How to Make the Cirrus 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!

Fast, long range and simple, the Cirrus is an aerodynamic "drone cruiser" miniature paper airplane designed to succeed the Trekker and SkyTomahawk.

Building on the successes of the SkyTomahawk series and Super Firefly, I decided to develop another drone cruiser design with a simplified tail which would not require mounted parts. Unlike the SkyTomahawk, however, I decided the surfaces would be as small as possible to reduce drag. Having seen the success of the Firefly's tail design, I decided to integrate it with the new aircraft. The forward fuselage and wing design were much the same as the Trekker and other older cruisers. The combination of this design with the tail layout was new and the resulting Cirrus prototype was highly aerodynamic and balanced. In testing, this mating proved itself to be highly capable, performing excellently with only very minor trimming needs. Encouraged by its success in testing, I approved the type for publication.

TAA USAF Designation: D416-1


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--13 full boxes apart (allow for a further box back behind the airframe). 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 stabilizers, spars and counterweight as shown.

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; a leading edge sweep of 1 box of chord decaying every 4 boxes outward from the constant chord box; and a trailing edge sweep of 1 box of decay along the 5 boxes of wingspan). This will complete the wings.

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

Note: 1 box = 0.25 inches

Step 3: Making the Fuselage; Stapling

Cut out your fuselage and fold its counterweights into place. Cut along the solid lines and cut off the left fin at the bisected solid line as shown. Once this is done, fold along the vertical dotted line then fold the airplane in half along the center crease once again. Fold the spars down along the dotted horizontal lines then tape where indicated.

After the taping is done, cut the rear fuselage away below the diagonal line. Fold the horizontal stabilizers down then apply one staple in the area of the counterweight as noted in the photograph.

Step 4: Applying the Wings

Cut out your Cirrus' wings and lay them beneath the fuselage as shown. Apply tape where designated to secure them to the spars. Apply tape to the LERX joint where noted. This will complete the aircraft.

Step 5: Flight

The Cirrus is a conventional and aerodynamically clean design; it is similar in its handling characteristics to types like the Super Firefly and Trekker. Origami aviators with experience with those latter two types should have little difficulty transitioning to the Cirrus.

Launches should be done at neutral or negative attitude at slow to moderate speed. Test flights should be conducted to see what trim (if any) the aircraft needs. Additional applicable surfaces include flaps, ailerons, elevators and a trimmable rudder. Enjoy!



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hi, I like yor airplanes very much because its coming to my mind Da Vinci's inventions, I like your background too :P. I think it would be awsome to make bigger planes!!

    (Are they really flying? :P)

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    All of the aircraft I have posted thus far are flyable. I have declined thus far to post static models as I do not see a point to unflyable paper airplanes.

    As far as larger paper airplanes go, I have not really upscaled the "drones" in any radical way but I imagine they could be changed with success by simply changing the dimensions by a constant rate.

    As far as large paper airplanes go, the Skywarrior and Zeta are my largest by length and wingspan.



    2 years ago

    Is it possible to scale up this design? Using Dollar Tree Foam board instead of paper, would a 20" wing span be possible?

    1 reply

    I'm not sure; I've never used foam board or tried scaling these planes up to that size.