The very serious French national school of civil aviation (ENAC) in Toulouse, south western France, was recently transformed into a paper ‘plane airport. This qualifying stage of the Red Bull Paper Wings, in fact began in early February in the ENAC gymnasium. The competitors had to fly their ‘planes over the longest distance, the longest time, or produce the most aerobatic manœuvres possible.
For the 89 students in the running, it all started with the folding, which was not easy to concentrate on, in the highly charged atmosphere. Some took it in their stride, others with more difficulty and each with their own technique - or not.
Red Bull Paper Wings candidates
- « Last night we spent three hours trying to fold airplanes ; we'll see what happens. »
- « We cheated a little, by looking on the internet to see who, and what, won last year, and based our ideas on that. »
-« We’ve been preparing all week ; we are committed, and here to win. »
And to take first place, aerodynamics is not everything ; the launch is also important. Here, too, each one has their method. Some concentrate on wrist action, whilst others prefer maximum momentum.
The launch is sometimes full of surprises. And sometimes the aircraft does not quite follow its intended path, leading to heated reactions, but always good humoured.
Red Bull Paper Wings candidates :
- « I have trouble talking, I'm disappointed with my performance. I did better in training and the warm-ups. »
- « We’ll go and watch the others, but up to now it looks really interesting. »
- « For me it did not go well at all. »
Once past the seven qualifying stages, the top three French candidates will join their counterparts from the 82 other competing countries in the grand finale, due to be held in Salzburg, Austria, on 8th and 9th May.
The winners of the World Paper ‘Plane Championship will have the chance to fly with the Flying Bulls aerobatic team - thrills guaranteed.