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Museums Announce Second Great Paper Airplane Contest

January 9, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ For the millions whose classroom boredom led to youthful flings at paper airplane construction, there will soon be a chance to win fame in the world of aeronautics.

The Second Great International Paper Airplane Contest was announced Tuesday by two of the nation’s leading aviation museums and a science magazine.

It’s been 18 years since Scientific American magazine launched the first contest, and organizers of the new event hope the strides made in building real aircraft since then will be reflected in their contest entries.

Walter J. Boyne, director of the National Air and Space Museum, said that ″imagination will be the key″ to this year’s event.

Joining Boyne’s museum in sponsoring the contest this year are the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., and Science 85 magazine.

The first paper airplane contest drew 11,851 entries from 28 nations and resulted in a book which stirred interest for years. Allen L. Hammond, editor of Science 85, said the organizers hope to receive as many as 20,000 entries this time.

The contest ″has genuine scientific aspects to it,″ in addition to being fun, said Boyne.

It will differ somewhat from the first event, to reflect changes in the design and construction of real aircraft, explained Howard Lovering, director of the Seattle museum.

Composite materials have become popular, in which fibers are layered to produce lightweight but strong materials to replace metals in airplanes, he said.

In response, Hammond said, the paper airplane contest rules will now permit entrants to glue layers of paper together, laminating them into rigid structures for sturdier and more interesting airplanes.

″Avenues will open up beyond what is apparent when clever people sit down with paper and glue,″ Boyne interjected, noting that such a process opens wide areas of new design for the paper plane makers.

″We believe this (change) will liberate the paper airplane builders of the world,″ Hammond said.

Hammond said he expects all records set in the first contest - and in subsequent local events - to be surpassed this year. The first international event resulted in an amateur distance record of 58 feet. The design entered by a professional engineer managed 90 feet in that event and likely could have done better, Hammond said, but it hit a wall.

In the new contest, the winners of the first three places in each division will be awarded the specially struck Bernoulli Medallion for paper aircraft design. The first place winners will be flown to Seattle in June for an awards ceremony.

The deadline for entries is May 1. The planes will be tested in a Boeing Aircraft Hanger in Seattle, Lovering said.

Each entry should have printed on it the name and address of the designer and should be marked with any special instructions for holding and launching it.

Categories are: professional for aeronautical engineers, teachers and graduate students in that field; nonprofessional for other adults, and junior for people under age 14. Events in each category will be time aloft, distance, aeronatics and design. Each flying machine can be entered in only one event and the event must be marked on the airplane.

Entries should be sent to the International Paper Airplane Contest, Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way South, Seattle, Wash., 98108.

Contest judges will be Michael Collins, former astronaut; Dennis Flanagan, editor emeritus of Scientific American; Ilan Kroo of the National Aviation and Space Administration; Yasuaki Ninomiya, a designer of toy airplanes, and Sheila Widnall, an aeronautics engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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