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How To:
Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)

Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)





  • WonderHowTo

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We’ve all attempted to fold a paper airplane before, right? One we hoped would sail majestically through the air for a good while but just ended up nose-diving into the grass. Paper planes, an invention likely as old as paper, are models of engineering; and they must account for the same dynamics as real planes, from drag force to stability to weight. So what is the perfect design?

On October 8, 1998, aeronautical engineer Ken Blackburn launched a paper airplane that stayed aloft for an incredible 27.6 seconds . At the time, it set a new world record. His aptly named “World Record Airplane,” based on a model he designed at age 13, was a glider-style aircraft that he heaved into the air at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and watched for nearly 30 seconds as it made its way back to earth. Blackburn’s record stood for more than a decade.

“Along the way, I found ways to make the design fly a little better, and a little more consistently.”

Eventually, Blackburn saw his record broken. In 2009, Tokuo Toda’s Sky King flew for 27.9 seconds. The following year, Toda broke his own record in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima, Japan, on December 19, 2010: 29.2 seconds . This is the current Guinness World Record.

When he finally broke Blackburn’s record, Toda told The Daily Telegraph that he “had thought that the world record was impossible to break, but the key to breaking the record is how high you fly it.”

The construction, of course, is also big, and if you think Blackburn’s glider still has what it takes to someday set a new world record, then try folding the World Record Airplane yourself. All you’ll need is a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Check out Tavin ‘s video below for instructions.

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Video not enough for you? Follow along with these written steps with pictures for a better idea of what to do. To start, simply fold your 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper (e.g., computer/copy paper) in half vertically, and then make a crease.

As with all origami or paper folding, you’ll want to make sure your creases are crisp. In Brain Trust , Blackburn said that only three things are needed for your own “paper plane glory” — “good folds, good throw, and good design.” Got it!

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
(1) Piece of computer paper. (2) Fold in half vertically. Images by Jennifer Alpeche/ WonderHowTo

Next, you’ll open the paper back up and from the 8.5″ side, and fold halfway toward the crease you just made. Don’t make a new crease; instead, simply pinch the paper here to provide a guide for the next step.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
(1) Fold halfway to the crease and pinch the fold. (2) Repeat on the other side. Images by Jennifer Alpeche/ WonderHowTo

Next, from the top corner, fold diagonally down toward the center using the pinched fold you made from the previous step as a guide. Crease well. Repeat this on the other side. After this, your aircraft should look like a trapezoid.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
From the top, fold diagonally toward the center and crease. Image by Jennifer Alpeche/WonderHowTo

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Now, from the short side of the trapezoid, you’re going to fold down to the point where the two flaps meet at the center (about 1/2 an inch). You will then fold this seven more times to make eight.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
(1) Fold down here, to where the two sides meet. (2) Keep folding up, until there are eight folds. Images by Jennifer Alpeche/ WonderHowTo

You’re nearly done. The next step is to fold the paper aircraft in half (using the crease you made in the first step). Crease well. Note that because of the folds, the head of the plane will be quite thick, so “crease firmly.” After you fold the glider in half, you’ll then fold the aircraft’s wings. To do so, fold each half in the opposite direction, again about 1/2 inch down.

A tip from Blackburn on the wings (and folds/creases overall):

First, it’s real important to keep the wing as flat as possible, so I would press the side of a pen against every fold as the plane is made in order to keep the folds as flat as possible.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
(1) Folded in half. (2) Here, one wing has been folded and about 1/2 inch is left from the bottom. Images by Jennifer Alpeche/ WonderHowTo

Finally, create the wing flaps for your World Record Airplane. Simply fold in the edge of the wings, lining them up with the diagonal guide created by the folds that make up the nose/head of the glider.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
Use the diagonal at the nose as a guide when folding the wing flaps. Image by Jennifer Alpeche/WonderHowTo

And you’re done! Here is our version before it makes a launch off the balcony.

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
Ready for its maiden flight. Image by Jennifer Alpeche/WonderHowTo

As you can see, this is a pretty simple design to fold; it’s rated as a 2/10 on Tavin’s scale of difficulty . But clearly, given its record history, it’s one of the best designs for paper aircraft ever conceived.

One final note, in Tavin’s video tutorial, it says to use A4-sized paper. However, this is an international size. For the World Record Airplane, we’ll want to use what Blackburn used, which is US letter size or 8.5″ x 11.” (A4 has slightly different dimensions: 8.26″ x 11.69″.) You can also, of course, play with the design to carry out your own test flights. What works best? Happy flying!

