How to Make a Paper Airplane that Goes a Long Distance

Written by mary osborne
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Some historians believe the Chinese were the first paper aeroplane makers in the world, though others think Leonardo da Vinci was the first to dabble in paper flying crafts. No matter who invented the paper aeroplane, paper aeroplanes are made daily by bored school kids and burnt-out office workers, as well as curious aerodynamic engineers throughout the world. Contests are held to see which paper aeroplanes can fly the farthest or the fastest. In order for a paper aeroplane to fly as far as it can, a slightly weighted nose, heavier than the rest of the plane, is required. The wings need to be as narrow as possible to fight wind resistance. To fly far, a paper aeroplane needs to look as much like a dart as possible.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • One 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of 20 to 24 lb. copy paper
  • Table or other flat surface
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Place the sheet of copy paper flat on a table top. The side facing you will be the front; the side face down on the table will be the back.

  2. 2

    Use the ruler to measure 4 inches down from the top of the left-hand side of the paper. Make a small mark at the 4-inch point.

  3. 3

    Bring the right-hand corner of the sheet of paper toward the left edge of the paper until it touches the 4-inch mark and the corner point is exactly even with the left-hand side of the paper.

  4. 4

    Crease the fold lightly on the right-hand side. Make certain the crease comes to a point at the lower-right-hand corner. Use the edge of the ruler to to make a sharp crease once all points are aligned.

  5. 5

    Hold the left side of the paper at the 4-inch mark and bring it toward the folded right side of the paper. Make certain to create a sharp point at the lower left-hand corner, creasing the new fold upward a little at a time until you reach the top peak. A triangular flap of paper will overlap and project beyond the first fold on the right-hand side. Use the edge of the ruler to sharpen and flatten the new fold.

  6. 6

    Fold the flap that overlaps the right-hand folded edge to the back, behind the right fold. A long triangle---with its wide base at the bottom---should now face you on the table. The sides of the triangle should be relatively even in length. A slight difference in length on one side or the other won't dramatically affect the rest of the paper aeroplane.

  7. 7

    Pick up the paper triangle. Fold the paper in half, lengthwise, toward the back, until both folded halves touch each other, back to back. Align the outer edges until they are as even as possible. Crease the fold. Use the ruler edge to flatten the new fold.

  8. 8

    Hold the now smaller triangle at the mid-point of the new, thick crease so that the point (or nose of the plane) is to your left, and the wide-angled tail section is to your right. Grasp the top of the first fold (the wing facing you) and fold it downward, aligning the edges until they are even. Crease the fold, creating a fine point at the nose of the plane. Continue to crease the fold slowly back toward the tail. Flatten the fold with the edge of the ruler.

  9. 9

    Turn the aeroplane around and repeat Step 8 with the remaining wing. Push upward slightly on the newly folded wings so that they make an even, winglike surface above the belly of the aeroplane.

  10. 10

    Stand up, grasp the belly of the plane near the nose, and thrust the aeroplane forward like a dart.

Tips and warnings

  • Never throw an aeroplane at someone's face.

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