# Formula for Paper Airplane Flight?

by neogeek
Tags: airplane, flight, formula, paper
 P: 2 Hey first time poster long time reader, I have a question on the physics behind this shockwave applet. Are there a series or set of equations that could approximate something that is done in this applet? http://www.workman.com/etcetera/games/fliersclub/ I don't think air resistance is a factor in this, however I do know that when the elevators are set to 0, the plane behaves like a typical projectile motion simulation. This has been bugging me for quite some time, as I can't understand what equations they would be using to simulate such a thing. Anway's any comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help
 P: 15,319 Well, in a mechanically perfect paper airplane, the wings have zero attack angle. So it will behave as if it has no lift. You've got to adjust it so that it lifts.
 P: 2 So thats why the airplane was acting like a projectile. would there be any equations to back up what is going on when there is lift involved with the loops? Thanks for your help
P: 15,319
Formula for Paper Airplane Flight?

 Quote by neogeek So thats why the airplane was acting like a projectile. would there be any equations to back up what is going on when there is lift involved with the loops? Thanks for your help
Oh, I have no idea. I didn't even get the Shockwave app to run.

But I have a question for you: When you say projectile path, I assume you mean ballistic - i.e. the path a normal, thrown object would follow. But a ballistic path is simply a parabolic path.

Are you sure that a paper airplane isn't following a parabolic path? Granted, it may be a long gentle one because it has lift, but does the Shockwave movie accurately portray glide distance vs. altitude?

I wonder what the path of a paper airplane would look like if we measured it. Something tells me that the farther it travels, the more its pitch will be downward - which is parabolic (even if it's not ballistic).
 P: 137 yay, fun thanks for sharing that I don't know the answer to your question, but check out angle=90 thrust=90 elevator=16 my paper airplanes never do that =)

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