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Ornithopter Free Plans

Beware of online tutorials that make an "ornithopter" from household materials. They do not work. All plans on this web site are proven designs, and they will fly if built correctly.

These free plans allow you to build your own DIY ornithopter, from materials you can buy at your local hobby shop. They also provide an in-depth look at the history of how ornithopters have been made over the years. If you have never built an ornithopter before, I highly recommend starting with the Freebird design, which was designed specifically for beginners. As your ornithopter skills progress, you can return to this page for new ideas as you start to develop your own designs.

Freebird by Nathan Chronister
The Freebird plans were developed to help people get started in the hobby of building their own ornithopters. The original version was introduced in 1993, and I have kept updating the design to make it even easier to build.

Luna by Nathan Chronister
A sequel to the Freebird, this four-winged design introduced a simple scissor-wing mechanism that formed the basis for many "micro air vehicle" type ornithopters. The four-winged design produces a unique, slow flying style.

Spencer Orniplane by Percival H. Spencer
Flown in 1961, the Spencer Orniplane was the first radio-controlled ornithopter. The plans were provided by Jack Stephenson, who assisted Spencer in developing the Orniplane. They recorded some videos of the Orniplane in flight. You can see them in the videos section of this web site.

Libelle by Alexander Lippisch
Construction plan for a large, rubber-powered ornithopter from the designer of the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet. The design is outwardly similar to some of the engine-powered ornithopters he developed during the same period. (Schwingenflugmodell des NSFK, 1938)

Flapper Facts Plans
A large collection of plans from the ornithopter newsletter Flapper Facts. You will see a variety of designs that reflect the different approaches of their respective designers. These are mostly indoor contest models. Also a few electric ornithopters, and some older versions of the Freebird.

Vintage Plans
Four different designs from the "golden age" of ornithopter modelling. Aside from their historical interest, these are some really cool designs that would be worth building today if you have enough skill to rekindle the lost art.