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Paper plane: from folding to origami

Paper planes are a type of toy to make yourself and that make the happiness of young and old alike. They have the advantage of being accessible to all since, as his qualification points out, it is an object designed exclusively with paper. The principle is quite simple: fold a sheet of paper so as to obtain an object with a shape similar to a real aircraft and then throw it into the air, with the aim of making it hover as long as possible. Historically, designing a toy with paper alone is a phenomenon that is more than two millennia old. We place its origin in China since at the time, Chinese civilization was already very focused on the manufacture of kites designed, of course, with paper. But some sources argue that its design is attributed to the Japanese civilization which, as everyone knows, has an art of paper folding called Origami. In this Japanese culture, this "toy" is referred to as Kami hikoki. This statement seems more obvious but it is nevertheless necessary to match the date of the design of the first paper aircraft with the invention of the real aircraft. Officially, the first paper airplane was created around 1909. However, its popularization did not begin until the 1930s, following the initiative of an American named Jack Northrop, who is none other than one of the founders of the reference company in aircraft manufacturing: Lockheed Corporation. The latter was based on models designed with paper to create its aircraft. There is obviously a very popular model of paper aircraft since it is one of the easiest to manufacture. But you should know that there are currently more than fifty models whose shapes are similar to that of a specific real aircraft. Examples include the French supersonic Concorde, the American F-15 fighter jet or the famous Boeing 717. In the world of paper aircraft design enthusiasts, making a model whose appearance relates to reality is one thing and getting it to hover properly is another. Like any object intended to hover in the air, paper planes are also rigorously designed in terms of aerodynamics. Thus several ideas coming from "specialists" in the field differ concerning different characteristics of this "flying" paper object. Regarding its tail, many enthusiasts agree that it is useless. They refer to a real aircraft model: the B-2 Spirit bomber that does not have a tail and whose wings have an atypical shape. By interacting with the air, the latter increase the frontal load of the device, an action that, therefore, is supposed to make it more stable. Following studies conducted on the subject, it turns out that it is the characteristics of the fuselage of the paper aircraft and its wings that make it not require a tail. Indeed the fact that the wings are distributed along the body of the object protects it from the aeronautical phenomenon of pitching, that is to say the rotational movement following a horizontal axis while the large and narrow character of its fuselage, allows it not to undergo the phenomenon of yaw: the same type of movement but following a vertical axis. The performance of hang gliders is concrete proof of this claim. Paper planes also have their own competition whose goal is to succeed in hovering its object as long as possible in the air. These competitions are held in halls and the world record is held by Ken Blackburn, whose paper plane remained exactly 27.6 seconds in the air. According to this world record holder, the launch of the object must be done with an angle of 10 ° to the vertical and with a speed of around 100 kilometers per hour. If you are interested in the world of paper airplanes, you will find on many websites, specializing in Origami, different instructions that will allow you to manufacture several models of aircraft ranging from the F-117A NightHawk to the F-4 Phantom, through the F-22 Raptor or the Seaplane, commonly known as the Canadair.