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Ask Slashdot: The Very Best Paper Airplane?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the important-life-skills dept.

Transportation 183

An anonymous reader writes "'The Harrier' (or 'Eastern star,' as it is also called), is very well known, and is considered to be one of the best paper airplane designs. After much searching and trying, I have not found a better plane. So, I am asking Slashdot: is there anything that beats 'The Harrier' in a competition (indoors or outdoors)? This would be a really nice geek skill!"

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183 comments

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Outdated (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637799)

The harrier is 1980s technology. Try a F35-B joint strike fighter STOVL variant. Folding instructions are a bit behind schedule and over budget still.

Re:Outdated (4, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638063)

The F35-B only uses one sheet of paper, and we have to have two sheets to fly properly in Canada's arctic weather.

Re:Outdated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638467)

Not true. Apparently our Defense Minister can make the single sheet solution work reliably by sheer force of will.

Re:Outdated (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638971)

And I thought our government was three sheets to the wind when they decided to buy the damn things.

Re:Outdated (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639709)

Where would they get three sheets? They're at least one mast short of a full ship.

Re:Outdated (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638901)

It's from the 1960s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Siddeley_Harrier

Re:Outdated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39639669)

not only that, the up to the date web technology is way behind the simple line drawings used in the dead tree instruction books on folding paper
This guy doesn't understand that a photograph is NOT good for conveying info; unlike a drawing , it is hard to highlight the impt things

Re:Outdated (-1, Troll)

MiG82au (2594721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639981)

The retard doesn't even have the attention span to check spelling or use some punctuation in the instructions. Sure, if you're writing a one off comment and you're a bit brain damaged, you take stupid liberties; but submitting such shit instructions is just fucking rude.

FIRST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637803)

i recommend the grow the fuck up

Re:FIRST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637823)

What an inept piece of trolling that was.

"i recommend the grow the fuck up"?

Well I recommend the learn the spell!

Re:FIRST (5, Funny)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638363)

I recommend the learn the grammar.

Re:FIRST (0, Offtopic)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638737)

please, stop. As a real an interested reader of slashdot, I am ungodly sick of fools like you presuming the reason errors exist in posts is lack of education; it's really lack of interest in making you happy that let's me be happy sayin' its, it's, it is, or freakin' "itis" for crap sake, whenever I want to. If you are really so retentive you can't deal with interpreting what people type into your own chosen dialect, then it's YOUR problem, not ours.

Re:FIRST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39639691)

"then it's YOUR problem, not ours."

Idiots like you drag the world down by your very existence.

Do the world a favor and commit suicide.

Re:FIRST (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639553)

I recommend the read the GP post.

I made a Saturn V once (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637805)

But it kept deflagrating on the pad.

Re:I made a Saturn V once (3, Funny)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637915)

She initiated deflagration to which he exploded in premature ignition!!!

Ask the mythbusters (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637813)

They can test out ideas in a cool way.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638057)

What would be the myth?

Re:Ask the mythbusters (4, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638069)

Yes. They will test out which paper plane travels the furthest by considering a number of different launch techniques, one of which will inevitable be being propelled by the force of an explosion.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (2)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638435)

One of my top three episodes is the one with the water heater rockets. Another is the one where the moribund cement truck gets vaporized.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (1, Informative)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638687)

I think you missed the obvious anagram "HALT! SODS".

(This is the real trial for the slashdot moderation system. Is there any way I can be modded both Off Topic and Informative?)

Re:Ask the mythbusters (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639639)

posting to undo comment mod - sorry 'bout that.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639105)

The problem is that it is hard to define what a 'plane' is

If we are talking about something that is made of paper and can travel as far as possible when thrown, then piece of paper compressed into a ball will win hands down

Re:Ask the mythbusters (1)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639363)

That makes about as much sense as saying that a cannon ball can stay in flight longer than a hang glider.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (4, Insightful)

MiG82au (2594721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640133)

Bullshit. The paper plane throw record is 69 m. Try match that with your paper ball. You can definitely exclude a ball from the definition of "plane". It follows a ballistic trajectory because it doesn't generate lift.

Re:Ask the mythbusters (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639563)

What are you talking about? I love MB but it has hosted some of the absolute worst science I have ever seen.

Childs toys (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637815)

At least if going by the quality of this guide's description.

