Monday, March 11, 2013

The Paper Airplane Guy

I'd heard that an appearance by The Paper Airplane Guy was not to be missed, so we headed down to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum to see him.  John Collins is the current holder of the world record for having designed and made the paper airplane that travelled the longest distance, a whopping 226' 10"!  He wisely recruited a former Cal State quarterback to throw it for him.  Mr. Collins showed us another plane which he had designed earlier to break the world record for the longest flight duration.  He said after watching that world record throw on the web, he decided he'd have to design a plane that wouldn't require quite so much effort to throw.  The plane he came up with was incredibly ingenious;  he merely had to follow it; walking steadily and holding something flat beneath it to generate lift in order for it to continue flying for very long periods.  He said he walked around San Francisco's Exploratorium flying his airplane for half an hour for his world record submission.  But when the judges reviewed his submission they commended him on his cleverness but decided they would be changing the rules to prohibit his solution!  How unfair is that? Thank goodness he was undaunted and continued his pursuit of a world record!  We loved all his planes, which all had unique and amazing flight patterns. My favorite was the "bat plane" which flaps  its wings in a remarkably lifelike way.  He accompanied demonstrations with detailed explanations of the science behind their flight.  Mr. Collins has two wonderful books, The Gliding Flight and  Fantastic Flight, which contain detailed instructions for making some jaw-dropping planes, and  a third, The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book: Featuring the Guinness World Record-Breaking Design, with Tear-Out Planes to Fold and Fly is due to be released this month!  He even has an iPhone app which provides step-by-step animated instructions!

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