I began working with the concept of the Turbo Explorer shortly after the publication of the StratoBolt, which had its horizontal stabilizers mounted in such a way as to potentially make construction more difficult. I decided that I wanted to design an aircraft with similar performance, but increased simplicity. Neither the original StarDragon nor the Simple StarDragon addressed this specification. After a short period of consideration and review, I decided to augment the Explorer paper airplane to increase its speed. After some design modifications and prototyping, the Turbo Explorer came to be what it is.
Some usages for educators could include studies of:
- Glide ratio
- Hangtime versus other aircraft
- Weight and balance
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--10 full boxes apart. Use a ruler to make a straight line with the length of 10 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 (3 boxes of chord at the root, by 4 boxes in width, with a sweep of 1 box eliminated every 2 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 your fuselage out, then unfold the fuselage and cut the right vertical stabilizer off. Then restore the fold. Fold the counterweight into itself, and then fold the spars 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.
Step 4: Applying the Horizontal Stabilizers and 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.
After you have finished with the horizontal stabilizers, cut out the 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. Then apply one staple in the area of the counterweight. This will have completed your aircraft.
Step 5: Flight
The Turbo Explorer has similar flight characteristics to the Explorer; handling is comparable, though the Turbo Explorer flies faster. Launches at moderate or high speeds at neutral or negative attitudes result in best performance. Additional applicable surfaces include elevators, slats, flaps, ailerons, spoilers, a trimmable rudder and air brakes. Enjoy!