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Tue, Dec 29, 2009

Origami Airplane Captures New World Record

Japanese Engineer Gets Closer To 30-Second Goal

Takuo Toda ended his 10-trial run on Sunday less than 4 seconds from his goal of a full 30-second flight for a paper airplane.  The 10cm-long plane was flown in a Japan Airlines hangar near Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

Toda is the head of the Japan Origami Airplane Association and is well-known world-wide for his ability to fold paper aircraft.  The aircraft he flew Sunday followed traditional Japanese origami rules that require objects to be made from a single sheet of paper that is not cut or pasted.

The craft did not hit Toda's April World Record flight time of 27.9 seconds, but that plane included a piece of tape.  Although Guiness allows cellophane tape, Toda instead used a new design and left off the tradition-busting adhesive.  The 26.1-second flight was still wrote a record of its own as the longest flight of a paper-only aircraft.

Throwing the paper airplane correctly is critical to gaining altitude and achieving a long flight.  Toda suggests aiming upward to allow the airplane to gain altitude before circling slowly back to the ground.  Aiming away from nearby objects is also a good idea: impacts with aircraft parked in the JAL hangar ended two of Toda's best throws.

"I will get the 30-second record," Toda said. "It's just a matter of time."

Toda recently made headlines by proposing a paper aircraft that could survive reentry from space.  Plans for a 2009 launch to the International Space Station were put on hold while space agencies tried to determine how the aircraft would be tracked as they glided back to the ground.

FMI: www.GuinnessWorldRecords.com/

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