Move over Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Australia has a new aviation hero. Cameron Clark, from Montrose in Melbourne recently won gold in the longest airtime event at the Red Bull Paper Wings World Championships in Austria.
Making paper planes has long been a popular pastime for youngsters around the world, and most of us leave the activity behind in our adolescence. But, not the 176 competitors representing 58 countries who on Friday, May 17, came to show off their highly tuned, mad paper plane skills.
Red Bull describes the event on their website by stating: “Forget kerosene, jet engines and cockpits – Paper Wings takes just one piece of paper and its inventor and pilot’s ingenuity and skill, and then challenges them to fly their paper aeroplane further and longer than any of their rivals.”
The 19-year-old heard about one of the championship’s qualifying rounds being hosted at his University – Swinburne University of Technology.
He told the Daily Mail Australia, ”Why not? It is a bit of fun, and I will give it a go. I never thought I would end up at the paper plane world championships in Austria for just throwing planes at university.”
“I just wanted to go over and enjoy myself. I wasn’t considering placing or even winning, so it was crazier when I won.”
It was a gripping finale with an intense battle ensuing with fellow competitor Vince Scholl, from the UK, but, eventually, Cameron came out on top.
“Everyone gets two throws each and Vince’s first throw was really good. After my first throw, I was quite nervous because it didn’t go so well.”
Cameron said his championship-winning paper plane design wasn’t much different to the ones every other competitor was using.
“Mine was just a version of a basic design, but I modified it. The design for air time is to have a big wingspan and precise folds. That way it is well balanced and set up to stay in the air for as long as possible.”
Cameron earned the gold by throwing his paper plane into the air where it glided for an incredible 13.33 seconds. When it eventually landed on the ground by his feet, the crowd erupted in applause.
He brought his paper plane back home to Australia along with his new trophy, but said the airport security gave him, “Quite a few looks…
“Plan on keeping it as a bit of a token.” He said.
Cameron is hoping to smash his record at the next meet. All the best Cameron.