Zovirl Industries

Mark Ivey’s weblog

Airplane Tuneup and Flying

It isn’t too hard to fly these laminated paper planes, but here are some tips that can make it work better.

First, look at the plane straight-on from the front, back, and top. Make sure all the pieces are straight and lined up. Bend them gently if they aren’t.

Ok, ready for your first flights. Best to do this on a dry day with no wind. Grip the plane under the wings and throw it straight ahead (not up or down). Ideally it should fly straight ahead in a nice smooth glide.

If it turns left or right look at the plane and try to figure out why. Is one wing warped differently than the other? Is the rudder (the back edge of the vertical part of the tail) straight? If you don’t see anything obvious just bend the rudder a little to the left or right, or bend the trailing edge of one wing down and the other one up.

If the plane pitches up, then drops its nose, then pitches up again, bend the trailing edge of the horizontal part of tail down. If the plane noses down too quickly, bend the trailing edge up. You want the plane to follow a nice smooth glide, almost but not quite pitching up.

For really long flights, you want to adjust the plane so it turns to the left. Then throw it straight up. If everything goes right it should climb almost straight up, then roll out and start a slow spiral back down to the ground.