Introduction: How to Make the Spirit Paper Airplane

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

A multi-role, long range and stunt-capable paper airplane, the Spirit (perhaps more commonly known as the Spirit of America) is a very good paper airplane. Designed by Kevin Saunders, this little aircraft buzzes around to far away places or performs a stunt before your eyes. Featured on YouTube and its very own, the Spirit and its companion the American Flyer, which has become quite popular in recent years.

TAA USAF Designation: UF108-1

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8.5 by 8.5 inch Paper
Scissors (elevators only)
"Spirit of..." Templates

Step 2: Begin Folding

Start by folding one corner of paper to the one on the other side's bottom. Then fold the other corners down into the center (although not equally). 

Step 3: Nose Folding

Fold the nose down until its tip goes half an inch below the bottoms of the corner folds previously made, then pull the nose back up and open. Fold the non-centered corners up so their bottom meets parallel with the crease that was perpendicular. Do this on both sides. Before doing anything else, also fold the top of the nose down to previously made nose fold. Then fold it all back along the original corner fold creases.

Step 4: Fuselage and Nose Folding

Fold the paper into the center along the preexisting crease. Once this is done, the paper should appear as it does in the second picture. Once this is done, fold the top of the nose down the other preexisting crease. Flip the paper over and then fold the corners into the center as shown.

Step 5: Wing Folding

About 3/4 to 1 inch above the center fold in the paper, fold the wing down. Do this on both sides.

Step 6: Vertical Stabilizer Folding

From the back of the nose folding to the back of the fuselage at the wing root, fold up the paper. Once you've folded it up, fold it back down and then open the fuselage. Pull the paper up through the fuselage. 

Step 7: Taping

Taping your Spirit paper airplane is a simple task to do. Tape the front and back of the fuselage together. 

Step 8: Flight

Like most paper aircraft, the Spirit just needs a good throw. To make this plane go long distances or perform aerobatic maneuvers and stunts, give it a swift throw in the direction you want it to go. You may also try installing a paper clip for catapult launches as detailed here.

If your Spirit does well on its maiden voyage, you have successfully finished your aircraft. If your airplane experiences flight issues, you may need to make elevators as directed in the next step.


Step 9: Elevator Construction

Sometimes your Spirit will need to have elevators made for it to keep it from pitching down and diving. To do this, cut your paper airplane's wings in to places with no more than an inch of trailing edge between them. Remember to keep the cuts parallel with the wing root and fuselage too.

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