A young man from the town of Deerlijk in West Flanders, Hannes Deweer (22), broke a Belgian record when his paper aeroplane flew 48.5 metres far in one throw at the Red Bull Paper Wings final.
On Friday, the Belgian Championship took place in the Gare Maritime in Brussels, and Deweer only signed up a few days in advance “for fun.” Next month, he will be going to the World Championship in Austria.
“I am surprised at myself,” Deweer said. “I have no experience at all with paper aeroplane folding, and this is my first time participating in Red Bull Paper Wings.” Before the event, he did some research on how to fold paper planes. In total, he has only thrown his paper planes about 30 times as practice.
“The technique is mainly to fold very tightly, make a short run and then throw as hard as you can. It is similar to javelin throwing, so it is quite taxing on my arm. But it worked! It is incredible that I am going to the world final! I will do my best to make our country proud.”
The first edition of the competition took place in 2006, and Red Bull Paper Wings has become the official paper aeroplane world championship since then. The concept is simple: you fold an aeroplane with a sheet of A4 paper and can compete in two disciplines, Longest Distance and Longest Airtime.
Deweer set the record for Longest Distance, and Dries Feremans (26) set the record for Longest Airtime.
“As the defending champion in the Longest Distance category, I thought that this would be a piece of cake. It should normally work perfectly with the plane I always use, but the paper was a bit heavier this time, so there was too much weight on the back, and it started to go down,” Feremans said.
He tried again for the Airtime category and managed to break the Belgian record, to his own surprise. “I had not practised specifically for that category, so I was extremely surprised when my little plane stayed in the air for 16 seconds.”
Like Deweer, Feremans is “incredibly happy” that he can still go to the world final, which will take place in Hangar-7 in the Austrian city of Salzburg on 13 and 14 May.
In addition to the title of world champion paper aeroplane throwing, the winner also gets a unique flying experience with the Flying Bulls Aerobatics Team.