From the biggest to the trickiest to the most intricately designed, here are 10 of the most impressive paper planes on the planet.
Arturo’s Desert Eagle
It took a team of engineers and a helicopter to launch Arturo’s Desert Eagle. At 45 feet long and 800 pounds, Arturo’s is the largest paper airplane ever flown, named after 12-year-old Arturo Valdenegro, who won the distance contest at the Pima Air and Space Museum’s Great Paper Airplane Project.
Arturo’s namesake reached speeds of 98 miles per hour during its March 21 flight. It descended almost 3,000 before crashing in a spectacular fashion.
The White Pelican
In 1992, high school students collaborated with NASA engineers to create three giant paper airplanes with wingspans of 18 feet, 28 feet, and 30 feet. Their effort was an attempt at setting a new world record for largest paper airplane. The Guinness Book of World Records stipulated the plane must fly more than 50 feet, but the largest model (shown here) far exceeded that goal, flying more than 114 feet before landing.
Jack Vegas – Cylinder (paper plane)
In 1967, Scientific American sponsored the International Paper Airplane Competition, attracting nearly 12,000 entrants and spawning The Great International Paper Airplane Book. Performance artist Klara Hobza rebooted the contest 41 years later, publishing her own book, The New Millennium Paper Airplane Book. As part of the new contest, Jack Vegas submitted this flying cylinder in the children’s category, which combines elements of glider-style and dart-style paper airplanes. At the time, he said of his plane, “Sometimes it has amazing gliding skills and I am sure it will win!” Alas, it did not. Bonus points in our book for originality.
F-14 Jolly Roger
With an estimated build time of 10 hours, PaperAircrafts’ version of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat will keep you busy.
Carlos Cerezo uses CAD to create his series of flyable planes that mimic fighter jets, but the F-14 is his most advanced. It even has folding wings, just like the real thing. Cerezo’s version doesn’t do acrobatics quite like the Tomcat, but it’s still impressive in the air. The intricate design is available for $10 as an e-book, with instructions and printable cutouts. Jet fuel not recommended.
On Feb. 26, Joe Ayoob, a former University of California quarterback, threw Suzanne 226 feet 12 inches, setting a new world record for longest paper airplane throw. The brainchild of John Collins (and named after his wife), Suzanne beat the former Guinness record by nearly 20 feet.
It’s the first record-holder to incorporate a gliding stage, says Collins. The previous planes were darts; they flew up at a 45-degree angle, and came down in a parabola. The way Suzanne flies through the air actually changes depending on her speed. That’s why it climbs, then noses down, then picks up speed and rises again.
With Ayoob, Collins had a ringer in his corner. “It’s a little trickier to use than just brute force,” Collins says. “It takes a good deal of finesse.” The plane, too, must be perfect. Even though it’s just a letter-sized piece of paper, folded eight times with a little bit of cellophane tape, it must be folded perfectly or it will veer off course, losing momentum to drag.
Bell P-39 Airacobra
Don’t throw this one. The planes on Fiddler’s Green aren’t designed for flight, they’re just really, really pretty. The planes are aimed at model hobbyists, who purchase the plans and print them on cardstock before assembling the parts. Like the Bell P-39 Airacobra, the 357 other aircraft in the collection are based on real planes, balloons and … well, the flying saucer never reached production. But what the Airacobra and the others sacrifice in aerodynamics, they make up for in appearance. The attention to detail is outstanding, right down to the propeller and the canopy.
Project Space Plane
You know what creates buzz? Dropping 100 paper planes back down to Earth from the edge of space. Each plane held a Samsung SD Memory Card with a message between its wings. Project Space Plane was a stunt in 2011 to prove just how tough the company’s SD cards were. In the end, they declared success before all the planes were claimed. Our lasting impression: Cool, some company threw planes down to Earth from space!
World Record Paper Airplane
This Paper Airplane, designed by Ken Blackburn, set the Guinness record for longest time aloft four times until 2009.
“I came up with the basic design when I was 12 years old, and from there, I wasn’t trying to set a Guinness record, I was just trying to come up with a better-flying paper airplane,” Blackburn says. He refined the plane over the years, adding ridges along the wings that act like the dimples on a golf ball, keeping the air flowing across the plane.
To achieve maximum time aloft, Blackburn launches his plane upward as high as possible — around 60 feet. He could use a lighter gauge paper, so that it would coast longer, but that would sacrifice the strength that allows him to fire it so high in the air.
Blackburn’s interest in paper aeronautics led him to study aeronautical engineering, and he eventually became an engineer for the Air Force. He also wrote a book, published in 1994, called The World Record Paper Airplane Book.
Blackburn’s most recent 27.6-second flight record was bested in 2009 by a competitor using a similar model.
Takuo Toda set a new récord for longest paper airplane flight at a competition in Hiroshima Prefecture On 11th April of 2009. His record flight topped Blackburn’s by 0.3 seconds, now the world récord is 27.9 seconds. He folded his plane, measuring approximately 10cm in length, from a single sheet of paper. Takuo Toda is the chairman of the Japan Origami Airplanes Association
Toda’s record-breaking design, called the Sky King, was made from a single sheet of paper, with no cuts and no gluing. He aspires to launch his planes one day from space — and then retrieve them once they’ve sailed to Earth.
Originally posted 2012-07-04 20:52:11.