The World-Class Paper Glider Page
If you are searching for instructions on paper flying wings then you
have come to the right place.
These easy step by step instructions should do the trick. This
particular glider has critical aerodynamic features which must be created
accurately to achieve good flight characteristics. If you complete the
first steps properly, the final trimming for flight should come with a
few tries. I've shown many people my gliders and most have learned
should start with a good sheet of 11 x 8.5 regular stock paper. Printer
paper happens to make excellent gliders. You will need a pair of
scissors for this glider because we need to remove approximately 60% of
the weight from the paper. While your paper lies on a flat surface
in a landscape orientation, fold it down the centre to form a reference
crease. Unfold the paper flat and proceed to the second step.
Fold the left
- bottom corner of the paper over to the right. The crease you form
must run as straight as possible from the top - left corner to the bottom
- centre of the sheet. And again, the same fold on the right side
to form a symmetrical triangle. A good effort in accuracy here will
pay off later when it gets more complicated.
Now we make a
fold which will determine a number of factors. First, it will define
the front of the glider. Second, it will create a template to show
us an additional 10% of unneeded paper that we will remove with the scissors.
Fold the bottom point up to just slightly higher than 50% of the single
ply. This will be approximately one inch from the edge. While
holding the paper in this position, being careful not to crease it, carefully
cut away the single ply of paper with your scissors.
Now unfold the
paper and cut along the long creases from corner to centre to remove another
50% of the paper. This will make a fine, light glider. All
the paper that is left, is required for various functions including centre
of gravity balancing. We have preserved the original width of the paper
in the wingspan and because this glider will soon become a flying wing,
it carries none of the added weight of a conventional fuselage and tail
assembly. Gliders must be as light as possible!
Now that we have
removed most of the weight from the paper, we can begin the actual construction
process of our World Class Paper Glider. We need to use some of the
remaining weight of the paper and compress it into a small area as close
to the front as possible to provide the correct centre of gravity.
Since we already have a crease across the paper which defines the front
of the glider, we know where to fold the point.
Continue to fold
the paper one more time up to the reference crease before folding on the
crease itself. This will concentrate the weight of the paper near
the front of the glider. Finally, folding the reference crease will
expose the front of the glider.
Press down on
the centre - bottom of the glider with your fingernail while folding each
wing. Because the paper has so many layers at the front, it is important
to keep it flat while folding. You may note that the wings are perfectly
symmetrical. Aren't they? Try again until they are. The
wings are elegant, compound tapered, and high aspect ratio. All these
attributes are important aerodynamically and help account for the graceful
flight characteristics inherent in those types of gliders.
See that little
piece of paper sticking out the top? Want to rip it off? No!
Its there for a good reason. It is left there to hold your glider
together. It is lighter than tape, glue, or staples. Just fold
it forward and remember that you are looking at the bottom of the glider.
Now that you've completed the easy part of your glider's construction,
it will need a few more very important creases then properly shaped into
its best flight mode. If you try to fly it now, it will spiral into
the ground and likely pop open on impact.
Fold your glider in half making sure the tab is on the outside and the
wings line up as closely as possible. Then fold the wings down to
form a 'V' shaped keel. This keel holds the tab tightly closed to
prevent the glider from coming open during flight. I sincerely doubt
that there is any aerodynamic benefits to this keel other than perhaps
some small amount of lateral stability. You should end up with something
that looks like these small images. The progression shows both wings
folded up to both wings folded down. The double image represents
the glider flattened - out, rear view and bottom view respectively.
Flatten it again
and fold a long crease from tip to nose on both wings. This important
crease performs three distinct functions. First, from an engineering
standpoint, it provides a stiffener for the wing, making it more rigid.
Second, it creates a camber to enhance the lift generating characteristics
of an otherwise flat plate aerofoil. Third, it inadvertently adds
an essential twist to the wing. The twist is important for longitudinal
dihedral, or pitch stability if you prefer. The difference in angle
of attack from the root to the tip is known as washout. The washout
prevents the wingtips from stalling before the root. It is very difficult
to draw an illustration of this effect. This triple view shows top
view, rear view, and bottom view respectively. Also I cannot show
you, without some animation, is how to score the under-surface of each
wing with your fingernail. Try this. Holding a piece of scrap
paper between your thumb pad and index fingernail, make tugging motions
on the paper to produce tiny scratching creases in the paper. The
paper should curl into a compound curve. If you do that on the glider's
wings from the root to half span on each wing, you will cause a downward
reflex in the trailing edge, a smoother transition in the twist of the
wing, and most importantly, the two layers of paper will stick very tightly
together to reduce drag.
Flying the World Class Paper Glider:
Do not squeeze the glider's keel together like you are throwing a paper
dart or airplane. This glider does not have a trajectory. It
follows a distinct and flowing flight path. With the glider at rest,
and the keel in its natural 'V' shape, is the shape it must be flown in.
Do not throw the glider. Gently push it on its way and if it is trimmed
properly, it will find its glide speed and settle into its flight path.
If it exhibits stalling characteristics, gently untwist the wings by flattening
the camber crease and try again. If it turns left, then the left
wing has more camber and or twist than the right wing, and vice versa.
If it spirals into the dirt, then increase the amount of camber and or
twist in both wings and try again. Try to keep the wings as horizontal
as possible, by this I mean that you should have no anhedral or dihedral
because swept wings take care of roll stability. But that's another
Web page by Aaron Hunt / September 13, 1998
Send questions or responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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World Class Paper Gliders(c)1976
Concept and design: Aaron Hunt
Intellectual support and advice: Dan Garsonnin