Arc Lite Glider


Introduction: Arc Lite Glider

About: A Bay Area native interested in electronics, mechanics, and robotics, and automobiles. Formerly the electronics captain of Team 100 in the FIRST Robotics Competition, I now study Mechanical Engineering at U...

In this Instructable, I will show you how to make one of my favorite paper gliders EVER, one that I invented myself, with the help of a friend. The Arc Lite. Named after the bombing missions made by the B-52 in Vietnam (I know, no relevance whatsoever), this airplane flys like a dream if it is balanced properly. One of the best parts about it is that is has very different flying styles, depending on the size of paper you make it with. Here, I am going to cover the building of it using printer paper (8.5 x 11) because it is easier to see, however you can make it smaller with half of that, about (4.25 x 5.5) for faster, more aggressive flight. It's very simple to make, as you will see in the following pages...

Step 1: Start Foldin'!

Alright. Now comes the "fun" part. Start with your paper the tall way and fold down hamburger style. Make sure to crease it well and fold as precisely as possible. Unfold.

Step 2: Continuing...

Now, you're going to fold the paper from the top edge to just above the valley fold (the one you just made). Keep this folded and repeat the process two more times. After you have done this, bring the folded bunch at the top down using the crease you made at the very beginning so there is a neat stack of layers at the upper edge of your glider.

Step 3: Shaping

In order to make this into a flyable glider, we have to curve it upwards evenly. To do this, you can either use a metal ruler or other straight edge, like a desk or table. Run the glider back and forth, wing tip to wing tip, until you can see the Arc Lite curving in. Make sure the stacked section that we made is on the inside of the curve. In other words, if you are using a desk, the stacked side goes face down. After you have loosened up the layers of paper and have given them a slight curve, twist the whole thing around your fingers. First with one side edge, then with the other.

Step 4: Almost Done!

When you have curved the glider properly, the wing tips should be parallel to each other, and the wing (plane) should make a half circle, 180 degrees, or an ARC. Gee, where'd that come from?

Step 5: Finished!

The throwing technique needs a little getting used to. To throw, put two fingers - index and middle - on the top/front and one - thumb - on the bottom/front. Then sweep your hand forward and release the glider gently, pulling your hand down as you continue forward. In this way, you have to give the glider a gentle toss. Now, here's another variation. You do the same thing, but this time you start with the back of the Arc Lite almost touching the ground, then you hurl it straight up. This way is more fun and will give the plane more height, but it will ware you out much faster. Either way will give you nice gliding action.
Thanks for checking out my Instructable, now go have some fun!



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    17 Discussions

    If yes, my group name is: Paper airplane builders

    It a glider and a weird looking shape of the future! Do you want to be in my group?

    Back in grade school I had a paper airplane book with a similar plane in it. Completly forgot about it till community college when, bored one day, I made one of these and let glide towards a friend. We soon had little gliders floating around the room. Luckily the professor didn't mind since the lesson was over that day anyway. This one is easily my favorite paper glider ever!

    1 reply

    ive seen something like this, except that the paper was continued so it made a circle. it looked like this. it didn't work as well as this one though


    uhm, how can i watch that video? it's unavailable in youtube already.

    2 replies

    Go to and type in "arc lite paper plane" or similar. It's there, the embedded video in this Instructable just got messed up.

    That looks pretty awesome. I might try this out tonight if I have the chance with time, unless time defeats me and I will be stuck doing Algebra. Nice job.