How to Make the Moth Paper Airplane

Introduction: How to Make the Moth 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!

Designed to answer the requests of many, the Moth is a neat little paper airplane with a most unusual configuration. Over the summer, I received many requests for paper airplanes with delta wings and now I have begun to answer them with this bird. Two deltas, one inverse, one conventional--in a biplane configuration no less. As far as unusual shaping goes, I don't think there are many that can top this design. This airplane's shape is just plain new to paper aviation.

The inspiration for the Moth's shape was an RC plane (I forget the name right now, but I will find it and post it later); shown to me by a fan. It was very similar in configuration, though it did differ in that it was semi-tailless and did not have horizontal stabilizers. That plane's creators' ideas were definitely incorporated into this design.

As for what the Moth can do, I have found it a very fast and very stable drone paper airplane. With its two wings, it needs ballast just to keep it from stalling. This thing can lift a ton compared to its contemporaries. I am quite sure people can load small objects like toothpicks into the nose.

In short, this plane is an excellent choice for cadets training and/or racing in the classroom...(I don't condone interrupting classes though, so please respect your instructors' wishes--thank you).

TAA USAF Designation: D172-1

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Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper (4 boxes per inch)

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 13 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the elevators, spars rudder and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Then, two boxes back from the rear of the counterweight, mark a line that stretches 5 boxes further back. 2.5 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 wings as shown (5 boxes in length by 5 boxes in width, and a swept portion in front of this box of 1 box eliminated every 1 box away from the fuselage). On one, half of a box in from the wingtip, make a dotted line parallel to the wingtip. Then cut it out.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Rudder

Begin making your rudder by separating it from the elevators. Then cut one of the two layers of paper where the rudder should be off (I usually cut off the left myself). After you've cut these 6 boxes (3 by 2) off, you may discard them.

Step 4: Making and Taping the Fuselage

After having cut out all of the fuselage. Begin folding it along the dotted lines. After you've folded all the lines correctly, you should now cut along the line in the middle of the fuselage. Do this by folding the fuselage to the right, making a cut, and repeating the fold to the left. Try to minimize folding of the spars. Now fold the spars down. Then tape your fuselage together at the front, back, tailplane leading edge and across the counterweight fold and spars.

Step 5: Applying the Upper Wing

Now it is time to work with your Moth's wings. Place the upper wing in a forward swept orientation. Then put the spars at the 2.5 box mark. Apply tape to the spars, with the overhang clinging to the wing. Cut off any excess that goes further than the wing.

Step 6: Applying the Lower Wing, Making the Winglets and Stapling

For the lower wing, separate the fuselage around the cut you made. Then put the wing through the fuselage and pull half of it through with it in a regular delta configuration. Then fold the two halves up on each side of the fuselage. Then apply a small piece of tape to the underside of the wings while they are folded up flush with the fuselage. Once this is done, fold the winglets down along those half box marks you made on the wingtips. Once you've finished with the wings, apply three staples in the area of the counterweight.

Step 7: Flight

Like an arrow, the Moth is a little aircraft that goes straight--fast! A moderately fast launch at a neutral attitude is generally the best throwing configuration. This airplane is very accurate and effective at being a "missile". The Moth has provisions for ailerons, flaps, flaperons, elevators, slats, air brakes and a rudder. Enjoy!

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