Questions and answers

These are emailed questions I received from 1996 to 1998.  I have not updated this file, as the general questions I still receive are similar to these.  If you have a question, feel free to email me!

Ken

 

 

C. FALKENSTEIN wrote: To: Ken Blackburn From: Cindy Falkensten Air-O-Paper - Research & Development Group (ENGL 318)

 

Dear Mr. Blackburn: We have been soliciting other groups in our class/company for questions which may help us design, produce and market our paper airplane product. We are very pleased that you have offered to link up with our class and assist us in our endeavours. The following is a list of questions asked from the Human Factors Group. Your cooperation with us is very exciting as this gives us real-time feed-back. Thank You! From: tamara Subject: Questions For Ken Blackburn

  1. Is using diagrams easier for explaining paper airplane folding, or are written instructions more easy? Generally diagrams are best. It is difficult to accurately convey how to fold a paper airplane with just words, however some written description with diagrams is helpful.
  2. What flies better, heavy or light paper? Extremely heavy paper - like posterboard, is difficult to fold and too heavy. Tracing paper is too flimsy to make paper airplanes. 20-60 pound paper (no I can't remember right now what "20 pound paper" actually means - its a certain quantity of paper weighed - the higher the weight the thicker and heavier it is. 20 pound is standard typing paper). So the answer - medium is best.
  3. What do you like better..planes that will fly loops and do tricks or planes that will fly very far and very well? My personal favorite is planes that fly far and well - but aerobatics can be fun too.
  4. Where would the best place be for putting paper clips? Definately on the nose. Aircraft stability (all airplanes) is improved when weight is added to the front of the plane.
  5. Could any suggestions for the editing of the instructions, please be emailed to Human Factors. (taworlto, tconway, fesanche and trbahr) Thank You Good luck - email any time.

Ken Blackburn

 

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I am a "not so serious but want to fold a good airplane" type of person, and recently I was flying planes of the balcony with my cousin (don't ask). His planes seems to be flying for miles while mine just does a nosedive (One of them flew pretty far, upside down!) so how Do you fold a good glider that flies well in humid air, what about when there is low to moderate winds? (By the way, this is in Hong Kong)

 

To keep a plane from nose diving, bend the back edge of the wing up a little. If the plane noses up and then dives repeatedly, you have bent the back edge up too far. Its also important to keep the wing tips up a bit (plane has a slight "Y" shape when viewed from the front). Humidity is the mortal enemy of all paper airplanes - paper industry research needed:) Oh, by the way, could you make one of your world-record planes instructions without the funny markings (decorations). I hope I'm not asking too much! A good Idea - in the mean time you can trace the lines. Marvin Chum P.S: Thanks Thanks for the email - I hope my info helps. Happy landings.

Ken

 

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how do I start a contest? I mean, I live in Florida and I only know one person at school that MIGHT do it. would I have to goto a special place to get in a contest? oh and, I don't know if you wanna give away your secret, :0) but how do you make the "WORLD RECORD PAPER PLANE" stay in the air? I can only get it for about 5. How close is Jeff Lammers to your record? how close are U to beating your own record? have you accomplished getting your plane to fly in 2 circles in one flight yet? Ryan P.s. sorry about the questions, but I'M SOOOOO EXCITED THAT I FOUND YOU! :0)

 

First - the best way to start a contest is through school, the scouts, or another club or organization - convince the adult in charge that a paper airplane contest would be great, educational, fun... - there is info in my World Record Paper Airplane book about the actual events. How do I keep my record plane up so long? Practice. It takes a lot of fine-tuning on the elevator and rudder to get a great launch, and therefore a great flight. Jeff is pretty good with paper planes, but isn't trying to set records. I have had flights in practice up to 22 seconds - I hope to make another attempt within a year or so. No 2 circles yet. Let me know if you get a contest going.

Ken

 

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Dear Mr. Blackburn, I am a senior at the Bainbridge-Guilford Middle School/High School. As our first project our physics teacher came up with a rather interesting idea. His idea is to have each lab group has to build a paper airplane. The airplane will be judged on ability of plane to stay in the air (the more time the better) and distance that it will fly. I have looked over your site and found many good ideas, however I figure for the best advice the most accurate advice would come directly from an expert source. So my question to you is: How could I build a plane that will travel far and stay in the air for quite a while? I understand if you don't have the time to reply. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Shannon Murphy

 

Shannon, Folders make fairly good airplanes - but is much stronger and harder to fold than paper. A good plane can be made by copying basic balsa wood gliders - substitute folder cardboard for balsa wood. Remember the key to a good flying plane are the small adjustments - 1)wing tips up 2)weight on the nose 3)bend the back of the horizontal tail (the elevator) up a little. Good luck.