'no fold the wings so that the wings come to the bottom and the bottom of the plane is quite slanted'
'now you have you're finished plane'

the bat (5, Informative)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637835)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Awesome-paper-plane!!/ [instructables.com]

due to its erratic flight, it let you use the full gymnasium, much more exciting than anything that flew in a straight line....

Re:the bat (4, Informative)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638189)

That is by far my favorite design. Great for letting loose in the office, and it's easily customizable. You can easily add ailerons with just a couple of scissor snips.

Re:the bat (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639289)

I wonder if that's kind of like what I made back in middle school. I had a design, which I've totally forgotten, which would every time you threw it go forward, rise up, stall, turn around, fly back just over your head and hit the person behind you. ;)

Re:Erratic Flight (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638733)

I'll reply to you because you're high up enough to be noticed.

Absolutely no one in the thread has noted my favorite design. Sorry, no pics. This is a stunt design, not about distance.

1. Typical 8x11, vertical/portrait
2. Bottom left corner to 3/4 right side.
3. Bottom right corner to match = "Inverted house". Crease hard. (I flip 180 degrees here for ease on next step.)
4. Buckle the two sides in so that you get another "house" but this time with two extra flaps.
        Protip: Slight variations in this step lead to different tricks.
5. Fold Nose Half to 2/3 of the way to the base of the "triangle". (Created by the cross folds.)
6. Fold directly in half along the base to connect both wings.
7. Fold each wing down making a fuselage
8. Fold wingtips up or down as desired.

It's a slow heavy design but it can do about 4 tricks depending on mods:
Yoyo Loops (Right back to your feet), Circle Patrols, Short-Direct flights 15 feet away, or "Ditzy" where it completely loses its balance and goes haywire.

Re:the bat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638817)

I *love* this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Greatest-Paper-Airplane-Book/dp/0830628460/ref=sr_1_1 [amazon.com]

There are at least 3 in there I like out of the 15 or so. One of them with a slight modification I got to go at least 200 ft (I and my friend were quite surprised at the result).

Re:the bat (4, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640085)

I prefer "The Great International Paper Airplane Book", by Mander/Dippel/Gossage (from 1968!):

http://www.amazon.com/Great-International-Paper-Airplane-Book/dp/1578660289/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334112956&sr=1-1 [amazon.com]

Probably the first serious book on the subject, and a must-read if you're into paper airplanes.

Re:the bat (4, Interesting)

ChenLiWay (260829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638957)

In my life, I've thrown two of these that I tracked with my eyes for 5+ minutes that never came down.

First was from ground level but in a downtown area. It caught the currents between the tall buildings and just kept going and I lost it after it crossed a street and I couldn't cross fast enough to follow.

Second was from a 19th floor balcony. The two other paper plane designs my friends used fell to the ground in less than a minute. Mine reached about the 4th floor, caught an updraft from the hot asphalt streets, and never came down. It flew so high that it became a dot and eventually wasn't visible.

Cliffs: this design is great for gliding and catching air currents, and will fly forever if it catches the right one. Throw outdoors for great fun.

Re:the bat (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639179)

hm throwing from a building, that's a great idea.

The Ring (3, Interesting)

khendron (225184) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637859)

Might not win a competition, but I've always liked this design. Looks way cool when flying.

The Ring [10paperairplanes.com] .

The Box. (3, Insightful)

Balinares (316703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638251)

Back when I was still at school, one year, my classroom was one overlooking a deep vale. One of our primary pastimes that year was chucking assorted stuff out the window and see how it'd fly. Mostly (but not limited to) paper planes.

The record winner for that year in terms of distance covered, and by far, was also the simplest model we ever came up with.

It was much like the Ring mentioned above, except even simpler. Where the Ring's profile makes an O, the Box's makes a square U. So you don't even need tape.

Just take a rectangular piece of paper, fold the front over several times to make a thicker leading edge, and fold two vertical wings so the thing will look somewhat like an elongated cube with three missing sides. That's it. Not only it flies, but it flies pretty well, so long as you balanced the 'wings' well enough.

Re:The Ring (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638589)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Annular-Ring-Paper-Plane [instructables.com] .

The key is to throw at just the right speed. Too fast and it cuts corners. Too slow and it will nose dive. Of all the paper airplanes I've thrown, the reward is the best when you get it just right. With a little luck of course.