How to Fold the Record-Setting Glider-Style Paper Airplane (Guinness World Records)
Here are Ken Blackburn’s folding instructions for the World Record Airplane from a PowerPoint presentation at the National Congress for Aerospace Education in Atlanta in 2004. Image by Ken Blackburn/ PaperPlane

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Cover image via Tavin/YouTube

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Instructables

Instructables

Autodesk: Make Anything

How to Make the Fastest Paper Airplane


By napalm008

in Craft Paper

1,960,359

197

128

Featured

By napalm008

More by the author:

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About: Age: 15
Name: Tanner
Grade: 10’th (sophomore)

Now, you must realize that i created this account several years ago and I did not have the same hobbies, tastes and general knowledge that I have now. But even …

More About napalm008 »

This is how to make the fastest paper airplane I’ve ever seen. I call it the Eagle.

Step 1: Fold in Half

This is an easy step. Just fold an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of paper in half down the center like pictured, and then open it up again so that it lays flat.

Step 2: Fold the Cockpit

Fold the cockpit of your paper airplane so that the flap corners meet at the center line.

Step 3: Fold the Cockpit Down

Fold the cockpit down so that the point lines up with the center fold line.

Step 4: Fold the 2nd Cockpit

Fold your second cockpit by folding your tow flaps down like the 2nd step.

Step 5: Make the First Folds of the Wings

Fold another two flaps down to the center of the plane.

Starting to look like a real paper airplane now!

Step 6: The Second Folds of the Wings

Flip the airplane over and fold each side in to line up with the center fold of the plane.

Step 7: Ready for Takeoff!

Flip the plane over one last time and open up the folds so that you have the ‘body’ of the plane to hold on to (like pictured).

You are now ready for a test flight.

To fly well, fly inside and throw as hard as you can.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT THROW AT AN ANIMAL OR HUMAN BEING.

Step 8: Bonus Step

If you want your paper airplane to go even further, put a paperclip on the forward body of the plane. The weight will help it fly farther.

14 People Made This Project!

  • flies great with pap...-kingjll

    kingjll made it!

  • mine wasnt good, but...-samuely5

    samuely5 made it!

  • i used construction ...-savalos1

    savalos1 made it!

  • it's thick and doesn...-jema53b

    jema53b made it!

  • sooooooooooooooooooo...-Everett is dat boi

    Everett is dat boi made it!

  • Guys I think I made ...-Linliping

    Linliping made it!

  • I Made It! It really...-RichardRichyRich

    RichardRichyRich made it!

  • Thanks for your help...-Ibn Danish

    Ibn Danish made it!

  • i made the plane but...-ejrj

    ejrj made it!

  • I've made it but I'm...-AliT51

    AliT51 made it!

  • Awesome ??-HockeyKiwi48

    HockeyKiwi48 made it!

  • Brett good but you n...-jtrim

    jtrim made it!

  • so cool :D -bsteenput

    bsteenput made it!

  • I use was with empha...-SamH19

    SamH19 made it!

  • See 5 More

Did you make this project? Share it with us!

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128 Discussions

0
None
Kkcoolj13

Question

7 months ago
on Step 1

Does it have to be 8.5×11 paper?

1

more answer

0
None
Kkcoolj13 Kkcoolj13

Answer

7 months ago

Name it loke this ur fav number,animal,and color. I got the 3 lavender unicorns!

0
None
CalebR46

Tip

8 months ago

I recommend folding the wings so that the match the other side of the wing

0
None
Rajdeep singh gill 444

Question

10 months ago
on Step 1

What do i name it

1

more answer

0
None
CalebR46 Rajdeep singh gill 444

Answer

8 months ago

slim

photo.jpeg
0
None
CalebR46

Question

8 months ago
on Step 8

Is it sposed to be heavy in the front

0
None
chewbubba

Tip

10 months ago
on Step 1

I recommend using a ruler to be certain your folds are as precise as possible.

0
None
savalos1

10 months ago

Thanks for posting your instructable. I’ve was able to follow your steps by steps by just looking at the pictures. I am not someone who can easily make something bu just looking at pictures. It took me 5 mins tops to make one.

0
None
gabrielajuarez1234

11 months ago

it came out looking bad but flies very far and fast

0
None
savage.jace

1 year ago

pretty lit

0
None
sexyooleg17

1 year ago

NANI

0
None
mightymouse1234

1 year ago

I made it tysm

0
None
WHITEREVELATOR

1 year ago

Pretty good but not as good as it looks

0
None
Parislover

1 year ago

It looked cool

0
None
douglas.buie589

1 year ago

I made one

0
None
Kimnorwood

2 years ago

I made this to show you guys

1469729408306-1359117881.jpg

2

replies

0
None
TerranceW5 Kimnorwood

Reply

1 year ago

can that thing even fly.

0
None
unicorn0615 TerranceW5

Reply

1 year ago

duh. yes. with wind.

0
None
TerranceW5

1 year ago

I’m a pro at paper airplanes and I made that one along time a

0
None
ROBONERD123

2 years ago

I have a project on paper planes, and we have to make one for speed, distance, and hang time, hope this works!