Paper planes are the stuff childhood dreams are made of. I’m almost certain every pilot flying commercially these days grew up experimenting with updraft, wingspan, and all manner of rudimentary rocket science using only a sheet of paper and the limits of the human imagination.
I remember printing out pages lined with Microsoft Publisher’s Paper Plane templates, and then experimenting further. On one occasion my sisters and I produced a garbage bag full of 100 paper planes. It was our airforce. I don’t think they made it much further than the bin.
This is a pretty long preamble to point out an awesome world record that just about anybody can break – provided you’ve got about 10,000 hours of spare time available to master the origamic art of Paper Plane Making.
Japan’s Takuo Toda is the current world record holder and, as such, the world’s premier paper plane pilot. He shares this tip in an article on a recent failed attempt to best his own record.
“In the world of competitive paper airplane throwing, a 20-second flight is exceptional, 25 or better is world class.”
Toda said that the secret to throwing a paper airplane is to aim upward — not straight — so that it has time to gain altitude and slowly circle back to the ground. Toda appeared to be on his way to a record Sunday, but his second and best throw was ruled a foul because it hit a passenger jetliner parked nearby.
“It’s really a sport,” he said. “The throwing technique is very delicate.”
Here is the video of Toda’s world record flight.
Here’s a template from Wired for that plane.