Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Infatuation with Paper Airplanes

I am 56 years old and I make paper airplanes. Now that may seem odd to some, but it has provided me with years of enjoyment and has proven to be an excellent way to release some creative energy. These are not your run-of-the-mill paper airplanes that we threw when our 5th grade teacher was not looking, but a craft that flies very well and is designed around solid aerodynamic principles. Let it be known that I have dedicated myself to paper airplane folding for over 30 years and while other activities in my life come and go, I forever remain dedicated to building paper airplanes. It keeps me feeling young and it keeps me out of trouble.

It started out fairly innocently. It was 1973 and I had begun flying hang gliders in Southern California. The gliders were very limited in their performance and at times delivered curious and undesirable flight characteristics. In an effort to better understand the flight characteristics of the "Rogollo" wing, I began making models of sticks and plastic, but these were time consuming. I turned to paper and was successful at making paper airplanes that resembled the rogollo hang gliders of the day. It was fun throwing them off the hills and off buildings and a few of my flying buddies also took up the hobby.

Eventually I started making modifications to my original design and pretty much continued to follow the progress of the hang glider manufacturers as they presented more refined and higher performing wings. Decades later the current hang gliders have amazing performance as well as do my paper airplanes which I now call the OmniWing.

For years I thought about writing a book to describe how to fold the OmniWing, but I was never able to convey the instructions within a 2 dimension format on paper. There were others out there making bundles on selling books about paper airplanes, but my craft was a very challenging design to fold with some very unique folding methodologies and alas the instructions simply could not be conveyed. Also due to the complexity of my paper airplanes, many would find them to be too tedious of a task.

Then came the Internet, and I put up a web site at for my paper airplane designs. It has been active for over a decade providing instructions for a wing I call the Proto-OmniWing. It is a crude method but comes close to replicating the design of the original Rogollo hang glider. With it's simple folds, and a bit of tape, I was pleased to hear from individuals that had built the Proto-OmniWing, but they wanted more. I also displayed the OmniWing, and the Advanced OmniWing. But alas I had no success with presenting instructions that would properly convey a couple of challenging steps.

Then came YouTube. This was the perfect environment and media to present my paper airplane designs. With video, I was able to successfully convey the steps in the building of the OmniWing. I created my YouTube Channel and started presenting videos on how to fold and fly the OmniWings. The response has been excellent, and there is indeed quite a large and dedicated group of people on the Internet that are paper airplane enthusiasts. I believe I have 8 videos related to my OmniWing Paper Airplane on my YouTube Channel as well as many others related to other activities such as hang gliding, mountain biking, and some family stuff.

View the OmniWing Web Site at
To See my YouTube Channel at
See where I fly my hang glider at

Want to feel like a kid again. Get out the paper and scissors and a bit of tape and have some fun!

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