A paper plane, paper aeroplane, paper airplane, paper glider, paper dart or dart is a toy aircraft, usually a glider made out of folded paper or paperboard. Certainly, manufacture of paper on a widespread scale took place in China 500 BCE and it is impossible to ascertain where and in what form the first paper aircraft were constructed, or even the first paper planes form. The pioneers of powered flight have all studied paper model aircraft in order to design larger machines. Da Vinci wrote of the building of a plane out of parchment, and of testing some of his early ornithopter, an aircraft that flies by flapping wings. Thereafter, Sir George Cayley explored the performance of gliders in the late 19th century. The most significant use of models in aircraft designs were by the Wright brothers between 1899 and 1903, the date of the first powered flight from Kill Devil Hills. The Wrights used a tunnel to gain knowledge of the forces which could be used to control an aircraft in flight. They built numerous paper models, and tested them within their wind tunnel and their paper models were very important in the process of moving on to progressively larger models, kites, gliders and ultimately on to the powered Flyer. In this way, the model plane remains a very important key in the graduation from model to manned heavier-than-air flight. With time, many designers have improved and developed the paper model. One of the earliest known applied modern paper plane was in 1909 and he started to explain, in the course of it he picked up a paper menu and fashioned a small model airplane, without thinking where he was. It landed on the shirtfront of the French Minister of Education, much to the embarrassment of my sister, in 1930 Jack Northrop used paper planes as test models for larger aircraft. There have been many improvements, including velocity, lift, propulsion, style and fashion. Unmodified origami paper aircraft have very poor glide ratios, often not better than 7.5,1 depending on construction and materials. Modification of origami paper gliders can lead to marked improvements in performance, at the cost of weight. Often, increases in wing loading can encourage breakdown of laminar flow over a wing with a hybrid of origami, professors Ninomiya and Mathews developed more directed design strategies in the late 1960s and the 1980s. Previously, paper model aircraft had been designed without an emphasis on performance in flight, by using aerodynamic design, and fluid dynamics, both professors were able to design models that exceeded previous flight performance criteria by a very wide margin. Ranges of flight increased from the typical 10+ meters to 85+ meters, at present, the work of the two professors remains the last serious research work on improving the flight performance of paper model gliders
Instructions for a traditional paper plane.
An example of an asymmetrical custom paper airplane, which exhibits large torque due to unbalanced forces on the wings. The flight path assumes a somewhat parabolic shape, before descending in a rapid counter-clockwise spiral, as viewed from behind.