Engineering Question #1152

collin, a 13 year old male from fort walton beach, fl asks on January 3, 2003,

I just recently did an experiment using paper airplanes with different wing types (swept back at different angles and straight). I found out that the ones with the swept back wings had more velocity. Can you explain why?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on January 6, 2003

My best guess would be that the swept back wing offers less wind resistance. The centre of gravity (i.e. more weight at the front of a pointy plane) might also be a factor. There are many websites with excellent information about paper airplanes. A good starting point is Workman Publishing paper airplane page where you can learn how to fold the world record holder Ken Blackburn's plane.

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