Paper Into Planes

airplaneThe Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Paper airplanes appeared in history several years later.

And yet, any child can make a paper airplane. The Chinese invented paper 2000 years ago and had kites. Birds have been flying since dinosaur times, and humanity has dreamed of flying since the stone age. Paper models of sailing ships, hot air balloons, and dirigibles were available before 1903. Japanese origami had already reached wonderful sophistication. Nothing was stopping anyone from making a paper airplane.

Except one thing: no one knew what an airplane looked like or how it would work. No one could imagine one. Orville and Wilbur had to develop an accurate understanding of how wing shape affected air pressure and created lift in order to make a real airplane, and by 1899 they had built intricate gliders and harnessed wind power. Their discoveries would soon be transferred to a simplified three-dimensional paper model. The rest is history.

This leaves me sitting here staring at a sheet of paper, wondering what unprecedented things it could do, things that would delight any child, if I could only imagine them.


3 thoughts on “Paper Into Planes

  1. Tinywords… so good to visit other people and places found therein_! In our present society, it seems millennials can find no -continued value- that paper could present.

    __ “Like, we like don’t need like paper any more. Like we have like our cell phones, that like keep our words in like digits that we can like hashtag… in like no time!”

    Sue, I like your thoughtful paper valuement, and I thank you. Where would we be, without the gifts of our past…? I keep my notes in Kerouac-ish style, within small >SPRINGCOIL PHONE<. Smiles! _m


  2. Paper planes have fueled my flights of fancy since I was a child and discovered an exceptional design in a book on origami. Over the years I’ve tried to hand it down to children, who are uniformly amazed at how well it flies, but sadly they rarely have the patience to learn it’s folds. But I keep making them and handing them out. I just did a little web research, knowing that it would be out there and sure enough:


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