Re:The Ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638899)

There is also a variation of the ring that has a pointy tail, and flies really far.

Re:The Ring (1)

samwichse (1056268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640171)

Oh man I used to make these all the time in high school.

Even better is putting about 20-30 staples through the leading edge part to make it fly faster... throw it kind of like a football and you could LAUNCH that sucker.

Sam

What are you aiming for? (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637871)

Speed? Distance? Height? The optimal design depends on what you want to achieve.

Re:What are you aiming for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638597)

I'm aiming for some USDA Grade-A va-jay-jay.

It's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638757)

Engineers can suck the fun out of anything. I say this as an engineer, of course...

Distance! (1)

jefurii (210787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639055)

I almost won a distance competition in Boy's Brigade in elementary school with this design [imgur.com] . It was just a piece of paper crumpled up as tight as I could squeeze it (I think I stepped on it a couple times too) and thrown as hard as possible. The guy who came in second of course argued that it wasn't an airplane. I got some kind of award, though it might have been some kind of "outside the box" award.

Re:Distance! (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640025)

I had to do one like that as well, 2 sheets of paper, a straw, all the tape you wanted, but it had to use the straw, and had to have two "1 inch wide rings" connected by the straw.

I made an arrow [10paperairplanes.com] cut two rings out of the long side of the second sheet, and then folded the rest up into a tight ball. Wrapped the ball in most of a roll of tape. Tapped the straw down the center of the plane, taped the ball to the front, and threw it like a nerf foot ball. went far and straight. same as you, got "the outside the box" award, despite winning.

Barnaby (3, Interesting)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637881)

I remember this from an old over 30 years ago.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-the-Barnaby-Paper-Aeroplane/ [instructables.com]

Re:Barnaby (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638037)

This was always my favourite for time aloft. In a contest in high school I got about 1:9 glide ratio out of this one (if I remember correctly). This is 9 feet forward for one foot of drop, with a very slight push forward. It was either the Barnaby model, or a basic flying wing, which is the Barnaby without the cut-outs ... less stable but more wing surface. These are both amazing outside if you can find a *very* calm hot day.

I also remember something about Barnaby having the first U.S. pilots licence.

Re:Barnaby (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638309)

Thank-you. I had forgotten the name. I used to fold these all the time when I was in jr. high. Mine looked a bit different from the one in the link. The wings had just half an inch folded *up*, not down.

I would also cut out neat control surfaces or use my nails to warp the paper which I think might have made for less drag.

When properly adjusted these were amazing. The stiff leading edge also made them robust outdoors. I had a gust of wind catch one and take it half a block into a tree one time, which it managed to fall out of. No telling how far it would have gone without the trees, although to be fair it was down hill. What's more impressive is that this wasn't just a piece of paper blowing in the wind. It maintained a "plane like bearing" in the gust, and glided normally after that. Beautiful moment from childhood you just don't forget.

Not everybody liked this design. That was probably because you couldn't launch it as fast as dart-based models. It's also harder to make. Precise folding is critical or you'll get something that's permanently warped and can't be tuned. It was better for the "drop from a height and see how far it glides" flight. The throw is also tricky. You need to grab the leading edge in the center and flick your wrist as you release it. Not everybody could get the hang of that.

Some of the contest winners I've seen have made parabolic arcs. Technicly they win, but it's still just a dart. The Barnaby doesn't take a parabolic trajectory. It glides. It's like a real plane.

Re:Barnaby (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638575)

There are many schools of paper airplane making.

Personally, I would disqualify any plane that needs extra implements to make, whether it be scissors, tape, paper clips, spittle, or otherwise. I'm not a purist, though, and won't scoff at bending wings instead of folding flaps, nor tearing the paper unless it's explicitly stated that the paper must survive intact.

That said, Europeans have a distinct advantage over Americans in folding paper airplanes, in that the ratio of the paper allows it to maintain the exact same proportion when folded in half.

flying squarish thing (2)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637899)

I've always liked Ken Blackburn's that set the world record, it's easy to make and the wing actually makes a nice airfoil.

Re:flying squarish thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638109)

Yeah this one. It's really easy to make, pretty much always flies, and you can tweak it to make it do whatever you want. If you want air time, it'll get it. If you want it to come back like a boomerang, it'll do that too. I'ts a very fun design that got me through middle school quite nicely :)

Re:flying squarish thing (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639209)

Thirding it. The square plane is very tweakable.

