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Build & Fly The Wright Flyers

Practical Applications

Final Tuning for Wright Biplanes

Learning From the 1900 & 1901 Gliders

The First Powered Flight

TA Wright 1903 Kitty Hawk Flyer

Advanced Wing Structure

Print Version

  *Printing Instructions

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Parts list for the TA Wright 1903 Kitty Hawk Flyer
  • A and B are the main wings.
  • C 1,2 are the elevators.
  • D is the tail assembly.
  • E 1-4 are the main wing struts.
  • F 1-4 are the elevator struts.
  • G is the landing skid frame.
  • H 1,2 are the tail assembly top straps.
  • I is the motor (optional).
  • J 1,2 are propeller mounts (optional).
  • K 1,2 are propellers (optional).

Two full length toothpick skids. One 7/8 inch tail assembly support toothpick. Two upper air frame toothpicks.

Assembly Instructions
  1. Copy, scan and print, or trace the TA Wright Kitty Hawk Flyer, figure 21.
  2. Crease, then firmly bend the paper at the fold line.
  3. Cut out the parts starting at the fold line.
  4. Make the additional bends for (feet) struts, motor, propeller mounts, and landing skid frame before unfolding at original fold line!

Parts shown ready to assemble. Landing skids are bent, with glue applied to the bends (p.12). Folds for all parts have been made and the struts have been cut apart. Ready for assembly!

The TA Kitty Hawk Flyer flies a little better and is easier to build without the engine and propeller assemblies. The '03 can be assembled with or without cambered wings. Read "Advanced Wing Structure" before proceeding. The instructions assume you have completed the construction of prior gliders and grasp concepts like "feet", and "Bending Toothpicks".
  1. Add camber to the wings now. See instructions for adding camber.
  2. Place all paper parts with the print side up on your work surface. Glue the inside struts in position 3/8 of an inch from the fold line, midway between the leading and trailing wing edges of one wing. Glue the outside struts in position 3/4 of an inch from the wing tips, on line with the inside struts. E 1-4 are wing struts.
  3. Place the second wing print side up on your work surface.

Bottom wing assembly is shown (at top), just below tail assembly, landing gear frame in place. Top wing assembly and elevator have struts glued in place.  

Select the landing skid frame (part G) and make the two folds along the dotted lines starting at the outside (away from the original fold line). Unfold part (G) on the original fold line, so that it will lay flat. Reverse the folds on the unprinted side of the landing skid frame. See the photo above.

  Viewed from the front, part G should look like this.

Smear a little glue along the fold line in the center (on the bottom, or the side away from the print) and the outside edges of the landing skid frame (part G) and press it in place on the bottom of the lower wing. The original fold line on the bottom of part G should be lined up with the original fold line on the lower wing, 1/8 of an inch from the leading edge of the wing, as shown in the photo above.
  1. Smear a small amount of glue on two of the elevator struts (parts F 1-4) and glue them in position 1/4 inch from the fold line of one elevator (C 1,2). Your wing and elevator assemblies should look like those in the photo above.
  2. Smear glue on one side of the landing skid frame. Glue one of the landing skids in place at a 90 degree or right angle to the bottom wing. The small (narrow) end of the landing skid should protrude 1/8 inch behind the skid frame. Glue the second skid into place, making them parallel to each other. Refer to the photo below.
  3. Smear glue on the thicker end of the tail rudder support and glue it into position on the centerline at the trailing edge of the bottom wing assembly. All but 1/8 inch of the tail rudder support should protrude to the rear of the wing assembly. Allow this assembly to dry.

      Smear glue on the strut feet, line the bottom wing up with the top, and press it gently in place using the tail support to center one wing above the other.

  4. Fold the tail assembly (D) into a rectangular box by reversing the folds on one side of the assembly. The tail assembly and top straps (H1,2) are shown at the bottom right of the photo at the left.
  5. Glue the lower elevator on the upper elevator assembly (shown upside down in the photo at the left).
  6. If you choose to mount the propeller assemblies and motor, glue the propellers (K1,2) to the long protrusion on the propeller mount (J1,2) as shown top left.
  7. Smear glue lightly on the wing strut feet. The bottom wing assembly should be lined up carefully, and lowered gently in position using the tail support toothpick as shown. It should be directly above the upper wing.

      When this assembly is dry, you are ready for final assembly.

  8. Pinch the end of the tail assembly (D) that has the original fold line gently, so that the fold line protrudes. Smear glue on the end of the tail support toothpick, and hang the tail assembly on the toothpick support as shown in the photo to the left.

      If you choose not to use the engine and propeller assembly parts, ignore steps 13 and 18. These parts are for detail and appearance, and are not necessary for your glider's performance.

  9. Smear glue on the bottom "feet" of the remaining two elevator struts (F1-4) and press them in place on the top surface of the landing skids, 5/8 of an inch in front of the leading edge of the lower wing.
  10. Smear glue on one end of the tail assembly top straps, and glue them to the top surface of the top wing, 1/4 inch from the center to the left, and to the right of the original fold line. Angle the top straps, so that the other ends are directly above the tail assembly. Refer to the photos on the left.
  11. Smear glue on the "feet" of the propeller assemblies (K+J) and glue them in position 5/8 of an inch from the original fold line on the bottom surface of the upper wing. Smear glue on the "foot" of the motor (I) and use a toothpick to position it on the lower wings upper surface 1/4 of an inch from the fold line, and 1/4 of an inch from the leading edge.
    The upper air frame toothpicks add rigidity and strength to this TA Wright flyer. The lower end should be glued to the inside back of the lower elevator strut, where its foot is glued to the landing skid, the upper end lays flat on the wing.  

  12. Clip 1/8 inch from the rounded, large end of two toothpicks. Smear glue on the large end of one of the toothpicks and place a small glob of glue on the forward edge of the upper wing, directly above the landing skid. Glue the upper airframe toothpicks in position one at a time, placing the lower end of each one on the landing skid at the rear edge of the elevator strut. The strut actually helps hold the airframe in place.
  13. Smear glue on the elevator feet and center the elevator assembly with the trailing edge even with the rear of the strut foot.

      Line up the blades of the clippers so that they strike squarely on the toothpick, just above the wing.

  14. Clip the ends off the toothpick airframe where it protrudes above the wing. If the glue comes loose from the wing or the landing skid below, re-glue, using plenty of glue for this application only. Allow the TA Kitty Hawk Flyer to dry before tuning.
  15. Use a toothpick to slide a smear of glue under the rear of each tail assembly top strap, then press them in place on the top of the elevator assembly. Make sure the tail assembly is lined up correctly, use the top straps to hold it in final position. The twin tail rudders should make your glider fly straight.

      Final walk around on your new TA Kitty Hawk Flyer: To add "up" elevator, gently bend entire structure to the rear.
If you have questions or comments regarding The Toothpick Airforce or the gliders presented here, contact the author at:

Or write to:

Booger Red's Books Inc.
P.O. Drawer G
Clifton, CO 81520

Tune the TA Kitty Hawk Flyer by first examining the wings from the head on view. Gently adjust by twisting or bending the wing surfaces to provide equal lift on each side. There will be some warping from the area the struts attach to due to the warping caused by gluing the two surfaces together.

Adjust the elevators to provide a slight lift and glide the aircraft by grasping one of the toothpick landing skids. More weight may be required. Add weight in short lengths of toothpick, glued to the upper surface of the forward landing skids.

When tuned, the TA Kitty Hawk Flyer will glide 20 to 30 feet.

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