How to Make the Gnat Paper Airplane

Introduction: How to Make the Gnat Paper Airplane

About: I am someone who mass produces paper airplanes and am always developing new designs. I post regular updates on Twitter. Follow me there to keep up with the latest developments!
Designed as a replacement for the Super Orion drone-fighter paper airplane, the Gnat is an even smaller paper airplane with a semi-tailless configuration for minimal size, weight and drag. In addition to serving as its successor, the Gnat has also taken the Super Orion's title as my smallest aircraft. It has a wingspan of only 1.25 inches, a length of just 1.75 inches and a height of a mere 1.5 inches.

The design period for the Gnat began a couple weeks after the Super Orion was posted. During this time, I considered several potential shapes. Over time, the horizontal stabilizers were gradually reduced in size and eventually omitted entirely. The wing was retained for its commonality with the Super Orion and many other contemporaries, where it is more commonly used as a horizontal stabilizer. Eventually, flight testing of the Gnat was begun and the aircraft performed excellently. The aircraft proved itself a suitable successor for the slightly larger Super Orion and I decided it was a suitable aircraft to make an instructable on.

Just like the Super Orion, the Gnat is very adaptable, and is suitable for use as a fighter-interceptor, research testbed, and stunt airplane.

Some usages for educators could include studies of:
  • Glide ratio
  • Hangtime versus other aircraft
  • Weight and balance

TAA USAF Designation: D194-1

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 10.5 by 8 inch graph paper (4 boxes per inch)

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--9 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 9 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, just behind the counterweight, mark a line that stretches 3 boxes back. Once all is marked out, cut out the fuselage.

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 Rudder and Making and Taping the Fuselage

Begin cutting out the fuselage.Then fold along the dotted lines. Begin making your rudder by separating it from the other vertical stabilizer. Then cut one of the two layers of paper where the rudder should be off (I usually cut off the right myself). After you've cut these boxes off, you may discard them. After you've folded all the lines correctly, you should now cut along the line in the middle of the fuselage. Do this by folding the fuselage to the right, making a cut, and repeating the fold to the left. Then tape your fuselage together at the front, back (against the vertical stabilizer) and across the counterweight fold.

Step 4: Making the Wing and Stapling

Cut out your Gnat's wing and put it through the hole in the fuselage. Fold the wing up and apply tape to it. Once taped, fold the wingtips down along the dotted line. When the wingtips have been made, unfold them and the wings and apply one staple to the front of the airplane at the counterweight.

Step 5: Flight

The Gnat is a small, fast drone paper airplane, with handling characteristics similar to the larger Super Orion. At launch give the airplane a quick toss for the fastest, furthest flights. Additional surfaces applicable include slats, elevons/flaperons, a trimmable rudder, and air brakes. Enjoy!

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9 years ago on Introduction

Built it. I like that it's easy and quick to build.

oh man! i sorta forgot about the Me-163! but i still think of the small gliding triangle, the Lippisch-DM1


9 years ago on Step 3

This is a little confusing but its cool!!!!