How to Make the Locust Paper Airplane

Introduction: How to Make the Locust 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 Locust is a sleek, fast miniature paper airplane that appears like a small fighter jet. Similar to the Orion, the homage to common fighter jet design was largely unintentional, but nonetheless well represented.

The Locust was designed as a smaller alternative to the comparable Super SkyManx, around the same time as the SkyGnat. The Locust was to supplant the Super SkyManx, while the SkyGnat was to complement the Gnat. In flight testing, the Locust excelled, demonstrating its clean shape was very aerodynamic and capable. Although the Locust flew before the SkyGnat, the Locust was held to make way for other projects--the SkyGnat being one of them.

Given its shape, I believe the Locust could be used as a small replica (albeit perhaps inaccurate in certain regards) for many real aircraft. Additionally, the Locust has great potential for usage by educators, including studies of:
  • Glide ratio
  • Hangtime versus other aircraft
  • Weight and balance
TAA USAF Designation: D252-1

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8.5 by 11 inch 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--11 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 11 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the rudder and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Then, mark out the wing spars and landing gear. 1.5 boxes back from the beginning of this line, make a dotted line vertically. 1 box in from the back, measure 2 boxes forward and make a solid line 2 boxes long. 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 (1 box of constant chord at the root, with a 1 by 3 rectangular trailing edge behind a 2 by 3 box area of wing with a sweep of 2 boxes of chord eliminated every 3 boxes away from the fuselage). Then cut the wing out. Measure 2 boxes along the crease, measure two boxes upwards from one mark and make another point. Then draw a diagonal line connecting this new mark to the one further away. From the mark you just made, measure one box further away from the one now connected to the line and make a mark. Sketch a line between this mark and the other mark along the crease. Then cut the horizontal stabilizers 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 and unfold the fuselage and cut the right vertical stabilizer off. Then restore the fold. Fold the counterweight into itself as shown. Then fold the fuselage forward at the vertical line beneath the vertical stabilizer. Once you have made the cut along the marked line, unfold. Apply tape where designated, and cut off any excess.

Step 4: Applying the Wings and Horizontal Stabilizers

Cut out your wings and lay them out flat. Align the fuselage over top so the spars align with the wing as shown. Then apply tape. Cut off any excess. Flip the aircraft over and apply tape to the leading edge of the wing above the leading edge root extensions.

Once you have finished with the wings, cut out your horizontal stabilizers and slide them through the slit in the fuselage you made earlier. When through, fold them up and apply tape to the underside; then fold down. This will have completed your aircraft.

Step 5: Flight

Although it appears like a highly advanced fighter jet, the Locust is actually very simple to fly.  Launches at moderate to high speed at neutral or negative attitudes will give the aircraft its best possible speed and range performance. Launches can be done at a positive attitude, but launch speed should be faster (range may be reduced). Pitch and directional instability can also be cured through proper trimming, and so after only a few test flights the aircraft should be able to fly straight and level easily. (In testing, the Locust often needed slight nose up trim, so this may be required frequently). Additional applicable surfaces include slats, flaps, flaperons, elevators, ailerons, spoilers, spoilerons, air brakes and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!

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