Ken Blackburn

 

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DEAR MR. BLACKBURN - I WROTE YOU LAST TIME ABOUT THANKING YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL INFORMATION ON PAPER AIRPLANES THAT I FOUND ON THE INTERNET. I NOW HAVE A QUESTION OR QUESTIONS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS TO YOU SINCE YOU ARE AN EXPERT ON PAPER AIRPLANES: -

IS THE ROLL THE ROTATION AGAINST THE LENGTH OF AN AIRPLANE? CAN THIS BE CONTROLLED BY A RUDDER??? Roll is rotating about an axis running the length of the airplane, so that one wing goes up and the other down. Most airplanes have ailerons to control rolling. For paper airplanes I do not use ailerons because they can make the wing stall due to the low speed. I use the rudder for turning - the rudder yaws the plane, then the airplane rolls due to the yaw. –

IS THE PITCH THE NOSE UP OR DOWN??? CAN IT BE CONTROLLED BY AN AILERON?? Pitch is when the nose moves up or down - the airplane is rotating about an axis which runs from wing tip to wing tip. The elevator is used to control pitch. –

IS THE YAW THE MOVEMENT AROUND THE VERTICAL AXIS?? CAN THIS BE CONTROLLED BY AN ELEVATOR?? Yaw is movement about the vertical axis. This is controled by the rudder - just like the rudder of a boat is used to "yaw" a boat.

I HOPE THESE QUESTIONS ARE CLEAR ENOUGH. CAN YOU PLEASE ANSWER THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE I NEED IT BY TUESDAY. IF YOU HAVE A FAX MACHINE CAN YOU EMAIL ME YOUR NUMBER SO I CAN SEND YOU MY REPORT - IF YOU WOULDNT MIND. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP. TAKE CARE - JARED Unfortunately I don't have a fax machine. Good luck, and I would be happy to answer any more questions.

Ken

 

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Ken- Hey after reading your Paper Airplane Aerodynamics web page; I wondered if you had any success using turbulators on your world record design?; or are turbulators impractical? Let's keep that record in America! Talk later,

-John

 

This year I have started using turbulators. I have been using an airfoil with a large pressure spike at the leading edge(sharp leading edge), but more consistant performance with turbulators. Guinness rules prohibit tape for anything but "joining paper edges together", so I use push-pin holes at about 15% chord. (since responding to this question, I switched to using diagonal creases across my wings as a turbulator.  For recreational flying I usually don’t add any turbulation, as the benefit is usually small)

Ken

 

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Hello Mr. Blackburn, I am writing to you to ask if you are aware of the design or, better yet, creator of the paper airplane which holds the distance record. I have been searching for a web site that might describe this plane but so far have turned up nothing. The whole reason I started my search is because I recently found your book detailing the design of the paper airplane that holds the world record for time aloft. Being duly impressed by your achievement, you have in turn inspired me to attempt to surpass the world record for distance which, according to Guinness, was made in 1985 for a total distance of 193 feet. I have a plane which can regularly travel over fifty yards and, with some modifications and a strong arm, I might be able to beat the record. I would like to know if I even have a chance before I begin, however, and seeing the record holding plane in action would be great. Thank you for your time and help

Sincerely, Jonathan Claggett [claggett@csgstl.com]

 

I met the distance record holder in 1987 - Tony Feltch. He used a basic dart paper airplane, except with the wing folded "in" a 3rd time to make it a very narrow, pointed paper airplane. He throws it like a javelin. I would recommend writing to Guinness for the latest rules before an official record attempt - one record attempt I made was disallowed because I was not using the latest rules. Good Luck!

