Just about everyone knows how to fold a piece of paper into a very basic paper airplane, but those makeshift aircraft don’t usually do more than make a lackluster loop before crashing, nose-first, into the floor.
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Using their knowledge of advanced physics and aerodynamics, three former college friends turned Boeing engineers have come up with a design to make a brand new paper airplane. It takes about 20 minutes to fold their creation, and the design is so proprietary we can’t even show a photo of it, but there’s zero doubt that it flies like a bird.
Garrett Jensen and Dillon Ruble grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and are respectively the second and third generation in their families to work for Boeing, the American corporation that designs airplanes, rockets, satellites, missiles, and other flying vessels. Both recall attending Boeing “Family Day” events, which involved a paper-airplane-making contest. Dillon says folding paper, or Origami, became a “long-term passion” for himself and his friend.
While studying Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Missouri S&T, they met Nathan Erickson, a fellow engineering student who also went on to work for Boeing. When they got the idea to design a paper plane that could shatter the existing Farthest Flight By A Paper Aircraft world record, they used hypersonic aerospace vehicles as inspiration for their design.
They named their craft Mach 5, spending months perfecting the aerodynamics required to make their craft fly higher and farther than any other. After somewhere between 400 and 500 total work-hours, they were ready to take their shot!
The whole team, supported by a group of Boeing employees, gathered at an indoor sports facility in Crown Point, Indiana to attempt to break the existing record of 252 feet, 7 inches, which was set in 2022. Dillon did the actual throwing, and the first two throws fell just short of their goal.
The third shot sealed the deal!
This group of #TeamBoeing engineers from St. Louis officially broke the Guinness World Record for the farthest flight by a paper aircraft. 🌎— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) February 22, 2023
Read more about how Dillon and Garrett used their passion and knowledge for engineering: https://t.co/42RJgMqYEE#EngineersWeek @GWR pic.twitter.com/XXoY26osf6
Their airplane flew 289 feet, 9 inches, almost as long as a football field, beating the existing record by over 37 feet!
“We hope this record stands for quite a while — 290 feet (88 meters) is unreal,” Garrett said. “That’s 14 to 15 feet over the farthest throw we ever did. It took a lot of planning and a lot of skill to beat the previous record.”
These young men remind us that when we put our heads together, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. Well done!
Watch the video below to learn more about their record-breaking design, and don’t forget to share.
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