the line along the crease. This will make the horizontal stabilizers. Then cut it out.
Solid lines indicate places to cut. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.
Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches
Step 3: Making the Fuselage
Begin making your airframe's fuselage by cutting it out and folding the counterweight in. Next, cut one of the vertical stabilizers off and fold the landing gear and spars down. Once this is done, fold the vertical stabilizer forward along dotted vertical line and cut along the solid horizontal line as shown. Then unfold. Once this is complete, tape where designated.
Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers
Cut out and unfold your wing and flip your airframe inverted. Tape the wing to the fuselage by applying tape to the spars, with the overhang grabbing the wing. Cut off any excess tape. Flip the airframe over and then apply tape to the leading edge of the wing that sits atop the leading edge root extensions. Cut out your horizontal stabilizers and thread them through the fuselage beneath the rudder. Fold them up once through and tape them to the fuselage. This application will complete your Mite.
Step 5: Flight
Having similar structures, the Mite's performance is very similar to the SkyGnat. Launches at moderate to high speed at neutral or negative attitudes will give the aircraft its best possible speed and range performance. Launches can be done at a positive attitude, but launch speed should be faster (range may be reduced). Instability can be cured through proper trimming, and so after only a few test flights, the Mite should be able to fly straight very easily. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, flaps, flaperons, elevators, ailerons, spoilers, spoilerons, air brakes and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!