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How to make the perfect paper plane

Fold, fold, fold, throw...

How to make the perfect paper plane
28 November 2011

"Would you like to ride my paper plane?" sang Status Quo. No, Francis Rossi, that would be ludicrous; but we would like to tell you how to make your paper plane better than Slade's. And to do that, we've enlisted Brian Voakes, designer on 100 Paper Planes To Fly (Usborne; £7.99).

"One of the most effective planes is 'The Dart'. To make it, first fold the paper in half length-ways (a), then fold the top right corner down to the left edge (b). Now fold the new flap over twice more (c) and (d), turn your plane over (e) and repeat (a) to (d) to complete your plane (f) and (g). Use a sharp edge to fold your plane. The edge of a metal ruler is perfect."

"You can also try experimenting with the wings. Having the wings up (a) should straighten the flight of the plane if you find that it's flying upwards. Pointing the wing-tips up will have a similar effect (c). If you have the wings pointing down (b), more air will pass over the top, so the plane will go up."

"Where you hold the plane as you throw it is important. You should hold it at the point of balance. Hold it upside down between your thumb and finger until it settles level."

"For a standard release, hold the plane up by your ear, elbow up, and step into the throw with a long, smooth movement. World record-holders launch their planes upwards with a huge heave. This way they take longer to come down. You can also launch from the top of stairs or out of windows. If your plane gets wet, bin it, as it'll never work - but if you get a good one, you can keep it pressed in a book."

Illustrations: David Hopkins @ Phosphorart