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Floating Wing Glider
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Floating Wing Glider

What you will make:

In this paper airplane project, you will learn how to fold a glider that floats through the air and can be thrown gently or hard. This paper airplane glides on a long and steady path, and can also do stunts.

The Floating Wing Glider is very similar in shape and size to other paper airplane gliders, but it flies somewhat differently. The major difference is that it has more weight in the nose. This changes its center of gravity and balance characteristics.

Experiment: Use a paper clip to add weight to the front or the back of the glider—this moves the center of gravity forward or backward. See how the position of the extra weight changes the flight characteristics of the glider. For a details flight experiment on balancing flight forces, see Paper Airplane Experiment: Balancing Lift and Weight.

Related craft: Explore balancing points in the Halloween Mobile craft project.

Here's what you need:
  • Computer paper, letter-size
  • Tape
  • Optional: Scissors, markers or colored pencils, paper clip

This project is rated AVERAGE to do.

How to Make a Floating Wing Glider Paper Airplane

Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It (optional)

You can make the Floating Wing Glider from a piece of letter-size paper—no pattern is needed. However, for a guide in folding or a printed design, choose one of Aunt Annie's patterns. The Trial Model pattern has all the fold marks printed on it. Just download, print, and cut out the pattern, then follow the instructions for folding. Or select from the patterns with printed designs for the wings—colored or black & white. Just download, print, cut out, and color the pattern, then follow the instructions for folding the glider.

Trial Model
Folding template for Floating Wing Glider paper airplane
Outlined Shapes
Pattern for Floating Wing Glider with outlined shapes
Wing Blazes
Pattern for Floating Wing Glider with wing blazes
Paint Drips
Pattern for Floating Wing Glider with paint drips

Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The Adobe Reader is available for free.

All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4). When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.

Step 2: Start Folding

Start with a letter-size sheet of paper about the weight of computer paper. You can leave it plain or color it. Or, start with the cut pattern from Step 1. This first set of folds adds extra weight to the front of the glider.

First folds for glider
  1. Fold the paper in half the long way. Fold it so any marks or designs are on the inside.
  2. Open the paper flat with the inside of the fold (and any design) up. Fold the top corners over to the center fold. Turn the paper over.
  3. Fold the tip down to the center line. Make the crease at the bottom of the folded corners.

Tip: Be sure to make all of your folds carefully, neatly, and very sharp.

Step 3: Fold and Tape

Next, you'll fold the glider's basic shape.

Fold and tape
  1. After folding the tip down, there is a rectangle shape again. Fold the rectangle's top corners to the center fold.
  2. Turn the paper over and fold the sides together along the center. Any designs/marks are on the inside.
  3. Tape the loose corners to the airplane body. Use one piece of tape folded along the bottom.
Step 4: Finish Folds

Now the final folds for the glider.

Final folds
  1. Fold each side back along a diagonal line from the tip to about 1½" (3 cm) up from the bottom edge.
  2. Move the wings up into flying position.
  3. The Floating Wing Glider usually flies nose down. To correct this, use your fingers to curl the back corner of each wing up. Experiment with the amount of curl until the glider flies steadily and smoothly.
Floating Wing Gliders

The Floating Wing Glider can be thrown gently or hard, and you can do stunts with it. Planes with wider wings are more sensitive to adjustment. Slight adjustments in the wings, in launch angle, and in launch speed can result in different flight characteristics. This plane will fly in a circle when one wing tip is curled up a little and one is curled down a little. Try a variety of setups and see what happens.

That's it! Your plane is ready to fly!
Floating Wing Gliders

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

ePaper Extra

Sky Blue Dots digital papers in three designs

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Tip: Download and print the Sky Blue Dots digital papers in three designs: red planes on dots, blue dots and blue & yellow dots. Use the papers to make paper airplanes or in other crafts.

Three designs of Floating Wing Glider

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Tip: In addition to the Trial Model pattern, Aunt Annie provides three printable patterns with designs on the wings. Sweet!


Floating Wing Glider colored with markers

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Tip: For more creativity, color the glider's wings with markers. This example is the Paint Drips black & white pattern printed on orange paper and colored with a red marker.

Floating Wing Glider with wing tips curled up

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Tip: Curl the glider's wing tips for increased stability. Vary the size of the curls to change the flight characteristics.

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Floating Wing Gliders made with Sky Blue Dots ePapers

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Tip: Use any letter-size paper, plain or patterned, to make the gliders. These gliders were folded from paper printed with the three designs of Sky Blue Dots ePaper.

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