Introduction: How to Make the ThunderDart Paper Airplane
Fast, long range and simple, the ThunderDartis a sleek paper airplane meant to replace the older Buffalo series.
Due to its simplicity, the ThunderDart was rapidly conceived, tested and proven a success by flight testing. The aircraft is easy to make and requires minimal preparation. It's blunt nose means it is also resistant to impact damage.
TAA USAF Designation: F452-1
Step 1: Materials
1 Piece of 8.5 by 11 inch paper
Scissors (for additional surfaces only)
Step 2: Length, Corner and Sweep Folding
Take your paper and fold it along its length. Then pull the corners in and crease. Fold these new creases so they align with the first fold's crease in the center as shown in the sixth and seventh photographs.
Step 3: Nose and Airfoil Folding
Pull the portions of overhanging portions of paper back over top of the center line of the paper on reach side. Once this is done, unfold the center crease. Proceed to then unfold the sweep folds of the previous steps without creasing the 45 degree triangle folds.
Pull the outer edges of the paper into the sweep folds' creases and then crease these folds. Refold along the original sweep folds to make the paper appear as it does in the sixth photograph.
Step 4: Nose Folding
Pull the tip of the nose backward until the apex of the diamond it reached. Pull the leading edges of the diamond over the trailing edges for alignment. (Photographs 1 and 2)
Pull the tips of the paper inward while keeping them parallel with the blunt forward edge until you reach their limits on each side. (Photograph 3) Then pull the rear part of the former diamond forward. (Photograph 4)
With this done, open the folds and squash them down as shown. (Photographs 5 to 7) Pull the rear edges of these diamonds over their forward edges, crease and then tuck the folded parts under as shown. (Photographs 8 and 9)
Fold the two halves of the triangle in under the center nose folds as shown to complete the nose folding. (Photographs 10 and 11)
Step 5: Wing and Winglet Folding
Fold the paper up in half along the center crease. Along the trailing edge, measure 0.75 inches from the center crease and make a mark. This will be the point at which you fold the wings. Measure 0.75 inches from the wingtip along the trailing edge and make a mark (repeat this on the other side too). These will become the points at which you will fold the winglets.
At the first mark, fold the wing down while keeping its trailing edge parallel with that of the fuselage. Repeat on the other side. This will complete the wing folding.
Once the wings are folded, lay the airplane down on its back with the fuselage sticking up. Fold the winglets at the marks you made earlier while keeping their trailing edges aligned with those of the wings.
Step 6: Taping
Apply tape where and in the order designated in the photographs. You will first tape the leading edge of the fuselage and across the wing roots near the leading edge. Then tape the rear fuselage's trailing edge and across the wing roots near the trailing edges of the wings.
When this is done, you have completed your ThunderDart.
Step 7: Flight
The Thunderdart is quite straightforward and should be an easy plane for even very new origami aviators to work out. Launches should be done at a neutral or positive attitude, at moderate to high speed. Additional applicable surfaces include flaps, elevators, ailerons, slats, flaperons, elevons, rudders and air brakes.
Note: Some "nose-up" trimming may need to be done. Conduct test flights to determine if this is necessary. To add such trimming, slightly bend small portions of the trailing edges of the wing upward on each side roughly equally, equidistant from each other.