Introduction: Indoor Paper Airplane Walkalong Glider

Picture of Indoor Paper Airplane Walkalong Glider
What's a walkalong glider? Here's a video of this indoor paper airplane walkalong glider design flown a distance of approximately 400m:

Building and flying your own airplane has always been high on the list of dreams of adventurous souls. Learning to build and fly the indoor paper airplane walkalong glider is a first step, off the grid and constructed from reused materials.

This instructable incorporates improvements on the Paper Airplane Walkalong Glider instructable. The improvements are as follows:

-Lighter paper- phone book paper instead of copier paper for slower speed and increased maneuverability
-Change in dimensions of initial sheet of paper (22cmX27cm) for pitch stability
-Central fold adds dihedral for better maneuverability
-Leading edges folded downward for softer stall characteristics
-Wedge cut out of tail section for reduced tail weight and better pitch stability
-Wedge fold in tail section for increased drag and slower flight

Please see the web page on Controllable Slope Soaring for more walkalong glider designs.

Step 1: Construct Ballast Assembly

Picture of Construct Ballast Assembly
The first step involves cutting out a 22cmX27cm (or equal aspect ratio) rectangle of light paper. Here phone book paper was used but waxed tissue paper works even better. Waxed tissue paper is only slightly heavier than tissue paper but holds it's shape much better. Waxed tissue paper is used by florists because it maintains its shape when wet.

The ratio of dimensions of the rectangle are important for ensuring the correct washout angle in the wingtips (changing the ratio will change the distance between the leading and trailing edges relative to the width of the wingtip).

Step 2: Finish Construction From Ballast Assembly

Picture of Finish Construction From Ballast Assembly
From the ballast assembly, a central fold is added for dihedral. The wing tip washout angle is determined from the leading edge to tail distance (a result of the initial dimensions of the rectangle of paper used). The leading edges are folded down, tail wedge section cut from the tail and a wedge fold added to the center tail section.

Step 3: Trim Paper Airplane to Fly Straight

Picture of Trim Paper Airplane to Fly Straight
The winglets are adjusted so the paper airplane flies in a straight line. If the paper airplane tends toward a turn in one direction or the other, it will have trouble flying in the opposite direction in flight.

Step 4: Indoor Flight

Picture of Indoor Flight
Find a room or area where there are few drafts. Any wind other than what you generate with the controllable slope will make the glider fly off course. For instructions on how to fly the paper airplane walkalong glider, see the step 4: Powering and Controlling the Surfer Paper Airplane from the paper airplane walkalong glider Instructable. Launch the glider from as high as possible (as high as you can reach while standing up) so the glider settles into stable flight before it descends to the level of the controllable slope. Below, a piece of 96cmX75cm corrugated cardboard serves as the controllable slope.

Next try keep the glider from going down and make it fly for a longer time and distance. Secondly, try to steer the glider through a doorway. Ultimately, getting the glider to climb higher will give you time to maneuver better as the glider will lose altitude in turns.


LollyHaven (author)2017-01-11


dullin (author)2016-06-08

It works okay, but I didn't have a phone book so I used a regular sheet of paper!

babloo chayal (author)2015-09-25

goflyers03 (author)2015-04-25

I failed miserably, but the one I accidentally made is pretty cool.

The indoor paper airplane surfer is a difficult design to trim, let alone fly. The easiest to build, trim and fly is the tumblewing type gliders:

AnshumanT (author)2015-04-02

I have made it but , I can not fly it . please help

The next step is dependent on the trim. The plane is quite flimsy and just picking it up could upset the trim. I've tried the design again and Here's some more tips:

delonzo (author)2013-08-10

Do you know slater harrison

delonzo (author)2013-07-04

Do you have foam

Foam can also be ordered directly at

hope this helps.

