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Tuesday, April 24 2018

Look Mummy, there\'s an aeroplane up in the sky

I have been a fan of paper airplanes as long as I can remember. Two recent finds may either reinvigorate my interest or finally close out my pursuit of paper airplane nirvana.

Back in 1975 or 1976, I remember my father calling me to come watch a story they had on about a revolutionary new wing design created by a paper airplane designer....

The story indicated that the Kline Fogleman wing was revolutionary, in that it didn't stall, so the flight was smoother. (There were scientific hypotheses I didn't understand, about lift created by a vacuum or vortices created by the under-wing notch.) I still have a letter from the 60 minutes staff, responding to my query, saying, "sorry, we can't send you instructions for making the plane, as Mr. Kline is trying to get a patent..."

I still remember making every single plane, repeatedly, from The Great International Paper Airplane Contest. I tried to figure out what led to success, and even invented a few planes of my own.

When I went to college, I applied for a and was granted a Bates Aeronautics Program position. With this, I learned about aeronautics, and actually earned my pilot's license.

When we had "Teach for America" day at HMC, I created a course with a friend (Brian Clark) to teach a group of 1st graders from Pomona about aerodynamics, using Paper Ariplanes as the "vehicle". It got us into the LA Times, as I recall. I also remember that these first graders were able to identify the parts of the paper plane, name the analogs to those parts on a real plane, and predict whether a given plane would likely be an aerobatic plane, a dart, or a glider.

So, what are my two recent discoveries?


1) It turns out that Kline and Fogleman wrote a book about their "special" paper airplane. I've ordered the book, and will finally see how to make the plane I've thought about since I was 6 or 7 years old.

2) I've found a couple of other folks who, apparently, have taught kids about aerodynamics using paper airplanes. One of them clearly wasn't teaching first grade students. The other one seems, if possible, to have committed himself more to paper airplanes than even me! For goodness sakes, the guy has the Guinness Book record for longest flight?! (I remember not even trying, because the longest flight registered when I was a kid was on the order of minutes, and I think it was artificially aided by thermals from a coffee plant or something.) Geez, if the rules have changed, it might be time for me to work up a realistic challenge (if that's possible...). At the very least, I'll need to see how his plane design does against the ones I created as a kid.

Holy cow! I'm suddenly filled with nostalgia, excitement, anticipation (I ordered a used copy of the Kline-Fogleman book), and competitive spirit. I know much of this won't strike a resonant emotion in most of you, but if you have any enthusiasm for this, whatsoever, go ahead and reply to this story..

Look Mummy, there\'s an aeroplane up in the sky | 39 comments | Create New Account
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Look Mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky
Authored by: Anonymous onMonday, January 04 2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/27/paper-plane-flight-record-japan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1fXWVhd6dU

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Authored by: dbsmall onSunday, February 07 2010

Is this video of a walk-along glider fashioned out of phone-book paper real?

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