Introduction: How to Make the Trekker Paper Airplane
Fast, long range and tiny, the Trekker paper airplane is an aerodynamic "drone cruiser" paper airplane. The Trekker is designed to be a more conventional complement to the Traveler series.
The Trekker's development was initiated after the debut of the SkyTraveler. While a capable performer, I knew that the butterfly tail configuration could be tricky for new origami aviators to work with. To address this, I decided to develop a new variant with an upright tail fin. Most of the design of the Traveler was retained, with only the tail being changed. I constructed a prototype quickly and began testing it. Testing went smoothly and the aircraft was approved for publication shortly thereafter.
Some potential experiments possible with this airframe include:
- Glide ratio
- Weight and balance
- Hangtime versus other aircraft
- How surface inequality can affect aircraft (geometry/shape studies)
- Physics experiments
TAA USAF Designation: D372-1
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper
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--11 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 (1 box of constant chord at the root; a leading edge sweep of 1 box of chord decaying every 4 boxes outward from the constant chord box; and a trailing edge sweep of 1 box of decay along the 5 boxes of wingspan). This will complete the wings. 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. Apply tape where designated.
Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers; 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. 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. Then apply one staple in the area of the counterweight. This will have completed your aircraft.
Step 5: Flight
The Trekker is a simple paper airplane and handles with great docility. Launches should be done at moderate speed at neutral attitude. Test flights should be conducted to check the aircraft. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, flaps, flaperons, elevators, ailerons, spoilers, spoilerons, air brakes and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!