Take environment conditions into account (5, Funny)

ninjackn (1424235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637905)

One time at my university the engineering department had this paper airplane competition, everyone was given a sheet of 8.5x11" paper and a paper clip. It was particularly windy that day and the event had been organized for better weather so we ended up having to throw the planes directly into the wind from ground level. The distance of the various planes people built ranged from -10 feet to 20 feet from launch point. Taking this into account I decided to modify my design at the last second. I stepped up to the launch area with my plane, aimed it at a 45 degree angle, crumbled it up into a ball and threw it as hard as I could. I got something like 40 feet and had the furthest distance. I kept saying that it was designed to minimize air resistance but In the end I was disqualified for being a smart ass.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638107)

My school did the same thing at a physics competition. They gave us paperclips duct tape and paper to make a device that would travel the furthest through the air after being launched by hand. They never said "paper airplane" but that's what they had in mind. We put a bunch of paperclips in a paperball and taped it together, and one of the kids on our team was a pitcher for the school's baseball team so he just chucked it down the hallway. It hit the backwall and we won our school an award for it.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638455)

Awesome. The award was well deserved.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638541)

I would have appealed their decision. If that's the whole story you were smart, not an ass. I've always judged my planes against the baseline of a crumpled paper ball, and when I've run competitions, we always had an event specifically for crumpled balls. If your event organizers didn't want that design, they should have prohibited it before the event. If that design never occurred to them, then you taught them a valuable engineering lesson.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (2)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639191)

I would have appealed their decision. If that's the whole story you were smart, not an ass. I've always judged my planes against the baseline of a crumpled paper ball, and when I've run competitions, we always had an event specifically for crumpled balls. If your event organizers didn't want that design, they should have prohibited it before the event. If that design never occurred to them, then you taught them a valuable engineering lesson.

I'm slowly learning that is why us nerds don't get promoted.

In the corporate world: The best idea is not always the best idea. Sometimes you have to just shut up and play ball.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39639499)

Oh man, this was never more true than in my freshman engineering class.

The challenge was to program a hovercraft to follow a line. Simple problem, but made more difficult by the fact that hovercrafts drift.
As an easy out, there was a rule that allowed you to drag a weight in order to minimize drift. You still had to have a good line-following algorithm and a fully functioning hovercraft, and the weights could not propel the hovercraft in any way.

One team chose to drag the front end from a radio controlled car, and wired it to be the steering.

It was accepted as being within the rules, but not in the "spirit of the competition". I personally thought it was genius and a simple solution to a tough problem within the given constraints, kinda disappointed that I didn't think of it myself. Needless to say, that loophole was corrected the next year. I thought they should have given that team a scholarship.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (3, Interesting)

nameer (706715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639591)

The intent of the organizers is to generate designs with "nice" glide ratios. But to encourage that, the right metric is not distance of flight, but time aloft. A paper airplane that slowly covers 15' is a much "nicer" design then a wadded paper ball that covers 40' in two seconds.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (2)

NotPeteMcCabe (833508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639429)

I think the most amazing thing about this story is that you were able to throw a crumpled ball of paper 40 feet into a stiff wind. I just went into my front yard with a crumpled ball of paper and could not get more than 33 feet, and that's with no wind at all.

Re:Take environment conditions into account (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639771)

The simple explanation is that you throw like girl. :-)

Re:Take environment conditions into account (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639751)

Heh. Reminds me of a early C programming assignment in college (back in the mid 1980s) to read in several variable rows/cols of numbers, sort them, and write out several fixed rows/cols. I wrote a small C program to read and write the numbers and a shell script to pipe the I/O through "sort". Got full credit. (Not thinking like everyone else has helped immensely over the years as a Unix system programmer/admin.)

Always liked this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637921)

http://paplet.blog.cz/0905/dvoumotorak

The definition of 'best'. (0, Troll)

apparently (756613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637925)

FTFA:

in this Instructable I will show you how to make a really good paper airplane i have pondered and wondered if this is really the best but i have recently done some tests and my conclusion was that yes this was the best paper airplane. the farthest i have gotten this plane to go is 112 feet!!!

