Introduction: How to Make the Simple StarDragon Paper Airplane
Fast, long range, and adaptable, the Simple StarDragon is a semi-tailless variant of the fast StarDragon drone sailplane. The two have much in common, and so a Simple StarDragon can be converted to the StarDragon standard. For those making such a conversion, proceed to here.
I decided to design the Simple StarDragon to eliminate the horizontal stabilizers, which use more material and add more weight and drag. The primary need for them was to help keep pitch trimming for aviators less experienced in trimming out other parts of the aircraft similarly. While the Simple StarDragon does not have horizontal stabilizers, it can be fitted with them at any time during or after construction--essentially making it into a regular StarDragon.
TAA USAF Designation: D269-2
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 1 box 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. Along the bottom of the fuselage, measure 4 boxes from the back. At the back, measure 0.5 boxes above the bottom of the fuselage. Then make a diagonal line connecting these two marks.
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 of chord at the root, by 5 boxes in width, with a leading edge sweep of 3 boxes of chord eliminated every 5 boxes away from the fuselage root and a trailing edge sweep of 1 box of chord every 5 boxes from the root). Then cut the wing out. Measure 2 boxes along the crease, measure two boxes upwards from one mark and make another point. Then draw a diagonal line connecting this new mark to the one further away. From the mark you just made, measure one box further away from the one now connected to the line and make a mark. Sketch a line between this mark and the other mark along the crease.
Solid lines indicate places to cut. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.
Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches
Step 3: Making the Fuselage
Cut out your fuselage and fold the counterweight into itself as shown. Then unfold the fuselage and cut the right vertical stabilizer off. Then restore the fold. Fold the fuselage forward at the vertical line on the vertical stabilizer. Once you have made the cut along the marked line, unfold. Now cut along the diagonal line at the keel of the airframe. Once this is done, fold down the spars and skids. Then apply tape where designated.
Step 4: Applying the Wings; Stapling
Cut out your wings and lay them out flat. Align the fuselage over top so the spars align with the wing as shown. Then apply tape. Cut off any excess. Flip the aircraft over and apply tape to the leading edge of the wing above the leading edge root extensions.
Then apply one staple in the area of the counterweight. This will have completed your aircraft.
Step 5: Flight
The Simple StarDragon is a fairly easy airplane to fly, and can be used interchangeably with the regular StarDragon variant (though it may need to be equipped with elevons in the second box row from the wingtip). Launches at moderate to speed at a positive, neutral or negative attitude will result in best performance, though trim changes may be necessary. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, flaps, ailerons, elevators, a trimmable rudder and air brakes. Enjoy!