Alternate tail design - The T-tail

Paper airplane with new tail design.Mr. Stanley With, and his son, Marcus Stanley With, of Denmark were kind enough to send us a photograph of their creation. It is a camouflage version of our paper airplane. What immediately caught my attention was their distinctive new tail design. It is a design called the T-tail which can be seen on many airplanes today such as the Boeing 727, Douglas DC-9 and some light aircraft and military aircraft. On most airplanes the elevators project from the fuselage at the base of the fin or tail. On the T-tail the elevators are mounted on top of the fin.

After receiving the e-mail I immediately folded a model duplicating the design of Stanley and Marcus. At first throw, it glided beautifully. Because of the larger tail area, it seemed to fly streighter than the standard design and I found that it was easier to adjust flight characteristics by bending up or down the trailing edge of the elevators.

I then became curious about the reason for using this design on aircraft rather than the more common configuration. I found that there were advantages and disadvantages.



For those who would like to experiment with the T-tail, I have described the folding instructions below:

Figure 1, new T-tail design.
Fig 1 - After you complete step 24 of the paper airplane assembly instructions, you will have a strip of paper used to make the tail. Fold the strip of paper down the center to form a trough, and then open it up flat again. Mark with a pencil points A and B as shown using the same dimensions indicated in Fig 1.

Figure 2, new T-tail design.
Fig 2 - Fold the fuselage into a V, then at point A, push the tail up at the angle shown and fold it in such a was as to invert the V as shown at the top of the tail.

Figure 3, new T-tail design.

Fig 3 - At point B, fold the tail down reversing the V as shown. This part of the tail should be parallel with the fuselage.

Figure 4, new T-tail design.
Fig 4 - Tape the trailing edge of the rudder together as shown. Push the V shape elevator down flat and crease the paper to make it hold the horizontal position.

Figure 5, new T-tail design.
Fig 5 - The completed tail can now be inserted into the paper airplane body, Step 32 of the paper airplane instructions.

Thank you Mr. Stanley With and son Marcus for your valuable suggestion.

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URL: Revised: Nov. 24, 2004