The SkyOrion had no real design phase; really, there were just existing parts from cancelled projects laying about my design area. Rather than discard these unused parts for scrap and begin work on the next project, I decided to have some fun experimenting with combining the components into a new hybrid aircraft. I did very little planning, and for what there was, it was generally impulsive. However, when the prototype was finished, and the aircraft flown, it was clear that the airplane was an unexpected success. In testing, the aircraft excelled, matching the Orion's speed and demonstrating an excellent glide ratio too. I am very pleased with this craft, and feel that it is very important that people go out on a limb and just make something experimental once and a while, just to do it.
Because of its inherent versatility, the SkyOrion can easily serve as an aerial testbed for uses in education on top of all else it can do. Some potential usages for educators could include studies of:
- Glide ratio
- Hangtime versus other aircraft
- Weight and balance
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 10.5 by 8 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 15 boxes directly up 1 row of boxes from the two marks you just made. Then make the rudder, spars, landing gear and counterweight as shown. Follow the photograph markings. Then, below the rudder, mark a line that stretches 2 boxes. 1 box 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 (2 boxes in length by 4 boxes in width, and a swept portion in front of this box of 1 box eliminated every 4 boxes away from the fuselage). Half of a box in from the wingtip, make a dotted line parallel to the wingtip. Measure 2 boxes along the crease, measure two boxes upwards from one side and the one box forward. Then draw a diagonal line connecting this line the other edge of the line along the crease. 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 Fuselage
After having cut out all of the fuselage. Begin folding it along the dotted lines. Then fold as indicated the second line near the rear of the airplane by folding the 2 rearmost boxes forward and cut along the line. Do this by folding the fuselage to the right, making a cut, and repeating the fold to the left. Then tape your fuselage together at the front, back, and across the fuselage at the fin.
Step 4: Applying the Wing and Horizontal Stabilizers; Stapling
Cut out and unfold your wing and flip your airframe inverted. Tape the wing to the fuselage by applying tape to the spars, with the overhang grabbing the wing. Cut off any excess tape. Cut out your horizontal stabilizers and thread them through the fuselage beneath the rudder. Fold them up once through and tape them to the fuselage.
Step 5: Flight
Like the original Orion, the SkyOrion is a fast aircraft with good handling characteristics. Launches at moderate speed and neutral attitude give the fastest, longest range flights. Adjustments for stability should be made by altering the anhedral of the wings and dihedral of the horizontal stabilizers as necessary. Additional surfaces applicable to the SkyOrion include ailerons, flaps, flaperons, slats, spoilers, spoilerons, elevators, and air brakes. Enjoy!
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