Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.
Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley
About the model
I was inspired to fold this model by a recent flight to New York that was delayed for several hours by a faulty plane. I thought I could find an origami model plane that, unlike the plane I was waiting for, might actually fly! There are several origami aeroplane models available that do fly, some of which are in Gery Hsu’s book How to Make Origami Airplanes that fly. This is available from Amazon US or Amazon UK.
In the end I chose to fold this one, designed by Tadashi Mori because I liked the design, even though it does’t actually fly. I’ve said before that birds and dragons make very good origami models because the wings give them a sense of movement and drama. I think the same is true of aeroplanes as well – particularly ones like this with its delta wing design.
This is an F16 Fighting Falcon, a multipurpose fighter aeroplane made by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin). Originally developed for the US military, it is still in use by the US armed forces and those of 25 other countries around the world. More than 4500 have been made and as of 2015 it was the second most widely used military aircraft in the world. Aeroplanes are not known the cheapest things in the world though, but by following Tadashi Mori’s instructions you can have your own at a slightly cheaper price.
Folding The F16
Tadashi Mori says that this is not an easy origami. I’d class it as a low intermediate. There are a few inside reverse folds and one open sink but all of these are very well explained by Mori. It takes about ten minutes to fold the F16.
The instructions say to start with a piece of ordinary printer paper. US readers please note that this means the standard A4 size used outside the United States of America, not the 8″ x 11″ letter paper that is common in the US. (You can create a piece of paper that has the right dimensions from a sheet of letter paper by cutting it to 7.7″ x 11″). As I am in America right now (yes, my flight did eventually get here) – I learned this the hard way!
Any colour paper will do, but it is worth thinking about the colour that the F16 would actually be, so something like a matte grey. I chose to fold the one above from green paper to make it look like it has been camouflaged. White paper is ok, but the final model can look quite lifeless.
There is a video tutorial for the F16 on Tadashi Mori’s YouTube channel. His channel is worth taking the time to explore, as it showcases a wide range of his designs for differing ability levels and subjects.