Physics Olympics: Gliders

As another event for the Physics Olympics, we will be creating paper airplanes to travel the farthest possible distance. Although the rules are relatively vague and non-descriptive, it seems that “distance is counted as both ground and air travel. So in theory, one could create a glider which ran only on the ground. Although I have made of these gliders before, I don’t think it will be necessary, so I think I’m going to stick with the paper airplane concept.
This seems easy enough and after a quick google search, I have a few ideas of what to do. Surprisingly, it seems that there isn’t a really complicated “rocket science way” to make a kick-ass paper airplane; the standard paper airplane will do the trick just fine. Of course, defining “standard” is a bit hard to do because everyone has a differing view about what standard is.


But it seems that all the variations of “standard” have had success and most of the online sources boast record distances of over 100feet. This will likely be plenty to win, or at the very least make the top three scores. With the seniors gone, there are only about 13 people in our class, so being in the top-scoring few contestants should not be all that difficult.
Yet, another factor concerns me; the throw. It seems to me that the way one throws a paper airplane effects the result of it’s flight path far more than the construction of the plane itself. I personally have terrible hand-eye coordination, so this may be the biggest challenge for me. This challenge is the third of the six total, so hopefully I will have time to practice. If not, I may have trouble making it to even the top five.


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