The Keys To Building A Paper Airplane

The Keys To Building A Paper Airplane

We have talked about the forces that act upon an airplane to make it fly, so now we need to go through how to build the best paper airplane that can take advantage of all of these factors.To start, here are some of the things you may need to make your paper airplane œ depending on the type of plane you are going to make.
Paper Scissors Glue Tape Paper clips
But, you also need a steady hand, attention to the details and some imagination!

Choosing the right paper
There are literally dozens on different types of paper out there, each with their own qualities. You can make a paper airplane out of any of them, but some are definitely better than others. Most paper that you will use for your paper airplanes will be a type of bond paper. Bond paper gets its name by the weight of 500 sheets, but the way they get there is a little bit goofy. For example, 500 sheets of bond paper that has a size of 17“ x 22“ weighs 20 lbs., and then it gets cut into four equal pieces. When those are puts into stack of 500 sheets, they each weigh 5 lbs. So, 20-pound bond paper, in a ream of 500 sheets, weighs 5 lbs. Now if you have a 24-pound paper, 500 sheets would weigh 6 lbs. That is because it is heavier paper.

The reason why this is important is because you will need to select the right bond paper for your airplane. Standard lined paper is anywhere from 16-pound to 20-pound depending on the quality. The effect the weight of paper can have on your paper airplane is this: Heavier paper isn‘t as flimsy and won‘t be subject to subtle air flow changes as much as a light bond paper would. But, because it is heavier, it does create more friction in the air (drag), and can affect the length of your flight. Lighter paper may get thrown off course by a brief burst of air or a thermal, but it can sail a lot further because there will be less resistance on the paper.


The best paper for your airplane will be between 18 and 28 pound paper, depending on the model of airplane you are trying to create. 16-pound is too flimsy, and if you go to 32-pound paper, it is going to be too heavy to fly any length of time. You can also choose paper that is large in size than the standard 8.5“ x 11“ œ in fact, some of the designs we are going to show you later in this book will need 8.5 x 14“ paper.

The surface of the paper can also have an effect on things like the drag of the airplane. You can get paper that has a heavy grain (little bumps or texture) and this creates more friction. Smoother paper doesn‘t have the same effect on the air, and it won‘t have as much drag to pull you down. Have you ever wondered why commercial jets don‘t have a textured exterior? They want to reduce the drag. That makes a lot of sense. The paper airplane you decide to build will likely decide the type and size of paper that you are going to use.

Folding the paper airplane
No matter which paper airplane you decide to choose, you are going to have build it with time and attention to the details. If you are not happy with just folding a simple piece of paper into a haphazard spiraller, you must take your time to make the airplane right. That means your folds have to be neat and clean, and darn close to perfection.

Any flaps you make are going to have must be exactly the same on either side, and any folds need to be the same on each side. I would imagine the reason you purchased this book was to find out the best way to build a paper airplane œ and these things are important.

We discussed this earlier in the book, but it is worth talking about some more. Let me ask the question œ Have you ever folded an airplane and the edges didn‘t meet, or the fold on one side didn‘t match up with the fold on another? You probably didn‘t think twice about it, tried as hard as you could to make them as close as possible, and then tried to toss the airplane. If you got the folds or the flaps close, then the airplane probably didn‘t fly too bad.

If you decide not to make those folds as close as possible, you probably got frustrated that your paper airplane didn‘t fly very well. That is because the symmetry was all off. When you don‘t have symmetry, the forces that act upon your airplane are not equal. This means that it will spiral out of control, nosedive into the ground, or just continue looping around and around. It will not have an overall smooth flight.

When you fold your airplane, take into consideration every fold that you make. If you want your paper airplane to fly with the wind, you need to make sure each fold on your plane is crisp and even.Remember these things:
Make the edges of your folds match as close to perfect as you can. Try and make them the first time. If you have fold marks on the plane, it is going to affect the aerodynamics of the airplane.

Yes, even that can have an effect on how your airplane flies. Make any notches or flaps the same on each side. Always remember that even just a little bit of lift on the flaps is going to have a significant difference in the flight of your paper airplane.

Keep the folds and refold to an absolute minimum.
One of the biggest determiners of how well your airplane flies, is aerodynamics. If you have several folds, you are going to affect the way the air reacts with the grooves of your airplane. As much as you want the edges of the folds to match, make sure the folds are as crisp as you can make them.

Sharp corners make for much better aerodynamics.
The more compact, the better Even though the big airplanes in the sky have extremely wide wingspans, they need this to keep them aloft, and to help them execute turns.

Your paper airplane is the opposite.
Paper is obviously not as strong as the steel they use in the airplane, so the wings need to be shorter and more compact. There are some designs out there where the wingspan is a little bit bigger than others, but generally speaking, the wings are no more than a few inches on either side. If your wings are too long, they will bend or fold with the pressure of the air, and they won‘t fly for very long. Some of the best planes have a maximum wingspan of only a couple of inches at the most. This helps keep the air under the plane pushing up on a larger overall surface area, and therefore keeps the plane in the air longer.

Flaps and other folds
Sometimes you will need to include some different flaps and folds in your airplane in order to make it fly straight and smooth. That‘s really the key to a good airplane œ one that flies straight and glides through the air to a soft landing. Once you build your airplane, and you are happy with the design, you will want to test it a couple of time to see if you can make any adjustments. This is called œ trimming.

One of the ways that you can help your airplane do this is by adding flaps on the back of the wings of the airplane. There are a couple of reasons why you add flaps to your wings, and they both have to do with how the nose of the plane flies through the air. If the nose of your airplane is dropping toward the ground, the thrust of your airplane is too great, and you need to slow it down a little with a flap at the back. If the nose is diving to the ground as soon as you release it, then the flaps need to be pointed up. This will create slight downward force on the plane and lift the nose up for a good flight.

If the nose of the plane goes straight up, this means there is too much drag on the airplane and you need to help it come down. Instead of putting the flaps up in the air, you need to bend them slightly down, in order to lift the nose up.

The key to these adjustments is to make them very subtle.
They don‘t need to be major changes or you will end up going from one extreme to the other. One thing that you have to remember if you are going to add flaps to the airplane is that whatever change you make it has to be exactly the same on one side as it is on the other. This is so important. If you dip the wings by a couple of degrees on one side, it has to be exactly the same on the other wing. If it isn‘t you are going to have different effects on each side, and the plane isn‘t going to fly very well.

Other flaps
Some airplane designs will have you put flaps on the side of the wings. This can do many things, depending on how big the flaps are. These types of flaps usually make the paper plane do different loops and tricks, because it has an effect on the directional stability of the airplane. Done correctly, these can flaps can give you a great trick plane.You may not always want your airplane to flight perfectly straight, and this can create a cool looping airplane if done correctly.

Originally posted 2012-05-19 14:36:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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