Introduction: How to Make the Tomahawk Paper Airplane

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

Smaller than a child's hand, the Tomahawk is a more advanced--yet simpler variant of the highly successful Scout paper airplane. It has landing skids and has flush spars, giving it better speed and survivability characteristics.

I designed this as a direct follow-on to remedy a few issues I saw facing the Scout over the long run. Although I did find the Scout as an effective <50 flight paper airplane, I found that it deformed by the time 60 flights had been made, so I designed a stronger airplane, which eventually became the Tomahawk.

TAA USAF Designation: D134-1   

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--15 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 15 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made.

Then make the tailplane (2 by 5 boxes), counterweight (2 by 3 boxes) and spars (1 by 4 boxes) as shown. Proceed to then make the wings by marking out a high-aspect ratio wing (14 by 2 boxes). Follow the photograph markings. Once all is marked out, cut out the fuselage and wings. 

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

Step 3: Make the Fuselage

The first picture is how your airframe should appear after you've cut it out, but before you've folded it. The second shows how your fuselage should look after it has been folded completely.

Step 4: Tape the Fuselage

Now tape your fuselage together at the front, back and across the spars as noted.

Step 5: Apply Tape to the Spars

In preparation of the application of the wings, apply tape on the spars so that the adhesive side faces upwards. These strips of tape will go on to become the sole holders of the wing when the airframe is finished.

Step 6: Mark the Wing and Mate It to the Fuselage

Make a mark on the center line of the wing (7 boxes from either side) with a pencil. Turn your fuselage inverted and apply the wings to it. After this, your Tomahawk will be complete.

Step 7: Flight

Surprisingly for its size, the Tomahawk is remarkably forgiving and tough. With strong spars, it is also one of a select few planes on this scale that can perform relatively tough, fast maneuvers. Before flight, make sure the tail has an "M" configuration.