The farthest point on Earth from me is in the middle of the fucking ocean, and I don't feel the need to exclaim to my wife "Honey! I've discovered the best place on Earth where we can fuck like animals while I teach you the superiority of a properly-configured HOSTS file vs. antimalware software!"

Hypersonic shaped Paper Airplane (3, Interesting)

Banichi (1255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637927)

The very best distance paper airplane I have ever encountered was shown to me by a fellow church-going Virginian when I was about 5 years old.
You fold the paper into a very narrow dart looking shape, a wingspan of maybe an inch or so at most, a length of almost the entire sheet. Throwing this paper airplane, you can get incredible distances.
I've never seen anyone else use that design, not that I've looked especially hard.

Re:Hypersonic shaped Paper Airplane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638205)

That design was very popular at sporting events when I was younger. I haven't seen too many paper airplanes these days, because there aren't as many papers/programs being handed out now. The other popular design was the short nose, and max wing surface area(usually built from the center page of a program, so they were often a single sheet approx 17X11). Those, given the right conditions, could be carried aloft and travel for quite some time in the swirling air of some stadiums.

Scientific American Published a book on it. (5, Informative)

Earl The Squirrel (463078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637939)

The Great International Paper Airplane Book by Scientific America : http://www.amazon.com/Great-International-Paper-Airplane-Book/dp/0671211293 [amazon.com]
had, at least at the time, the "best performing" for time aloft, distance, etc. The designs were very solid.

Re:Scientific American Published a book on it. (1)

rezac (733345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639267)

The Great International Paper Airplane Book by Scientific America : http://www.amazon.com/Great-International-Paper-Airplane-Book/dp/0671211293 [amazon.com]
had, at least at the time, the "best performing" for time aloft, distance, etc. The designs were very solid.

I had that book as a kid!

The "Pocket Rocket" (while not a paper airplane) was seriously the most fun a 10 year old could have with a pack of matches, some tin foil and a paper clip. From there I graduated to some seriously large and quite dangerous solid fuel and liquid fuel rockets. None of that Estes rocket stuff, these were home brews, including a full LED indicated launch control board that was capable of 4 separate launches with fail safe and low power ignition check to the filament "fuses."

Times have changed, I'm sure some of my "creations" would be heavily regulated today.

Re:Scientific American Published a book on it. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639841)

I still have my copy, somewhere around here.

world record... (4, Informative)

mortonda (5175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637941)

Re:world record... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638599)

Video of the John Collins, the inventor/creator of that design folding the plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VG-4BSZcwI
Unlisted video, don't know why.

I've just tried it, and even without the tape, it flies much better than the Harrier

Re:world record... (2)

curunir (98273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639671)

This article [popularmechanics.com] has a brief discussion of the overall design of the plane. Not really a step-by-step how-to, but there's enough in there for someone with some physics knowledge and Googling skills to create something similar.

Super-basic square (2)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637959)

I grew up having to go to church. And every week, I would wait so impatiently for the 20 minutes or so at the end of service when all of us kids would get the run of the main hall and run around in circles and burn off all the energy we'd saved up sitting still!

We had a perpetual paper airplane contest, because every week there were program sheets passed out that nobody cared about after the service. So I spent years competing for the best flying airplane, at least among other children under 12 or so.

The very best design I ever concocted was a "square plane" design, something like this one [blackgold.ca] , except that instead of folding it down the middle, I bent it up about 1" along either side, making it into a low, squared off "U" shape when viewed from the front. Experiment with different sizes of roll, different lengths of roll until you get it right. (I didn't get much result making the fins down either side much smaller or bigger, 1" is about perfect) I usually got best results with the plane being 6" wide and 6" long - nearly perfect square, with about 5 inches of paper rolled up at the front.

Launch by pulling it into the air straight up, over your head, with your fingers under the front rolled-over part, it will gently fly with the fins up ("upside down") and glide a long way, dancing along the edge of stall. If you are looking for excellent hang times (not speed) this is the plane you want. 30 seconds or more of airtime are commonplace.

Magic trick (4, Funny)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637999)

Just use a sheet, draw a treasure map on it, and let it fly.

In a lot of movies, a simple sheet of paper is able to fly long distances, even when there is no wind, as long as it contains something important for the hero.

