Thursday, 10 March 2016

知觉 | How to make a paper aeroplane

Posted by: Dom Lowth

Here is a step-by-step guide to making a paper aeroplane. As you go through the stages, it should become clear that you are actually putting together a paper version of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the all-aluminium aeroplane designed to carry as many as 12 people with variable pitch propellers, flaps and retractable landing gear.


(1) Find an A4 piece of paper. Fold it in half width-ways, so that the long sides meet each other.

(2) Probably best to take a break now. Paper modelling requires concentration and a delicate touch, so if you’re exhausted you are likely to struggle and let yourself down with the final product. Have a quick sleep or a shower. Go for a walk. Eat 3 bagels and a bowl of cereal. Get some marmite on that bagel, and some crunchy nut cornflakes in that bowl. Now continue to step 3.

(3) Put away the bagel packet, the cereal box and the milk. If you have not already, wake up from the quick sleep or step out of the shower. If you’ve only just woken up, you have dreamt the previous steps, so get on with your walk, the bagels and the cereal. If you’ve only just stepped out of the shower, clean the bagel crumbs out of the plughole and empty the water out of your bowl. That was silly. Learn from your mistakes.

(4) Fold one of the corners down into the centre-fold, and repeat this on the other side.

(5) If you’re working without any music, you’re going to get bored. This isn’t really on. Paper plane making should be fun and engaging. Hit up Spotify and find a suitable playlist to accompany your modelling. The music should be something you like, but not distracting. I find Satanic death ritual metal or dubstep to be perfect. Alternatively listen to an audiobook or one of those 5 hour ‘sounds of a river’ YouTube videos. They're actually really lovely.

(6) Fold the long side of the triangles (the hypotenuse) on each side down into the centre-fold.

(7) You might be feeling quite lonely now. This is completely normal for someone who looks up paper plane making instructions online, but there are solutions to it. Start by logging onto Facebook. Once you’ve scrolled through a couple hundred videos, 50 friends quizzes and a few ‘YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT’ posts on your news feed, create a completely public event titled ‘House Party – bring your own’. Invite everyone on your friends list, and ensure that they invite everyone they know too. The rest should sort itself out. Leave your front door open from now on.

(8) To make the wings of your plane, fold the edge furthest away from the centre-fold downwards, so that the new folded edge is parallel to the centre line. And there you have it. It's an aeroplane. If it's not an aeroplane, find a new piece of A4 paper, start from step 1 again, and pull yourself together.

(9) Throw it. Pick it up. Throw it again. Do you feel that? Wow, yes. You’ve really made something special here. Let your pride soar with the plane.

(10) Welcome the hundreds of guests into your house and get started with the party. If you went for the audiobook or the 'sounds of a river' video earlier, now's probably the time to put some dance music on instead. Insist that the police stay for a couple of shots too. Be sure to explain the situation to your parents and neighbours, who may be confused.


For the more experienced paper plane builders, I can provide instructions to build the Western Electric communications radio and a Bendix radio direction finder as additions to the model.

(Apologies to any genuine paper plane enthusiasts for this.)


Dom's listening to: 'Old Friends' by Pinegrove


Read my previous post here.

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