ElJet’s Guide To Paper Airplanes and Jets
Birds and other animals like bats can fly using their wings. People only have arms and legs, so it takes special machines for humans to be able to soar through the sky. It may seem like the only way to fly is with a big, life-size airplane, but there are a bunch of simple crafts you can make that are just as much fun to fly. Paper airplanes or jets can be a great way to learn about flying and aerodynamics, and all you need to make one is a piece of paper.
Paper Airplanes and Jets
Making a paper airplane or a fleet of paper jets is a great way to experience the fun of flying at home. Kids were making paper planes 2,000 years ago as a way to play, and since then, paper planes have been a popular toy. Even professional inventors like the Wright brothers used paper airplanes to test different ideas about what kind of machines would fly and what wouldn’t. There are many different kinds of paper airplanes to make, and all of them fly differently. You can even have paper airplane races to find out which one flies the farthest!
- How to Fold and Trim a Paper Airplane
- Make the Racer Plane (PDF)
- Pee Wee’s Paper Airplane Hangar
- Flying Paper Bird Planes (PDF)
- Best Flying Paper Airplane Activity (PDF)
- Paper Airplane Pilots (PDF)
- Make Your Own Disney Paper Planes (PDF)
- Make a Cut-and-Fold Jet Plane
- Paper Airplane Experiment
- The Raptor Paper Plane (PDF)
- Paper Airplane: Mitsubishi Zero
- The Paper Airplane That Flies Forever
- Great Paper Planes With Downloadable Plans
- Animal Paper Airplanes (PDF)
- Make a Secret Message Paper Airplane Carrier
- Zoom! Paper Airplane Instructions
- Paper Airplane Instructions and Worksheet (PDF)
It took a lot of study for people to understand how birds and other animals were able to fly. The special forces working on things that fly through the air are called aerodynamics. Leonardo da Vinci came up with a lot of cool ideas about how people might be able to fly, but it was Sir George Cayley who figured out what aerodynamics were and built a working glider. There are four parts of aerodynamics that make it possible for paper planes, birds, and gliders to soar through the air.
Thrust is the force that keeps a paper airplane moving forward, and it’s provided by the strength of your arm when you throw the plane. In airplanes, thrust is generated by the propeller or engine. Lift is a force that is provided by the air around us. We may not be able to see air, but it’s made up of small atoms that have weight. When a paper plane flies through the air, the air flows under and over the wings and pushes the plane up. Gravity is the third force, and it’s what pulls the plane toward the ground. Drag, another property of air, is the fourth force. When you swim in a pool or in the ocean, your legs move more slowly through the water than they do in the air because the water puts a force on them. This same kind of drag in the air acts on jets and other types of planes.
- How Far Can a Paper Airplane Fly?
- Dynamics of Flight
- What Makes Paper Airplanes Fly?
- Aerodynamics and Plane Fun Facts (PDF)
- Understand Aerodynamics With a Frisbee
- Aerodynamics: Reducing Air Resistance
- The Forces on an Airplane
- Aerodynamics in a Paper Plane Flying Contest
- All About Flight
Playing with paper airplanes isn’t just for kids. There are lots of contests all over the world where both kids and adults try to make paper planes that can fly farther than any other plane. Some people focus less on making a plane fast and try to make it as big as possible instead. Arturo Valdenegro, a 12-year-old boy from Arizona, designed a paper plane that was 45 feet long!
The way that you throw a paper airplane can have a big effect on how long it flies, so it’s a good idea to practice and figure out which way works best with the design. Paper planes don’t have to be made only out of paper, either. Drinking straws can help add structure to a design, and paper jets made from cardboard can be much stronger. Whatever kind of paper airplane you make, the important thing is to enjoy flying it!
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- Tips to Create the Ultimate Paper Plane
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