Soaring Cylinder

My four-year old daughter has recently mastered the art of throwing a paper airplane, and it can keep her occupied for ages. She’s not quite ready to fold her own airplanes, but she enjoys decorating the ones I make for her.

I’m guessing most parents know how to make a basic paper airplane but this “soaring cylinder” is something that fewer people are familiar with. It’s incredibly easy to make but, as I point out in the video, it’s not straightforward to get it flying. It’s absolutely worth making the effort to learn though, because it’s really quite satisfying to do, and delightful to see. If you don’t know how to make a basic paper airplane, just keep watching til the end of the video 🙂

EXTRAS: Here’s a short newspaper article about the man who apparently invented this very different type of paper airplane. The science of how the “Soaring Cylinder” (or “flying pipe” as others have called it) works, is not entirely clear, but this paper details the attempts made by a team of scientists who tried to find out.

You can buy a plastic version of this toy called the “x-zylo” which someone has apparently thrown a distance of nearly 200 metres. It looks like it’s not too difficult to make your own from a plastic drink bottle:

MORE GOOD STUFF: Click here for more activities. I’ll be publishing more videos of activities from my book over the coming weeks. Check back here, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss them.

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