This paper airplane glossary has some interesting terms you might come across as you develop and explore your interest in paper airplanes.
Keep in mind that these terms are used not only for folding paper airplanes or other paper craft projects, but some of the terms are used in describing things that happen in flight – regardless of whether it’s your first paper airplane or it’s talking about a real airplane that actually flies in the sky!
How easily an airplane moves through the air. Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them
These look just like elevators, but instead, they make the paper airplane bank to one side or the other. An aileron in the right wing will bank or turn your plane to the left and one made in the left wing will turn it to the right. The difference between ailerons and elevators is that the aileron is made toward the end of the wings on the front instead of the middle of the plane. Ailerons are hinged control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll. The two ailerons are typically interconnected so that one goes down when the other goes up: the downgoing aileron increases the lift on its wing while the upgoing aileron reduces the lift on the other wing, producing a rolling moment about the aircraft’s longitudinal axis. The word aileron is French for “little wing.”
A surface designed to produce lift from the movement of air over it. Ideally, it should present the greatest amount of lift with the least amount of drag. An airfoil (in American English) or aerofoil (in British English) is the shape of a wing or blade (of a propeller, rotor or turbine) or sail as seen in cross-section. An airfoil-shaped body moved through a fluid produces a force perpendicular to the motion called lift. Subsonic flight airfoils have a characteristic shape with a rounded leading edge, followed by a sharp trailing edge, often with asymmetric camber. Foils of similar function designed with water as the working fluid are called hydrofoils.
Another term for turn. When a plane banks to the left or right, it turns to the left or right. Is the term used to describe a vehicle riding along a circle with inclined edges. The angle at which a turn is banked refers to the angle of incline of the given path. The benefit of such a structure is that there are forces other than that of friction to keep the car on its designated path. Banked turns also have applications to aviation.
Crease vs. Fold
A crease is the line left in the paper when you unfold a particular move; whereas a fold is a completed move.
The angle between a plane’s wings. Most paper aircraft fly better with a “positive” dihedral. This means that if you look at your plane from the back, the wings and body form a “v” shape. See Figure A below. So, Figure A will fly, while Figure B will probably crash. Dihedral Angle is the upward angle from horizontal of the wings or tailplane of a fixed-wing aircraft. Anhedral Angle is the name given to negative Dihedral Angle, that is, when there is a downward angle from horizontal of the wings or tailplane of a fixed-wing aircraft.
Double Raw/Folded Edge
Where two raw or folded edges lie on top of each other.
This force is what air does to a plane to slow it down. The faster a plane moves, the the more air hits it and the more air pushes it. The bigger the wings are, the more air hits the plane and causes drag. is a drag force that occurs whenever a moving object redirects the airflow coming at it. This drag force occurs in airplanes due to wings or a lifting body redirecting air to cause lift and also in cars with airfoil wings that redirect air to cause a downforce. With other parameters remaining the same, as the angle of attack increases, induced drag increases.
Elevators are small flaps on the wings of the plane that you can create by folding either up or down on the front of the wings toward the middle of the plane. If you want your plane to fly higher or longer, then add up elevators. If it’s already flying to high and diving or making weird wobbly moves, put down elevators on the wings. One up and one down elevator will make your plane do incredible loops.
A finger-width crease at the edge of a wing either up or down that changes the angle of the plane and what direction it flies.
A small gap or space which allows for the thickness of the paper when folded layers are brought together. Fudge factors prevent the buckling of thick folds.
The force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth’s mass for bodies (or paper airplanes in this case) near its surface; “the more remote the body the less the gravity.
A point, crease, edge, or fold which locates the area or move precisely.
This force comes when the air below the airplane wing is pushing up harder than the air above it is pushing down. It si this difference in pressure that enables the plane to fly.
A move that helps to hold the model in shape, often the insertion of a flap into a pocket.
The intersection of creases or folds or a location (i.e. center). The corners of the paper and the free ends of flaps may be referred to as points.
Pre-creasing (Preparation folds)
A series of folds and unfolds which creates landmarks or prepares the paper for subsequent moves (i.e. pre-creasing in reverse folding).
Any force that makes an airplane move forward.