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Giant Paper Airplane Takes (Brief) Flight Over Arizona 54

Posted by timothy
from the real-world-conditions-sorta dept.
The L.A. Times reports that 12-year-old Arturo Valdenegro's winning entry in a paper-airplane contest got upscaled to slightly larger dimensions, courtesy of Pima Air & Space Museum's Giant Paper Airplane Project, and flown, via helicopter assistance, in the Arizona desert. Slightly larger, in this case, means the plane based on Valdenegro's designs "was 45 feet long with a 24-foot wingspan and weighed in at a whopping 800 pounds," constructed of a tough, corrugated material called falcon board. Unfortunately, the tow didn't take the plane as high as planned (only 2,703 feet, instead of four or five thousand) so the resulting flight was brief and destructive — which doesn't make the accompanying launch video any less fun to watch, though I wish it showed more of the flight, including its end. (I tend to always make the same kind of acrobatic glider; do you have any good paper-airplane hints?)
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Giant Paper Airplane Takes (Brief) Flight Over Arizona

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  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @09:36AM (#39460257) Homepage Journal

    is an equally upscaled trebuchet.

    • by w0mprat (1317953)

      is an equally upscaled trebuchet.

      What would you do with such a thing, fling container-ship across the English channel?

      I'd I donate to the kickstarter fund.

  • Light the paper airplane on fire as you are throwing it.
  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:18AM (#39460411)

    http://www.amazon.com/Great-International-Paper-Airplane-Book/dp/0671211293 [amazon.com]

    The Great International Paper Airplane Book, from 1971.

  • A Giant Paper Spit-wad?
  • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @11:05AM (#39460633) Journal
    It took me a few minutes of searching for me to find, since I did not know the name for this plane (or even if it had one), but here are some folding directions for what I consider to be the best paper plane ever: http://www.ncgraphicarts.com/ryan/other/eagleins.gif [ncgraphicarts.com]. When I was a kid, I had employed this paper design in a classroom competition, while almost everybody else was making the standard dart, I used this glider design, and mine was one of the few that cleared the entire length of the gymnasium (and would have kept on going right onto the stage at the end of the gym if the curtain had not been shut). I'm afraid I don't know what the dimensions of my school gym were, but I imagine they were typical for an elementary school.
    • That's almost the same plane I made as a kid. Every step was the same except for fold #3, where a flat face is given in the Eagle, mine were pointed. Otherwise it's the same design I grew up with.

    • by Thomasje (709120)
      This (second from right) [rocketryforum.com] is my favorite. You do need glue or tape to make it, which may disqualify it depending on how purist your rules are.
      The one in the photo has a straw for a fuselage, but you can make it from paper by folding a long strip of paper into a three-sided prism and taping or gluing it shut. The two ring-shaped wings should be slightly different diameters, and the plane should be launched small ring forward. It is amazingly stable and I could throw it farther than any competing plane in my
  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Saturday March 24, 2012 @12:13PM (#39460939) Homepage Journal

    http://hairball.mine.nu/~rwa2/aircraft/ [hairball.mine.nu] (/shameless plug)

    Most planes like the one in the article sort of fly like darts, so of course it had a pretty lousy glide slope. They might have done a bit better with a glider design, that might have rode thermals for a while, but it probably would have been harder on the structural design.

    My friends and I tried to make paper airplanes out of large poster boards back in high school, but they didn't do too well (one of my "reader's rides" on my site has video of an attempt to make a posterboard version one of my aircraft). Unfortunately, paper airplanes don't scale up very well. The best results I've seen look more like actual conventional glider aircraft that just happened to be built up using ribs and spars made of paper and covered with a light sheet of paper skinning material.

    • by julesh (229690)

      My favourite is actually nothing like anything you have on your site, but more similar to this one [10paperairplanes.com], only you make it diagonally across the paper so that it (a) has a longer extension at the rear bottom but almost none at the top, which seems to make it more stable somehow and (b) has a larger diameter. I've flown one made from an A3 sheet over a distance of about 60-70m (large lecture theatre) and it is beautifully slow and graceful.

  • These: http://www.whitewings.com/ [whitewings.com] are great and Fry's used to sell them, but only get the ones that have balsa inserts (if they still make them). The all paper ones require too much glue and cutting. And for an honest paper folded airplane, this one is a great flyer: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zurqui.com%2Fcrinfocus%2Fpaper%2Fairplane.html&ei=1f9tT_S2Hoz9sQKAxd2IBg&usg=AFQjCNEXIh1I2FmOnAXuQ_B [google.com]
  • Phineas and Ferbs' was better. That got them off the island and across a good part of the Atlantic...
  • by spandex_panda (1168381) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @05:53PM (#39462673)
    This is my new go-to plane. It has an excellent glide and isn't too hard to make. It also looks really good and has a clever nose design.
    It is a variation of the stunt plane I decided was my favourite when I was doing my plane testing in my youth!
    http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Fold_Your_Own_Sky_King_Paper_Airplane [wired.com]
  • I used a very similar design for paper planes myself, except at least on the A4 sheet of paper type, I always folded the pointy tip of the nose back about a centimeter. It improved the balance of the aircraft, made it much more stable, and it would fly much further (and it also made the nose more resilient on landing). This design has a bit of an aft centre-of-gravity if you don't fold the nose back a bit.

    The other thing I used to do is to make a little vertical tail in the middle. I don't think that made a

  • As many others have commented here, the basic "dart" is one of the worst possible designs for gliding. I, too, spent many, many hours in school designing, folding and testing airplanes. Once you've exhausted what you, your friends and other paper airplane enthusiasts around you know, finding a new source (like White Wings or Wings & Things) you get inspired to go in new directions and try new materials.

    I was taught the "basic glider" (according to rwa2 and his website) by a Japanese man who called it a

  • My favorite paper airplane is the ring. [instructables.com]

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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