Introduction: How to Make the SkyDragonfly Paper Airplane

Quick, long range and aerodynamic, the SkyDragonfly is a miniature "drone cruiser" paper airplane fitted with canards. It is meant to replace the similarly configured Ascender.

The design resulted from an effort with the simple goal of producing an aircraft dissimilar to others I have produced. To this end, I revisited the shape of an unpublished design which I had explored in 2013. After making some adjustments, the SkyDragon proved itself able in flight testing. As a result of this, I anticipate more work with canards in the future.

TAA USAF Designation: D442-1

Step 1: Materials

Required:
1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper

Scissors

Ruler

Tape

Pencil

Stapler

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--12 full boxes apart (allow for a further box back behind the airframe). Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 12 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the stabilizers, spars and counterweight as shown. To avoid confusion, one line you will cut along has been omitted from the photograph.

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 3 boxes outward from the constant chord box; and a trailing edge sweep of 1 box of decay along the 4 boxes of wingspan). This will complete the wings.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Fuselage; Stapling

Cut out your fuselage, cut the vertical solid line between the counterweights and canards. Then fold its counterweights into place. Cut away one of the vertical stabilizers as shown in the fifth photograph.

Fold along the dotted horizontal lines then tape where indicated. After making the necessary taping, cut away the portion of the rear fuselage below the diagonal line. Then apply one staple in the area of the counterweight.

Step 4: Applying the Wings

Cut out your SkyDragonfly's wings and lay them beneath the fuselage as shown. Apply tape where designated to secure them to the spars. Apply tape to the LERX joint where noted. This will complete the aircraft.

Step 5: Flight

The SkyDragonfly, despite being a cruiser, flies very much like a dart and will tend to go where it is pointed. Because of the novelty of this configuration, I do recommend new origami aviators use more conventional designs beforehand to increase their familiarity with aircraft of this size.

Launches should be conducted at a moderate speed at a neutral or positive attitude. Test flights should be conducted to see what trim (if any) is required. Additional applicable surfaces include ailerons, elevators (canard trim), flaps, slats, air brakes and a trimmable rudder. 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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