Picture of Paper Airplane Walkalong Glider
What's a walkalong glider? Here's a video of a completed paper airplane walkalong glider on a 42 second "cross country" soaring flight:

This paper airplane design was fabricated from 100% reused materials, from the 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper to the 96cm X 75cm corrugated cardboard salvaged from the trash. this is a good way of reusing paper and cardboard before ultimately recycling them. Ever wanted to pilot an airplane? Here's a way to do it without electricity or contributing to global warming- this aircraft model is powered by you.

The surfer paper airplane is designed to fly as a walkalong glider. Paper airplanes are heavier than other walkalong glider designs and fly correspondingly faster. A 96cm X 75cm piece of corrugated cardboard was used as a controllable slope to power (sustain) and control the surfer paper airplane. For other walkalong glider designs see the Controllable Slope Soaring page.

The Indoor Paper Airplane Surfer has many improvements over this design. That didn't stop somebody from flying this design at the Red Bull Paper Airplane Contest in Austria (see 1:28 into the video):

Step 1: Folding the Surfer Paper Airplane

Picture of Folding the Surfer Paper Airplane
The surfer paper airplane is made from a standard 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of paper:

The nose assembly is used for many other paper airplane designs which differ from this paper airplane walkalong glider design only in how the fins are folded. The nose assembly is similar to the trapezium paper airplane design (proceedure is same up to 2:42):

The nose assembly and first fin fold is the same as before 1:09 in the following video:

The last fold on each wingtip is what distinguishes this glider from the rest. This fold starts at the front where the first fin fold intersects the leading edge of the wing. Then the edge of the fin is lined up with where the first fin fold instersects the trailing edge of the wing. This fold results in the outboard wingtip having a reduced angle of attack relative to the inboard wing, a design feature called wing washout.
vedant.mundada made it!8 months ago
thanks for a fantastic idea !!!!
ty1591 year ago

im so good at paper airplanes

delonzo2 years ago
It that made of printer paper
i cant get it to work. I don't know how or where to hold the cardboard or anything. when i let go, the plane stalls once, and then is soars away and falls to the ground in about 1 second.
could you make another how-to video a little slower and show the step you just did
pause the video
no the step itself was shown too fast
walkalongaviation (author)  davtheman2233 years ago
Does this video include the step you were wondering about?
DEADMAU5FTW6 years ago
what was that thing in your hands?
It looked a lot like glass or plastic.(In the kid's hands)
 some string
there is no string
cardboard to keep an air flow so that the plane can keep in the air for a long time.
maybe it was a carboard,,,to control the wind,,powering up to the glider
shassan33 years ago
i made it a million times but it just loops back and hits my head
in your video, please go slower. Thanks!
I think that because of the choice of a denser type of paper, the stability of the glider was in danger, so he had to move quickly. Perhaps if we switched the main material with one like the material used for newspapers/waxed tissue paper, it would be easier to control. Also, we notice that in this design the author has decided not to cut the tail wedge section..overall, it seems solid.
what I really mean is the folding parts but thanks anyway :)
wat.4 years ago
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!
MR.SAINT2355 years ago
IT WORKS!!!!!!!
MR.SAINT2355 years ago
I know how to make that!! All you need to do is know how to make the flat bed, then adjust the wings in that way!!!!
macrumpton6 years ago
If you made the glider out of wrapping tissue or condenser paper you would not have to run so fast. Also the wider the wing in proportion to it's length the more efficient it is (although beyond about 5 or 6:1 it runs into stability problems.
walkalongaviation (author)  macrumpton6 years ago
Yes, you're right, lowering the mass with a lighter paper would slow things down. I have made the paper airplane design from half size tissue paper but I still haven't finished design enhancements to lessen the pitch instability yet retain control about the roll axis for turns. The tumblewing walkalong glider design, for example, flies much slower because it requires no forward mass, so it has the lowest wing loading for a given paper.
Here's the best flight so far:

It would be so cool if you could use a fan to blow against the cardboard to create an updraft that the glider could fly on without moving forward. When I was a kid in school we made these paper helicopters that you could hold over a radiator (they had these massive 10ft long radiators next to the windows) and the hot air rising would take the copters up to the ceiling and out into the middle of the room.
Cool! if you can remember how to make them, plz post them!
walkalongaviation (author)  macrumpton6 years ago
This is the function of a wind tunnel. Wind tunnels have vanes to smooth the turbulence coming off the fan blades.
walkalongaviation (author)  macrumpton6 years ago
Today I made an indoor paper airplane from a waxy tissue wrapping paper which came with a plant. It works very well. Lighter material is the way to go.
is smaller cardboard work too?
The size of the cardboard can be likened to the power of the aircraft engine, the larger the area the more wind is created. A good test of how efficient a glider design would be whether you can sustain it with your hands (or your head). The paper airplane designs are not very efficient (theirglide ratio is relatively low). The foam design has a much better glide ratio:

