Long most people, you probably made quite a few paper airplanes when you were kid. The trial and error of testing out new designs to see how far you could get your creation to fly was hard to resist. But, no matter how great your skills, a paper airplane will always succumb to gravity eventually. Unless, of course, you follow Peter Sripol’s YouTube tutorial and add a couple of electric motors.
Sripol is well known on YouTube for his large and imaginative collection of manned and unmanned land, sea, and air vehicles. He’s built everything from an electric propeller sled, to massive drones, to an electric airplane that is capable of carrying a pilot. In this tutorial, however, he’s tackling the most humble aircraft imaginable: a paper airplane.
If you want to assemble your own, all you’ll need is a sheet of paper and a cheap micro quadcopter, which you should be able to find for $10 to $20. You can either 3D print the frame Sripol designed, or just make one from foam board. Constructing the powered paper airplane is a simple matter of removing two of the drone’s motors, and moving the other two to the frame.
After you’ve got the motors mounted to the frame, you can attach it to your folded paper airplane and start flying. Because the quadcopter’s flight controller has a built-in gyrometer and accelerometer, it will automatically stabilize and level the plane as it flies. As you can see in the video, that works very well, and the finished paper airplane flies quite nicely.