Introduction: How to Make the AeroGnat Paper Airplane
Fast, long range and simple, the AeroGnat is a tiny "drone fighter" paper airplane optimized for high speed flight.
I decided to develop the AeroGnat from the successful Firefly to make an aircraft that was more capable at high speeds than the latter, which was catered more toward moderate speed. The new plane was fitted with a wing design that had been used previously on other high speed darts like its namesake, the Gnat. The mating of these two components proved itself an excellent combination in flight testing. The AeroGnat performed well when tested and was soon approved for publication on that basis.
TAA USAF Designation: D417-1
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--10 full boxes apart (allow for a further box back behind the airframe). 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 stabilizers, spars and counterweight as shown. The airframe should appear as it does in the first photograph when you have completed its layout.
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). Half of a box in from the wingtip, make a dotted line parallel to the wingtip. 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
Cut out your fuselage and fold its counterweights into place. Cut along the solid lines of the tail then cut away the portion shown. After doing this, fold the fin forward along the dotted line. Fold along the dotted vertical line in the center of the fuselage and then cut along the solid horizontal line. After making the cut, unfold the fuselage and apply tape where designated. Fold the horizontal stabilizers down afterward.
Step 4: Applying the Wings; Stapling
Cut out the wings and pull them through the fuselage as shown. Apply tape where designated and fold the winglets down as pictured. Apply one staple from each side in the area of the counterweights to complete your AeroGnat.
Step 5: Flight
By virtue of its design, the AeroGnat is very predictable in its handling and can be flown quite easily. Origami aviators with experience with other miniature paper airplanes should have little trouble transitioning. Launches should be done at moderate to high speeds at neutral or positive attitudes. Additional surfaces include flaps, ailerons, elevators and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!