How To Fold The World's Farthest-Flying Paper Airplane

The all-time distance record for paper airplane flight* was set in February, 2012. The paper craft was designed by John Collins (a.k.a. "The Paper Airplane Guy"), and soared a whopping 226 feet, 10 inches. Here, Collins walks us through how to fold his world-record-holding plane, which he's named "Suzanne."


The design for Suzanne is one of several laid out in Collins' new book, The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book: Featuring the World Record-Breaking Design, with Tear-Out Planes to Fold and Fly:

Paper airplanes embody the scientific method. Every throw is an experiment. It's a hobby that begs the paper pilot to understand ever more in order to excel. Hypothesis, experiment design, trial, and results—it's all built into every plane and every throw. To play with a paper airplane is to dabble in science, whether you know it or not.

We have a number of global issues confronting us. Global energy shortages, food shortages, water shortages, and something people are calling global warming are all worrisome. These problems will have answers that only science can provide. We have no spare brains on the planet. We need everyone thinking about these challenges in a rigorous way.

Imagine this: a world of people playing with science, who get up every morning, focus on what's good, and imagine how to make more of that. You can call me a dreamer. I don't mind. You don't have to believe a word of what I say. Just make a paper airplane and experience how exhilarating that feels. We're born makers. When you make something, anything from a pie to a pencil drawing, it's like waking a dormant part of you. The world shifts slightly. You can feel it, and it feels good.

More on the science of paper airplanes – including why paper airplanes don't look like real airplanes, how plane weight affects flight, and the importance of "winglets" – here.

H/t Boing Boing!

* This achievement being distinct from the world record for longest time aloft, which was set in May 2009 by Japanese engineer Takua Toda and his plane's 27.9-second hang time.


John M

This plane is similar to one of the best all-purpose (decent indoors and outdoors) paper airplanes that I make (this one — kept expecting a fold like step 5 on that page), but with a pointier nose. The pointier nose is not necessarily a plus indoors or when giving them to kids.