The world’s first solar-powered DIY airplane kit

Volta Flyer is the handmade airplane you wish you had when you were a kid!

Remember making paper airplanes as a child, and the fleeting moment of gratification when the plane successfully glides, even for just a few seconds? Did you ever wish for your paper airplane to fly longer, and go wherever you wanted it to? Well, children in this day in age may never have to experience that problem. Meet Volta Flyer, the first DIY airplane kit that is powered by the sun.


Volta Flyer is the latest creation by ToyLabs, a company founded by Tim Curley, who was inspired to develop practical hands-on science education projects for his two kids. With Volta Flyer, youngsters will learn about basic mechanical engineering, aeronautics, electronics and renewable energy while building their planes and ensuring the perfect flight. The kit comes with prefabricated parts, detailed instructions and a tutorial on aeronautics and electronic design. Unlike any other airplane kit, the Volta Flyer has solar “panel-on-wing assembly” technology and unique power management system that powers flights without the need for batteries. By harnessing the sun’s energy, combined with its lightweight construction, the Volta Flyer possesses incredible flight time.

Assembly is as easy as constructing the paper airplane of yesterday. It can be built by hand in as little as 20 minutes without the need for special tools or glues. Kids can even personalize their Volta Flyer with decals and logos included with the kit. After constructing their plane, simply charge the Volta Flyer by pointing the solar panel wings towards the sun for 90 seconds, flip a switch to initiate propulsion, and then hand-launching the Flyer in the air. Students can even track flight times and paths and compare the results!


The Flyer is a major upgrade from the single sheet paper airplane and earlier glider plane sets. It comes with fuselage and electronic components, such as a printed circuit board, a resister diode, a 47mm propeller, and more. It is powered by a thin-film solar panel that operates at 4.8 voltages, a 100 current and 0.48 wattage. The airframe materials are eco-friendly depron wings and vertical stabilizers, as well as polystyrene wing joiners. The Volta Flyer is definitely a cool science project that involves practical insights and engagement with STEM.

Ready to take flight with the Volta Flyer? Soar on over to its Kickstarter campaign, where Curley and the ToyLabs crew is currently seeking $39,000. If all goes to plan, kits are expected to ship in March 2016.

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