Criteria? (1)

Killer Panda (1569613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638007)

As always, it depends on your goals. The Harrier (or Nakamura) is indeed an excellent plane if you're looking for aerobatic performance. A slight adjustment of the ailerons (and much practice) can have it doing barrel rolls, loops, or any combination of tricks. It is one of my favorite. For flight duration and gliding, I prefer a flying wing design similar to the Surfer [instructables.com] with different winglet folds based on flight conditions. And for distance, the old missile or dart style airplane (probably the first paper airplane you ever learned how to fold) generally performs best. Get those folds nice and tight and throw as hard as you can at 45 degrees and then go chase it down.

Personal experience (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638031)

My fav came from the Great International Paper Airplane Book. Sort of square design with upturned wing tips. The initial shape reminded me of a diaper. But here's the kicker: I tossed one of these off the Eiffel Tower and filmed it. It flew for 7.5 minutes and landed on the other side of the Seine. Good times.

Re:Personal experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638235)

I tossed one of these off the Eiffel Tower and filmed it. It flew for 7.5 minutes and landed on the other side of the Seine.

Link or it didn't happen.

PS: Haha, captcha is "unproven". Are they somehow not picked randomly?

Re:Personal experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638647)

I hope so :( (captcha: "coskcuscker")

I concur with the article's writer. (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638111)

For aiming, it's only slightly worse than the dart style of paper plane, but this one has *WAY* more lift....when made correctly, a gentle toss can send it gliding almost perfectly straight for dozens of yards.

"The Harrier"? (2)

LanceUppercut (766964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638117)

"The Harrier"? Where did that come from? This plane is known as Nakamura lock, although this design is normally recognized as the "defualt" paper airplane design. It doesn't really need a name. When someone simply says "a paper airplane" without providing any specifics, it is universally assumed that Nakamura lock is implied.

Re:"The Harrier"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638379)

Not in the UK. I was first shown this design by an American kid at my school and I've always wondered what it was called and where it came from.

ball (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638201)

Best is very subjective. I'd wager that if you could compress the sheet of paper down into an ultra-dense ball maybe the size of a slingshot ball, it could be launched much farther than any airplane-shaped piece of paper. Is a ball still an airplane? Is "best" defined by the maximum distance it can travel? Obviously the ball is not best if "best" requires it to look like our primitive airplanes...

All my best ones.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638229)

....start off quite elaborate then end up as a scrunched ball of paper.

Another case where NOTHING beats rock.

Glider with a waterbomb fold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638253)

We used to hold paper airplane competitions back in grade school, I won a few using this plane, which I got from some 'paper airplane creator' software. Works really good outside & the flaps can make it do decent rolls and stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8KahWm-jSM&feature=related [youtube.com]

It's always been my favorite.

The Ultimate Paper Airplane (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638365)

I once owned a copy of a large paperback titled "The Ultimate Paper Airplane". It was actually a very interesting read. Between templates for paper airplanes, it told the tale of the Kline-Fogleman Airfoil [wikipedia.org] . Basically, if you cut out a wedge from a wing or propeller, the airfoil becomes significantly more efficient. The book went into the physics of it.

Anyway, I don't know if that paper airplane is what you're looking for. But, wouldn't you know it, YouTube has a video [youtube.com] of one being made and flown.

Re:The Ultimate Paper Airplane (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639921)

Did you read the article? KF airfoils are not efficient.

It is a great design (1)

javascriptjunkie (2591449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638449)

Most of mine are usually all variations on that one, give or take the angle and number of folds in the wings. The conventional paper airplane, the classic is pretty good too, if you fold larger section of the tip down, which gives it a little more weight on the front end. It'll make it fly longer, if you adjust the angle of the wings from quarter to half. That's my two cents. Hope that helps.

Paperpang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638507)

You may want to try this : http://www.paperang.com/aero.htm
Unfortunately, it looks like the whole building instructions are not free.

Two rings (1)

sleepypsycho (1335401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638559)

I found the two ring model works great. http://www.kids-fun-science.com/cool-science-experiments.html [kids-fun-science.com] Instead of a straw you can just roll up the remainder of the peice of paper. It glides amazingly flat and even. I remember reading that it had one some distance contests when launched from a platform but I could not find a reference on line.

