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Tutorial for Aircraft Design


Active member
I'm looking for a tutorial on how to design planes via software (free software please I'm broke) my brain has a hard time thinking of 2D and making that 3D so I was hoping there was a walkthrough out there that y'all might know about. Thanks!


Master member

I don't know if any software that will do airflow/lift/drag/etc simulation for free, but if you find one, I would be curious to see it.

Is there a specific design that your trying to come up with that doesn't already exist? (or something close that could easily be modified)


Active member
I'm looking to build my late father's Piper Comanche, a PA-24-250. I thought about asking someone to do one on commission but I'd like to try my hand at it first. HH has a Piper Cherokee that I could use the fuselage as a base I think, but after that I'll have to go off my pictures of his plane.


Legendary member
First I suggest you find the plans for a balsa build of it then try to see if you can use any of the FT plane parts and convert them. Last is to make what you are missing. BTW a good software is Adobe Illustrator, that’s what I used to design the Howard DGA-6 aka Mister Mulligan.

Edit you can use illustrator to trace the imported balsa plans to help you out.


Legendary member
I agree with @JasonK, it’s far easier to take an existing design and modify it to meet your needs. Why reinvent the wheel?

I import an image into SketchUp and trace it to make my plans. Once I have the basics, I will print the plan & attach it to foam board, to make a template. I find fb templates easier to further modify. Getting the CG right is the most difficult part. With fb templets, I can easily make a nose longer, by cutting the templet and glueing in an extension, or shorter by cutting out a section.
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Active member
So say I find the plans for a Comanche, I can import the files into something like sketch up? Then maybe go from there?

Edit: I see that's exactly what you said lol