Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Launching this Blog

For a couple of years I have been into building advanced paper airplanes.  One of my long-term goals is to build an airplane where the structure is entirely built out of conventional (probably 24lb) office paper, capable of carrying sufficient weight as to be capable of powered flight.  This is an extremely difficult task and I have not yet succeeded.  As this blog goes on we will discuss the problems of doing so, what I have tried so far, and possible avenues for future efforts.

In the mean time, I will be discussing my current existing designs.  These designs are built for the express purpose of exploring aerodynamics regarding lifting bodies and airfoils.

I expect by the third post or so to get into actual designs.  This post is just an introduction.  The next post will be an overview of how airfoils work for the hobbyist (with some notes as to where to go to find more advanced explanations).  Most of what many of us have been taught in school regarding airfoils is overly simplistic at best and downright wrong at worst.

I have settled on monocoque designs (meaning designs where the skin bears the entire load without any extra frame components) almost entirely.  These designs (which I have never seen elsewhere) are very difficult to make and take significant practice, but they also allow very fine control over shape, providing unparalleled learning opportunities.  They are also light, and when properly made quite aerodynamically stable even at high speeds.  in general when trying my designs you can expect several failures before achieving success and it will take quite a number of tries before you get feeling really good at it.

In general when we get into the plane building phases of the blog, you will need the following materials minimally to build a paper airplane:

  • Office paper, preferably reasonably heavy and sturdy, US letter or A4 will both work though the specifics will be slightly different for either (giving you a chance to play with things)
  • A pencil or pen
  • Scissors
  • Cellophane tape or similar.
So come join us, have fun, and maybe you will learn something!