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It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Super Paper Airplane!

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Super Paper Airplane!

Celebrate National Aviation Week with easy-to-fold, aeronautically correct paper airplanes.

By Barbara Albright

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Whether you are a kid sitting on a back porch or a high-powered executive sitting at a mahogany desk, there are times when the best thing to do with a piece of paper is make an airplane.

Aim that airplane at a distant target - a porch column or office wastebasket - and see how well it flies. Pick it up, fiddle with the folds, and try again. Make another. Keep trying until you are satisfied with the aerodynamics. Minutes…hours… pass!

Easy and Complicated Planes
There are books and Web sites devoted to the craft of folding paper airplanes. It's easy to get involved making elaborate planes, with multiple folds and high expectations for flight.

But not everyone can be a latter-day Wright brother when it comes to creating paper airplanes. And kids like to start with easy models before progressing to more challenging ones, which helps them master the basics and learn something about flying.

For anyone who wants to fold a simple plane, here are two that will fold quickly and fly with the right stuff. Click here.

Dressing Up the Planes
While most of us fold easy planes from a sheet of plain white paper, you can make planes from colored paper, construction paper, or even lightweight cardboard. The heft of the paper affects the aerodynamics of the plane. Experiment.

It might be helpful for beginners and young children to lightly trace lines on the paper where the folds will be.

Once you know where the paper will be folded, you can decorate the plane. Color it with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Use stickers to make it look official or to sport a flag.

Everything affects how the plane flies - a plane overloaded with stickers will fly differently from a more streamlined one. How you toss the plane affects its flight, too. Try tossing it overhand, underhand or sidearm. Toss it inside or outside - air currents vary.

Every toss helps explain the magic of flight.

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