Factors That Affect An Airplane Essay

Factors That Affect An Airplane Essay

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Does a paper airplane designed with more surface area allow the plane to stay aloft a longer amount of time?


Several forces combine to affect an airplane’s ability to fly.
Thrust – A push that provides the plane with its initial acceleration
Lift - Air moving under the wings of the plane providing an upwards force
Drag – Air pushing against the plane, causing it to slow down
Weight – The weight of the paper airplane that brings it to a landing
Gravity – The weight of the force of the Earth’s gravitational pull

I believe that model number 6 with stay in the air the longest. I think this because the design allows the plane to have a large amount of surface area on the wings, which should allow for upwards lift as the plane moves through the air.

The independent variable in this experiment is the different designs that each airplane was formed into.
The dependent variable in this experiment is the amount of time that the airplane stays aloft. Measured from the time the plane leaves the launchers hand, to the time the airplane lands on the ground.
The height of the airplane’s launch
The material used to construct the airplanes (copy paper)
Each different airplane model will serve as a control against the other models.

10 Different models airplanes launched 3 times each under the same conditions.

Standard Size Copy Paper (8 ½ in x 11in)
Stop Watch
Launch zone with no weather variables
Lab Notebook to Record Results

Use the resource Fold n’ Fly to select different design models and folding instructions.
Paper Airplanes Link (2011). A database of paper air...

... middle of paper ...

...e plane to test the affects of weight in specific locations.
Using the same plane designs, test each plane for distance traveled.

Critical Thinking Question/Learning Extension:
The Wright Brothers First Flight
Forces That Act Against an Object In Flight
Engineers use their knowledge of forces and motion as well as trial and error to create new machines. What changes would you make to your airplane and why?

This paper airplane experiment allowed me to explore the laws of aerodynamics and the important role that they play in our everyday lives. Airplane travel is among the most widely used forms of travel in the word. In fact, an estimated 8 million people fly in airplanes daily. Without the help of aviation experts to analyze the small scale date of a model airplane, modern travel as we know it would have never been possible.

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