The single-sheet paper airplanes you made when you were a kid (or perhaps last week in your cubicle) were, well, kid stuff compared to this beefed-up paper craft, which uses an electric motor from an old pager or toy powered by a big electrolytic capacitor. Known as a “Gold Cap” and made by Panasonic, the capacitor charges from a battery pack and then metes out a steady flow of power to keep your propeller whirring for about 10 seconds-just long enough to send the flyer airborne and carry it between 30 and 100 feet. (You can also add a gearing system to squeeze out even more flight time.) We’ve created plans for an eAT-6 “Texan” airplane and put them here and here to get you started. Just think twice before blindly launching this one soaring over the wall of your cube.
Build a Motorized Paper Airplane
Time: 3 Hours
Easy | | | | |
- Paper eAT-6 plan
- Two 9×12-in. sheets smooth Bienfang Bristol Board (19 cents ea.; dickblick.com)
- T-6 Texan Vacu Canopy ($2.96; squadron.com; #SQ9523)
- Panasonic 2.5-volt 3.3F Gold Cap ($5.22; digikey.com; #P6966-ND)
- Small electric motor (free; salvaged)
- Plastic propeller (57 cents; towerhobbies.com; #LXHHV9)
- AA four-battery holder (90 cents; digikey.com; #BH24AAW-ND)
- Two header pins (27 cents; jameco.com; #103185-3)
- Four AA batteries ($3.99)
Click here for step-by-step assembly instructions.