Paper airplanes are fun to make and fly. Most designs resemble miniature planes—made of folded paper, with wings, stabilizers and sometimes even flaps. These creations look like they are ready to soar. There are some designs, like the one you can try in this activity, however, that look so awkward one might imagine they would not fly at all. Find out if it will really soar!
Although there are many different paper airplane designs, almost all of them have a flat winglike structure, which, like a traditional plane, helps create lift to keep the plane in the air. The plane in this activity, which is reminiscent of Phillip Swift’s design entered in Scientific American’s International Paper Airplane Competition in 1967, gets the lift needed to glide from two rings, instead of wings. Normal wings have wing tips that generate vortices, adding drag (which isn’t ideal for an object trying to stay aloft). The lift-providing rings have no wing tips and so they have less drag. The streamlined shape of the “hoopster” also makes it easy to throw accurately.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.