Ken Blackburn

 

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Dear Ken, my name is Enzo and I'm writing from Italy. I love paper airplanes! I need 2 informations: 1) do you have email addresses of other Italian passionates? 2) your books are traslated in Italian? How do you think about paragliding? Congratulations for your Internet site. Thanks for your help. Ciao

 Enzo massa@alephint.it Enzo,

 

Unfortunately I don't know any other Italian paper airplane fanatics, however my publisher is considering publishing my book in other languages. I plan to try paragliding in the near future - it looks like a lot of fun. Happy landings,

Ken

(since responding my books have been published in 12 languages, including Italian.  Unfortunately the foreign published that was printing the books under license has gone bankrupt.  I also have since taken paragliding lessons)

 

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Daer Mr.Blackburn, My name is Blaine Byers. I am ten years old , and I am doing a project for one of my classes about paper airplanes. One of the requirments for this class is to contact a primary sorce. I went to your web site and thought you would be a good person to E-mail. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions concerning paper airplanes. They are as followed;

  1. What is the most important priciple to remember when making a paper airplane? The fine tuning adjustments make all the difference in making a plane fly well.
  2. How many principles are there? There are 3 main principles in making a good flying paper airplane a) make sure there is sufficient weight on the nose of the plane b) use some up elevator trim c) use plenty of dihedral
  3. Can you explan to me, in simple terms, what the mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) is? It is generally about equal to the average chord. It can be a little different than the average chord so you calculate the correct pitching moment.
  4. Why should the dihadral angle higher on a low wing plane than a high one? Planes need to roll when they fly at a skid angle (sideslip) which is what dihedral does. Sideslip results in air wraping arround the fuselage which helps the diheral effect for high wings (so they need need less dihedral), and reduces the dihedral effect on low wing airplanes (so they need more dihedral).
  5. Why is the tail volume so important? Tail volume is a good guide to how stable the airplane is.
  6. I can understand how little paper airplanes can have short stuby wings, but how can big huge planes have short wings? Short wings have more "induced"(drag due to lift) drag, but may have advantages for reducing supersonic drag.
  7. Why should you avoid odd shapes? Odd shapes take more work to get them to fly well. Traditional shapes are usually more efficient. Odd shapes can make some really interesting planes though - especially paper airplanes.
  8. Why is the camber needed? Camber is good for increasing maximum lift and reducing drag at high lift (slow speed) conditions. Great questions - college level questions. I hope my answers help. Good luck.

Ken

 

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Alex, Perhaps the best paper airplane to use for speed, distance, and ease of construction is the Eagle design. The Basic Dart is also good, and should be familiar to many of your viewers, as it is my version of an old favorite. One "secret" to a fast, accurate, and long distance paper airplane is to add weight, such as a paper clip, to the nose of the plane.

Ken

 

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Ken, I'm trying to make your record airplane but I have a little problem, when I roll up the front part I ruin first and second folds. I hope that you understand my bad english. Sorry for disturb you again. 

Enzo 

 

Enzo, The problem with the 1st and 2nd folds is a common one - as you make folds 3 and further, re-press down on folds 1 and 2 to keep them in their original position (this results in small "bunches" of paper being pressed flat).

Ken

 

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KCS0362@aol.com wrote: What is the best type of paper to use for paper airplanes? Most any type of paper will work - for my planes I prefer regular copier paper (20 to 24 pound thickness usually). 

Ken

 

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Dear Mr. Blackburn, My name is Manish Sinha and I am student at Cornell University in Aerospace Engineering. I am interested in paper planes and heard of your world record breaking 18.8 secs aircraft. I was just wondering whether your record of 18.8 sec is still the world record, or whether it has been broken since? Also, I am interested in trying out a few designs myself, but unfortunately I have only managed a meager 10.3 sec so far! I realize that this is substantially less than 18.8 sec, and so I was also wondering if whether you could perhaps be kind enough to offer a few useful suggestions? At the present time, I am looking at high aspect ratio, rectangular wings which don't go very high, but do have an low(ish) sink rate. Many thanks for your help. I very much look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely,

Manish Sinha.

 

Manish, The world record plane is available via my web page, and in my books. Try looking at my section on my web page on paper airplane aerodynamics. The record is a tradeoff of sink rate (long wing span) vs high launch altitude (short wings) - my design is my best shot at maximizing the time in the air, but nothing I have says its the optimum configuration. I encourage you to experiment on your own - some day my record will be broken, perhaps by you. Also, 18.80 is still the current record as far as I know (ed. - English group now has record) - a group in England has been challanging my record with a lower aspect ratio design - 20+ seconds in practice. My best practice time is 22 seconds, but I still have a few ideas to improve my time. Ken Manish, here are the Guinness paper airplane time aloft rules - basicly what was used for the contest in London last year. They supplied both A4 and 8.5X11 paper, and required the airplanes used be made the same day (not a Guinness rule). Feel free to contact me for any further questions or assistance. Ken Blackburn 396 Eagles Drive St. Peters, MO 63376 THE GUINNESS RULES FOR THE TIME ALOFT RECORD In June 1994 I received a revised set of rules for the time aloft record from Guinness. These rules are shown here as I received them. 

