“October 8th, 1998 will be a date I long remember. On my 10th and last official throw I could tell it would be a long flight. A long silent moment after the plane landed the official time was announced – 27.6 seconds! Few will ever realize the emotions I felt and the reasons why.”
Ever since he was ten years old, Ken Blackburn loved learning how to make paper airplanes. It went from interest, to hobby, all the way to passion as he perfected his favorite designs throughout his teen years. As a college student in ’83, he broke the paper airplane world record for the first time. Time aloft: 16.89 seconds.
Blackburn, a pleasant man with unique talent, went into the field of aerodynamic engineering. Continuing to learn how to make paper airplanes better and better, he broke his own world record several times in the 80s and early 90s.
Finally, in 1998, after months of designing and physical training (I kid you not), Blackburn set the record that no one has touched so far: 27.6 seconds.
How to Make Paper airplanes fly WELL
So, you ask – What’s this guy’s secret?
That’s what I wanted to know. I mean, I’m lucky if I get my plane to fly for over 5 seconds!
The trick to long lasting flight, according to Blackburn, is to throw the paper airplane near vertically as fast as you can. Just to give you an idea of “how fast”, Blackburn throws his at 60 mph.
Then, the paper airplane has to glide down easy, and not dive as some have the tendency to do. In order to perform all this, you need to learn how to make paper airplanes that have a somewhat weighted nose, but that also glide very slowly.
Lastly, it takes adjustments, and perseverance. Throw, make adjustment. Throw again, make another adjustment, etc. Blackburn made hundreds of practice throws before he went for the world record. By then, his planes were fine-tuned to perfection.
To more information on Ken Blackburn, and the world record paper airplane flight, visit his site at http://paperplane.org.
As for me, I’ve been inspired to go outside and throw some more airplanes – I’ll let you know how long I can get them to stay in the air! My 2 favorite patterns (for the time being) are the EAGLE and the COBRA – but I’m always on the look-out for cool paper airplanes….
So stay tuned!