It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a paper plane!

Paper planes that crossed the distance line

Some of the planes that made it across the line

Last weekend, while at the Montreal Mini Maker Faire, I received some advice on constructing paper airplanes, including why one might want to add ailerons (straight flying) or an airfoil (slower, longer glide) to improve the performance of their folded-paper gliding machine. And I recently found this conference paper, “On the aerodynamics of paper airplanes,” when we heard that we were going to have something of a paper airplane distance contest happening in Schulich Library of Science and Engineering. Finally on Thursday, I was on hand – now well equipped – to referee the Schulich Library leg of the Amazing Library Race.

As part of Library Orientation (on now!) over 40 students  took part in the Amazing Library Race last Thursday afternoon, which involved participants racing between various branch libraries and completing tasks before moving on to the next location and task. At Schulich Library the new students’ challenge was to build and “fly” a paper airplane a prescribed distance – the distance was kind of arbitrary, but I would estimate it at about 5 meters – before receiving their next clue. Whether or not the planes had ailerons, most of the successful models were similar to the classic dart-style plane discussed in the paper above. Regardless, all of the groups were eventually able to get their plane to cross the distance line with their paper-plane-engineering savvy!

Orientation activities at Schulich Library and across the Library system continue this week and into the school year. Come check it out now and save time later on!

Previously: Ready! Set! Get Oriented!

Image by Rebecca Nicholson

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