Introduction: How to Make Paper Airplanes- 4 Simple Designs
How do airplanes work?
Airplanes fly because they can generate a force called Lift which normally moves the airplane upward. Lift is generated by the forward motion of the airplane through the air. This motion is produced by the Thrust of the engine. In the case of paper airplanes, you are the engine thrusting the paper airplane through the air.
Drag is the force produced by the resistance of the air to the forward motion of the airplane. Swish your hand rapidly side-to-side and you will feel that resistance.
Weight is the force created by the pull of gravity toward the center of the earth. You will feel the effect of this force if you jump up from the floor. Your weight will force you back down.
When the Thrust produced by the engine (or you!) is greater than the force of Drag, the airplane moves forward. When the forward motion is enough to produce a force of Lift that is greater than the Weight, the airplane moves upward.
Some paper airplanes can go longer distances, can stay aloft longer, or can even do tricks. In this project we will be looking at 4 simple ways to make a paper airplane. Each design affects the airplane’s distance, time aloft, and acrobatics.
The only item needed for this project is:
● Copy paper (8 ½ x 11 inches or size A4)
Remember these designs are basic designs that you can modify easily to make more complex. Each plane will fly a bit different depending on your folds as well as the amount of thrust and angle that you throw it with! Have fun! See which one can fly the farthest or stay afloat the longest! To learn more about flight fell free to check out the following links:
Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/collections/wilbur-and-orville-wright-papers/about-this-collection/
Copy paper (8 ½ x 11 inches or size A4)