RULES 

1. The record is for the duration of a flight of a paper aircraft flown indoors, in a closed still-air environment. Outdoor flights are not acceptable. 

2. The flight must be carried out at a place where the general public may view. 

3. The aircraft must be constructed from one sheet of paper only (using either a piece of A4 or B4 paper). The weight of the paper should be no more than 150 gms. The use of glue or standard, light-duty tape is permitted, but glue should not be used to coat the paper. Tape should be used only to join two surfaces, not to cover a surface or surfaces.[ A4 is 210mm x 297 mm which is about 8 1/4 x 11 5/8 inches, B4 is 250mm x 353mm which is about 9 7/8 x 14 inches. It is my understanding that the paper may be cut to a smaller size before folding, including to the typical American letter size of 8 1/2 x 11 inches. KDB] 

4. The aircraft should be thrown by one person, from a reasonably static position. Thus a run-up or fast walk before launching is not permitted. This rules out the use of ramps or other devices. At least one foot must be on the ground when launching the aircraft. The duration is to be exact from the point that the aircraft leaves the hand to the point where it first hits the ground (unless 6. below applies). 

5. The launch height is dependant on the height of the thrower. Normal footwear should be used. The ground/surface on which the person who attempts the record is standing must be level with, or lower than, the spot where the paper aircraft lands. The aircraft must not go below its launch height and then up again, for example into a pit or basement area and up on to level ground. The aircraft must not be launched from a balcony or any other area that is higher than the main level surface. 

6. If the aircraft hits any object such as a wire, light etc during the flight the time should be recorded to that point. 

7. The attempt attempt should be filmed and a video tape submitted, in which the aircraft should be in full view at all times. 

8. Six attempts at the record are allowed. 

AUTHENTICATION The following should be provided: 

1. Signed statements of authentication by two independent persons of some standing in the community confirming the facts and that the attempt was carried out in accordance with the rules above. 

2. Independent corroboration in the form of local or national newspaper cuttings. 

3. Reproducible colour photographs or transparencies of the event. 

NB. We must stress that we cannot provide personel to investigate record attempts; there are far too many. You are advised to check with us again just before your attempt to make sure that the record has not been beaten. Please note that Guinness cannot take responsibility for any accidents that may occur in the course of record attempts. We do advise that medical attention should be available during the event. PUBLICATION The Guinness Book of Records is only likely to publish records which represent significant improvements on existing records. We occasionally publish an inaugural best performance if we consider it to be of a kind which is significant or is likely to become the subject of widespread and preferably, international, competition. However in no circumstances will we undertake to publish any record and reserve the right to determine in our sole discretion the records to be published. Even if you do beat the existing record and we accept your claim, it does not necessarily mean that details will be included in the book, as your record may subsequently be beaten - we can only include the record which stands when we go to press. Please send all documentation clearly marked as to which record has been attempted and please indicate if you require any material returned to you after verification. Good luck in your attempt.

 

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Ken... I've seen a guy fanning an indoor paper airplane and keeping it aloft. I thought my son and I would, of course, enjoy trying such a pretty idea. Do you know who that person is ( You, perhaps? ) and how I can get some ideas about his design? Thanks for your time.

Russ Sansom

 

Russ, I have seen it done once - I was at a contest in England about 2 years ago and a college team built a simple light weight paper airplane and used a sheet of poster board - the poster board was held at about a 45 degree angle so as it passed through the air it would ramp air up and over it. The plane was gently tossed, and the guy with the poster board would run behind the plane, keeping it aloft. I don't know the exact design plane they were using - but the exact design isn't so important. I would suggest a "square" type of paper airplane, with lots of up elevator to ensure its flying as slowly as possible. It also requires running around at about 10 mph, so you need to do it outdoors or in a gym. Also, if you angle the posterboard left or right a little you can steer the plane and keep it flying for a long time in a gym. Good luck!

