Secret Paper Aeroplanes
Stunts & Aerobatics with Paper Aeroplanes
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The majority of paper aeroplanes can perform basic stunts to some some degree; however, some have a lot harder job at it than others.

The Squirrel paper aeroplane is easily the best stunt plane that I've posted up so far, so if you want to dabble in a bit of aerobatics, I suggest that's the design you choose. After The Squirrel, The Lion is the next best for this purpose.

On this page I provide instructions for how to perform three basic stunts: the loop, the boomerang and the camel hump.

1) Looping

Paper Aeroplane Looping
Of all the stunts that paper aeroplanes can perform, loops are the most popular. So why not awe your friends and master the skill? With any luck it will not only make you the coolest kid on the block, but will also distract you from the grinding hardship of the global financial crisis, caused by lax regulation of the banking system.

The way to perform loops is to tweak the back edge of both wings sharply upwards like so:


Calibrating a paper aeroplane to loop
 
Then the back edges of the wings are tweaked upwards, the nose of the plane will pitch upwards when you throw it, and (fingers crossed) complete a loop.

However, you might encounter some problems:

A) You might not have enough space.

If you're in a large building like a sports hall, or even if you're outside on a dry, still day, looping is relatively easy to perform. You just need to throw the plane at a moderate speed either straight forwards or at an upwards angle. An upwards angle means the plan has the very least work to do in order to loop around.

However, if you're indoors, and the ceiling is low, things are trickier.

If your plane keeps hitting the ceiling before it can loop, there are a few strategies that you can try.

(i) tweak the back edge of the wings up more - however, this only works to an extent and will become counter productive once you pass around 45 degrees from horizontal.

(ii) you can give your plane more of a chance to loop. You can do this either by increasing the angle at which you throw the plane (which means it has less work to do on its own to perform the loop), or by kneeing down when you throw, so the plane has more space to rise.

B) The plane might yaw off to one side rather than complete the loop

In this case you will need to use the back end of the fins like rudders. If the plane yaws to the left, you need to tweak the back end of the fins slightly to the right. If it yaws to the right, do the same thing in reverse.


2) Boomeranging

Paper Aeroplane Boomeranging

Another popular stunt is the boomerang throw - where you throw your paper aeroplane so that it flies in a circle and comes back to you.

Here's how to do it.

Say you want your plane to boomerang in a curve to your left:

A) If you're looking at the plane from the back, tweak the back of both rudders slightly leftwards.
B) Tweak the back of the right wing upwards across its entire length (the wing that appears on the right as you look at it from the back).
C) Tweak the back of the left wing upwards on the section closest to the fuselage, but slightly downwards on the section furthest from the fuselage.

Calibrating a paper aeroplane to boomerang

Correctly performing a boomerang usually requires considerable fine tuning: it's not something that always works first time.

Two of the most common problems are:

A) The plane still wants to loop.

In this case, make the all of the upward tweaks slightly less severe. Also make the downward tweak slightly more severe.

B) The plane starts to turn but rapidly crashes to the ground.

In this case, make the upward tweak near the fuselage very slightly more severe, and smooth out the downwards tweak so it is less severe - almost flat.


3) Camel Hump

Tweaking a paper aeroplane to camel hump

The camel hump looks easy, but is actually pretty hard, because you need a lot of fine tuning to get it right.

Firstly, you need to tweak the backs of both wings slightly upwards, but only very slightly. Throw the plane at at a relatively slow pace either flat, or at a slightly upwards angle. The plane should pitch upwards, but you don't want to give it so much force that it completes a loop. Instead it should stall, the nose should drop and it starts to fall back to the ground - but, because you've tweaked the wings upwards, it should start to recover and swoop back towards the horizontal.

The trick here is to tweak the backs of the wings upwards to just the right extent. Unfortunately, you will only know the right point once you've done a lot of test flights with your own plane. If you're patient and keep trying, you'll get there in the end.


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