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How to make a paper airplane that flies far
The paper airplanes of my childhood were awful. I used to call them ‘stunt planes’ because of the way they twisted and turned as they plummeted to the ground – but that’s putting it nicely.
Never one for conventions, my planes might have performed better had I followed the instructions instead of my own ‘designs’. Few kids have the required understanding of aerodynamics to produce a flawless fighter jet, but I have a feeling YouTube user Mahir Cecen may have been an exception to the rule.
Cecen’s channel is dedicated to the art of paper airplane engineering – and with the help of these five tutorials, even an amateur like myself can produce graceful gliders in no time at all.
Otherwise known as ‘The Dart’, this is the paper airplane that most budding engineers begin with. Its beauty is in its simplicity – a long, thin design that whooshes through the air exactly as you’d expect it to. Nothing fancy, just straight flyin’.
The Wraith may look more advanced, but it’s still a very simple paper airplane. This design is popular on the schoolyard, where those flourishes on the wings are met by whoops and cheers from easy-to-impress kids. A flair move, no doubt.
Now we’re talking. Just as its name suggests, The Crusader is built for battle – destroying any rival planes that get in its way. This is quite clearly a grown ups design, and its folds take a little more care and effort to get right.
The Phoenix is a sophisticated airplane – best suited to high-flying creative types and aristocrats. Our host Mahir Cecen takes just 7 minutes to complete the build, but if you’re an amateur you’re going to want to take this slow. Get those folds bang-on first time, because if you have to go back and correct them you’ll end up with a stunt plane of your own.
Cecen is one of only five people to have successfully built The Swallow, and the only living Airplane architect to have done so. 12 grown men have died from papercuts when trying to perfect its folds – and those are just the ones that we know about. By all means attempt to follow this tutorial, but for goodness sake wear gloves.