National Paper Airplane Day | May 26
(Last Updated On: May 22, 2023)


On May 26th each year, National Paper Airplane Day honors the simple aeronautical toy that has been around for thousands of years.


National Paper Airplane Day provides an excuse to play! This inexpensive, healthy, and stimulating form of entertainment brings lots of joy, too. In other words, put down your smartphones and get outside for some primitive fun!

Did you know?
  • Many believe the use of paper airplanes originated 2,000 years ago in China.
  • The earliest known date of the creation of modern paper planes was said to have been 1909.
  • The largest paper aircraft had a wingspan of 59.74 ft. Students and employees from Germany created it on 28th September 2013.
  • Joe Ayoob recorded the longest distance flown by a paper airplane in February 2012. His plane flew 226 feet, 10 inches.
  • The longest-lasting paper airplane flight flew 29.2 seconds.

There is more than one way to fold paper for a test flight. Find tips for designs at


You can celebrate in a variety of ways. From challenges to creating new designs, paper airplane making is for everyone! Whether you play all day or just a few minutes, invite someone to join you. It is a great way to share the fun.

  • Test your paper airplane-making skills!
  • Like the paper airplane day Facebook page to join in on the festivities.
  • Watch flights on YouTube.
  • Use #PaperAirplaneDay to share on social media.

Educators and families, visit the National Day Classroom to discover fun ways to Celebrate Every Day!

Q: The four forces that influence the flight of a paper airplane are thrust, lift, gravity, and drag.
How do these forces impact your paper airplane?

When you throw the plane forward, this is called thrust.
Lift is a force that acts on the wings and helps the plane to move up. Big wings increase lift.
Gravity pulls the plane down. The right materials create a lighter aircraft that stays up for longer.
The tail of the plane causes drag. It is the opposite of thrust, and it makes the plane slow down.

Q: Paper airplane contests compete for the top place in what two categories?

A: Distance and Time to float.

How did you do?


We were unable to determine the origin of National Paper Airplane Day.

May 26th Celebrated History


American Civil War officially ends when General Simon Bolivar Buckner of the Army of Trans-Mississippi enters terms of surrender.


Author Bram Stoker publishes Dracula. The book launches Gothic Fiction as a genre and stirred the world’s fascination with vampires.


Congressman Martin Dies Jr. establishes the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate Americans’ communist activities.


A full supermoon and lunar eclipse displays during the early morning hours across the western United States.

May 26th Celebrated Birthdays

Dorothea Lange – 1895

The American photographer and photojournalist documented The Great Depression in the United States with photography. One of her most iconic images is Migrant Mother, a photo of Florence Owens Thompson, a young mother facing a stark reality that defined the era.

Aaron Douglas – 1899

A prominent artist during the Harlem Renaissance, Aaron Douglas illustrated several novels, Harper’s and Vanity Fair. He also created several murals around the country including Fisk University in Nashville and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. Visit to view Into Bondage (1936).

Marion Mitchell Morrison – 1907

Marion Mitchell Morrison, otherwise known as John Wayne, began his acting career under the guidance of director John Ford. Noted for his Westerns, John Wayne also took on war and political dramas. Nominated for three Academy Awards, The Duke would earn Best Actor for the Western True Grit in 1969.

Peggy Lee – 1920

Jazz singer, Peggy Lee, shared her Fever for music and got her big break when she began to sing for Benny Goodman. Nominated for 12 Grammys, Lee won for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for “Is That All There Is?” in 1969. In 1999, Lee was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Miles Davis – 1926

The award-winning American jazz musician gained recognition in the 1970s for his performances and recordings. His innovative style gained him respect, and his music still influences artists today.

Stevie Nicks – 1948

Solo artist, Stevie Nicks, is best known for her vocals with the band Fleetwood Mac.

Sally Ride – 1951

In June 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Aboard the space shuttle Challenger, Ride completed a week-long mission launching communication satellites. She later would become a champion of science education.

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