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August « 2010 « Howard Fink — My Paper Airplanes

Howard Fink — My Paper Airplanes Paper Airplanes

August 12, 2010

How far can a dollar go?

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In Popular Mechanics there was an article many years ago about the Channel Wing:  a propeller plane where the propellers were mounted above curved portions of the wings to draw the air over the wing.  It was called the Custer Channel Wing for its inventor.  Several models were built; the performance was so astonishing no one really believed it.


and here

These are the two articles in Popular Mechanics.  I tried to make a paper airplane that duplicated the Custer Channel Wing, and it flew pretty well.  One day I realized that some really good paper for this would be uncirculated dollar bills; folding money.  These fly really well, are very difficult to fly straight, and a lot of fun.

To make one, fold a new dollar in half, unfold, then fold lengthwise in half the other way, unfold.   The center lengthwise fold is valley, the short fold is mountain.  Fold over an eighth-inch on the long edge.  Fold this over, and over and over.  Do this slowly, making sure the folds are parallel.  With a little luck, the last fold is the lengthwise one; if not, the lengthwise fold will show up as a line on the built-up leading edge.

Now fold the dollar in half.  Roll up one side with a pencil.  Flip it around and roll up the other side with a pencil.  Now smooth out the plane, snap it a few times, shape the curves so they match.  Sometimes a bit of curl on the trailing edge (up elevator) in the center of the curve makes a big difference.

To throw, grasp the plane from the rear (Thick end forward, thin end back) lightly gripping the center fold.  Push forward and release.  This plane flies fast!  Very fast and very flat glide.  I’ve measured 10 to 1 on occasion.  You should be able to fly twenty to thirty feet if you have the room.  If you fly it indoors, it will land under and hide behind furniture.

August 11, 2010

Flying Hand-In-Hand

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This was the first barnaby modification.  I saw that legal-size paper wasn’t much used for paper airplanes, and wondered if I could extend the wingspan of a barnaby with 8 1/2 x 14 inch paper.  The result wasn’t very satisfactory.  The planes were too “floaty,” they would not do any maneuvers and were difficult to make perfectly.  The longer wings tended to twist.

Along the lines of paper dolls, I folded up a sheet of legal size paper to make two barnabys at one time. This worked out fine:  the double keel and double tail keeps the plane on course, the plane has extra adjustment by flattening or deepening the keels, and the plane can fold up and fit in a pocket.  Use a half-envelope as a sleeve.  When you make one from letter size stock, it will fit in a wallet.



A version made very light flew across a thirty-foot lobby with just a flick of the wrist.  It never landed, just hit a window, still flying about two feet off the ground.  I flew one of these out an eighth floor window on Fifth Avenue at Twentieth Street, and watched it fly out of sight, slowly rising over Chelsea.

August 10, 2010

The Fink Flyer Paper Biplane

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Many years ago, after I had modified the Barnaby model Paper Glider to the form found in about, I realized it could be the basis of a biplane paper airplane.  The model above is one example.  It is made from a single sheet of paper, cut one-third, two-thirds.  The one-third makes  the upper wing, the two-thirds the lower wing and fuselage.  The wingtips of each are inserted one into the other, and the center folds are connected by a mailing label folded and cut to make a brace.  These fly pretty well, a higher sink rate than the barnaby, but loops and circles are possible; just throw harder.


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