Ken

 

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Ken, I would like to greet you for your site about paper planes. I am from brazil, and since long had been searching information about science behind paper planes. I think playing is the best way to teach and learn, specially in a country like ours where science is so far away. I would be very gratefull if you could tell me if you know about more web sites like yours about the science behind other sport's. Actually I'm looking for things like: . Why a sail boat can sail against the wind . What is the science behind that flying weapon the Australian Indians used. We call it here "boomberangue". Thanks for your atention,

Ivan

 

Ivan, Thanks for your email. I agree that the best way to learn is to have fun with science. I don't know of any sites with technical information for sailboats or boomerangs, but I'm sure they are out there. Both also use the basic principles of aerodynamics, plus a few other things - like gyroscopic forces for boomerangs. If you have specific questions about either, let me know, I might be able to help. Also, the reason sailboats can sail partly into the wind is because the lift on the sails is perpendicular to the apparent wind. Much of the sail force is sideways to the boat, which is countered with the centerboard. There is also a part of the force which is forward relative to the boat, which keeps it moving. A drawing really helps - and it is a good exercise in vector algebra.

Ken Blackburn

 

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Dear Ken, I am a fifth grader at Redwood School in Fontana CA. I got your World Record PaperAirplane book as a gift from my uncle last weekend. I think it would be fun to do a science project with paper airplanes. Do you have any ideas I could use to create my project? Thank you for your help. Little Jim Engel P.S. My mom really likes the book too.

 

 Jim, There are several paper airplane experiments you could try. Pick a plane (such as the Dart or Square), adjust it to fly well 1) Time how long it takes to glide to the floor with a gentile toss. Add a paper clip to the nose, and time it again. Add two and time again. You then can plot flight time vs weight. 2) Do the same with the paper helicopters. 3) Effect of control surfaces - for several elevator settings measure the time the plane stays in the air and how far it goes. For several rudder settings measure how far the plane turns. I hope these help. Happy landings! Enjoy the book.

Ken Blackburn

 

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Alex, There has been several records broken in the last 5 years or so for the largest paper airplane. A current Guinness book is a good place to start. They take record entries up until about June for the next years' book. You can mail them (unfortunately last I checked they don't have email) or call them and they can give you the status on a record, and any special rules. If you get serious about this record, I would really encourage you to contact them before any effort. The reports I read about the largest paper airplanes was they used thick paper products - like cardboard - for construction, and it took several people to pick it up and throw it. It flew from a platform for about 100 feet I think. Good luck - contact me if I can help further.

Ken

 

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Mr. Blackburn, Two of my friends and me are doing a project on paper airplanes. We went on to your web site to see some of your ideas, our project is to see how long we can keep a paper airplane in the air using physics principle. Math model would be helpful. We are going to try for the world record and we are asking you if you can give us some advice for the best shape, technique, and design. You can e-mail me at: telliott69@hotmail.com We would appreciate your help;

Travis Elliott Josh Martin Aaron Deering

 

Most of what I know of the physics of the record, and the primary equations involved are on my web site under the "aerodynamics of paper airplanes" link. If you have further specific questions feel free to email me.

 

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Dear Mr. Blackburn, I was searching paper airplanes and your site came up. The reason I was searching is because my teacher, Mr.P. is obsessed with paper airplanes and we are having an air museum. We all have to do 1 or more paper airplanes that can do the following 8 stunts: turn right turn left loop double loop best accuracy dive distance turn up while flying I like your site and I haven't searched the whole thing yet but I am going to try and make those 8 planes... If you have any suggestions or are familiar with the types of stunts I am talking about please e-mail me. Thanks!!!

Marissa P. age 11 in a half, Florida

 

Marissa, I would recommend using the world record design - you can find the folding directions from my web site. You can make it do all the stunts listed - the trick is the fine tuning adjustments using the elevator (back edge of the wing, bend up for loops), and rudder (bend right for right turn, left for left turn). Good luck. Email me if you have further questions.

