#8 Insane Plane

10 Points

Make a paper plane inspired by the best flyers in NZ’s native air force - the birds! Ironman uses jet boosters, but our manu do it using nothing but their wings – reckon you can do the same? 

Read the instructions

Categories:

See also

Find out about all NZ’s feathered flying machines at nzbirdsonline.org.nz

What to do

Your mission is:

Make a paper plane inspired by NZ birds. Check out the notes for the tool list you need (above) and get soaring!

1. BONZA INSPIRATION

Before you pilot your nature-inspired super glider, watch the trailer to the bonza Aussie film Paper Planes (featuring Kiwi actor Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople)

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2. FOLD & FLY!!!

Find some cool paper and fold your own paper plane. For instructions and ideas check out some of the awesome paper planes you can put together at www.foldnfly.com

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3. GO JUMBO OR GO MICRO

How big can you make a plane that still manages to fly? And how small? Check out the tabs for some inspiration from the birds flying in NZ skies ...

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4. BREAK THE RECORDS

Challenge your mates to see whose plane flies the farthest (like a godwit), flies the highest (toroa), flies the fastest (falcon/kārearea), or is the smallest (titipounamu/rifleman)

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5. BLING WINGS

Build your own squadron of 4 or 5 planes, then let your art-skills take flight by decorating them.

Get inspired by the feather patterns of NZ's manu (bird) air force … kea and kākā parrots have some serious bling under their wings!

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6. ARTY FARTY FLYER

Or imagine your own colour scheme and decorations. Just remember that adding weight to those wings may impact their aerodynamics.

But maybe you're not after records and are courting the Wild Eyes fashion judges like a takahē or kākāpō: flightless but fabulous! 

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7. UPLOAD AND LEVEL UP

Upload photos of your magnificent NZ-nature inspired paper plane for Wild Eyes judging and soar to the next level! 

And here's a tip: keep your tips sharp! Blunt wing tips can create drag, which can be a real… drag! Sweeeet!

WILD FACTOR

Gather some mates round for your own aero show competition! Come up with some home-cooked prizes for farthest, longest in air, highest etc. For extra points, level up with an aero obstacle course, with hoops that your paper plane has to navigate through. Check out these dudes who get seriously competitive at the Paper Plane World Championship!

dunedin university student josh stewart left could 4f72e9ba90

OTAGO SO FAR!!!!

Otago University genetics student Josh Stewart went to the world paper plane champs with a 43m throw in 2012. His design was long and narrow and thrown with force. Can you beat him?

(Image courtesy of Otago Daily Times).

 

EX-PLANED

If planes aren’t your thing, consider putting a glider on a string and crafting a kite, because ... kites are cool! And check out manu tukutuku, then have a go at making your own and submit a photo of your solo kite festival.  

What's happening?

BIRD BOMBERS

Birds are light. They have hollow bones, eat very little, and they don’t have bladders – they have one opening where poos and wees (called cloaca) comes out – which means when you get pooped on from above you actually get bombed by wees as well - bonus!

Check out this funny-as video about bird poop.

DESIGNED FOR FLIGHT

Flying machines like birds and planes need a lightweight, streamlined, rigid structure for flight. They all rely on airfoils for lift.

The shape of a bird’s wing is important for producing lift. Air speeds over the curved part of the wing and creates a longer path of air. This means the air is zooming more quickly over the top surface of the wing than the bottom. This reduces air pressure on the top of the wing and creates lift.

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Airfoil diagram

Four forces for thought

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Aerodynamics: the physics of flight

Lift off! Toroa, kārearea, kea and everything else flying through the air is affected by aerodynamics. Aerodynamics is the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects through the air.    

These four forces of flight affect the flight of our planes and our birds: 

‘Lift’ is an upward force that allows a bird or plane to overcome gravity 

‘Drag’ is the resistance a bird or plane “feels” as it moves through the air. 

‘Thrust’ is the force that moves a bird or plane forward (engines or wings!)

‘Weight’ is that nasty old gravity trying to ruin the whole thing.

SMOOTH SAILING

Big wings like the toroa's produce more lift than small wings, so smaller-winged birds need to fly faster to maintain the same lift as those with larger wings.

Toroa (royal albatross) fly using almost no energy by using a sweet technique called “dynamic soaring” – where they angle their wings into the wind and rise and dip to make use of air currents.

Southern Royal Albatross CW

Southern Royal Albatross aka Toroa

TOROA FLYING MACHINE

Department of Conservation Threatened Species Ambassador Nic Toki introduces our most successful kiwi aviator: the toroa (royal albatross).

GLIDING ON

I'm the world's only alpine parrot and I love soaring over the Southern Alps, but my gliding skills are nothing compared to the toroa. Check out everything you ever wanted to know about toroa from our mates at the Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula.

- Kelvin the kea

Inspiration

THE RECORD BOOKS: BIGGEST, FARTHEST

The royal albatross (toroa) is one of the world's biggest sea birds with wings that are 3.3m wide. It can glide for more than 190,000 km a year!

It might even travel more than 16,000 km to get a meal for a chick – that’s a bit further than the local fish’n’chip shop! (But the fish is fresher.) 

Northern Royal Albatross Taiaroa Head Nov 2008 2

– Toroa/royal albatross in flight

BIGGEST PAPER PLANE

Get airborne mega-style

THE RECORD BOOKS: SMALLEST

NZ's smallest bird is the rifleman.

Its name in Māori is titipounamu which means little green treasure – even more magical than unicorn snot and half the size.

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– titipounamu (rifleman) (c) Denise Fastier

HOW TO MAKE THE SMALLEST PAPER PLANE

And if the wee titipounamu inspires you then check out this mini-making:

THE RECORD BOOKS: FASTEST

The kārearea (NZ falcon) is lucky there aren’t any speed cameras up in the skies, cos it can fly at twice the speed limit – 200kmph, which when combined with its amazing eyesight makes it deadlier than Darth Vader when his shower runs out of hot water. 

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– Kārearea

PAPER PLANE FLIES MAN

... and speaking of deadly:

WILD EYES WINGS

800px NZ Red Admiral Vanessa gonerilla 5

– What ya looking at?

For your wing ensigns you might take inspiration from the kahukura/red admiral butterfly, whose circle patterns on its wings look like wild eyes to predators, tricking them into thinking that the kahukura is giving them a pūkana!

BIRDMAN

This Māori birdman kite is held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Its name comes from its shape: a human body and head, with extended wings. 

Kites were flown for divination (aka getting signs about the future, such as whether the All Blacks will win the World Cup) and for fun!
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– A flying person

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