In a demonstration of its own commitment to creativity, art, science and community, Loves Data sponsored a special paper plane folding and flying workshop for children at a local school near the company’s offices. The workshop was presented by the Paper Pilots, Dylan Parker and James Norton, whose story of reaching the World Paper Plane Championships inspired an episode of Australian Story on ABC TV and the hit children’s movie ‘Paper Planes’.
Dylan and James reached new altitudes of excitement when Caitlin Hodgson from Loves Data produced two pairs of Google Glass, for them to record photographs and videos of take-offs, flights and landings.
The workshop for Loves Data was a precursor to the appearance of the Paper Pilots at the Halogen Foundation’s National Young Leaders Days in Sydney in front of 6,000 school children at the Qantas Entertainment Centre.
After meeting at university they recognised their passion for paper planes and combined forces. Their drive took them all the way to the 2009 World Paper Plane Championships in Austria where Dylan placed third in the distance category.
James explained that you can fold your paper plane with wide wings for height and flight duration or tightly like a dart for maximum speed. Arching back like an Olympic javelin thrower he launched one of his bullet planes. Easily covering the length of the school hall, the plane lodged itself tightly in the rafters out of reach. “That’s not littering kids, it’s called losing a toy!” James exclaimed joyfully.
After years of perfecting paper plane folding, the Paper Pilots have developed their own signature designs such as the super sharp ‘Raptor’ for distance, the cylindrical ‘Vortex’ which barrels forward while rotating at right angles to the direction it's heading in.
Then there are the gliders with wide wings enabling long and stable flight; flying upwards and circling like a bird. The Paper Pilots’ ‘Manta Ray’ truly belongs to the space age with its ability to glide through the air while lowering itself in distinct stages as if descending stairs.
The workshop ended with friendly competition between the Orange Mangoes (Dylan’s team) and the Flying Bananas (James’ team). Loves Data stepped in to calculate the results using a mobile phone to scan QR codes placed next to coloured cones marking distances at 1 metre intervals up to 15 metres.
It was an impressive display of paper plane folding and flying by the budding pilots. Two of the students achieved a distance of 13 metres with their planes. The Orange Mangoes won the day flying their planes 6.45 metres on average with the Flying Bananas at 5.1 metres on average.