In elementary school, building paper airplanes was just for fun to see who could fly the farthest in the class. Today, this playground pastime has been transformed into something much bigger. Red Bull has created a contest to see who can craft the best paper airplanes in the world.
Pittsburgh is hosting a qualifying event for the Red Bull Paper Wings paper airplane competition, with students from Point Park, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh all competing for a free trip and a place in the final competition that will take place in Salzburg, Austria.
Molly Burns is thrilled to participate in her second Red Bull competition next Sunday. Last year she competed in the Red Bull: Can You Make It Campaign with two other team members and this year she will be competing in the Paper Wings Pittsburgh Qualifier.
Frequent Red Bull drinker Tyler Bogden has helped out at Red Bull sponsored events on campus and watched their televised events, but this will be his first time participating in an event.
Ali Chain and Tyler Curry will also be first time event participants, and are both very excited to visit the multi-million dollar airplane hangar they will be spending the day in.
These Point Park students are all gearing up to head to the Atlantic Aviation KPIT in Coraopolis, PA to participate in the first Red Bull Paper Wings competition in four years in one of 75 U.S. qualifying events.
Students are able to enter three different categories: longest distance, longest airtime, and aerobatics. There is no limit on how many they can enter.
The distance and airtime categories have strict rules to follow for the building and throwing or airplanes. Each plane must be made on site with only standard letter sized piece of paper and may only be modified by folding. The throw must be done by one contestant, unaided, and the launcher may only move past the throwing line once the plane has landed.
In contrast, the aerobatics contest has a much looser code of conducts. Contestant may build their planes before or during the event, with no restricts on paper size, weight, or quality. Launchers have one minute to show off their aerobatic skills to the judging panel, who will judge the construction, creativity and flight performance of each plane.
No plane may be remote controlled or use stored energy.
Burns, a junior Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management major says she and Chain, a junior dance major, are expecting an exciting environment; “We are expecting the environment to be fun filled and action packed. We’ve seen videos on YouTube from other universities and cannot wait to see what type of event Point Park has planned!”
Bogden, a freshman SAEM major, is pumped to see how far other aircraft builder will take their creations. “I’m most excited to see the crazy airplanes that people make, ‘cause I know traditional airplanes you can make out of a napkin don’t go very far, but I have a feeling there’s going to be some serious airplane building going on.”
Senior dance major, Curry, says that he is ready for anything because Point Park has really encouraged him to come out of his shell and participate in other events like this, “coming here, and I guess it’s part of growing up, Alex (Jones, PPU Red Bull Representative) mentioned this, and I was like, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never flown a paper airplane before,’ but why not?”
The event will take place Sunday, March 22 from 12p.m. to 2p.m. with a shuttle leaving the First Avenue Parking Lot at 11 Wood Street at 10:30a.m.