This model is based on the six-seat V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza, although the design has been optimized for its scale; the builder has the option of including landing gear for a realistic display model or leaving it off for a flying model. We designed it using AutoCAD and entered the plans as part of our CAD portfolio, which won 1st place in the Kentucky Third-district Beta club’s Computer-aided graphics competition. Plans for the model are available at the bottom of this article.
To build the Bonanza, you will need:
-2 sheets of medium-weight cardstock
-2 sheets of regular printer paper
-Sharp X-acto knife with #11 blade or similar hobby knife
-Self-healing cutting mat (or something similar to protect your table)
-Glue stick (we used Elmer’s purple disappearing glue, but UHU or other brands will also work)
-Pencils and/or markers for decoration (optional)
To get started, you will need to download the plans and print them onto your printer paper; make sure you do this at 100% scale for both sheets. Take note of the areas where no parts are printed, and apply glue to the back of the sheets on the opposite side of these areas to tack them to the cardstock. We recommend building and storing your model indoors, as high humidity can quickly cause substantial warping.
When the tack glue has dried, you can begin cutting out your parts; the color key for the plans is to cut through the printed plans and cardstock on the black lines, score (using a ballpoint pen that has run out of ink and a straightedge) on the red lines, and use the blue lines as guides for decoration. We suggest clearing out the slits for the tail and fuselage first, then scoring folds and cutting the pieces from the cardstock. For the smaller, more delicate parts (like the landing gear), cut roughly around the black lines and trim after you have gained greater access to the edges. You can ignore the landing gear parts if you are building a flying model, but be sure to write the part number lightly in pencil on the back of your components as you remove them from the paper.
After you have cut out all of your parts, you can begin laminating the fuselage. This is done by applying stick glue to the back of each part as you join them in the order and to the side of 1F indicated by the labels (3R, 4L, etc). Do not apply any glue to the wing and tail mounting tabs, and, if you are building the gear-down version of the model, add the nosewheel as the first layer of the layup. When you have added all the layers, fold a clean sheet of scrap paper in half, place the fuselage assembly inside, and leave the stack underneath a heavy book to press it flat as it dries.
The wing is fabricated in a very fashion, but instead of pressing it, you will need to hold one side flat against a building board and raise the other side so that the wingtip rests about 3/4 inch above the table. The angle between the wings that results is called dihedral, and enhances stability; set the wing aside to dry by resting it on its leading edge. This prevents it from becoming distorted, and any warping will be corrected later. When dry, you can decorate the wing however you desire.
If you decided to build the static display version of the Bonanza, you will also need to build the main landing gears. This is done by applying glue to both sides of the small, stiffening gear pieces and inserting them inside of the folds of the larger gear pieces. When this lamination has dried thoroughly, you will fold over the tabs at the top of the landing gears and glue them to form a flange. Leave the left and right gear to dry alongside the wing.
The final assembly consists of gently threading the wing and tail through the respective slits in the fuselage, then attaching these components by gluing the fuselage tabs to their underside. Bend the V-tail upwards so that its left and right sides are equal and the angle between them is approximately 105 degrees. If you are building the static display model, you can now add the main landing gears to the wing on the positions marked on the plans.
Next, you will need to add camber to the wing by gently bending it between your fingers so that there is a slight concave curvature as seen from the bottom of the model, with the point of maximum curvature located approximately 1/3 of the wing’s chord (width) as measured from the leading edge. Ensure that both wings are cambered equally.
You should now be ready to begin test-flying your Bonanza. For best results, look straight down the fuselage and correct any bends or distortions you see, and bend the trailing edge of the V-tail slightly upwards. Launching the model is best accomplished outdoors in little or no wind by giving it a gentle toss across the breeze. If you attempt to pitch your model like you would a baseball, you may find that it climbs steeply, stalls, and dives back to earth, either climbing again or crashing; try decreasing the amount of upward bend and lowering the speed of your throw to correct this phenomenon, known as porpoising or phugoid motion.
For storage, you can optionally build a display stand by cutting a 1 inch wide strip of cardstock , folding it into fourths, gluing the two end sections together, and cutting a slit at the top that is just wide enough to accommodate the fuselage with good friction. The display stand can be used for both the gear-up and gear-down versions of the Bonanza.