Please contact Middle School Manufacturing at
science AT, replace the AT with @, no spaces, to foil spam bots

Mic100 (author)2012-05-12

Good work :)

ultrabuilder7 (author)2012-05-10

How do you fly the airplane??? I try but it just goes down!!

yapoyo (author)2012-05-06

gotta clean up...

hugamo67 (author)2012-03-24

all mine does is do flips

mbourhan (author)2012-03-24

It works very instructions are all great

Edward Nardella (author)2012-02-17

I would really appriciate it if you updated this instructable so it can be completed without needing to see the video(s?).
Or if you uploaded the videos to instructables in WMV format.
I cannot complete this instructable unless you do this :(

i love aircraft (author)2012-01-25

how to turn fast. i only can turn a little bit.

Higgs Boson (author)2012-01-01

Will the cardboard trick work with any paper airplane glider or does it only work with yours? It doesn't work with a glider I made.

There are several design considerations to get a glider to fly properly in the limited area of lift created by cardboard sheets. The flying wing design flies in a nice bar of lift and a friend has adapted normal looking stick and tissue models to fly (his technique is different from mine!). Another consideration is the wing washout angle needed to make the glider responsive to turn inputs.

Hope this answers your question.

thank you.

jpawar (author)2011-12-09

why does my glider always falls down????? answer please

hernandez101 (author)2011-09-09

hey i did the air plane but it did not work, any advices

hocngiap (author)2011-08-20

this is simply amazing

knexmaster12 (author)2011-06-30

why in the flying video does he have cardboard in his hands?

The cardboard sheet pushes the air, creating a smooth updraft.

mr BT (author)2010-06-20

Where did you have 0.4km of hallway to fly this thing? I have three guesses. 1. the tunnels under the US Capitol Complex connecting Congress and office buildings to the Library of Congress, etc. 2. The Pentagon, 3. A particle accelerator. Am I close? BTW - my glider flies great. The plans were excellent. Thanks!

tqwerty (author)mr BT2011-05-19

City Hall! duh... XD

Applebohn (author)mr BT2010-06-21

I bet it's in some university

Thoth (author)mr BT2010-06-21

I think it maybe the the Infinite Corridor that runs under the buildings at M.I.T.

Epimetheus (author)mr BT2010-06-20

Looks like a dorm ~~

yztay (author)2010-06-23

looks like a good way to keep in shape ;)

JohnJY (author)2010-06-21

I built it, but just can't get the plane to fly right. And when I mean fly right I fly at all. Oh well.

MARIUSBMX (author)2010-06-20

Oh! This is so cool, congratulations dude!!! I love the application of fluid mechanics in your airplane :P, plus I made one and it's so fun to chase it around my house :D.

mashedpotato13 (author)2010-06-20

Not really. This is like an airplane while the sciencetoymaker one is like a glider.

culepet (author)2010-06-20

maybe better or great if could fly outdoor hehe ^_^

Helder4u (author)2010-06-20

Fascinating, seems You are very intelligent. Should work with the real big stuff!

aty (author)2010-06-20

Great !!! TNX !

zanethebrain (author)2010-06-20

haha this is cool!

LandMime (author)2010-06-20

Good job, Man!

happybirthday (author)2010-06-19

Wow, I made it and it works very well.

Shredder543 (author)2010-05-23

Mine does a nose-dive when I start it.  What am I doing wrong?

spartan711 (author)2010-05-19


cantrell8 (author)2009-09-07

Wow 5stars!!!!!!!!!!!!

J@50n (author)2009-08-18

when you go "after" it with cardboard, do you run walk or fast walk? just curious.

walkalongaviation (author)J@50n2009-08-20

This is a great question. If the plane is constructed from the lightest paper, waxed tissue paper, you can count on more walking than running. The bottom line, of course, is that you have to keep up with the paper airplane to have any effect on it. In the 3 minute flight above, the plane is constructed from lighter phonebook paper. There were definitely both head and tail winds during the 400 meter flight path necessitating walking and running to keep up with the plane.

J@50n (author)walkalongaviation2009-08-20


Mothys (author)2009-05-09


carlwylde (author)2009-05-07

You are great, Thanx :D

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