Formula for Paper Airplane Flight?

  • Thread starter neogeek
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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/ [Broken]

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
 
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Answers and Replies

DaveC426913
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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.
 
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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
 
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,335
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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).
 
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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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