Making paper aeroplanes isn’t just a great low-tech boredom killer — it’s highly educational, too. Yep, all that time you spent folding spiral notebook paper into cool gliders in Year 11 economics, you were actually getting a lesson in design engineering. Neat, huh?
Now, parents, it’s time to introduce your kids to the classic pastime. An excellent place to start: the Fold ‘N Fly database of paper aeroplanes.
The site features 40 different paper aeroplanes with instructions and videos. Designs are sorted by skill level and and aerodynamic properties (distance, time aloft, acrobatic and decorative). You might start with The Basic and then work your way up to some expert-level planes such as these:
This one was designed by an origami expert.
Fast Hawk is “best for distance, time aloft and acrobatics,” Fold ‘N Fly writes.
An acrobatic marvel. When thrown at just the right angle, Star Flight flips around in the air.
All of the instructions are free, but if you want the downloadable pages with line indicators showing you exactly where to fold, it’s $US5 ($7).
After making the paper aeroplanes, show your kids the best way to throw a paper aeroplane. According to the experts featured on the paper aeroplane-making episode of Going Deep with David Rees, that means seeing that the wings are level, holding the plane where the most paper layers overlap, and going with an easy toss.
Keep a flight log to see how the planes react to different variables. Maybe one day your little aviation master will reach the world record for paper aeroplane flight: A whopping 69.14m.
H/t Boing Boing