Designer John Collins has constructed a paper airplane that flew an astonishing 226 feet back in 2012. This record still stands to this day. A new video shows the steps required to fold your own version of this record-setting paper-based aircraft.
Collins recently visited Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Here he talked to students about making paper planes and explained the importance of having the right materials and design. In essence what he said was: “If you can wad up a piece of paper and throw it farther than your paper airplane, your plane sucks”.
Needless to say, building the “perfect” paper airplane isn’t a matter of luck. As Collins told the students, factors that need to be considered include glide ratios, center of gravity, center of lift, the boundary layer, and the Magnus effect. Drawing on his experience with origami, he demonstrated how additional folds at the right spot can shift the center of gravity and make the plane fly better, and how a slight adjustment of the wing’s trailing edge can prevent it from nosediving.
Collins has designed 75 different paper airplanes, and he’s still coming up with new ideas. His ultimate goal is to create a novel design that shatters his current record for distance.
It’s quite something to see the actual record breaking paper airplane in action. Check it out: