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Paper Airplane Designs

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Posted on Friday, May 26th 2023 by thunderbong



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@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by felipesabino

It has been a while that I try to find the design for this type of paper plane [1] that glides so smoothly and allows you to guide it.

I am not even sure how to search for it, even with this database in hands

[1] https://youtu.be/UVUQC_yZe_Y


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by JKCalhoun | parent

Filter by "Time Aloft" [1]. I did and don't see the specific plane in the YT video (they certainly don't have every airplane in their database).

Search for Walkalong Glider [2] to find what you want.

[1] https://www.foldnfly.com/#/0-1-0-0-1-1-1-1-2

[2] https://www.youtube.com/results...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by felipesabino | parent

"Walkalong Glider", uow, I didn't even know the term to look for, thanks!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lelanthran | parent

Honestly it looks like it is flying solely on the thermals from his breath.

Still pretty cool though :-)

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by JKCalhoun

Very cool. I always upvote anything about paper airplanes, ha ha.

Many, many hours of my youth were spent making paper airplanes and flying them. I also enjoyed modifying designs with my own embellishments to see if my changes were improvements or no.

Perhaps after catching "The Birdmen" (1971) on TV I became obsessed with building catapult-like paper airplane launchers using thread, paper clips and weights to drag the airplanes along the length of the kitchen table and send them sailing off the end.

I think part of this was due to a lack of toys to entertain myself with (my sister and I, growing up with a single mother who worked as a secretary -- she stole office products so that I was kept in letter-size paper, pencils, pens). Perhaps too there were a lot of those months spent indoors in the either too-cold or too-hot/humid Midwest.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hk1337

Put this in the list of things I didn't know I needed.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by m463

Many years as a kid were spent reading through this old book my father had:

The Great International Paper Airplane Book



@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by caboteria | parent

When I was 10 or 11 years old I won a mai-tai cocktail in a paper airplane contest at Club Med. I used the helicopter from this book!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by cwilkes | parent

Hah! Me too. Fond memories.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by euroderf | parent

The origami winner never fails to impress laymen.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Pxtl

Paper Plane:

- 1oz Amaro Nonino

- 1oz Aperol

- 1oz bourbon

- 1oz lemon juice

shake with ice, strain to a chilled coupe glass.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by swarnie | parent

A very short one and done drink by the sounds of it.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doublepg23 | parent

I appreciated OpenWRT's prior release naming system which included cocktail recipes in the Message of the Day (MOTD) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenWrt#:~:text=OpenWrt%20releases%20were%20historically%20named,using%20the%20command%2Dline%20interface.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by noobcoder

is there a way to query it?

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by okl

I had a book around the turn of the century with paper airplane folding instructions. Lazily, I stuck to the simple ones and my favourite was called "Phoenix". Could not find it on this page but searching for the book I found a video where the author demonstrates: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2V55rc58cDg


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by sumtechguy | parent

whenever a discussion like this comes up I try to recommend this book


Not as simple as the one in that vid. But a decent selection of them.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by akramer | parent

The book you're thinking of is called "the gliding flight" and is my favorite paper airplane book.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dang

We changed the url from https://www.foldnfly.com/lounge/national-paper-airplane-day.... to the home page, which is a better match for the title.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by thunderbong | parent

I should have titled it 'National Paper Airplane Day'!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dang


Paper Airplane Designs (2013) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32134691 - July 2022 (96 comments)

Paper Airplane Designs - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29466325 - Dec 2021 (8 comments)

Wake Turbulence from a Paper Airplane (2020) [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27137827 - May 2021 (29 comments)

Paper Airplane Designs - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23545860 - June 2020 (8 comments)

Paper Airplane Designs - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18249755 - Oct 2018 (206 comments)

Designing, folding, and flying the finest paper airplanes [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16784941 - April 2018 (11 comments)

Learn How to Fold a World-Record-Setting Paper Airplane - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16715728 - March 2018 (14 comments)

Real Paper Airplane Designs - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12632253 - Oct 2016 (1 comment)

The best paper airplane in the world - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=420523 - Jan 2009 (30 comments)

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by standardly

My cousin and I were particularly destructive children and used to build paper airplanes and fly them up into the ceiling fan. Sometimes they'd get caught on a blade and come flying off. Was playing a lot of Starfox 64 at the time, so we imagined we were attacking a boss. We'd try and see how many attacks we could get in before our plane was completely mangled and wouldn't fly anymore. Good times.

