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The Great International Paper Airplane Book Paperback – June 15, 1971

4.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

My dad bought this book for me when I was 9 years old, and I was hooked on making paper airplanes for years--and so was he! This delightful book, first published in 1967, and still in print, brings together plans for the 20 best of the 11,851 entrants from the 1st International Paper Airplane contest sponsored by Scientific American. Some trivia: the smallest entry was .08" x .00003 inches; the largest, 11 feet!. Guranteed to provide hours of amusement, and possibly even inspire careers in aerodynamics. (The polymathic primary author of this book--Jerry Mander--has also written a tremendous volume on the inherent evils of television as a medium, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside (June 15, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671211293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671211295
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 8.8 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Waldrum on July 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was my firt paper airplane book and I have since bought quite a few. It is my favorite and I still refrence it for new ideas. Its designs are more varied than books with designs by just one author. The written portion is also very clever. It makes me hope for another International Paper Airplane Contest.
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Format: Paperback
My dad had this book at home and since we were living on the top floor I had endless opportunities to experiment and litter the neighbourhood with planes made from this book's design. An evergreen favourite is Sakoda's Origami Supersonic Jet.
The first part of the book consists of a superbly eclectic history of the paper airplane with many ideas that will lead may a child of any age into endless hours of dreamy fun.
I found this book again this year in a Seattle bookshop and it brought back many happy memories!
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Format: Hardcover
In a world of hi-technology, electronics, computers and robotics, it's amazing such a book is still in print. This book has been a great inspiration for me through the years as it has thought me alot, not only about folding paper airplanes. It teaches us all that though we may have super-computers today, it's the creativity that matters afterall, because the best idea could possibly be the simplest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book as a gift from my hip Californian uncle when I was maybe 7 years old. For anyone who didn't catch on: Scientific American magazine in the mid-1960s sought paper airplane entries to determine which designs could fly the furthest, look the best, etc. To this day I still haven't made all the airplanes inside it, but I've always loved it. So much, in fact, that I bought it again via Amazon as my first copy was lost somewhere in the 80s or 90s.

Half as intriguing as the plane designs themselves are the snippets from Scientific American ("this plane found in the 5th floor stairwell of 1890 5th Ave, New York--do you know who made it?"), the letters from the contestants (one plane is inscribed with instructions to throw it HARD and HIGH), the photos of SA staff, aviators, and all kinds of stuff unrelated to the actual contest.

It's also a bit of a historical document. Entries come from moon rocket designers at Martin Marietta in Colorado, from defense contractors in Virginia and Maryland, from Boeing engineers in Seattle, and all points in between, including some beautiful artistic and origami entries from Brooklyn, Los Angeles, etc.

Anyway, this thing is half scrapbook, half do-it-yourself design and engineering, and it's bound to inspire some creativity and craftsmanship in kids. Gift it to someone 10 or younger and it will hold their interest for weeks, maybe even interest them in aviation, design, editing, whatever. Worth $10-$15 easily these days, and can be had for half as much.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently bought a second copy, so I can use the pages themselves to built into airplanes while keeping my old copy whole.
I used a small duration aloft winner to illustrate the Reynolds number effect in the Wikipedia model airplane article. It has no tail! The airfoil to some extent acts as a horizontal tail, but there is no surface anywhere near vertical. Longitudinal stability is provided only by dihedral. A piloted aircraft, or even a larger paper airplane, with dihedral but no fin has a dynamical instability known as Dutch roll. It swings from side to side with increasing amplitude. However, the smaller and the slower an object is, the gooeyer the air acts on it, in comparison to effects that involve momentum. So apparently, on such a small scale, the viscous friction is enough to damp out the Dutch roll. It flies excellently, though not particularly straight.
Some designs like this are unusual, others conventional but well worked out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must-have book for any paper plan fan. I got this book as a kid when it first came out. It taught me a lot about making planes. While I still have my copy after all of these years, I just bought this book for my 12 year old.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My dad brought this home when I was a kid.
I spent hours building and flying these paper airplane models.
Some of the designs are surprising.
I am very excited to have my won copy after all these years.
The planes vary from very easy to hard to build and so will satisfied a wide range of kids (from 5 to 100).
A great parent/child activity!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really neat paper airplane book. It gives a background of flight, physics, how airplanes work, etc., and then has some really neat (but relatively simple to make) paper airplanes. Other books tend to be either to simple (for small children) or too complex (for adults who don't mind spending 30 minutes to construct one paper airplane). But this one is a nice middle ground.
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