Introduction: How to Make the StratoBolt Paper Airplane

Picture of How to Make the StratoBolt Paper Airplane
The StratoBolt is a small paper airplane developed as a more aerodynamic successor to the SkyOrion paper airplane and as a faster alternative to the comparable Explorer. With very sleek and sharp lines, even visually the StratoBolt appears to be a quick flier. In spite of its small, relatively stubby wings, the StratoBolt can fly surprising far.

The SkyOrion was designed and published prior to the introduction of features such as leading edge root extensions (LERX), and so it did not benefit or even take advantage of these advances. By November 2012, I decided that the SkyOrion had gone long enough without a successor, and so I began an effort to replace it with a better aircraft. This effort culminated in the StratoBolt.

The StratoBolt is quite versatile, and can be used by educators easily.

Some usages for educators could include studies of:
  • Glide ratio
  • Hangtime versus other aircraft
  • Weight and balance
TAA USAF Designation: D265-1

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Required:
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper (4 boxes per inch)
Tape
Scissors
Pencil
Ruler
Stapler

Step 2: Begin Construction

Picture of 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 4 boxes in width, with a sweep of 1 box eliminated every 2 boxes away from the fuselage). 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. Then cut the horizontal stabilizers out.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Fuselage

Picture of 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. Apply one staple in the area of the counterweight.

Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers

Picture of Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers

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.

Once you have finished with the wings, cut out your horizontal stabilizers and slide them through the slit in the fuselage you made earlier. When through, fold them up and apply tape to the underside; then fold down. This will have completed your aircraft.

Step 5: Flight

Picture of Flight

The StratoBolt is very fast, but quite easy to fly--though some trimming of the elevators may be needed. Launches of moderate speed at neutral or negative attitude result in best performance. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, elevators, a trimmable rudder and air brakes. 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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