Introduction: How to Make the StratoGnat Paper Airplane
Fast, long range and small, the StratoGnat is an updated version of the very popular SkyGnat miniature paper airplane. The two aircraft are very comparable, but the StratoGnat has a shorter, more highly swept vertical tail and ventral fins for stability. The horizontal stabilizers are also more adaptable than on the SkyGnat, as they can be adjusted to have dihedral or anhedral as well as neutral deflection.
Since its publication in October 2012, the SkyGnat has become one of my most popular aircraft. As a result, I have been quite interested in designing more capable successor to improve on its strengths. The StratoGnat came as an idea on how to improve the performance of the SkyGnat whilst still retaining a large amount of commonality to ease learning requirements. Originally, the StratoGnat prototype lacked ventral fins, and had some difficulties as a result. With the addition of these surfaces, the aircraft became much more stable, even at high speeds. The prototype showed itself to be worthy of documentation and the type was earmarked an instructable.
TAA USAF Designation: D288-1
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper (4 boxes per inch)
Step 2: Begin Construction
Fold your paper in half so that half a box is at the crease line. Make a mark, then measure 6 boxes back and make another mark. From this second mark, measure half a box up, three boxes behind. From this third mark, measure and mark 3 boxes upwards over 1 box backwards. One box in front of and below the last mark; then make a line stretching two boxes forward from this fifth mark. Beyond this, the pictures explain the other marks needed with less confusion. 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 (2 boxes in length by 3 boxes in width, and a swept portion in front of this box of 1 box eliminated every 3 boxes away from the fuselage). 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 constructing your fuselage by folding the counterweights into the fuselage. Once they have been folded, unfold the fuselage and cut off the right vertical stabilizer. Once this is done, restore the fold. After doing this, fold the vertical stabilizer forward along the dotted line that indicates the center of what will be the slot for the horizontal stabilizers, then cut. After this cut has been made, cut away the bottom of the fuselage beneath the diagonal line near the rear of the fuselage. Following this cut, cut along the vertical line of the ventral fins. Apply tape where designated and fold the ventral fins as shown.
Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers; Stapling
Cut out your StratoGnat's wings and lay them beneath the fuselage. Apply tape where designated to secure them to the fuselage. After securing the wings, cut out the horizontal stabilizers. Thread them through their slit and then secure them with tape as designated. Apply one staple to the counterweight area of the StratoGnat to complete it.
Step 5: Flight
The StratoGnat is quite straightforward and easy to fly; anyone with SkyGnat experience should have very little difficulty in handling the aircraft. Launches should be at high speed at neutral or positive attitudes. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, flaps, elevators and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!