How to Make the Canard Paper Aeroplane

The Paper Airplane Guy, John Collins, is back with another instructional video with WIRED on how to fold a paper aeroplane that won’t stall out and is guaranteed to produce long flight times. The plane is called the Canard paper aeroplane, and the process to make it is pretty straightforward.

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“Canard” is an aeronautical term meaning a fixed-wing aircraft configuration that has a small horizontal surface that is positioned forward of the main wing. Conventional positioning is typically at the tail. The term actually comes from French and means “duck.” Canard landed in the aeronautic canon in 1906 when the Santos-Dumant 14-bis made its appearance. The French public dubbed the plane the canard because of its resemblance to a flying duck.

In 1910, the Fabre Hydravion was officially named “Le Canard.” The configuration really didn’t take hold until 1967 when the Saab Viggen jet fighter took flight. The idea behind the canard configuration is to reduce the main wing loading, which helps create better control of the main wing airflow and increase maneuverability. The foreplane strongly influences the planes longitudinal equilibrium, static, and dynamic stability. Those same principles hold true for the Canard paper aeroplane. The foreplane helps to stabilise the paper aircraft, producing longer flights. Because the foreplane affects moving air by filling the empty space around each wing, the oncoming air reaches the wing and moves either over or under, speeding up the squeeze and producing more lift.

In a video produced by WIRED, Collins explains how to make the Canard paper aeroplane as well as explaining the physics and forces acting on the plane. Collins admits that there is plenty of drag acting on the Canard, which will keep it from being a world record breaker, but, as Collins points out, the Canard paper aeroplane is a fantastic looking plane, and a strong enough performer to wow your coworkers and friends.

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Mark Jessen

Mr Mark Jessen

Mark Jessen studied English at Brigham Young University, completing a double emphasis in creative writing and professional writing/editing. After graduating, Mark went to work for a small publisher as their book editor. After a brief time as a freelance writer, Mark entered the corporate world as a copywriter. These days, his hours are spent mostly in proofing and editing, though he continues to create content for a wide variety of projects. In 2017, Mark completed UCLA's Creative Writing Certification. A prolific writer, Mark has over 20 years of experience in journalism.