Ultimate Paper Airplane
January 12, 2018 12:29 PM   Subscribe

But does it fly? Forget everything you thought you knew about paper airplanes. For almost 10 years, designer Luca Iaconi-Stewart has been crafting a Boeing 777 that puts all those folded pieces of notebook paper to shame. The one-sixtieth scale model is incredibly detailed and features everything from tiny reading lamps above the first class seats to retractable landing gears. (sl video)
posted by Suffocating Kitty (21 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
That is AWESOME.
posted by Melismata at 12:41 PM on January 12

It's not a proper paper airplane unless you fly it once, and the nose gets all stubbed in. I personally think this one would look GREAT with the traditional stubbed-in nose, and if the artist really had the courage of his convictions, he'd give it a toss.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:48 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]

This is what would happen to me if I had either slightly more or slightly less self control, I'm not sure which.
posted by Adridne at 12:52 PM on January 12 [12 favorites]

That is amazing.

Also, missed opportunity to call his plane crash bucket the Pulpyard.
posted by kokaku at 12:58 PM on January 12

The wheel hydraulics move up and down? The wing flaps extend?

posted by clawsoon at 12:59 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]

I have seen this before and I love it more each time I see it. I love it so much.

It's like... it's amazing when you see the seats and the cockpit and then he moves the flaps, the engine nozzles, and the landing gear and that just makes it a million times more amazing.

Bravo to this man. I love it when people get super focused on a single project like this.
posted by bondcliff at 1:00 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]

*draws revolver* "I said, hop. in."
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:03 PM on January 12 [18 favorites]

This is incredible.

Nose comparison from his Flickr stream, and here's Reference images > conceptual sketches > computer drawings > assembly > finished product for one small piece of the plane. He's replicated this process how many times now? Wow.

Once completed, will it be departing from MNL for its maiden flight?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:22 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]

humans are incredible
posted by thelonius at 2:01 PM on January 12

"We could build a paper airplane."

"No, I have a better idea. We could build a real plane out of paper."
posted by skewed at 3:23 PM on January 12

Fun facts about the Boeing 777!
  • Each aircraft has more coastline than the state of California.
  • Mark Twain once wrote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer aboard a Boeing 777."
  • The largest 777s are over the Pacific Ocean. However, due to seafloor spreading and subduction, these airplanes are slowly getting smaller. Meanwhile, 777s flying over the Atlantic Ocean are growing imperceptibly larger.
  • The average American spends three weeks every year reading Boeing 777 facts.
  • The 777 is the first aircraft to incorporate life hacks into its design. Instead of rivets, the wings use Snapple lids.
  • In France, the 777 is called Royale avec Tripler-Sept.
posted by compartment at 3:40 PM on January 12 [16 favorites]

For his own sake, I hope he doesn't get his hands on any interior wiring blueprints. The hoses on the landing gear show how far he's willing to go when he has access to fine detail.
posted by clawsoon at 3:50 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Imagine a time lapse video of the whole thing. Multi-year, he said, just for future wings.
posted by filtergik at 5:22 PM on January 12

This is a man that does not have a cat.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:41 PM on January 12 [10 favorites]

I wonder if he has a glue problem, the kind of problem that can create great art.
posted by adept256 at 6:59 PM on January 12

At first I thought that it was a model of the plane in the film Airport, which is actually a Boeing 707.
posted by ovvl at 7:18 PM on January 12

I imagine this could actually be a nice hobby for someone who doesn't have a lot of space or money, but still would like to craft something interesting. Probably on a smaller scale, though. Some glue, a stack of paper, some sharp blades and tweezers, and there you go. A quick look in Google tells me that the proper search term is probably "papercraft".
posted by Harald74 at 10:04 PM on January 12

The thing that boggles the mind is the structural considerations. There’s no way cardstock holds up to load bearing the same way the real materials do, so it’s a wonder how he works out what’s going to work and what isn’t.
posted by juv3nal at 10:19 PM on January 12

My ideal plane: the seats don't recline.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:09 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

juv3nal: The thing that boggles the mind is the structural considerations. There’s no way cardstock holds up to load bearing the same way the real materials do, so it’s a wonder how he works out what’s going to work and what isn’t.

Scale makes a big difference here. To a rough approximation, strength varies by size^2 while weight varies by size^3. That's why insects can have such long, delicate legs and wings: They're small. It's also why there are no flying elephants: As thin cantilever wings get longer - necessary to efficiently support more weight - they get heavier faster than they get stronger. For a given material and wing configuration, there's a limit to how big of a wing you can make before it collapses.

Since he's making a small model, he can get away with using weaker, lighter materials. It's still an impressive feat, though, and the wings will still be a structural challenge.
posted by clawsoon at 10:03 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

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