Ken

 

Okay, thanks. Actually I couldn't e-mail till today but I did it! I flew that plane. I think it was harder because it was raining and it was windy. He just said that in real life that would happen. I think the one I copied from your site was the best. It was really good when it flew...far...and it stayed aloft for a while. Anyway, my test is Friday and he told us today that there are almost 50 questions!!! Wow!!! Anyway, is that you in the picture flying the plane on your site?! It looks like you have to strain your back! I hope I get an A and I'm pretty sure I did for the planes, or assignment was too long to finish today. The only thing I am not sure of is a loop or double loop because it has to land on it's stomach and do one loop at a time. So I'll test it out today and see if I can get it to do that. Thanks again!!!

Marissa P.

 

Marissa, I hope the test went OK. I'm glad you got my paper airplane to fly well. Also, for loops use lots of up elevator (bend the back of the wing up a lot), and throw upwards, or level and a little faster than normal. Sorry I didn't get the info to you sooner. Happy landings.

Ken

 

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Hello my name is Bryan and I am doing a science fair project on which paper makes paper airplanes fly the farthest. I was wondering if you could send me some info. on paper airplanes.

 

Bryan, Generally the farthest flying paper airplanes are the standard pointed "dart" types. For extra distance try adding weight to the nose, such as a paper clip, or rolled or folded paper. Good luck!

Ken Blackburn

 

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mary jo deschene wrote: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I had to have them written by Friday. I did it in class Friday. Here they are

 

How do you use math in your career? Yes, I use quite a bit of math. Most engineers use a lot of math, and aerospace engineers use quite a bit of math. We use computers to do the majority of our "number crunching", but must be able to do basic math to check answers and basic problems. >

 

What kind of education do you need? To be an aerospace engineer you need an engineering degree. I know aerospace engineers with mechanical, aerospace (such as myself), and electrical engineering degrees. Some have mastors degrees or doctorate degrees, but most have bachelors degrees (4 years of college). >

 

List two favorite parts of your job and explain why they are your favorites. One thing I enjoy about my job is getting the answers to complex problems. It is very satisfying to work hard on a problem and to come up with the answer. Another thing I like about my job is working with the other people there. Boeing (like many companies) have many talented and interesting people who work there - its an honor to work among them. >

 

What got you interested in a career in aerospace engineering? I have always loved airplanes, and as I grew older I developed an interest in science and math. Aeronautical engineering lets me enjoy all of my favorite interests - and I get paid for it! >

 

What kind of work does an aerospace engineer do? Aerospace engineers do many things. Those in technology do research and computer studies in stability and control, aircraft performance, engines, and structures. Those in design actually make computer drawings of all the parts of the airplane. People in flight test work with the test airplanes and test pilots to test new airplanes and new parts on existing airplanes.

Thanks Jeremy Dobs

 

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Dear Mr. Blackburn, My twin brother and I are doing a science report on paper airplanes. We are in the eight grade at El Capitain Middle School in Fresno Ca. We are just starting our research and came across your web page. We are going to order your book. We have another book by John Collins called "Return to the Fold" published by McGraw-Hill Companies. Do you have any suggestions on an angle we should study. We thought maybe looking at the inpact that material and design have on the length of flight would be a possible topic. What do you think? Thank you for your time and good luck on getting the record back. Enthusiastically, Ben and Dominic Bull

 

Ben & Dominic, I hope I can be of help. Your proposed topic sounds good. I have a section on my web page that might help on the science behind paper airplanes, particularly time aloft. I would encourage you to take lots of data (flights) and find an average for each configuration - many times the flight time for only one or two flights can be misleading, but averaging the flight time for 10 or 20 flights will show better results. Another variable is the launch. I have considered making a paper airplane launcher so I can judge if a plane is flying better (instead of if my throw was better). Perhaps you could launch your planes in a very consistent way to get good results. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Ken Blackburn

 

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My son likes to make paper airplanes and liked the suggestion of using them as a theme for a 3rd grade science fair project. He could explain how different designs fly differently and thusly affected in design by scientific principles. I am not an engineer so I can't readily explain these things. Do you have an idea of how to make this project work and where we might get reference materials on this subject that will help? Thanks for any assistance.

 

John, Ideas: 1) make a "dart" and a "square" paper airplane and compare their stability (dart has more) and performance (square stays in the air longer) 2) Make a square paper aieplane and progressively cut its wings shorter - should descend faster and fly faster with shorter wings. 3) Take a regular "dart" paper airplane and progresively add paper clips - the extra weight should make it fly faster. If they are added to the nose, it makes it more stable, to the tail less stable. References: I have a link on my main web page to a section on paper airplane aerodynamics. Otherwise, the best reference I know would be my books. Good luck!

