Instructables
Picture of Low Mass Toy Airplane Fuselage
This was originally intended for the toss-it contest, but it didn't quite fit, I got hung up on the video, and they the local virus swept through the family and I never got around to finishing it. Now that the toss-it contest is over, I can just publish without the video, and maybe it will still be interesting...

This isn't so much plans for a particular paper airplane, as a concept and technique that could be used for a whole new style of airplane, not TOO much more complex or expensive than the typical all-paper airplane.
 
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Step 1: Weighing Paper

Picture of Weighing Paper
Here, we have a regular 8.5x11 inch piece of paper. It weighs about 4.6 grams (Isn't it fun to mix those metric and american units?) If we fold this into a paper airplane, it will still weigh the same (of course), but only PART of the weight will be used in "functional" parts of the plane like the wing surfaces. In fact, in a model like the classic Dart, only about half of the paper will end up in the wings (and a good part of that is folded in multiple layers, so it's not particularly efficiently applied to the wings.

Step 2: Weighing Other Things.

Picture of Weighing Other Things.
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So what else is shaped like the fuselage (body) of an airplane? How about one of those long, skinny balloons that are typically twisted into animal shapes?

One of these surprisingly rigid when inflated, at least compared to a piece of paper. You can attach wings and a tail with tape, weight the nose, and create a number of interesting plane designs. And it's still cheap and still easy to experiment with!

Here we have some balloons, weight in at 1.6 to 2.1 grams. Slightly more when inflated, of course (thereby demonstrating that air has mass!) That may not seem like a lot less than the paper when you're looking at the un-inflated balloon, but that 2.1g balloon is about five feet long when inflated. That's either a very large plane, or ... we can use PART of the balloon!
elecsl4 years ago
Very interesting design and I would like to try it. Here another design I tried. Anyway I appreciate how you have present this. thanks
macrumpton5 years ago
it would be interesting to make a kite using balloons for spars and lightweight dry cleaner bags for the cover. A classic rogallo wing would be a good choice:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogallo_wing
And it would have the advantage over a sparless version in that it would hold its shape better in a low wind/light load situation.

If the balloons were black and it was sunny you might even get some hot air lift.
chardster6 years ago
ive done this before its very fun got a couple stuck on the roof and in the trees
rimar20006 years ago
Very good idea.
Pretty cool! Looks awesome to try out, I might do this if I get the balloons. +1 rating!