How to Make the Whirlwind Paper Airplane

About: I am someone who mass produces paper airplanes and am always developing new designs. I post regular updates on Twitter and Google+. Follow me there to keep up with the latest developments!
Designed as a simpler successor to the popular Hurricane,the Whirlwind is a larger paper helicopter with fewer material requirements and greater lifting capabilities. By wing area, the Whirlwind is my largest paper "helicopter", but its design remains very comparable to the highly successful Tornado medium paper helicopter.

Like the previous helicopters, the Whirlwind 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
  • Geometry/shape studies
TAA USAF Designation: HD231-1

Step 1: Materials

1 Piece of 8 by 10.5 inch graph paper

Step 2: Begin Construction

Begin making your Whirlwind by marking out a box of 14 by 10 boxes, with a 4 by 2 additional outcropping on a single sheet of graph paper. At the top, mark a solid line 6 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 Whirlwind 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 Whirlwind 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, as well as inside the fuselage ring. This will complete your Whirlwind.

Step 5: Flight

Due to its similar shape to the Tornado, the Whirlwind has few differences in operation. Launches can be conducted by 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 and Hurricane, the Whirlwind may not descend vertically. Under certain circumstances, the Whirlwind may travel several feet laterally and/or even ascend. If your Whirlwind is unstable, you may need to adjust the angles of the rotors. Enjoy!



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    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Used this for a school project. Awesome! People kept standing on the table to try out the cool looking helicopter thing!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I think the bigger the rotors, the faster it spins. My 2x one spins really fast.


    6 years ago on Step 2

    I believe you mean 14 by 10 boxes to make 7 rotors like the one in the main photo. I counted the boxes.

    2 replies