Paper Airplane Flight Distance Test
HOME SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
Which Style of Paper Airplane Flies the Farthest?
from Science Prof Online
Paper Airplane Flight Distance Experiment
One morning over spring break, I awoke to find that my son had made several paper airplanes and tested them to compare their flying ability.
Leo made eleven different paper airplanes. The first two planes (01 and 02) were his own design.
After seeing that his first two planes did not fly very well, he found a website with excellent video instructions on several different paper airplane designs. From the Ten Paper Airplanes website he tested the following models: The Champ, The Arrow, The Dart and a couple of their custom designs. As a science educator and mom, I always look for ways to make science fun and interesting for my own elementary school-age children. One of the features of the Home School Science area of this website is this experiment testing the aerodynamics of several paper airplane designs found on the website TenPaperAirplanes.com.
Young children are natural born scientists, full of curiosity! Join the at-home experiments and explorations of a scientist mom & her kids.
The SPO website is best viewed in Microsoft Explorer, Google Chrome or Apple Safari.
Latest Tadpole News
Sad news today. Lumpy, the little bullfrog we raised from a tadpole 2 years ago, died of unknown causes today.
Thanks for showing us how cool frogs are!
> See Lumpy's Story
See Page 2 for more airplane designs and a table with our flight data for each plane!!
We began by gathering qualitative flight data. Qualitative information can be observed and described, but is not measured with numbers, such as "yes" or "no", or "hot" or "cold."
First, Leo tested each plane and then drew a face on each to qualitatively represent how well it flew:
- neutral face :/ = moderate flier
- happy face :) = good flier
Quantitative data is expressed in numbers, and can give us more precise information than qualitative data. After the qualitative tests, we designed a data sheet to record the plane's fight distance in inches, to see if the actual numbers supported the qualitative ratings.
In addition, we tested each plane three times in a row, recording the distance of each flight and then averaging the numbers. Averaging the distance from multiple tests of each plane give us stronger, more reliable data.
First two paper airplane designs that Leo invented. Neither flew well.
Top and bottom view of "The Champ" paper airplane design from TenPaperAirplanes.com. Plane #1 did not fly as wells #2. As you can see, the fold along the front of Plane #1 is crooked. The folding was straighter on Plant #2, and this greatly improved its performance.
Flew an average of 169 inches.
Flew an average of 223 inches.
Two examples of "The Arrow" paper airplane design from TenPaperAirplanes.com. Plane #3 averaged longer flights than did Plane #4.
Flew an average of 205 inches.
Flew an average of 147 inches.
Pane O1 flew an average of 34 inches.
Pane O2 flew an average of 49 inches.