National Paper Airplane Day: Get Involved
Looking for a fun challenge that tests your aerospace potential? All you need is a piece of scrap paper, a few spare minutes and a little creativity. National Paper Airplane Day has long been celebrated across the world, with many big organisations such as NASA getting involved by sharing their designs for the best paper airplane.
We were interested in exploring the history of paper airplanes and sharing some exciting ways to get involved in the day.
A brief history
Paper airplanes were instrumental in the development of early aircraft designs. In fact, the Wright Brothers were known to study paper aircraft extensively in their development of that first amazing flight.
During the Second World War paper airplanes became even more interesting. Considering it wasn’t possible to make toys from plastic or metal, paper was commonly used to make children’s toys from. The simple process of folding and throwing a paper airplane became a widespread activity amongst children and adults alike and continues to inspire future engineers and pilots.
Guinness World Record
The hobby of designing and flying paper airplanes is now a huge global trend. The world record for the furthest distance flown by a paper airplane was in fact broken just last week in South Korea, with a staggering 77.134 m, beating the previous record held since 2012.
Here’s what Chee Yie Jian, designer of the record-breaking paper airplane said:
"The concept of flying seemed very alien to me and as a kid, anything that flew truly captivated me. I doubt there's a hobby out there with a lower barrier of entry than origami. All I needed was paper, and the rest is history."
Think you can beat the record? Here’s how you can get involved
Design your own paper airplane. With thousands of designs to search through online and hours of video tutorials, there’s no shortage of inspiration out there. Follow along with a tried and tested template or have a go at designing your own. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Get creative with NASA’s print at home templates
- Whether it’s speed, distance or tricks you’re after, check out these easy-to-follow guides from Fold’NFly
- Go classic or experimental by following these extraordinary designs from Origami Way
Organise a competition. Whether with friends, family or even co-workers take some time out of your day to see who the greatest engineer or pilot amongst you is!
Teach others. Today is a fantastic opportunity to engage younger children in an old pastime and share with them the joy of such a simple toy. Paper folding, or origami, also perfectly blends two key STEAM skills: Engineering and Art. This helps develop eye-hand coordination, spatial skills, maths reasoning, sequencing skills, memory, but also patience and attention skills.
To find out more about STEAM skills and the growing importance of Art, check out our recent blog post.