Red Bull Paper Wings is the world paper airplane championship, which is held by Red Bull under the rules developed by the Paper Aircraft Association (PAA). The final round of the 2015 competition took place in Red Bull’s Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria. More than 46,000 self-trained pilots put their extraordinary skills to the test in 535 tournaments across 4 continents and across 80 countries. These pilots competed in three different categories: Longest Distance, Longest Airtime and Acrobatics. Only one pilot from each category and country was able to travel to Austria, and finally only 197 participants from all over the world traveled to Salzburg.
On Friday, March 27th, a local Red Bull Paper Wings competition was hosted by Pi Kappa Alpha at the Yelvington Jet Aviation Hangar, in Daytona Beach. There were also 69 similar events in the whole US. One of the graduate students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Petros Garyfalakis won the Longest Distance and Longest Airtime categories in this event. He threw the paper plane 116.7 feet (35.57m) which was the best in the southern part of the country. Therefore, he represented our university and the South USA team in the Red Bull Paper Planes World Finals 2015 in Austria.
“I started to train hard two months before the event in Yelvington Jet Aviation Hangar at Embry-Riddle’s ICI center. I constructed a substantial number of paper planes in order to find this one, which flies better.” Petros said. He also mentioned, “It seems easy but someone has to spend hours to construct the best paper plane, to throw it and to understand its behavior in the air.” “It takes about 10 minutes to construct a good paper plane and maybe the center of gravity is wrong, but it takes months to throw it with the best technique”.
Petros had also represented his home country, Greece, back in 2012 for the same competition. That time he competed in Austria for the Longest Airtime category.
The Red Bull Paper Wings competition takes place every 3 years in Austria. Petros’ advice for the next participants is, “Start practicing now”.