Introduction: How to Make the Skybolt Paper Airplane

Originally developed as a testbed for my paper replica of the Vought F-8 Crusader, the Skybolt soon proved itself to be capable of flying as more than just a testbed. This airplane is a very capable, long range interceptor, as well as a long range "cruise missile".

I made a prototype of the Skybolt before the first Crusader was made. Originally, this plane was designed to test the wing, horizontal, and vertical shapes for the Crusader. Each of these were used on both this airplane, and the Crusader, although the latter differed in wing placement and the addition of ventral fins. The performance of this plane is very similar to another predecessor too, the Orion. The Skybolt and Orion are virtually identical in capabilities.

Aviators who enjoyed the Orion are sure to love the Skybolt too!

Like several other airplanes of its size, the Skybolt does have potential for uses in education. Some usages for educators could include studies of:

  • Glide ratio
  • Hangtime versus other aircraft
  • Weight and balance

TAA USAF Designation: D175-1

Step 1: Materials

Required:
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper
Tape
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil

Step 2: Begin Construction

Start construction of your Skybolt by sketching out the design featured in the first picture. The graph paper this is made on should have one set of boxes folded in half at its crease. The fuselage is 15 boxes in length and has a counterweight of 3 by 2 boxes. One box from the rear of the fuselage, make a mark that stretches 3 boxes forward. Then 2.5 boxes inwards from the rear of the fuselage, make a dotted vertical line.

Once this is done, begin making the wings and horizontal stabilizer. The construction of the wings should be started by sketching a line with a slope (sweep) of 5/6. Along the leading edge, at the point where the thickness of the wing reaches 3 boxes, make a horizontal line that stretches 1.5 boxes inwards. Then connect its edge to that of the papers crease. Make sure that the line connecting the wingtip to the crease lose a box of length in the reach. To make the horizontal stabilizer, mark out 3 boxes that have at least 1 box of clearance behind them. The slope of the leading edge should be 3/2 and the trailing edge 3/1.

Solid lines indicate places to cut. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.

Note
: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Rudder and Fuselage

To start real hands-on work of your Skybolt, cut it out. Then cut one of the two rudders off. Proceed to continue until the aircraft is like it is in the fifth photograph.

Step 4: Constructing the Fuselage

Fold the aft section of the fuselage in half along the dotted vertical line that runs through this area. Once you've folded it, make a cut along the bold line half a box above the bottom of the fuselage. Once you've made this cut, unfold the rudder. Then tape the aircraft at its front, spars, counterweight and opposite the rudder.

Step 5: Assembling the Horizontal Stabilizers

Cut out your horizontal stabilizers. Then put the horizontal stabilizers through the cut area you made under the rudder earlier. Once you've put it through, fold the stabilizers upwards. Then apply tape the their upper sides. Once you've applied tape to both sides, fold the stabilizers downwards, though allow it to retain a dihedral deflection.

Step 6: Making and Applying the Wing

Cut your wing out and unfold it. Flip your airframe inverted and apply tape to the spars. Then join the fuselage and the wing at the spars.

Step 7: Flight

Like the Crusader, the Skybolt is a fast airplane. When launching, a moderately fast throw delivers best performance. For adjustments, modify the angles of anhedral and dihedral of the wings and/or horizontal stabilizers, respectively. Enjoy!

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Bio: I am someone who mass produces paper airplanes and am always developing new designs. I post regular updates on Twitter and Google+. Follow me there ... More »
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