Looking for some flying fun? This paper plane launcher gives your plane a speedy launch!
Safety: When launching your plane aim it away from people’s faces and animals
You will need
- A paper plane. For the plane we used, see instructions here
- Square of cardboard, approximately 20 x 20 cm
- Thin rubber band
What to do
- Fold the cardboard in half down the middle.
- Fold one side in half again, and then turn it over.
- Fold the other side in half too. Your card should now be concertinaed into an ‘M’ shape launcher.
- At one end of the launcher, near the central crease, attach the rubber band using a staple.
- Pull the rubber band taut and loop it around the outside and over the far end of the launcher.
- Insert your paper plane into the central crease of the launcher. The nose of the plane should face the end where the rubber band is stapled.
- Hold the launcher by the outside flaps.
- Launch the plane by pulling the flaps outwards. Experiment pulling the flaps quickly or slowly to see what flies best! You could also try it with different styles of paper plane.
This launcher packs a punch! The paper plane goes from stopped to flying in just 20 centimetres. It gets the thrust it needs from the rubber band.
When you stretch the band around the launcher, it stores a lot of potential energy. Lifting the flaps releases the band, and it quickly shrinks, releasing all that energy. But the plane gets caught on the band, so lots of that energy goes into the plane instead!
Did you know?
It can take a lot of runway to get a jet into the air. Airliners take off at speeds of about 250 kilometres per hour and it can take a while to get up to speed. The main runway at Sydney airport is almost 4 kilometres long.
Unlike airport runways, aircraft carriers can’t be as long, so they give their aircraft an extra boost. A special machine, called a catapult, pulls the plane up to flying speed in less than 100 metres!