Ken Blackburn

 

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Hi, your page is excellent and very interesting... May I ask you something? I'm a mexican student and love all about aviation and aeronatics... right know I'm studying Chemical Engineering, but you could realize it isn't what I really like... I am searching for any opportunities for Aeronatical Engineering, and Aviation best. Do you know anything that could help me? -I do recognize I have an excellent record, if that could help. And something else... could you explain me the difference between Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineerings? Thank you!!! Juan Carlos Rubio Torroella

 

Thanks for your email. Most aeronautical and aerospace engineering degrees are very similar, and are usually considered to be the same thing. Aerospace degrees have a required or elective in orbital mechanics, or other space topic. My degree is aerospace, but I did not take any space electives. Many universities have aeronautical/aerospace degrees. I would sugest you do an internet search for more info. Some aerospace companies also have intern programs which might allow you to work at an aerospace company - perhaps letters/email to major aerospace companies could help. Best of luck.

Ken

 

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Hey i just bought the world record paper airplane book and it said about the longest distance was 200 feet i was wondering was that indoors or outdoors? And i have invented some really cool planes ,one is like a stealth plane and i wanted to know if there is already a stealth paper airplane? Please reply. ok bye S.W.

 

S.W., Thanks for the email, and for getting my book! The distance record must be indoors and must land on the floor as high as its thrown from (can't throw from a platform) There are some stealth paper airplanes - I believe White Wings has a B-2 bomber and perhaps the F-117A.

Ken

 

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Ken, I have your book, and I really like it. I have copyrighted a new airplane that I have just recently made, and I was wondering if you would like to check it out. If you were planning to make a future book maybe my design could even be good enough to go into it. It is designed to look like an F-117. Would you be interested in seeing a copy? Sincerely, Andy

 

Andy, Thanks - I'm glad you like my book. I always like seeing a new paper airplane. Unfortunately I don't need any new planes for a book, but I could post a picture or plans on my internet page if you like (with appropriate credit of coarse).

Ken

 

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Hi, I am an eighth grade student named Jason. I am currently doing a Science Project and am e-mailing you to get your opinion on the data that I have collected. For my project, I made several different kinds of paper airplanes and then stood on a seven foot ladder and let go of them and let them glide. I was measuring the forward distance that each plane flew. The two things that I were testing to see if they made a difference were, wing sqare area, and nose weight. I flew the planes with no added weight and then with one .5 gram paperclip on the nose and then another. After conducting my expierment I have gathered these results. In most cases, the plane flew father with the two paperclips on the nose. Larger wing square area did not seem to make the plane fly farher. In fact the many of the planes with the greater wing area were impossible for me to use in my data. Some would glide forward and then turn around in the air and end up five feet behind me. Weight added to those more acrobatic planes did correct the turning but only to a small degree. The planes with greater wing area would have been better suited for an expierment where I measure the time that the planes stay in the air. As it turned out, the more areodynamic planes flew the farthest. Some had very small wing areas but just took off once released. I was wondering if you could look at the data that I just descibed and e-mail me back, briefly touching on what you think of my results. Any opion would be apprieciated. Please respond A.S.A.P. because I do have a project deadline. My address is gbreaux@earthlink.net Thank you so Much! Jason Breaux

 

Jason, Sounds like you did a good experiment. You also discovered an important fact about doing experiments with free fling aircraft - its sometimes difficult to completely separate the effects of performance and stability. As you saw, more weight on the nose improves stability, resulting in a straighter, smoother flight. Generally as a paper airplan's wing gets bigger, it needs more weight on the nose to maintain its stability - something else your tests seem to prove. I think you could potentially include in your results the effect of the nose weight and wing area on stability( how straight the plane flies, and how smoothly it flies). Theoreticly, increasing wing area should make glide distance a little worse. Wing span is the thing that really improves gliding distance (this is why sailplanes have long wings, but they have very narrow wings to try to reduce their wing area). Also, gliding distance should be fairly independant of nose weight - it should descend at a greater speed due to the extra weight, but should travel at the same descent angle. As far as time in the air, that should be independant of wing area (for the same span), and descent rate increases with the square root of the weight ratio (more weight increases time in the air a little). I hope this helps - email me if you have further questions.

Ken Blackburn

 

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last updated 2/8/98 > [1]