News: Fan Propelled Paper Airplane (Fake or Real?)

Fan Propelled Paper Airplane (Fake or Real?)

This video has generated half a million views and quite the comment stream on YouTube.

A paper airplane is placed between two fans, and suspends in the air for some time. The comments predominately charge that the action is "fake" (has a wired been suspended?).

The video is an art project by Camille Laurelli. Hard to tell, because her blog is in French, but it looks like the concept of the piece is to generate discussion over the validity of the action.

What do you think? Fake or real? Beyond conjecture or opinion, if anyone has a scientific analysis please write in the comment box below.

14 Comments

Given the premise that the artist herself is asking if it's "fake or real?", I'd say fake.

However, it sure looks real to me. It seems as though the air power is stronger on the edges of the fans than their centers (creating a sort of calm place for the plane to be pushed into from all sides). I guess I'll have to try it myself to find out for sure...

Bryan Crow, The original artist posted it on YouTube. The the second poster (rmansur) is relaying that there is a buzz about it. Quote: "The comments" (on YouTube) "predominately charge that the action is 'fake'." I think it's real. No wire. Bryan I think you are right about the air. The best way I can explain this is by refering to a childs toy that floats a small ball on a stream of air from somthing that looks like a pipe. Fact: Moving air has less pressure. So as the ball moves out of the stream, the ball is drawn back because there is moving air to that side, less pressure. The still air around it has more pressure.

it looks like its held by a string. I say fake

Its Real... As Bryan said, but closer to the end of its flight its pushed too far forward and the catches a strong flow of wind and the nose is pushed down forcing it out of the center due to aerodynamics

the plane is attached on a string ;) you can see very well...watch carefully!

Definitely fake. It would be nearly impossible to balance the forces on a paper airplane for a few seconds in the turbulence between two fans. But there are two other things that really say fake. First when the plane starts forward and the nose points down the plane rights itself and then continues forward. Since the plane does not immediately start to roll this is consistent with a fishing line tied between the two fans and the plane is hanging by the flap that we cannot see. The second thing is the scraping sound as the plane is finally pushed off the string and falls to the ground. We have laws in this here universe; since you can't break them, I guess I can't arrest you.

well i tried it and it really WORKS!! i made it flating there for 5mins and few secs then the plane nose got outta blance cuz i touched it o.o and boom it flew off down.. o.0 well its real 100% i did it and mady u can try

this seems very unlikely to happen because of how many different directions wind could come from knocking the plane from its place

naw i did it at home and the only wind was from the 2 fans =] btw i ments floating not flating =p im really not lying i used 2 type of fan the big 1 and the big 1 =p

loser its fake

jk ur not a loser its still fake

I Believe noobs unite.... I can see how that would work

Right; at the start of the video when both fans are turned on, their apparent direction of rotation seems to indicate that both fans are blowing air into the middle. I may be wrong about this, so I'll not call it simply on that point. Notice as well, though, that there is no general motion at all of the plane in the air stream; it does not tend to move back or down. Now a paper aeroplane with a given trim will only move with constant velocity at one angle with respect to the ground; any other angle and it will be either accelerating or decellerating. Perfectly level flight at constant speed is impossible for a paper glider; travelling horizontally, as it seems to be in this video, it will always be slowed down by drag- (we should see it blown into the left hand fan). It is possible for a paper glider to move with a constant speed, a well trimmed one will, but it must compensate for the drag losses by losing altitude, thereby gaining kinetic energy at a rate proportional to the product of the speed and the drag force. In this case, the paper plane would slowly sink to the ground. Neither of these are seen in the video. Interestingly, it ought to be possible to make a setup like this work; however, the fans would have to be positioned on an angle matching the glide ratio- i.e. blowing slightly upwards. This, however, is still neglecting the problem of stability. Even assuming the best case for the airflow depicted, with regards to turbulence and such, the yaw stability of any paper aeroplane would not be sufficient to keep it aligned properly for long. Slight variations would rapidly lead to the glider leaving the airstream, within a second, and considering pitch and roll oscillations set in at about 0:34 in the video, I think it's safe to say this video is demonstrably fake on three seperate counts.

If the fans were faced slightly upwards, or if their was another fan from under that you can not see i could see this being real. As it is it seems like it would not work, or at least not for long.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest