Intro: How to Make the Widow Paper Airplane
The Widow's basic folds were inspired by those of the One paper airplane by TriKdanG, though ultimately the two have little in common. The Widow was built primarily to replace older types like those mentioned above. To that end, I opted for a design with a great deal of lift whilst featuring canards for stability. The Widow was found to be a success after a short time in testing, though publication was delayed for several months (for unrelated reasons).
TAA USAF Designation: F453-1
Step 1: Materials
- 1 Piece of 8.5 by 11 inch paper
Step 2: Length and Airfoil Folding
Fold the paper in half along its length. When this is done, select one corner and pull it to the center crease you have just made. Reverse the paper and perform the same fold on the other side. (Photographs 1 to 4)
Without tearing the paper, fold the leading edges you have now made over the edges of the paper you've just folded as shown. Perform this by folding one side down first but not creasing the overhanging portion noted in the fifth photograph until you have folded the opposite side too. When this is done, your paper will appear as it does in the seventh photograph.
Step 3: Canard Folding Preparation
Open the folds to begin preparing the canards. Pull the leading edges of the inner folds back outward as shown and then reverse the fold to tuck the paper under itself. Pull the diagonal crease back to the leading edge crease as shown and then reverse this as well.
Repeat the process on the other side.
Step 4: Canard Folding
Pull the canards back above the center crease as shown. The forward edge will need to be folded down; align the crease line with the center crease as shown in the third photograph. Once this is done, fold the canard of the other side as pictured.
Lay the paper out flat, then pull the forward triangle down along its straight real edge. After you have done this, the edges of the triangle will protrude past the rear triangle's edges. You will cut these overhanging bits off. After curtting these off, tuck the forward triangle down into the rear triangle as shown in the tenth photograph.
Bits from the rear triangles' folds will now overhand past the straight leading edge. Cut these off where noted.
Step 5: Leading Edge and Canard Folding; Winglet Preparation
Pull the blunt edge of the nose back to the rear of the paper while keeping the center crease aligned with itself. Once this is done, crease the paper at the half way point. After doing this, crease the half fold you have made.
Pull the diagonal leading edges of the paper inward along their own rear edges, as shown in the third picture. Then pull the nose forward again, over the folded leading edges.
Fold the airplane up in half along its center crease. Fold the canards down while aligning their leading edge of the canards with that of the nose.
Along the rear edge of the paper, measure 1 inch from the center crease and make a mark. Then measure 1 inch from the wingtip and make another mark. (You will want to make a mark on the other side for the latter too.)
Step 6: Wing and Winglet Folding
Fold the wing down at the first mark you made earlier and then repeat on the other side. To ensure that the angling of the wing is right, be sure to align the wings' trailing edges with that of the fuselage. Flipping the aircraft on its back, fold the winglets at the marks you made on the previous step.
Step 7: Taping
Apply tape at the points designated in the photographs in the order given.
Step 8: Flight
The Widow is a dart paper airplane and as a result, it's flight profile will generally be of straight, long range flights at moderate to high speeds. Launches should be done by throwing the airplane at a moderate to fast speed at a neutral or positive attitude.
Additional applicable surfaces include flaps, elevators, ailerons, elevons, rudders, air brakes and an "electronic warfare" tail.