May 26th is National Paper Airplane Day! This day commemorates the aeronautical toy that you know and love!
A Brief History of Paper Airplanes
Though most historians agree that the paper airplane was most likely invented in Ancient China, there is also evidence of paper gliders being used in Japan around the same time. That being said, experts have been unable to pinpoint an exact time and location of the first paper airplane. They only know that they have been flown for centuries all over the world.
Paper airplanes gained popularity in the United States during World War II when it was no longer possible to make toys out of plastic or metal. Some of the more popular planes at this time were designed by Wallis Rigby. He published his models as books or box sets, and his designs had a “tab and slot” construction. Rigby’s models are considered collector’s items today.
More recently, with the popularity of paper airplanes growing, enthusiasts around the world started some friendly competition and began attempting world records. Guinness World Records recognizes two main paper airplane records. The first, the farthest flight by a paper aircraft, was achieved in 2012 by Joe Ayoob and aircraft designer John M. Collins in the United States. Ayoob flew the aircraft designed by Collins 226 feet and 10 inches. The second, the longest flying paper aircraft, was achieved in 2010 by Takuo Toda in Japan. Toda’s plane was airborne for 29.2 seconds.
Make Your Own Paper Airplane
Follow these steps to make a basic paper airplane!
Begin with a piece of regular 8.5″ by 11″ paper.
Fold the paper in half vertically. Once you create a crease, unfold the paper again.
Fold the top two corners into the center crease.
Fold the top edges into the center crease.
Fold the paper in half along your original center crease.
Fold the wings down, matching the top edges up with the bottom edge of the body.
Add some tape to hold the wings together, and you’re finished!
Check out some of our books on paper airplanes!