A paper plane, paper aeroplane, or paper airplane is a toy plane made out of paper. It is also sometimes called aerogami, after origami (the Japanese art of paper folding). In Japanese, it is called kami hikoki; kami=paper, hikoki=airplane.
It is popular due to its being one of the easiest types of origami for a novice to master. The most basic paper plane would only take at most six steps to "correctly" complete. The term "paper plane" in recent times can also refer to those made from cardboard.
The use of paper to create toys is believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in China, where kites were a popular form of entertainment. Although these can be considered to be evidence for the modern paper plane, no one can be sure where exactly this invention originated; designs for velocity, lift and fashion have been improved by the years gone by. Leonardo da Vinci is often cited as the inventor of paper planes, although this is debatable. However, he did make reference to building a model plane out of parchment. Arguably the father of model gliders was George Cayley, who built hand-launched kite-like gliders from linen in the early 1800s.
The earliest known date of the creation of paper planes was said to have been in 1909. However, the most accepted version of the creation was two decades later in 1930 by Jack Northrop (Co-founder of Lockheed Corporation). Northrop has used paper planes as tests so that he could discover ideas for flying real-life aircraft.
This type of paper plane only takes a person seven steps (for correct procedure), but can take only five steps to complete without folding a guide to help the folder divide a paper into two parts. A rectangular piece of paper such as A3, A4 or Letter (preferably A4 or Letter) would be used.
The person who is folding the piece of paper in these instructions is referred to as "the folder".
1. The folder should leave a guide crease. This can be accomplished by laying the paper in portrait position and folding the left part of the paper over to the right so that it overlaps the other side completely.Crease the fold by running your thumb over the fold. This will make your fold permanent.
2. The folder then should uncrease the sides again and fold the top left corner of the page so that it touches the crease in the middle, and vice versa for the right side.
3. The folder should crease the paper plane back to the position where the folder had left the guide marks, then they should put wings on the paper plane, the most vital part of this procedure.
4. Still in portrait position the person should fold the non-pointed bit of the paper plane (the bottom part) so it creases over the guide part but inverted outwards so that the wings are not internally in the paper plane but externally.
Although the DC-03 model has wings, the Guinness world record holder Ken Blackburn disagrees with the decision to put a 'tail' on the paper plane. His explanation of paper plane aerodynamics on his website mentions that the tail is not needed. He uses the real-life B-2 Spirit flying wing bomber as an example, stating that the weights along the wing to put more weight forward and therefore make the plane more stable. (Note: paper airplanes do not need a tail primarily because they typically have a large, thin fuselage, which acts to prevent yaw, and wings along the entire length, which prevents pitch.)
Independently, Edmond Hui invented a Stealth Bomber-like paper airplane called the Paperang in 1977 (http://paperang.com), based on hang glider aerodynamics. Uniquely, it has properly controlled airfoil sections, high aspect ratio wings, and a construction method designed to allow the builder to vary every aspect of its shape. It was the subject of a book, Amazing Paper Airplanes in 1987, and a number of newspaper articles in 1992. It is ineligible for most paper airplane competitions due to the use of a staple, but it has extremely high gliding performance exceeding glide ratios of 12 to 1 with good stability.
In 1975, origami artist Michael LaFosse designed a pure origami (one sheet; no cutting, glue or staples...) flying wing, which he named the "Art Deco Wing".
Though its aerodynamic form mimics some hang glider and supersonic airfoils, its invention evolved from exploring the beauty of folded paper first. Its glide ratio and stability are on a par with many of the best paper wing constructions that use glue, tape or staples. This design was first published in 1984 in the book "Wings and Things", by Stephen Weiss, St. Martin's Press.
Although it is a common view that light paper planes go farther than heavy ones, this is considered to be untrue by Blackburn. Blackburn's record-breaking 20-year-old paper plane (Instructions) was based on his belief that the best planes had short wings and are "heavy" at the point of the launch phase in which the thrower throws the paper plane into the air, and at the same time longer wings and a "lighter" weight would allow the paper plane to have better flight times but this cannot be thrown hard with much pressure into the air as a "heavy" weighted launch phase. According to Blackburn, "For maximum height and for a good transition to gliding flight, the throw must be within 10 degrees of vertical" — which shows that a speed of at least 60 miles per hour (about 100 kilometres per hour) is the amount needed to throw the paper plane successfully.
There are multiple goals for a flight:
* distance (javelin throwing)
* time (javelin throwing straight up with subsequent metamorphosis into a sailplane)
* acrobatic (looping)
* stable flight to understand flight mechanics of a good willing plane
For every goal there is a typical plane and sometimes a world record.
There have been many attempts over the years to break the barriers of throwing a paper plane for the longest time aloft. Ken Blackburn held this Guinness world record for 13 years (1983–1996) and had regained the record on October 8, 1998 by keeping his paper plane aloft for 27.6 seconds (indoors). This was confirmed by Guinness officials and a CNN report. The paper plane that Blackburn used in this record breaking attempt was a "glider".