At this year’s PXUX I lead about 75 people in a paper airplane making experiment. With simple instructions, “just make a paper airplane that can fly the furthest – no balls of paper” the crowd stepped up to the line one by one to see their work take flight. They were highly competitive.
The shortest distance was actually minus about two feet as the craft took a quick turn in the opposite direction, if you can believe it. The longest distance was about thirty feet. Nearly twenty percent of the aeronautical wonders made it at least twenty feet, while the lion’s share of them made it between one foot and twenty feet. Check out the picture to the left.
I then posed the question, “if you had 15 seconds to choose a paper airplane that was not yours, modify it and launch it, and then measure how much further (or less far) it flew than last time, which would you pick? What if I paid you $10 for every foot further that it goes than last time? And, you have to pay $5 per foot if it doesn’t go as far as last time. Which piece of folded paper would you pick to improve?” […]