Someone on Slashdot (slashdot.org) asked for cool paper airplane designs, so I went searching on the Web to find instructions for my favorite, so that I could post a link thereto. Somewhat surprisingly, there were none. Since this is a rather neat design that I learned from kids at my elementary school in Riverside, CA (in 5th grade, to be exact), which may well mean it was/is a local oddity, I thought I should preserve it for posterity. See below for a full set of instructions, with pictures.
Place a piece of Letter or A4 paper in front of you, “portrait-style,” and do the following:
1) Fold the upper-right corner diagonally downward, until it’s even against the left edge of the sheet. Crease and unfold it.
2) Do the same with the upper-left corner. Crease and unfold it.
3) You now have a sheet of paper with an “X” shape creased along its center. Using both hands, “pinch” the left and right sides of the page until the left edge meets the right edge. You should now have two triangle-shaped areas: one below your hands, and one above. Flatten them down so that they lay directly on top of one another. Crease.
4) Fold the rightmost corner of the top “triangle” up to the top of the triangular area. Crease. Do the same with the left corner.
5) Now, fold the “point” at the top of the page directly downward about 1 inch (or 2-3 cm). You should now have a horizontal “flat” area at the top of the sheet that’s about 2 inches (4-6 cm) across. Crease.
6) In the flap resulting from the previous fold, you should now note that the top layer of that flap contains a sort of “pocket” area on each side. Carefully open the flaps just enough to be able to insert a triple-thick sheet of paper into it.
7) Just to the right of the flap, and under it, you have a sort of corner, where a few layers of folded paper rest against the upper-right edge of the page. Lift that corner and tuck it into the rightmost pouch mentioned above. Make sure it goes all the way in, so that one edge of that flap rests vertically along the center of the page. Crease. Do the same with the left side. You should now have a triangular region at what will be the front of the paper airplane, with the very tip of it being comprised of the “pouch” area, where the left and right flaps are secured.
8) Flip the page over, noting that the narrow, flat-tipped section will be the front of the plane. Keep the front farthest away from you, after flipping it over.
9) Fold the lower-left-side edge toward the center of the plane, about 1 inch (2-3 cm) to form a tail fin. Crease so that the fold is parallel to the side of the plane. Do the same with the other side. Partially unfold the fins so that they stand up, perpendicular to the body of the plane.
10) Your plane is done! To fly it, grip the sides of the heavy “triangle” region at the front of the plane, and throw gently forward. Using too much force will cause it to fly poorly, but the right amount will make it fly in intricate spiral patterns (horizontally and vertically). Enjoy!
P.S. If you want to read the original thread on Slashdot, go here: http://ask.slashdot.org/story/12/04/10/2148259/ask-slashdot-the-very-best-paper-airplane