The Toothpick Airforce Banner


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

Get Adobe Reader for pdf documents


  The reading and model building activities contained in Build and Fly the Wright Flyers present the opportunity for teachers and students to work with projects that fall within several of the National Science and Mathematics Standards. The activities touch on the nature and history of science. They demonstrate that the Wright Brothers followed scientific inquiry and kept records of their findings. Building and flying the model gliders and flyers include measurement, working in scale, form and function, motion and forces, abilities of technology, and awareness of variables. Tuning and flying the gliders and flyers require attention to the principles of flight, as well as weight and balance. The builder will learn to change the flight characteristics of their gliders.

Approximate Metric Conversion Table for Construction of TA Aircraft
  2 1/4" = 5.8 cm 7/8"   = 2.3 cm  
  2"       = 5.1 cm 3/4"   = 1.9 cm  
  1 3/4" = 4.5 cm 5/8"   = 1.6 cm  
  1 5/8" = 4.2 cm 1/2"   = 1.3 cm  
  1 1/2" = 3.9 cm 3/8"   = 1 cm  
  1 3/8" = 3.5 cm 1/4"   = 7 mm  
  1 1/4" = 3.2 cm 3/16" = 5 mm  
  1 1/8" = 2.9 cm 1/8"   = 4 mm  
  1"       = 2.6 cm 1/16" = 2 mm  

The metric conversion table above is adapted for the purpose of building TA airplanes! It may not reflect exact measures, instead it rounds measures for the express purpose of maintaining the balance and structures of TA aircraft. It is included only for the use of those who prefer to use metric measure.

Collage of pictures: As this young lady knows, there is only one right way to fly a Wright Flyer-the elevator is on the front!

The drawings on this page may be copied or scanned and printed with the author of Build And Fly The First Flyers and Booger Red's Books Inc. permission for the express and sole purpose of building TA aircraft. Reproduction for any form of commercial gain is strictly prohibited.

Wright 1900 Glider

Wright 1901 Glider

THE TOOTHPICK AIRFORCE is abbreviated to TA throughout this publication.

Parts list for Wright 1900 glider.
  • A and B are wings.
  • C is the elevator.
  • D1-4 are wing struts.
  • E is the elevator strut.

One full length (2-1/4") flat toothpick for the airframe.

The parts above are shown as they should appear on your work surface. The wing struts and elevator strut have been folded on both ends to form "feet." The "foot" provides the surface you will need to glue the wings and elevator in position.

Assembly Instructions
  1. Copy, scan and print, or trace the drawing on the previous page on 24 lb paper of any color.
  2. Bend and crease the drawing at the fold line (see supplies photo figure 4).
  3. Cut the glider parts out starting at the fold line. Always cut on the solid lines, fold on the dotted lines.
  4. Lay the wings and elevator flat on your work surface, with the printed side up.
  5. Bend the struts on the dotted lines to form "feet" on each end of the strut. Make the bend on the end away from the original fold line first.

      The top wing should still be flat on your work surface, print side up. Once the struts are in place and dry, straighten them up to a 90 degree angle. Then line the wings up to glue them in position.

  6. Cut the struts apart. You will now have 4 identical struts with which to mount the upper wing on the lower.
  7. Bend the single elevator strut to form "feet" on both ends.

    (Learning to make "feet" is an important skill in THE TOOTHPICK AIRFORCE! The foot is formed by bending approximately one-sixteenth inch of the paper part into an L shape. The "foot" on the bottom of the L makes a flat surface large enough for the glue to hold securely. This is important in fastening tail rudders, landing gear, or biplane wing and elevator struts in place.)

  8. Smear a small amount of Elmer's (or similar paste) on each strut foot. Warning! Excessive amounts of paste can cause warping of your wing surface. Mount them one at a time on the upper wing, beginning 1/4" from the centerline. Place the outside struts 3/8" from the wing tip, as shown in the photo.
  9. Examine your flat toothpick. You will find a slight bevel on both the wide and the narrow ends of one side. Smear a small amount of glue on the small or narrow end of the toothpick on the non-beveled side. Press the toothpick into position, overlapping the leading edge of the lower wing by 5/8".

    A 7/8" block from the large end of a toothpick for weight glued to the top of your toothpick airframe should provide balance. Place it as far forward as possible. Prepare your glider to fly using the "tuning" instructions on the next page.

  10. Straighten the wing struts to a 90 degree angle from the wing surface. Adjust the feet on the opposite end of the struts so that the surface of the foot will contact the bottom wing when it is lowered into position. Smear each of the four struts with a small amount of glue, and carefully align the bottom wing with the top, gently pressing it into place.
  11. Glue the elevator strut 5/8" from the front of the airframe toothpick.
  12. Glue the elevator to the strut foot, so that the front of the elevator is 1/8 inch from the front of the toothpick fuselage.

Home     |     Back     |     Next

Contact us
Born of Dreams, Inspired by Freedom wright flyer