How to Make the "Howitzer" Paper Airplane

The purpose of this instructable is to teach you how to make the paper airplane pictured above unofficially named the "Howitzer". Paper airplanes are a fun, cheap and easy way to kill some time or entertain children. Its easy to make a game out of it and see who can make a plane that flies the farthest or stays up in the air the longest. Building the plane should take about 5 minutes. With a little practice you will be able to make this very unique looking plane and have it glide nicely.


  • 1 piece of 8.5 by 11 Paper
  • Space to throw the plane
  • Sizors (optional, the paper can be torn)
  • A hard surface to fold on (optional, just makes it easier)

WARNING: if using scissors be careful not to cut yourself and get parental supervision if necessary.

Step 1: Make the Main Structure of the Plane

A. Fold the top right corner down and across to the left side of the page and crease the fold, then unfold the paper. To crease the fold you can run you fingernail along the edge while holding it against a hard flat surface.

B. Fold the top left corner in the same manner to the right side of the page and crease that fold then unfold the paper again

C. Turn the page over

D. Fold and crease the top of the page down across the middle of the x created by the first two folds

E. Unfold and turn the page back over

F. Bring the edges of the paper forward and together at the crease created by the previous fold and then fold down the top edge of the page to create a point at the top.
Now you have the main structure of the plane completed.

Step 2: Second Set of Folds

A. There should be two triangular flaps created by the previous fold coming out from the center of the page. Fold the tip of these flaps to the top center point on both sides, and crease the fold. This should move what was previously the bottom edge of the flaps along the center line of the plane.

B. Fold the flap up again so the new, bottom edge of the flap is along the center line of the plane again and crease these folds

C. Unfold the previous two folds and fold the tip of the plane back to the creases created by the previous fold.

D. Fold the tip the opposite direction to make the crease more defined.
This will make a later fold easier by having it already creased

Step 3: Creating the Handle Used to Hold the Plane

A. Cut or tear the front tip of the plane along the center line back to the crease that was created by the previous fold. This is the only step that requires scissors and it can be torn by hand.
CAUTION if you cut or tear past the crease, the plane won’t look as nice and possibly won’t fly as well.

B. Re fold both of the flaps back to the center line

C. Create an opening in the flap by pinching open the edges of the flap and sticking your finger in it to open it up.

D. Insert one of the triangular flaps of paper that was cut into the hole created and crease the fold once it is inserted.

E. Repeat the previous two steps for the opposite side of the plane.
Now the handle of the plane is created.

Step 4: Creating the Wings of the Plane

A. Flip over the plane so the handle is on the bottom side and fold both edges of the plane to the center.

B. Fold the edges that are now along the center line back outward to the fold that was just created.

C. Pull the tips of the wings back outward slightly so they are at right angles.

D. Slightly bend the back edge of the plane up.
Now the plane is completed continue to step 5 to learn how to adjust the plane to get it to glide nicely

Step 5: Making Adjustments to the Flight of the Plane

A. For the first adjustment just make the plane as symmetrical as possible.

B. Give the plane a toss and note how it flies. When throwing the plane grip the handle as shown and gently toss the plane at an angle slightly above horizontal. Use the suggestions below to further adjust the flight of the plane.

i. If the plane seems to roll to the left, bend the back of the left wing tip down slightly and the back of the right wing tip up slightly

ii. If the plane seems to roll to the right, bend the back of the right wing tip down slightly and the back of the left wing tip up slightly

iii. If the plane doesn’t seem to roll but dives down into the ground when thrown, bend the back edge of the plane up slightly.

iv. If the plane doesn’t roll but keeps trying to point up when thrown, bend the back edge of the plane down slightly. (It is known as stalling when a plane tries to point up but then falls down when it runs out of speed.)

If you are interested in having the plane do tricks just experiment with the plane by slightly bending the back edge of the plane in different ways.

Now that you have completed your plane and learned some ways to adjust it, go have fun flying it!



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    You copied the space cruzer and renamed it!


    3 years ago

    Mor very detailed enough could've at least put lmages of the foldings


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This has been my favorite paper airplane design for 40-odd years.

    I've always cut two "trim" tabs in the back edge for tweaking the flight adjustment; will have to try the wing tip method.

    Nicely done!

    Yes, this design can be modified to fly as a walkalong glider:


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice touch using two different colors to distinguish each sides of the paper.