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Paper Airplane Crafts and the Science Behind Them


DA Paper Airplane Blog Image

So you’ve got a supply of Double A Paper, and you want to see what you can do with your sheets of paper now that you don’t need the information that’s printed on them. Why throw it away, and contribute to waste production, when you can have some fun with repurposing that paper? Take a quick break from your work, and have a bit of fun with your office supplies. Learn how to make that piece of paper into a paper airplane and watch it fly.

Building a Paper Airplane

A paper airplane can be designed in a variety of ways. Review this list of popular designs and see what speaks to you! Once you’ve got a design, and a piece of paper you don’t need anymore (that you aren’t using for another paper art masterpiece), do some quick folding and get ready to take it for a spin. 

All you need is one piece of standard 8.5” x 11” paper and a few minutes to put it together. Once you’ve got your plane folded, and you’ve given it a name if you like (sorry, the Spirit of Sustainability is taken!), it’s time to test it out. Give it a toss and see how well it soars - and decide if a quick tweak is needed. Is your plane dropping too fast? Maybe you need to adjust the wings. If your plane is flying too far upwards, maybe weigh down the nose. Get some advice here and learn how to optimize your paper plane’s performance. It might take a few tries, and maybe a few design ideas, to get it just right - after all, there’s a number of factors that go into the flight of even something as simple as a piece of folded paper. 

How a Paper Airplane Works

Paper airplanes use simple physics to stay in the air as they zoom across your room. It’s all about basic aerodynamics. Just like a real airplane, a paper airplane’s wings create faster moving air above and slower moving air below, which creates a difference in pressure and pushes the plane up. DA Airplane Diagram

(Diagram of Pressure Physics - NASA)

There are three forces that work together to help a paper airplane fly (or float, if you prefer) through the air. Lift, drag, and gravity are all present when you throw a paper airplane through the air. There’s also a fourth force - thrust. Normally, a plane’s engines create that, but in this case, your arm pushing the paper airplane provides it. Thrust and lift will get the plane moving after you push it, and drag and gravity will slow it down and pull it towards the floor (don’t worry - it should float gently). Try out different designs, and different amounts of force in your initial push, to see how different plane designs will use the forces together. That’s right, even a quick break from your workday can be educational and fun - no matter what age you are. 

Having Fun with Your Creation

So now you have a paper airplane, and you know how it works- what’s next? It’s time to test out your paper airplane and see how well your paper performs outside the printer! Set up a course that meets these guidelines and track your plane’s performance. Brag about it with your colleagues, friends, and family - then challenge them to try and make a better plane! This can be a great way to lighten up the day for a work colleague and take a quick break from a hard day. There are a lot of ways to fight burnout, and this is one of the most fun and enjoyable ways to take a few minutes out of your day for something fun. 

Paper airplanes are a fun way to relieve some stress and craft something from only a simple piece of paper. Even with something simple and fun, remember that you can use sustainable resources, and learn about science and sustainability. Request a sample of Double A Paper today, and see the many things you can do with just a piece of paper. 

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