So, you could act as though you were using telekenesis? That would be so cool!
walkalongaviation (author)  The Jamalam6 years ago
telekenesis or not the attention required to fly using hands or head means no attention to where you're going!!!!!
u guys r confusing  oh and hey jamalam
casey321b6 years ago
do we just mess around with steering and flight or is there a video so i dont look stupid out in my driveway...
walkalongaviation (author)  casey321b6 years ago
This is the first attempt at a steerable paper airplane. The Indoor Paper Airplane Walkalong Glider is by far a superior design and avoids the pitch oscillations:
This improved design was flown for 400m (3 minutes).
how could some body find a piece of cardboard that big!!!!
The cardboard used here used to contain a bicycle wheel. Larger area cardboard sheets are used to deliver new bicycles. Ask you local bike shop if they have any boxes they are recycling/throwing away.
owenebs6 years ago
argh! when ever I throw mine it loops back to me upside down or just downright crashes into the ground! please someone help me!
walkalongaviation (author)  owenebs6 years ago
this design has been improved upon in the indoor paper airplane instructable. If you still have trouble, post a photo of your completed paper airplane.
rogers2366 years ago
I've made a paper plane before with almost the exact same design, save the last few folds which were only slightly different. I found that if I made a hard crease for its fins and then flatten then back out. Then the fins will only pop up a little bit. This helps prevent the dips in the plane's flight and causes a much smoother flight without the need to fan it. Nice 'ible btw
I found that if I made a hard crease for its fins and then flatten then back out. Then the fins will only pop up a little bit. This helps prevent the dips in the plane's flight and causes a much smoother flight without the need to fan it.

Forgive my error in syntax. lol

Correction: I found that if I made a hard crease on the fins and then flatten them back out, the fins will only pop up a little bit and this helps to prevent the dips in the plane's flight, causing a much smoother flight without the need to fan it.
Very cool. I once made a flapping paper airplane. Only if I had saved it, it'll take me weeks to try and recreate it if I ever attempt to. I've also made planes that come back to you almost always, though I suspect they're not that hard to make.
pooter14336 years ago
That was pretty cool. Hey you made the email distro and the homepage of Instructables. I don't think many of these other "experts" have. So good on you!
Your design is tail heavy base on its glide performance. It keeps stalling, and going down, and stalling. Either add the weight to the nose, or remove some weight from the tail.
Alternatively, you could add lightness to the tail, or remove lightness from the nose. At least, that's how Colin Chapman (Lotus) would do it.
The nose up trim was a compromise between the oscillations and the glider getting away in a dive. This is my first try at this and is the first time I have felt in control while controllable slope soaring a paper ariplane. I agree with you, there is room for improvement.
aeray6 years ago
Don't watch this video after having a couple of beers... bleechh.
jmanjman6 years ago
Ted.com rules! and so does that plane!:)
walkalongaviation (author)  jmanjman6 years ago
The only TED video I know of is of the father of Tyler McCready, the late Dr Paul McCready who had some walkalong glider looking designs of his own.
brokengun6 years ago
Nice! This reminds me of the paper planes that you can fly by holding your hand under them and walking.... they work on the updraft from your hands. Very cool and seems to work really well. Good work!
walkalongaviation (author)  brokengun6 years ago
People are impressed with walkalong gliders but doubly so when they are flown with the hands. Alot of people were inspired by the Sci-Am Frontiers episode called flying free. There are also other videos of hand flying. But I think that walkalong glider is made from foam.
nagutron6 years ago
This is neat! What was your camera setup for filming the 42-second flight?
walkalongaviation (author)  nagutron6 years ago
I've been using this setup for all my walkalong glider videos.
DIY helmet cam, an Instructable all its own...
Gamer9176 years ago
i could make this plane in my sleep, i saw this in a book when I was 3 and I have been making it ever since
LeumasYrrep6 years ago
That was very very... Out of all my paper air plane books and searches I have never seen this. Next time I have a chance I'm trying it out. 5*
finfan76 years ago
I made one of these way back in the third grade with instructions from a book that had been in the house since my brother was a kid. He's fourteen years older than I am. I had brought the book to school and gotten some computer paper from the printers at school so my friends and I had a paper airplane contest. I made this design and in the third round it flew toward one of my more skittish friends and he started running. The plane followed him and the low pressure wake he created kept it going 50 ft at the same height until he swung around a tree and lost it. It was pretty cool. So there you have a random story you didn't ask for to tell your grandkids as if it were your own.
DainiusGB6 years ago
wow cool i saw one of these on ted.com!