A suggestion for making the paper airplane legal for
world record competition.

A suggestion from: Cody Wojcik - mltmtl@shore.net

DO NOT tear off the paper for the tail, and continue building. This will lessen the drag, add wing area, and make the plane legal for World record competition.

A tip: launch the plane straight up with gusto; if it spirals tightly try bending the wings slightly down (anhedral).

Thank you Cody for your valuable suggestion.

Updated with rules in effect in September 1998


1. The record is for the duration of a flight of a paper aircraft flown indoors, in a closed air environment, where the general public may view the event. Outdoor flights are not eligible for the record.

2. Two independent scrutineers must be appointed. The scrutineers must be persons of good character who shall be responsible for the proper application of these guidelines within the spirit of fairplay and shall take and authenticate the time measurements. Each scrutineer shall use a digital stopwatch. The scrutineers shall have the power to call a foul where the guidelines have been breached or the duration cannot be reasonably or feasibly measured.

3. Ten attempts at the record are allowed. A foul shall be recorded as an attempt but shall not be valid for setting the record. Attempts declared or rendered void under guideline 7 below shall not be recorded as an attempt.

4. The aircraft must be constructed from one sheet of paper only (using either a sheet of A4 or 81/2 inch x 11 inch quarto sized paper). The weight of paper must be no more than 100 gsm. The paper can be cut, but any piece of paper cut off cannot be rejoined. The use of standard light-duty clear cellulose adhesive tape of width 25 mm and total length 30 mm is permitted on any one aircraft. The tape may be cut up into smaller pieces but shall be used to hold down folds only and shall not be layered, joined together, used as a weight, used for laminating a surface nor used as a control device such as a trim-tab or flap. Glue, paperclips or staples are not permitted.

5. The aircraft must be launched by one person (the thrower) throwing the aircraft unaided from a reasonably static position. A run-up or fast walk as part of the launch is not permitted, nor the use of ramps or like devices. The thrower must endeavour to keep both feet on the ground during the launch. The aircraft must not be launched from a balcony or any other area that is higher than the main floor level.

6. The launch height is dependent upon the height of the thrower. Reasonably flat footwear must be used. The floor on which the thrower stands during the launch must be level with or lower than the point where it first lands. The aircraft must not go below the main floor level and then rise again, for example by flying down into a pit or basement area and up again to the main floor level.

7. The duration shall be measured by the scrutineers from the point in time when the aircraft leaves the thrower's hand to the point in time when the aircraft first touches the floor or is subject to guideline 8. The duration record shall be measured to a tenth of a second but scrutineers stopwatches shall measure to a hundredth of a second and times shall be rounded up or down in accordance with the following example: times from 20.91 to 20.95 seconds round down to 20.9 seconds; 20.96 to 20.99 round up to 21.0 seconds. The scrutineers each shall compare their times measured to determine jointly a fair or average time. Where the average of two time measurements generates a time to two decimal places, the time shall be rounded up or down in accordance with the above example. If the two scrutineers cannot agree on a fair or average time, then the time shall be disallowed and the throw shall be void as an attempt.

8. If the aircraft hits any object such as a wire, lighting etc. during the flight, the duration should only be recorded until the point of contact. Additionally, should any object, flying or fixed, benefit the aircraft in flight, or is deemed so to do by a scrutineer, that scrutineer shall call a foul. It only requires one scrutineer to call a foul; with the attempt being counted and time stopped or lost.

Guinness Publishing
8th Floor
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BD

Note: those interested in world record competition, should contact Guinness Publishing beforehand for details and any updates in the rules.

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A suggestion from: Jason Smith

I would like to mention that the Best Paper Airplane can have a tail and still be in accordance with the rules for the Guinness Record flight competition. The rules indicate "The paper can be cut, but any piece of paper cut off cannot be rejoined." This means it is more difficult to build the plane with the tail intact, but not impossible. The plane is built in the same manner with one modification, the tail is never removed from the plane. I have made drawings of how to accomplish this.

The red lines are where the plane needs to be cut, the green lines are where the tail is folded, and the brown spot is the pivoting point for getting the tail into the plane. The tail is never completely removed as it is hanging by a piece of paper only millimeters wide. There are a few things I should point out about building the plane this way:

1. the brown dot is to the left just as far as half of the tail's width (a distance equal to the distance from one green line to the next).

2. There will most likely be excess paper on the end of the tail which is inserted into the plane. There are 2 simple ways to deal with this:

a. Fold the paper over. this will add weight to the nose of the plane

b. cut the paper. this prevents the additional weight from being added to the nose.

I hope this is a useful alternative for record attempts.

Guinness rules compliant tail.

Thank you Jason for your valuable suggestion.

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Conceptos Digitales C.R., S.A. San Jose, Costa Rica - URL: http://www.zurqui.com/ Revised: Dec. 31, 2004