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Others Like “How Far Will It Fly? Build & Test Paper Planes with Different Drag”

Project Idea
thumbnail Naval fighter pilots seem to defy physics each time they fly their jets off of an aircraft carrier. Normal runways are thousands of feet long so that airplanes can develop enough lift to fly. But a runway on an aircraft is much shorter. How can naval pilots get their fighter jets into the air without falling off the carrier into the ocean? Well, because they get a boost from a catapult! Sounds unbelievable? It's not, and you can find out more about catapult-assisted takeoff in this aerodynamics… Read more
Aero_p048
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed how some jet planes have small, vertical projections as the tips of the wings? They're called winglets. What are they there for? Read more
Aero_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen butterflies fluttering around outside, gliding through the air and landing on flowers? While they are delicate and fragile, butterflies are actually excellent flyers. They are so good, in fact, that scientists at Harvard University studied butterfly wing shapes as an inspiration for building a miniature flying robot. In this science project, you will do your own version of the Harvard scientists' experiment to measure the flight performance of butterfly wings. Read more
Aero_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail What makes some objects more streamlined than others? Find out which ordinary objects around your house are made to move smoothly through the water in this easy science fair project. Which objects will produce the most drag when pulled through the water? Read more
Aero_p022
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites You will need access to a swimming pool.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is required. Use caution when working near the swimming pool.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V-formation? In this science fair project, you will build a wind tunnel to test how the formation of birds in flight actually affects their flight efficiency. Read more
Zoo_p057
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This is an advanced project that will require substantial initiative to design, build, and test. The experimental procedure gives outlines for how to proceed, and includes pictures; but precise details for the setup have to be worked out independently. Also, to perform the analysis, it is recommended that you first read the scientific papers that are listed in the Bibliography.
Material Availability You will need a web camera and a computer for this science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Kites have been a source of entertainment for centuries for kids from cultures around the world. In this science project you will have a chance to build your very own kite, a simple sled kite. Then you will use it to investigate how kites fly. Will you find out the best way to fly your kite? Read more
Aero_p016
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail How does a helicopter generate enough lift to fly? How does a speedboat get moving fast enough to pull someone on water skis? Here's a project on designing propellers to do the job. Read more
Aero_p018
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Previous experience with aerodynamic design (e.g., model airplanes, gliders) is suggested.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail The Wright brothers used kites extensively to test their design ideas in the years leading up to their first successful airplane flight. With this science project, you'll learn about kite aerodynamics, and then come up with your own hypothesis about building or flying a kite. You can test your hypothesis two ways: with an online kite simulation program from NASA, and outdoors with the real thing! A great feature of this science project is that it has many possible variations, so you can decide… Read more
Aero_p008
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Excellent computer skills
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Normal precautions for kite flying
Project Idea
A great way to get started in exploring aerodynamics is by building high-performance paper gliders. We're not talking folded pieces of copier paper here. These gliders are built using laminated construction methods, so they look and fly much more like the real thing. The materials are inexpensive, and the building techniques are easy to learn. You can easily turn out several planes, which makes it possible to test the effects of design changes on flight performance. Read more
Aero_p009
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None; Project times longer depending on how many gliders you build, and how many times you iterate your design.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Winglets are the short vertical "fins" at the wingtips of some airplanes. Have you ever wondered why they are there? If you have access to a wind tunnel, you can build model airfoils with and without winglets and see for yourself. If you're really ambitious, you can also build your own wind tunnel. Read more
Aero_p012
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Experience building airfoils, access to a wind tunnel for testing.
Material Availability Specialty Items (wind tunnel for testing airfoils)
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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