Another destructive game we used to play was lighting army men on fire and fusing their melted plastic bodies together to create a zombie army of plastic amalgamations. Half-green, half-tan grenadiers with bazookas for a heads, etc. God bless America!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by timbeccue | parent

Hah, I flew planes into ceiling fans too! I also remember scraping my planes against the floor until holes wore into the paper, and seeing how well they could continue flying. There was something really cool about seeing a plane with so much accumulated damage still able to fly.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ktm5j

I think it's really cute how they handled the case if the user unchecks all of either the "Type" or "Difficulty" filters hehe


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by HiroProtagonist | parent

Same, thank you for mentioning it elsewise I would never have seen it.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by duxup | parent

I like the implication that there was a goof on someone's part.

I get a lot of "yeah but what if they do something like search for things that don't exist" (or similar situations) and some weird ideas follow about how they user gets confused and the software is supposed to solve all "user behaves illogically" problems and we get some really strange solutions that makes the software even more unpredictable.

Like no man, search for nothing is "yo you goofed and searched for nothing".



@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by rootusrootus | parent

I wonder if they've tested that one against conventional designs. Depending on how well you compress the ball, it might well be very competitive for distance.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ranting-moth | parent

Hey, I've made quite a few of those. They fly pretty decent if you aim at something irritating and throw it in a fit of rage.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by gl-prod | parent

And the `kids mode` toggling

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by mg

I tried a lot of paper plane designs and this one is by far the most elegant design and the best flying plane I found so far:


The simple flight path in the video does not relly do it justice. When you throw it outside, it will have a beautiful loooong curved flight. When there is some wind, it often goes to explore the sky for quite a while before it comes back down again.

If anybody knows a design that can compete with this one, I would be very interested to try it!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nielsbot | parent

That's a great one. (The "Suzanne") Wired covered it a few years ago. Simple enough my 7 year old son can do a credible job of folding it.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by mysterydip

Something I've been curious about, are there paper airplane designs that translate to usable full scale designs? If not, why not?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by amenghra | parent

(disclaimer: not an aeronautic engineer) when you double an object, its weight increases by 8x (all three dimensions increase by 2x) but the wing area surface only becomes 4x larger. You thus end up with a worse lift-to-weight ratio.

In addition, the purpose of a regular plane is to transport goods and people while the purpose of a paper plane is to just float. The closest full scale objects to a paper plane would be gliders, which do ressemble paper-planes to some extent.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mysterydip | parent

makes sense, thanks!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by voynich

Glad to see that paper airplane culture is still alive, haha. I was looking forward to this day for a while!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jareklupinski

Spent a lot of time throwing paper rings: https://www.10paperairplanes.com/how-to-make-paper-airplanes...

you get some really good distance if you throw it like a (american) football, managed to clear a couple city blocks once, thrown on a hot dry day from a high floor at school...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by JKCalhoun | parent

Those are cool.

Because I am unsafe, I started making them from aluminum cans with the top/bottom cut off. Some strips of duct tape along one of the edges balances it (and so defines your leading edge).

The right wrist action was needed but you could send them sailing across an auditorium to clatter against the far wall.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by drewtato

There's 48 designs, so this isn't much of a database, more like a short list. For something completely different, my favorite collection of paper planes are those by Jayson Merrill: https://www.youtube.com/@jayson5674 They're the most complex planes I've seen under the restrictions of no cuts and no adhesive. Here's a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-n6NAbJduk


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doublepg23 | parent

The fact we have YouTube channels for people making paper airplanes, eating MREs and reviewing junk MP3 players is what keeps me optimistic of the Internet.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lbotos

If you'll accept one piece of tape (not totally needed but does help) one of my favorite designs is the tube. Super easy to make, flies decently well, and surprises most people: https://www.instructables.com/The-Incredible-Flying-Paper-Tu...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hackernewds | parent


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by yabones

I'm surprised they don't have the "lock fold" or "Nakamura Lock" design. When I was younger, that was the most consistent design for a good plane. Not always the best, but never the worst. Somebody talented could fold up a dart to beat it on distance, or a glider to stay up longer, but everybody could make a decent "lock fold".



@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by takoid | parent

This is the exact same design I used in middle school to win a paper airplane competition! It is called "The Moth" on the website I found it on back in the day: https://www.10paperairplanes.com/how-to-make-paper-airplanes.... I still remember how to make it to this day.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by andrewflnr | parent

This one doesn't cut it? https://www.foldnfly.com/2.html#The-Stable Granted, they fold the wings a really weird/ugly way. Also this variant for some reason: https://www.foldnfly.com/29.html#Lock-Bottom-Plane

That's not even the kind of lock I expected. It's possible to design a plane so once the wings are folded down, the fuselage is locked in a tightly folded position. I don't have a good online reference at the moment...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by vasvir | parent

I agree. I didn't know it had a name. Thanks for it.

Also plus points. 1) It was easy to remember how to fold it. 2) It had good structural resistance and could withstand several flights and bumps. 3) It provided the first lesson in aeronautical engineering i.e. you could slightly tilt the one or the other wing in order to make flight behavior corrections.

My real love was one model that I didn't know how to make. An older cousin did. It was a tailed design. Best Flight Ever... See, when you are 5 it is easy to impress!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by markdown | parent

This is the only plane design made in my country. Every kid makes these.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by xattt | parent

For the longest time, I thought this was the only kind of paper airplane and that other designs were just for kids who didn't know how to fold.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by smazga | parent

My Grandfather worked at the Forestry Service and would come home with reams of used type paper (filled with statistics and reports, I assume). My grandparents would put the paper in the toy cabinet for us. I've made thousands of that design of paper airplane and just today learned that it had a name. Thanks!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jtr1

I spent a very fun holiday break methodically working through these with my nephew and documenting how far we could get them to fly. Big takeaway is that simpler is better and the classics are classic for a reason!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jhanschoo

My childhood interest in paper airplanes was completely fuelled by the excellent https://archive.org/details/PAPERAIR , which you can now find on the Internet Archive by the link! The emulation is imperfect, though.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by whoisthis4chan

the lock-bottom plane used to be my bread & butter in elementary school

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by cpayne624

Love it. My 8 y/o is stoked to use up all of daddy's printer paper on designs :)

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by coin

Many of those are from the classic Great International Paper Airplane Book published in 1967.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by carapace | parent

FWIW, the site presents a variation of the origami design of Prof. James M. Sakoda of Brown University "winner of the origami award in the First International Paper Airplane Contest" in 1967 as published in that book.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by photochemsyn

Look up whitewings


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by sacnoradhq | parent

I have an unused set of the original vintage kits. There are quite a number of loop wing and asymmetric ones. These are more advanced than paper airplanes.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by orthecreedence | parent

I still have a box of white wings from my childhood! I built a bunch of them but kept the unused ones in the box. I'll have to dig it out at some point.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rekoros

When I was pretty young - maybe six - I spent about a month at a hospital in the USSR. I don't know why I was there (observation?), and it's not be point - the point is, while there, slightly older patients taught me how to fold beautiful paper airplanes, with unbelievable aerodynamic properties - I mean those things could fly.

Many years later, I was taking an aerodynamics course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University taught by Bob Sweginnis (died in plane crash, while practicing aerobatics), who dedicated an entire class to a paper airplane contest. The winning criteria was "plane that stays in the air the longest wins".

My plane came in second - I designed it to make an easy curve through the bungalow to maximise air time, and Bob Sweginnis did an excellent job launching it. He stopped the timer when my plane hit the wall of the bungalow, with plenty of altitude to spare.

The winner? A sheet of paper, basically, that pendulumed to the green carpet in a swinging motion, like a leaf, about a second slower than it took my Mona Lisa to commit suicide.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by shanewwarren | parent

That's great! Reminds me of elementary school when I was in "gifted and talented... " program. We did a similar experiment. Each kid had some ornate paper airplane, but my simple design won out.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by garashovb | parent

My dad studied aviation in USSR between 1980-83 while my country was part of USSR. He also had amazing skills in aerodynamics and making paper planes. I guess USSR aviation schools were pretty good that times. Dad's school now http://kkluga.ru/

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by selecsosi

One of my favorite research projects on the subject. This research publication from the 2014 siggraph conference covers a ML backed design optimization approach to design novel paper airplanes designs, and simulate flight paths.

[Research]: http://www.nobuyuki-umetani.com/publication/2014_sigg_pterom...

[Video]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KJUVJAUY8o

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Fell

When I was little (about 20 years ago) I found a website where you could download sheets to print out. They contained parts to cut out that would make an elaborate little glider airplane. You layered multiple layers of paper together and glued them. It included many different parts, but all of them were just paper in the end of the day.

I think the site is gone, I can't find it anymore. It had a blue background and about 10-20 designs available for download. It was either German, Swiss, Austrian, Italian or French, but I'm pretty sure it had multiple Languages.

