How to make a fast paper airplane

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Ready to learn how to make a fast paper airplane with just ONE step more than the classic? You’ll love this tutorial, as well as these easy paper airplane templates too! This post contains affiliate links.

How to make a fast paper airplane hero image with a boy holding the plane up

Are your kids looking for a boredom buster for a quiet day?

Or maybe you’re challenging your friends with some paper airplane races?

Today I’m excited to teach you how to make a fast paper airplane with a subtle take on the classic that improves the aerodynamics of this classic paper craft. And of course, it’s just as easy as the original, and so quick to make!

Bonus points: there are so many STEM lessons to learn while learning how to make a fast paper airplane!

Why this paper airplane goes faster

As a child, we used to turn every school paper we were done with into a paper airplane. We folded it in half the long way, folded down the two top corners to meet in the middle, and then folded it in half. We then folded the sides into flaps.

To make a faster paper airplane, you simply need to make an additional fold after you fold down the corner. This is the tiny little trick how to make a fast paper airplane that’ll impress your buddies (or your child, if you are like me, a mom who needs to prove to her sons that she has some street cred A.K.A. MAD paper airplane skills.)

So how does it work?

The narrower wings catch less air, making it move smoother and flutter less. This makes it go faster. When it catches the air, it slows down.

In addition, the extra fold puts more weight on the front of the plane, which helps it to not pitch upward and make those annoying loop-di-loops that stop it from flying on the straight and narrow…

Challenges to expand on how to make a fast paper airplane

Want to experiment and see if you can make this paper airplane tutorial even faster? Try the following challenges:

  • Make your last fold deeper or more shallow. How does it affect the flight path?
  • What happens if you skip the first fold and cut off the corners instead. Does that shift the weight at all?
  • Try skipping fold #2 entirely, the way we used to as kids. What does that do? How fast is your plane then?
  • Try adding a paperclip to the tip of the airplane. How fast and far will it fly? Now try adding it to the back, clipping the center fold together. What does that do? Now add a paperclip to each wing. How does that affect the flight?
  • Fold up the tips of your wings. Does it catch the air differently?
  • Try it with heavier weight paper to see how that affects it. You can try making this with different proportions of paper as well – as long as it’s a rectangle.

There are so many ways to challenge yourself with how to make a fast paper airplane that are way to science-y for artsy me, but I did love this method. I leave the rest of the experimentation to you!

Now I’m off to teach M how to make these too…

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What you need to make this

How to make a fast paper airplane

1. Fold your paper in half the long way.

2. Unfold it.

3. Fold down the two top corners so that they meet at the center line, and so that the original top of the paper is now flush with the center line.

4. Now fold again so that your new top two sides are again flush with the center line.

5. Turn your fast paper airplane sideways and fold it in half on the line of the original crease.

6. Fold down a wing that reaches from the front tip to halfway down the back of the plane. Your super duper fast paper airplane is complete! If you’d like, you can secure any parts that are annoying you with double sided tape, as long as it doesn’t affect the flight of your plane!

I hope you loved learning all about faster paper airplanes! What’s your favorite way to do this? Did you discover anything cool in your experimentation? Comment below!

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