How to Make Paper Airplanes That Fly a Long Way

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If you want your paper airplanes to fly a long way, you must carefully select your materials and accurately follow the steps of construction. With quality paper and careful folding, you can make paper airplanes that hold the air for long distances.

Finished paper airplane
Finished paper airplane

Step 1

Set out a piece of 8 1/2-by-11-inch, 20-pound bond paper on a flat work surface. This is typical typing paper. Make sure that it is pristine with no tears or folds. Do not use paper that is torn out of a spiral notebook or that has holes punched in it. The uneven nature makes those pieces very bad for paper airplanes.

Lay out your paper on a clean, smooth surface.
Lay out your paper on a clean, smooth surface.

Step 2

Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Put two corners on one of the 8 1/2-inch sides together and then hold them as you do the same with the other two corners. Carefully fold down the middle of the paper, making sure that the long edges line up the entire way. The corners should meet perfectly without you touching them.

Fold the paper vertically.
Fold the paper vertically.

Step 3

Open the paper and hold it flat with the crease of the center fold pointing down. Fold one of the corners to the center line of the first fold. This creates a perfect triangle when the edge is lined up with the center fold. Do the same with the other corner on the same 8 1/2-inch side. That side of the paper should now be pointed.

Fold the triangular tip of the plane.
Fold the triangular tip of the plane.

Step 4

Fold the tip of the point back nearly 1 inch from the point, making sure that the fold is perpendicular to the center fold. This is easy to do if you place the tip of the point on the center line. This creates the blunted and weighted nose of the paper airplane. Close the paper along the center fold. Press down on the existing folds so that they are crisp and tight.

Blunt the nose of your airplane for a strong performance.
Blunt the nose of your airplane for a strong performance.

Step 5

Fold one of the paper's edges outward and down. Line the edge of the paper up with the center fold on the outside. Make the fold crisp. The edge of the paper should follow the center fold all the way down. Turn the paper over and make the same fold on the other side.

Make your folds crisp.
Make your folds crisp.

Step 6

Fold the edge down again. This creates the airplane's wings. Be careful to line up the edge of the wing with the center fold for the entire length of the plane. Turn it over and make the same fold on the other side.

Your wings should line up with each other precisely.
Your wings should line up with each other precisely.

Step 7

Open the wings. Pull them up so that they are more than 90 degrees from the vertical part of the airplane body. This is very important. If the wings droop down, the airplane will not fly very far.

Your plane will not fly if the wings droop.
Your plane will not fly if the wings droop.

Step 8

Hold the airplane on the vertical part of the body about one-third of the way back from the nose. Launch it at a 45-degree angle from the horizon. Try floating the airplane instead of throwing it. If you throw it too hard, you may thrust it down into the ground.

Float, don't thrust, your plane into the air for best results.
Float, don't thrust, your plane into the air for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Crisp, even folds are essential for creating paper airplanes that fly a long way. If the airplane is asymmetrical in any way, it will wobble in the air. Neatness counts when folding paper airplanes.
  • Beware of paper cuts. They hurt.
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