Welcome to Pat's Planes!
Welcome to my paper airplane page. I have tried to organize this site to be useful to everyone with any level of interest in paper airplanes. For those that are here just for just wanting to learn how to fold some new paper airplane styles you can go right to the folded planes link and from there you can get information on how to trim up any folded glider as well as tips on what kind of paper is best for paper airplanes (yes, it can make a big difference - especially in the last yearor so). If you decide to move up to the more challenging you can go to the section on gluing up card stock or poster board planes similar to the type made popular by the "white wings" series. These cardboard models were actually quit popular in the 1940's and 1950's on cereal boxes or passed by various organizations as advertisement. But, for the serious science student or science fair project seeker I have added much more from eBooks to software packages used to demonstrate lift generation.
As an Aeronautical / Aerospace Engineer I have always been very disappointed in how much information is missing or inaccurate in so many paper airplane books. One of the major reasons to build and fly paper airplanes should be to learn as much as we can about how airplanes work. It is also important to learn methods that allow us to do more ourselves. There is no reason that the average person should not be able to learn the basic design characteristics of paper airplanes to the point of being able to make new paper air plane designs as well as improving old designs.
This is one reason that I think Science Fairs are so important. Science fair projects allow us to learn, by experience, both the pure science and the applied methods. I feel that many more students would choose to experiment with paper airplane if they though that they could actually learn any true science from this type of "fun" project. Paper airplanes should never be considered to be a just get by type of science fair project. Unfortunately, the resources currently available to students who are interested in using paper airplanes for a science fair projects are lacking. They either have too little or bad information on the science part, or they can get too deep in the science part for students in the science fair age group. This includes trying to do too much while leaving out the fun part - lots of designs to try.
Through my career I have mainly worked in the aerospace world which has a very different approach to manufacturing and quality then the aeronautical world. I have also had the privilege of working in a manufacturing environment that is very similar in philosophy to the American aerospace - Japanese automotive. These two industries have shared and learned from each other for many years. On of the things that I liked about the Japanese automotive environment is that they teach what is called the "5 Why Method" of understanding a problem. Basically stated we should keep asking why and when we get an answer ask why that answer is true. This makes us go deeper to finding the real root cause or truth. For understanding why planes can fly this is essential. Most text or hobby books on airplane dynamics aren't so much as "wrong" as much as they avoid going deep enough in asking why. This may be fine for those who are young and just learning but is a big disadvantage to those who want to make a "GOOD" science fair project or are just the type curious enough to want to know more then the average person. I have tried to present the science portion of this site based on the 5 why approach.
One last goal I would like to approach is to try to keep up with a little history of paper airplanes. We are rapidly losing the generation that were the first few decades of kids who built and flew paper airplanes on the playgrounds around the world. Prior to WWII there was very little sharing of paper airplane designs from one part of the world to the next yet where ever there was paper available kids were making airplanes. Through my work in the automotive environment I was able to have a co worker whose parents living in Japan still remembered how to fold the airplanes of their youth and share them with me. I was surprised to see similarity yet difference in their designs with airplanes recorded as being folded in Europe and America around the same time. If any one would like to share some information on paper airplane history with me (folded or pasted cardboard) please email me using the link below.
My purpose is to try to fill some of that gap. I want to create a site that is of value to the true student, yet, is not so filled with facts that the person just looking for something fun gets lost trying to find the airplanes. This site was started on 12-23-07 and is going to go through a lot of changes to get to the point of meeting its goal.
For now I have broken my site into five main categories on paper airplanes:
- Folded Paper Airplane Designs
- Glued Paper Airplane Designs
- Science Fair Projects Ideas and Aids
- Airfoil and Similar Software
- eBooks on Paper Airplane Science and Design
You can also check out my links both on site (other interest I have) and offsite mainly other paper airplane links or free software packages I like to help keep my site going. Look around and I hope you enjoy the site and find it useful.
Thank you for checking my site out