Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Paper plane pilots seeking international glory



Paper plane pilots seeking international glory

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Competitor Isaac Queiroz Leite throws his paper plane a winning distance of 40.3m during the national Red Bull Paper Wings paper airplane throwing championships. AFP

Paper plane pilots seeking international glory

More than a century after their beloved countryman Alberto Santos-Dumont made aviation history, young Brazilians are taking to the skies seeking international glory of their own . . . with paper airplanes.

Eight finalists took part on Monday in a heated competition in Rio de Janeiro to pick Brazil’s entrants for the world paper airplane championships in Salzburg, Austria in May.

Now in its sixth edition, Red Bull Paper Wings 2022 will pit representatives of 62 countries against each other in contests to decide the world’s best paper airplane flyers in both distance and airtime.

The Brazilian qualifiers were held at the Museum of Tomorrow, a sleek structure opened in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics whose exhibitions have included tributes to Santos-Dumont (1873-1932), a national hero who won the Deutsch prize in 1901 for being the first person to pilot a dirigible airship around the Eiffel Tower.

Flying in the face of aviation historians, many Brazilians also insist the legendary bon vivant was the first to fly an airplane, and not the Wright brothers.

His would-be heirs face what some might consider an equally quixotic challenge: using a standard piece of 100-gram (3.5-ounce) A4 paper, create and fly the best-performing paper planes in the world.

Brazil has won the world championships twice, in 2006 and 2009, both in the airtime category.

Rockets and gliders

Eight students in fields as diverse as engineering, veterinary medicine and nutrition took part in Monday’s finals, after surviving preliminary qualifiers with an initial field of 2,500 entrants.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A competitor makes a paper plane during the national Red Bull Paper Wings paper airplane throwing championships at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro. AFP

Standing on an indoor competition tract painted like an airport runway, they artfully tossed their paper creations aloft into the bright sunlight shining through the museum’s high, airy dome.

Jose Silva, a 24-year-old computer science major from the central-western city of Goiania, was competing in his second qualifiers.

“Planes built for distance are like rockets,” he explained.

“Planes built for airtime are like gliders, with wide wings.”

His own airtime entry came in at 2.11 seconds, losing to that of 19-year-old Pedro Cruz Capriotti, at 7.61 seconds, and well off the world record of 27.9 seconds held by Takuo Toda of Japan.

The distance category was won by 19-year-old Isaac Queiroz Leite, with a flight of 40.3m.

He will be chasing a world record of 69.1m, held by Joe Ayoob of the US.

Third-place finisher Richard Amorin, 23, was confident team Brazil would shine in Austria.

Like Santos-Dumont, “Brazilians always manage to find a way,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Khmer influence growing in Hollywood

    The rare success of The Cleaning Lady – an American TV series which stars Cambodian-French Hollywood actress Elodie Yung – sheds some light on Asian immigrants to the US, yet a significant representation gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) exists both on screen and behind

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of