Introduction: How to Make the Super Starhawk Paper Airplane

Picture of How to Make the Super Starhawk Paper Airplane
Fast, long range, stable and very versatile, the Super Starhawk is a small paper airplane I designed to supplant the superb Starhawk. because it has two more skids than the original Starhawk, no part of the fuselage touches the ground, reducing wear. Additionally, in the air and on the ground, the Super Starhawk is more stable and can fly at higher speeds. Due to their great similarities, the Super Starhawk and original Starhawk look identical from above. Because their shape is common, the Super Starhawk can be stored wingtip to wingtip next to other Starhawks easily.

Since the Starhawk's publication, I had wanted a comparable plane that could do even more in just about the same package. Although other airplanes like the StarVigilante were tried, they did not carry over many, if any, of the strong points offered by the Starhawk's design. Early in May 2012, a new idea hit me. Rearranging the structure, I found I could make an airplane with a very similar layout. From this effort came an additional two skids, which raised the design from its original "bicycle" configuration. The XA166-1 design performed so well in testing that a new variant called the YA166-2 was derived from it. (The YA166-2 will likely be featured in its own instructable in the near future).

Educators could easily use this versatile paper airplane to demonstrate:
  • Glide ratio
  • Hangtime versus other aircraft
  • Weight and balance
  • Flight dynamics
TAA USAF Designation: A166-1

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Required:
1 Piece of 8.5 by 11 inch Paper
Tape
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil

Step 2: Length and Corner Folding; Cutting the Trailing Edge

Picture of Length and Corner Folding; Cutting the Trailing Edge

Take your paper and fold it along its length. Then pull the corners on one end and fold them into the center. Then unfold the pair and cut them away along the crease. You may then discard these pieces. Proceed to the other side and make corner folds here.

Step 3: Nose and Corner Folding

Picture of Nose and Corner Folding

Unfold the paper so it lies flat with the corners folded in at one end. Then pull the tip of the nose to the rear edges of these corner folds. The pull the nose down over the rear of these folds too. Then make a corner fold here on each side.

Step 4: Preparation for Landing Gear Folding

Picture of Preparation for Landing Gear Folding

Begin by undoing the corner folds you just made. Proceed to squash them down so the edge that had been touching the center crease touches the crease made by the corner fold itself. Repeat on the other side. Then open the folds. Pull the paper down to one side, and then pull it outwards, reversing the fold at each vertex. Repeat on the other side.

Step 5: Wing and Tail Folding

Picture of Wing and Tail Folding

Fold the airplane in two along the center crease. Using your ruler, find the points on the leading and trailing edges where it is 0.75 inches above the center crease and make marks. From here, go to the outboard landing gear skids, and measure 0.875 inches inward from their tips and make marks. Now fold the wings down with the crease of the wing root connecting the two marks made previously. Repeat on the other side. Once this is done, unfold the wings. Pull the rear tip upwards until its trailing edge is perpendicular with the wing root, crease, then unfold. Open the fuselage, reverse the folds and pull the tail through. Then fold the wings back down again.

Step 6: Elevator Cutting and Folding

Picture of Elevator Cutting and Folding

Fold your airplanes wings down and measure 1 inch outwards from the fuselage along the trailing edge. Make a mark, and the measure another inch further, and make another mark. From each of these marks, measure inwards while parallel to the fuselage 3/8 of an inch. Then cut along both of these lines. Once cut, fold them both up and crease as shown.

Step 7: Landing Gear Folding and Taping

Picture of Landing Gear Folding and Taping

Fold the landing gear so that the tips of the skids align with the straight edges they are a part of. Fold the inner ones as far as you can whilst keeping them parallel to the fuselage; and the outer ones at the mark while aligning them to remain parallel to the fuselage. After this is done, flip the aircraft over an tape where directed along its leading edge, under its wings, and at the tail.

Step 8: Flight

Picture of Flight

Like the original Starhawk, the Super Starhawk is a nimble flier that can fly long ranges with great stability at a great rate. Control surfaces should be trimmed as required, based on the launch speed, attitude and desired range. For best ranged flights, a launch of moderate speed at neutral attitude with the elevators deflected at ~20 degrees is best. For fast launches, the attitude can be maintained, but the elevator deflection must be reduced. For slow launches, similar trim adjustments must be made. If the landing gear skids are converted to pods (conversion to the A166-1R standard; as seen in pictures 3 and 4), then elevator deflection should be 0 degrees and launch speed should be moderate to fast. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, elevators, ailerons, elevons, flaps, flaperons, decelerons, spoilers, spoilerons, nacelles/pods 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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