Careful folds are important, Collins says, and making sure the rear of the plane is crisp and free from unnecessary creases will give your plane a more stable flight.
Most of Collins' designs are made with a single sheet of standard 8.5x11 paper, and he is capable of building an incredible number of designs with just one sheet, but some are more complex, like this starship-inspired design with two sets of wings.
Collins' designs have evolved significantly from your basic folds, and he has even built landing gear into his designs.
His original landing gear design was made for wood floors, but when he moved to an apartment with thick shag carpeting, Collins built the landing gear into pontoon-like feet, allowing the plane to easily skim across thick carpeting.
In 2009, Collins attempted to break the world record for paper airplane time aloft with his "follow foil."
Using a full sheet of phone book paper, Collins designed a new category of paper airplane you fly using a piece of cardboard. Essentially one big wing, the follow foil is a single length of paper with a simple fold on either end. The tumbling wing is light enough to stay aloft with the updraft created by the angled cardboard, and Collins was able to fly this design for more than 30 minutes.
He showed a video of his 30-minute flight to the judges at the Guinness World Records. He says they were impressed with his creativity, commended his design, and said it was amazing, but then promptly changed their definition of paper plane flights to exclude this sort of flight from the paper plane record attempts.
When it comes down to the science behind flight, the concepts of plane design are simple, Collins says. A typical 8.5x11 sheet of paper weighs 2.2 grams, and bigger wings don't have to work as hard as small wings to lift the same amount of paper.
Lift, weight, and drag are the three concepts central to paper plane design, and achieving a balance between the center of lift and the center of gravity will give you a nice, long glide and maximum time aloft.
This plane, one of my favorite of Collins', is a smooth and steady stunt plane called The Boomerang. With small tweaks to the wings, the plane will fly in a number of different flight patterns, circling left, circling right, or even making vertical loops.
Positive dihedral angle, Collins says, is the secret to plane flight and one of the most commonly overlooked concepts in paper plane flight.
It sounds complicated, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand how to build the best wing. By having the wings leave the body of the plane with an upward sweep, you'll get a better, more accurate flight and a plane that's easier to control. Just tilt the wings upward instead of downward for a better paper plane, Collins says.