How To Make a Paper Airplane That Flies Far, Fast or Longer | Physics of Glider Flight – Dart vs Glider Plane

How To Make a Paper Airplane That Flies Far, Fast or Longer | Physics of Glider Flight | Dart Airplane vs Glider Plane

  • Physics of Paper Airplane Flight
  • How Long Can You Fly a Glider?
  • What You Must Know – Lifting Mechanisms
  • How To Make a Paper Plane That Flies 100 Metres?
  • How To Make a Paper Plane That Flies the Longest Time
  • Paper Airplane Competitions


Suzanne World Record Dart Paper Airplane by John Collins (2) 1030×1373

If you have never tried to build a fantasy flying aircraft or make a paper airplane for that matter when you were growing up, then you  were never an adventurous kid. You missed out a lot. But a paper plane is something that most of us (especially boys) have made or tried to make when we were elementary school kids. Making paper planes is a fun craft hobby not just for kids but for adults as well. The common appeal about paper airplanes as a craft or backyard entertainment is that just about anyone can make a paper plane. You don’t need special skills nor materials to make a flying paper airplane. All you need is a sheet of printing paper (size A5 or A4) and a list of paper folding instructions to make an airplane. Illustrated step-by-step instructions with diagrams to guide you along the way are recommended for learners because visual learning is a much more clearer and faster learning technique than verbal/text-based instructions. In this case, verbal/written instructions should be complemented with sketch/photo diagrams and even much better videos.

So how do you make a really good paper airplane? Some hobbyists may be looking to make a simple airplane to play around with, others will be interested in challenging projects such as making a fast plane that flies the farthest in a straight line. Can you imagine, there are people out there looking to make a paper plane that flies 10,000 feet (3.05 kilometres), but can a paper aeroplane even fly a distance of 100 metres? Before we address these questions, let’s look at the physics of flight for paper aeroplanes as well as real planes.


Physics of Paper Airplane Flight

The difference between a paper plane and real aircraft is that a paper airplane has no engine to push it forward (thrust). In this case, the paper airplane can be treated and understood as a glider or projectile launched at a suitable angle and speed with a certain force (e.g. throwing or catapult force). According to the basic physics theory of projectiles using Newtonian laws of motion, a projectile is defined as an object in flight only affected by the force of gravity, propelling itself through the air with its own inertia once launched, and encountering little to no resistance from the air during the flight.  As you can see, this is a basic hypothesis that doesn’t take into account all the forces acting on a projectile in realistic conditions. In actual conditions, a projectile or object in flight encounters much more than gravity. It is affected by air resistance, with forces such as lift, drag and gravity (weight) acting on a glider. Unlike a powered aircraft (jet, propeller plane or rocket), a glider has no engine to propel it forward, relying on the launch force (initial thrust) and the balance between the lift, drag and weight to keep it afloat and moving. Lift is the vertical upward force acting on the glider created by high pressure airflow under the wings. Gravity is the weight or force pulling the glider vertically downwards, and drag is the air resistance opposing the motion of the glider.

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