'72 Tonybony Special (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638593)

I was shown how to fold the "Harrier" in 1972 by a kid at my school called Tony. he called it the "Tonybony Special" and so I do to this day. It's my standard 'plane. Once I flew one from a third storey window on a hot summer's day and it caught a thermal and was still in the air over half an hour later, just lazily circling. I have no idea how long it stayed up altogether.

The only bad thing about the design is that, like most paper planes, it doesn't scale up all that well. Folding an A1 sheet to the same design doesn't work, sadly.

Nakamura Lock (2)

Lucidus (681639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638923)

This design appears to be identical to one I learned to make from a Klutz Press book. It is called the Nakamura Lock, after its designer, and it is definitely the best paper airplane I have flown indoors. It seems kind of tacky to rename it - the designer should get some credit for his work.

Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39639061)

... on what you are looking for your plane to do. Distance? Speed? Accuracy? Stunts?

I don't know of a single plane that does all of the above. The Harrier design has pretty good distance and accuracy, but isn't very fast and doesn't do a whole lot of stunts.

Dart designs have high speed and the best accuracy, but don't often to go nearly as far as a plane that has better glide/lift.

Broad-winged planes like several mentioned here usually have crap for distance, speed, and accuracy, but can be made to do some interesting stunts depending on how you shape flaps into their trailing wing edges.

 

Longest flying plane (4, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639067)

When I was a kid, we had a longest flying plane contest. The rules were the plane had to be moving, and out of your hands. I attached a piece of string to it, and whipped it around for four minutes. The buggers DQed me, stating that I should follow the spirit of the rules.

Ask the 2012 World Record Holder (1)

YellowTop (464955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639285)

This guy set the world distance record recently. He has a lot of paper airplane designs on his web site.
http://thepaperairplaneguy.com/

A video of some of his different designs.
http://www.dump.com/paperairplane/

- YT

The stingray glider (1)

azbot (544794) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639425)

I have had pretty good success (and some random failures) with this design. Alas I can not find a reference to it online, and more than likely the name I have for it is incorrect. I found the design when I was a younger child, the design was in a book of paper plane designs.

The design is fairly simple though:

  1. Start folding a traditional paper plane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_plane [wikipedia.org] using the example image on the wikipedia page, before performing the middle/centre step in the image, insert an additional step.
  2. The additional step is:Fold the tip down so that it touches the tail of the plane at the centre line, then fold it back up again so that an additional crease is made about 2cm from the one made just before.
  3. Continue with the instructions on the wikipedia page.

The result will be a traditional dart with a tiered nose, which will fly a bit more stabler than a traditional dart. You may need to gently tweak the trailing edge of the wings to create a bit more upward direction (lift is probably the wrong word). You can also play with the positioning of the creases made in the additional step to adjust the balance, which will probably achieve the same results as the wing tweaking.

The following SVG should give you a hint: http://pastebin.com/PnsaGPzK [pastebin.com]

My favorite design (with complete instructions) (1)

DaneM (810927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639851)

I went looking on the 'Net for a link to my favorite paper airplane design, so that I could post it here. To my mild surprise, I couldn't find one. Since this is a rather unusual paper airplane that I learned to make at my local elementary school (about 20 years ago--does that make me old?), I decided that I should preserve it in a blog post for posterity.

Below is a link to the post, with pictures of the various steps, as well as the finished product. It should be noted that this planes is not good for distance, but rather for really neat flying patterns. I hope you enjoy it.

http://danemutters.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/cool-paper-airplane-design/ [wordpress.com]

The double ring (1)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639973)

This [rocketryforum.com] (second from right) is my favorite. You do need glue or tape to make it, which may disqualify it from the record books, depending on how purist your rules are.
The one in the photo has a straw for a fuselage, but you can make it from paper by folding a long strip of paper into a three-sided prism and taping or gluing it shut. The two ring-shaped wings should be slightly different diameters, and the plane should be launched small ring forward. It is amazingly stable and I could throw it farther than any competing plane in my class. I'm not sure if it would travel the full length of my elementary-school gym, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

The Reefer Express (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39640231)

When I was in HS, my math teacher held a day long paper airplace event. During the period my class was there some guy came up with a bit of reefer paper ( about 1/8"x1/8" ) on his finger tip. Guy called it "The Reefer Express". He blew on it and it floated up into the air got caught in the wind. We were using the football stadium , it floated across the stadium and we never did see it come down. Won the competition hands down.

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