How to Make Paper Airplanes that Loop

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Loops are by far the most popular type of paper airplane stunt. If you're tired of making planes that fly straight in the air, folding an aircraft that loops is a fun challenge.

A loop occurs when your paper airplane flies in a vertical circle. It should not be confused with a stunt circle, which is when you throw a paper airplane and it follows a circular path around the room so you can catch it without taking a single step.

A real airplane can do multiple loops, but a ​paper airplane will only do one or two loops before it falls to the ground. For this reason, looping paper airplanes aren't normally used for contests where subjects compete for the longest or furthest flight. However, if you practice, you can make a plane loop very high in the sky. During the practice throws for his February 26, 2012, world record attempt, Joe Ayoob made a paper airplane loop 40 feet in the air. (Later that day, he set the Guinness World Record for distance throwing a paper airplane designed and folded by John Collins a distance of 226 feet, 10 inches.)

Easy Paper Airplanes that Loop

Most paper airplanes can loop if you throw them properly and fold the tips of the wings up slightly. However, the beginner will have better luck trying to perform loops with a plane that is designed for stunts. These planes tend to have broader wings than the traditional dart plane.

Here are a few easy models to try.

Mistakes to Avoid

If you're trying to make a paper airplane that loops, it's best to practice outside on a day with no wind or inside in a gymnasium.

If you're indoors in a room with low ceilings, your plane won't have the space it needs to fly properly. You can try to modify a plane for use indoors by folding the tail flaps up slightly, but this won't always produce the results you want.

Using the proper technique is essential to making a paper airplane loop. Poor throwing will prevent your plane from looping even if it's perfectly folded. Hold your plane with the wings level and the nose pointed straight up. Throw it gently. Experiment with different angles and throwing velocities until you achieve the results you want. When done properly, your airplane should climb high, fall over on its back, and then briefly pull to a level flight before it hits the floor.

If your plane won't loop properly, check to make sure the wings are even. Asymmetrical folds will prevent the plan from being able to make a loop. You can also review our How to Make the Perfect Paper Airplane article for general paper plane folding tips.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting a paper airplane to do stunts takes practice and patience. Do not be discouraged if you can't get your plane to do a loop on the first try.

If you make a mistake when folding your paper, don't try to unfold the sheet and make a new crease.

The paper "remembers" incorrect creases. This isn't such a problem when you're making a design that is merely decorative, but it can affect the performance of a paper airplane. You'll have much better results if you just start again with a fresh sheet of paper.