Introduction: How to Make the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet Paper Airplane

About: Paper airplane maker: 400+ designs so far and more in development!

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18Hornet is a multirole aircraft now in service with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Since the retirement of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the F/A-18 and its derivatives the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler have been backbones of the United States naval aviation fighting force. For this reason, a replica in tribute to the Hornet has certainly been earned.

This replica of the F/A-18 Hornet was designed by papercrafter408 and given to me for publication in June 2012. For greater ease and simplicity in construction, I made some minor modifications after flight testing. I have found this replica very capable and its performance superb. This has been a project I have been very proud to play a part in, as I have found this airplane so enjoyable to work with. I believe anyone else who likes modern aviation will be quite amused too.

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper

Step 2: Begin Construction

Start construction of your Hornet replica by sketching out the design featured in the first picture. The graph paper this is made on should have one set of boxes folded in half at its crease. The fuselage is 14 boxes in length and has a counterweight of 3 by 2 boxes. One box from the rear of the fuselage, make a solid line along the graph line 0.5 boxes above the crease that stretches 3 boxes forward. Then 2.5 boxes inwards from the rear of the fuselage, make a dotted vertical line. The layout of the lines is complex, so it is easier to show than explain. Then cut it out.

Once the fuselage has been laid out, begin marking out the wings and horizontal stabilizer. The horizontal stabilizer's leading edge should have a sweep that for every box further from the root, a box of chord decays. The trailing edge should decay one row of boxes of chord every three boxes. For the wing, Make two marks four boxes apart. The chord should decay one box every three boxes away from the root. The trailing edge should have a decay of chord of 0.5 boxes every 9 boxes. Once you have marked each of these surfaces out, you may cut them 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 find the dotted vertical line 0.625 inches forward if the rear of the airplane. Fold it and make a cut along the solid line made along the fuselage. Unfold after making this cut and begin folding along other dotted lines. Fold counterweight down into itself and then into the fuselage; and the tail fins along their two sets of dotted lines. Then unfold and tape where shown and directed to.

Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers

Unfold your wings and align your airframe above it. The spars should be over the second row from the chord when tape is applied. Excess that hangs over the leading and/or trailing edges should be trimmed. Tape should also be applied to the underside of the wing where the vertical stabilizer mounts connect. Once this is done, flip your airframe back, right-side up. Unfold your horizontal stabilizers and slide them through the fuselage. Apply tape to the undersides of the horizontal stabilizers as shown. This will complete your Hornet replica.

Step 5: Flight

The Hornet replica is a fairly simple and easy flier. Launches can be done at any attitude with a moderate to fast toss. For flights of the longest range possible, a launch at neutral attitude at moderate speed is necessary. Additional applicable surfaces to this replica include slats, flaps, flaperons, ailerons, elevators, rudders, and two sets of air brakes. Enjoy!