Introduction: How to Make the Starship 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!

The Starship is a fast, long range miniature paper airplane with many advanced features found on very few other paper aircraft. These include its swept wings, leading edge root extensions (LERX) and its overall triplet configuration. Because of these surfaces, the Starship is very stable, quick and efficient. Owing to its canards, stall characteristics with this aircraft are excellent and recovery is inherent. This trait makes the Starship an excellent aerial demonstrator for usages in the classroom and at home.

Even before the publication of the similar StarVoyager, I had been planning its successor. The StarVoyager had been limited by the fact that it was simply an interim design with a new wing fitted to an otherwise 9 month old airframe design. In addition, it suffered from parasitic drag using elevator trim to raise the nose in flight, reducing its performance and was not equipped with newer features like LERX from better stability and handling. Performance in spite of these limitations was admirable, but I wished to design a newer, better aircraft. This effort culminated in the Starship.

Some potential experiments possible with this airframe include:
•Glide ratio
•Weight and balance
•Hangtime versus other aircraft
•How surface inequality can affect aircraft (geometry/shape studies)
•Flight dynamics

TAA USAF Designation: D250-1

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch Graph paper

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--16 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 16 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the rudder, wing and canard spars, landing gear and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Then, below the rudder, mark a line that stretches 3 boxes. 1.5 boxes back from the beginning of this line, make a dotted line vertically. 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 (3 by 12 boxes). The rate of chord decay on the leading edge should be 2 boxes of chord every 3 boxes of span. The rate of chord decay on the trailing edge should be 1 box every 3 boxes of span. Then mark out the horizontal stabilizers as 2 by 3, plus a swept portion with a sweep of 1 box of chord decaying every 3 boxes outwards from the wing root.  To make the canards, measure 3 boxes at the root; the rate of chord decay on the leading edge should be 1 box of chord every 2 boxes of span. The rate of chord decay on the trailing edge should be 1 box every 4 boxes of span. Then cut these out.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Fuselage

Begin making the fuselage of your Starship by folding the counterweight in as shown. Unfold the fuselage and cut off the right vertical stabilizer. Then restore this fold after this is done. Fold down the wing and canard spars and landing gear as shown. Fold the rear fuselage forward at the vertical dotted line beneath the vertical stabilizer and then cut along the solid line. This will be where the horizontal stabilizers will be placed. Unfold the vertical fin and then apply tape where designated.

Step 4: Applying the Canards and Wings

Align the canards below their spars as shown and apply tape where designated to mount the canards. Once these are in place, position the wings underneath their spars in the correct placement and apply tape. On each of these surfaces, cut off any excess. Flip the airframe out of its inverted position and apply take to the wing in the area of the wing roots/LERX.

Step 5: Applying the Horizontal Stabilizers; Stapling

Cut out your horizontal stabilizers and slide them through the slit in the fuselage you cut earlier. Apply tape to keep them in place. Once these are in place, apply 3 staples to the counterweight area. 2 from the left side, 1 from the right. These staples will complete your Starship.

Step 6: Flight

The Starship is a fast and stable paper airplane, similar to the less advanced StarVoyager. Launches should be done at negative or neutral attitude at a moderate pace. Owing to its canards, post-stall recovery for the Starship is better than most other paper airplanes. Additional applicable surfaces include slats, ailerons, elevators, elevons, flaps, flaperons, spoilers, spoilerons, a trimmable rudder and air brakes. Enjoy!

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