Paper airplane landing gear

Screengrab via WIRED/YouTube

Man builds an exact replica of a Boeing 777—out of paper

This amazing paper airplane is a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance.


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 11, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 5:05 am CDT

Most of us started building paper airplanes when were kids. In case you missed out, here’s some quick instructions.

Paper airplane instructions
Screengrab via Ushakaron/Wikipedia (Public Domain)

Or maybe you want to get fancy and make something like this.

paper jet
Screengrab via Ushakaron/Wikipedia (Public Domain)

Or maybe you’d like to dedicate years of your life to constructing a 1/60th scale model Boeing 777 with realistic retractable landing gear and moving wing flaps.

That’s what a designer named Luca Iaconi-Stewart has been doing. Using just folded manila file folders and glue, he’s created a paper airplane that’s mind-blowing in its attention to detail.

He’s been working on the model for almost ten years, and what he’s been able to create is nothing short of astounding. Iaconi-Stewart says the project started as a school assignment, but soon turned into something more, something much much more.

It now includes:

Moving flaps on the wings:

Screengrab via WIRED/YouTube

Miniature lamps over the seats in first class:

paper airplane lamps
Screengrab via WIRED/YouTube

And complex landing gear that are made to fold up into the plane:

Screengrab via WIRED/YouTube

Perhaps more amazing then all the hours spent cutting and gluing is the fact that Iaconi-Stewart isn’t working from any plans. He researches and designs all the parts himself. He even has a tub full of parts that didn’t work and had to be removed. He jokingly refers to it as “The plane crash.”

The plane crash 1
Screengrab via WIRED/YouTube

“I really enjoy the sense of calm and meditation that it brings when I really get into the building process,” the designer told WIRED.

But that isn’t the only benefit he’s derived from working on the plane. He was also recently asked to help create an advertisement for Singapore Airlines, which shows off his signature attention to detail.

And he got a tour of a Boeing facility where they were constructing an actual 777. “I actually got really up close to these planes and that was an amazing experience.” he said, “Their assembly line is a feat of engineering.”

And if anybody would know a feat of engineering when he sees, it’s this guy.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart visits Boeing
Screengrab via WIRED


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*First Published: Jan 11, 2018, 1:55 pm CST