Okay, so you’ve mastered making the paper airplanes, now it’s time to learn some great paper airplane flying tips to make them fly better than ever.
Because the way a plane is designed and made, it will like certain angle and speeds depending on what kind of paper airplane it is. For Dart paper airplanes, since they are thin and sleek, they like fast throws either at eye-level or higher.
Glider paper airplanes are for slow flying. They have a wide, flat shape and prefer a slower, more gentle push to make them work the best. The best angle for Gliders is either at eye-level or at a more downward angle. Stunt paper planes can be thrown at practically any angle, and at various speeds, you just need to experiment.
The best paper airplanes for indoor flying would be Darts and slow Gliders that only need calm air and not a lot of space. Remember, never aim a paper airplane at someone’s face. It could easily hurt an eye or two! The best planes to fly outside would be the more rugged types like Stunts, high-flying Gliders, and smaller Darts. These types can handle more airspace and air currents that wouldn’t normally be found inside.
Lift vs. Gravity
When you drop a piece of paper – no matter what the shape – it falls immediately to the ground. This of course, is gravity. But if you throw your piece of paper or airplane, something holds it in the air a little longer.
That “something” is lift and it’s a force just like gravity. In flight, lift and gravity are constantly fighting over the little ol’ paper airplane. As long as lift wins, the plane goes up. But when gravity takes over, and it always will, your plane will crash to the ground.
Lift is helped or not, by the types of wings built on your plane, the elevators or ailerons used, etc. You just have to experiment with each of your paper airplanes to find the right balance.
Angle of Attack
The plane’s wings make an incline when oncoming air hits it. This is called the “angle of attack. Most planes, the wings are higher than the back. So, when you throw or push a plane into the air, the rush of air hits the bottom of the wing and bounces off. This bouncing off air pushes the wing upward, giving the plane lift.
Thrust vs. Drag
We know now, that gravity and lift control how high or low a plane can go. Thrust and drag is what changes the speed of your paper aircraft. Thrust is any force that makes an airplane move forward. In paper airplanes, the only thrust your plane gets is from you throwing it. Thrust for metal planes comes from jets and propellers.
Drag is what air does to a plane to slow it down. The faster a plane moves, the more air hits it and the more air pushes it. The bigger your wings are, the more air hits the plane and this causes drag. This is the reason why Gliders go slower than Darts.
What keeps a plane in the air? An amount of thrust that can defeat gravity and drag. Get that super bionical arm working and you COULD have your plane going forever! If only that were true!
Here’s a good rule to go by: small wings = less drag = faster flight. Large wings = more drag = slower flight.
If you like your paper airplane to fly (or glide) slowly and further, design the paper airplane with longer wings span but smaller wing area.
This concept is widely used to design gliders planes.
On the other hand, if you want to make a paper airplane fly faster, make the wing shorter relative to the fuselage length (this is called low aspect ratio) and design a sharp and thin nose (do you know why?) An example of such design is the conventional dart.
Originally posted 2012-03-26 22:33:38.