How to Make the Cyclone Paper Airplane

Introduction: How to Make the Cyclone 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 Cyclone is a small paper "helicopter" designed as a successor to the popular but obsolescent Hoverfly. The Cyclone has more rotors than the Hoverfly, and is capable of landing without throwing the rotors out of trim.

The concept for the Cyclone came around the time the Hoverfly was published because, although successful, the Hoverfly's design left much to be desired. Due to the very small size of the Hoverfly, for some time I could not figure out an alternative configuration to its two rotor design. Only after the design of the Tornado did I have a workable layout--though it would still be several months before I prototyped it. Given the recent resurgence in popularity of these paper helicopters (especially the Tornado), I decided to accelerate efforts to design a Hoverfly successor; from that came the Cyclone.

Like the previous helicopters, the Cyclone is designed for many uses, including as a research testbed for use in classrooms. Some potential experiments this aircraft could be used in include:
  • Air resistance
  • Wing area versus weight hangtime comparisons
  • Wing area adjustment hangtime comparisons
TAA USAF Designation: HD274-1

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper

Step 2: Begin Construction

Begin making your Cyclone by marking out a box of 6 by 9 boxes, with a 2 by 4 additional outcropping on a single sheet of graph paper. At the top, mark a solid line 5 boxes in length, every 2 boxes from the corners of the main box. From this line, mark a dotted line that stretches from the side of the boxes to the other, including the outcropping. Below the vertical lines intersection with the horizontal line, extend them as dotted lines.

Your Cyclone should now look as pictured. Cut the airframe out along the solid outer line.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Rotors and Fuselage Folding

Cut along the solid lines you made previously. These will complete the rotors themselves. Once you've cut each of them accordingly, fold along the dotted lines at the bottom of the fuselage. When this is done, fold along the vertical dotted lines. After this, fold the rotors down along the horizontal dotted line below them. After this is completed, your Tornado should appear as it does in the last photograph.

Step 4: Fuselage Folding and Taping

Fold your fuselage into a doughnut-like shape, then insert the edge of fuselage into the outcropping. Then apply tape to this area as shown.

Step 5: Flight

The Cyclone's flight characteristics reflect those of the similar but larger Tornado. Launches can be just dropping the aircraft or by launching the aircraft inverted with your hand (the technique is to jump while "high-fiving"). The latter is a better method if altitude is limited. Like the Tornado, the Cyclone may not descend straight down. Under certain circumstances, the Cyclone may travel several feet laterally. If your Cyclone is unstable, you may need to adjust the angles of the rotors. Enjoy!

Instructables Design Competition

Participated in the
Instructables Design Competition

Be the First to Share


    • Toys and Games Challenge

      Toys and Games Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge

    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    meh. I made it with regular paper, and sighted it while cutting, so its not that good


    Reply 3 years ago

    It's not meant for regular paper (I presume copy paper), which is heavier than the graph paper it was designed for.

    Poorer performance is not surprising.