The Scottish Qualifier for Red Bull Paper Wings kicked off at Glasgow Caledonian University on Friday 30th March 2012. Students from around the city came together to hone their paper plane crafting skills, with a spot in Team GB for the finals in Austria in their sights. With the hype leading up to the event and DJ Artax creating the atmosphere on the decks, it looked set to be a good day.
The lecture hall, where the event was being held, in the George Moore Building started filling up from 1 o’clock with swarms of eagerly waiting pilots looking forward to getting started on their planes. While it was always going to be a tongue-in-cheek event, there was no mistaking the competitive spirit in the air, with the pilots all determined to make sure their plane was the best.
Keith Riddoch’s was the first to step up to the runway, brandishing three different planes, carefully crafted in a different way for each of the categories; distance, airtime and aerobatics. His impressive 9.55m in the distance competition was followed by a succession of successful flights from other competitors as the day started getting into full swing. Emmanuel Jack’s 14.84m flight stood at the top of the leader board for most of the day until Nick Lowden came in about an hour before the end and sent his plane 20m across the room, claiming top spot in the distance category.
It became evident that a flight lasting over three seconds would be needed to top the airtime competition and Austrian Erasmus student, Maggie Finatur, did just that, sending her glider through the air for 3.18 seconds.
The aerobatics category brought out the artistic, creative side of the pilots, with lots of them putting extra effort and time into pimping out the image of their planes with bright colours and extra folds to impress the judges. After a number of decent flights consisting of loop the loops, twists and twirls, Sarah Kinsey stepped up and threw her plane into a series of spectacular flips and spins, before landing smoothly on the floor. Her colourful design ensured that she went straight into number 1 spot and ended up winning the aerobatics category.
All in all the day was a success, with the competitors and spectators alike, enjoying a terrific atmosphere in what was a great start to the weekend. As this was the last qualifier, it won’t be long until Team GB is announced, as the pilots across the country eagerly wait to hear if their flights were impressive enough to earn them a ticket to the finals at Hanger 7 in Austria in May.
By Scott McCallion