Anyways, I found something very similar: http://www.zovirl.com/paper-airplanes/

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ranting-moth

Another brilliant site is "Toys from Trash": https://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys.html

A whole bunch of fun things you can make with stuff lying around.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tysam_and

I made hundreds of paper airplanes as a kid.

This design scheme was consistently among the best (not on the website above directly): http://www.10paperairplanes.com/how-to-make-paper-airplanes/...

You could also just do what I did and just fold only the top over itself, and use a bit of the back wing for the winglets, folded out. Tiny, tiny grip, enough to hold, deeper in the back than the front for stability, tiny y in the wings and winglets going out slightly. The wings need to make a y when you drop it in the air (you can simulate this while holding this so you don't mess up your shot at a perfect first flight!). Make sure to fold the front extraordinarily tightly. Otherwise it starts to tank.

Then it's a matter of how hard you launch it. As a child, I was getting shockingly long flight times, and on those special days where there was a breeze...oh boy. What a world.

Super stable, super easy to make, super easy to teach, the hardest part is the arm, the patience to keep trying, the luck that it doesn't catch in a tree, and the patience to adjust the winglets for a nice little spiral.

A lovely part of my engineering days as a child, definitely helped get the creative juices going for this field! I had a white trash bag at one point with all of these novel little designs I came up with just for funsies. :)))) :D :)))) <3


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by roqi | parent

Thanks for sharing. You made me make my first paper airplane in years. Oh joy.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tysam_and | parent

Oh my gosh, no way. You have no idea how much you just made this stranger's day. Thanks so much, dear! <3 :)))) :D :) :) <3

If you have trouble with flight time, you might enjoy having some flaps on the back too. Just ever so slight, almost little bumps that you'd push up subtly with your thumb in the back. If you do it perfectly, it just sails, almost sitting on the air itself. Too strong and it does little swoopy up and downs, too little and it goes straight down.

I'd ask you to send pics of your creation but I guess this is the Hacker News comments section! Super proud of you either way, dear! <3 :)))) :D :)


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tysam_and | parent

Well, I just went outside and had a ton of fun for 30 minutes or so with a paper airplane outside of my neighborhood's tennis courts. I forgot how hard elevator tuning was, as well as the apparent unfavorability of the wind sometimes (and how hard it hurts to really chuck something). Super sweaty and happy now, thank you for encouraging _me_ in turn to go out and build a paper airplane for the first time in years. Total blast! Thanks again! <3 :)))) :D :)


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by melagonster | parent

why you guys always presume my paper have a solid size. do I missed some information like best paper for papers airplanes?


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by mikae1 | parent

> This design scheme was consistently among the best

What paper size do they/you assume? The only easy available here in my part of Europe is 2129.7 cm (A4).

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by amelius

Kinda disappointed that the instruction video doesn't show the plane flying.

Yeah, I know, the internet made me lazy.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by amelius

Is this for Letter or A4 (series) paper sizes?

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by furyofantares

As a kid I just did what they call Basic Dart over and over again. https://www.foldnfly.com/1.html#Basic-Dart

I was simply not open to any design that didn't look like a jet!

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by riansanderson

One of my favorite gifts for kids in the 6-12 year old range is the [Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes](https://a.co/d/2dscUDL)

It's a great kick start for kids to inspire their inner maker. It has just ten designs, well laid out with good instructions.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by cvg

This is cool. If you're wondering about top performers:

Longest Distance: https://www.foldnfly.com/32.html#The-Bird
Longest Time Aloft: https://www.foldnfly.com/43.html#Stealth-Glider

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by _____-___

One time during a summer camp at my middle school I won a paper airplane contest with the basic because time aloft was a major contributor to scoring and a gust of wind caught my plane after I threw it and held it in the air for a while.

I mentioned after I'd won that I felt bad, it was luck that the wind came when it did and held it the way it did and the judge replied that other planes might not have caught the wind like mine did because mine was designed in such a way that it caught wind better.

The prize, ironically, was a book on how to make paper airplanes. I felt like that should have gone to the loser, but it was still cool.

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by KevinChen6

That's cool! This reminds me of my experience in middle school when I used cardboard, bamboo sticks and rubber bands to make power paper airplanes, and the problem at that time was that in a short time after the plane was released, the propeller in front of the plane was driven by the rubber band to rotate very quickly, and if it could spin slower and lasts longer, the plane could fly farther, but I have not found a solution to this problem until now.

@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by sxhunga

Interesting site for paper airplanes www.10paperairplanes.com/how-to-make-paper-airplanes

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