Paper airplane designs


Originally published at:


You’ll need US Letter size paper! A4 won’t do!

The time is probably right for a 'big-endian/little-endian" flame/troll war over the superiority of international standards in paper sizes. A4 is clearly superior. Square root of 2 and golden ratio, etc.


ETA nice message to Mr Trump at the end of this video … (plus brief appearance of a unicorn!!)



Scale up: 11x17 = bombers!


Perfect timing on this post. My son made a paper airplane this morning that resembled a churro and flew about as well as its description implies.


One of my favorites is surprisingly not listed: The ring-style plane, such as this
if done with letter/A4 paper, you end up with two little tails when folding diagonally. It doesn’t seem to affect the performance, but you may be able to use them as control surfaces.
It’s a great distance glider, very stable.

And who can forget the classic Mac game Glider?
Windows version available on Internet Archive


I was given this book as a kid, and it contributed to at least one trip to the principles principal’s office.

I can still make some of the designs from memory, including that origami-based one at the top of the cover (looks better than it flies.)


The CBC building in Toronto has a 10 storey atrium in the middle. When editing late into the night we would take breaks and drop ping pong balls and toss paper airplanes. So cool when our various designs would do a slow circle descent - sometimes getting prematurely sucked into the updraft of the elevator shaft. Don’t know where they go from there. Also amazed no one has pitched themselves off those top railings, so working at the Canadian Broadcorping Castration must be marginally better than Foxconn. Still - paper airplanes. W00t!


The larger US paper sizes (B to E) do scale while conserving aspect ratio, but the video skips that. But yeah, its annoying that the most-used size (letter) doesnt conserve aspect ratio when folded.


They kept your school’s principles in an office?




I had that book too! There is a section in the back with non-paper flying things, including a matchstick and aluminum foil rocket, which I could never get to work. A great disappointment of my childhood.


I had it too. I got the match rockets to work a few times. You have to get the amount of foil just right so it’s not too heavy.


Perfect timing @beschizza thanks. My son is making one as i write this :blush:



When I was going to UT in the early '70’s, we had a little thing called Saturday Morning Fun Club. We would all go the the Union theater at 9am. Yes, there were good reasons for college kids to get up that early on a Saturday. First off was the massive paper airplane fight. Front Row Army vs Back Row Army with some forays by the Side Row Armies. Everyone was furiously making and throwing paper airplanes, mostly of the basic dart variety as those could be made quickly. Then at 10 the lights would go down and the show would start. An old newsreel, a vintage cartoon, a serial such as Cap’t. Marvel (DON’T GO IN THERE BILLY!!!) and finally a classic movie like Robin Hood or Captain Blood. Also, of course, the moment the lights went down we all yelled LIGHT UP!! because we all had joints (you could smoke in theaters back then). It was quite possible to get a contact high from all the smoke in the room.


Euro sizes are like Helvetica, nice and neat, while North American sizes are more like Garramond.

Having to reformat 60 page brand guides sent from Europe so my NA bosses could print out the PDF’s gave me an aversion to A4. “You should be able to just press a button, no?” OK “Why does it look squished?”

Also, surely there are A4 paper airplane designs? Off to search…




Easier to buy some A4 paper (they do sell it in USA?) and set the printer’s paper size accordingly, surely?