5th Grader Science Project Help


Junior Member
Hello All,

My daughter has chosen an aviation themed Science Project due in April. She has to determine what will fly farther, a Long Paper Airplane or a Wide Paper Airplane. We have set some ground rules that it must be made out of a regular sheet of letter sized paper and it cannot have any cuts. I have searched the web and found many designs but thought what a great opportunity to get some input from our little community. She was intrigued with the RedBull Paper Wings competition so we are looking to make this fun for her entire class by coming up with four designs and having them compete against each other. She is also interested in posting a video about it in the end so Dad will be doing a little Videography of the event.

Thank you for any input you can provide.



Professional noob
Search "John Collins, the Paper Airplane Guy" on YouTube. He currently holds the world record for the farthest thrown paper airplane. The YouTube channel Tested spotlighted him in a few of their videos, and it really is pretty intriguing. If you have time to get one of his books, you will find plenty of designs that should suit your needs.

Here is the Tested video, it essentially outlines all the basics and some of the more advanced techniques when it comes to paper planes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxsw97NjBqo

Here is his YouTube channel; he uploads many videos here, including a few folding tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEi0oprLb1fCOCnKeLteCmQ

Finally, here is a link to his latest book of paper planes; you should be able to find it at your local library: http://www.thepaperairplaneguy.com/#!shop/a8ru2

I hope this helps. Good luck on the science fair project! I actually did a similar one in 8th grade testing airfoils :)

Crazy Goats

Active member
Cool! In my experience a wide(longer wing) plane flies farther than long plane but Im not sure if thats true. Please post the results so I can be better informed :D


Professional noob
I should probably just mention this now, you would otherwise have to do some digging around John Collins's channel to find this.

Until he set the new world record for longest distance, all the previous record holders used a dart design, similar to the long skinny one that everybody learns to make a first. They always threw it up at a 45 degree angle, and it longdart-ed like a cannon ball for 200 feet before smacking into the floor 3 seconds later.

John Collin's design was the first record holder to break away from that "dart" style plane. The plane was thrown level, but produced its own lift due to an airfoil, stalled at around 100 or so feet away and almost that high up, then glided across the finish line. And the total flight time for that record breaking flight? Around 8 seconds.

So in general, a dart design with smaller wing loading will travel much faster, while gliders with larger wings and higher wing loading travel much slower. As to which one flies farther, that is really down to the design and the skill of the person throwing it.