May 1, 2007 This video is a bit of fun: Alan Adler, inventor of the Aerobie flying disc, throwing his Orbiter boomerang in Aloha Stadium, followed by Frisbee champ John Kirkland hurling an Aerobie right out of the stadium. For the record, Adler is also the inventor of the innovative coffee machine, the Aeropress.
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Adler, erstwhile engineering consultant to Stanford University, and also the inventor of one of Gizmag's favourite early-morning office necessities, has come up with quite a range of outdoor toys - from his famous spinning discs to spiral-spinning ootballs to a better yo-yo. But it's the Aerobie that has caught the world's imagination.
The venerable 'frisbee on steroids' - unchanged in its basic design since 1984 - holds the Guinness World Record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature." The record, set in 2003 by Erin Hemmings, still stands at an astonishing 1,333 feet, more than a quarter mile. Training to throw the Aerobie such distances came with its own difficulties - poor Hemmings had to go collect each of his 15 Aerobies after throwing them.
I'm sure many readers can sympathise; I know I can, having watched countless times as an Aerobie sailed over my head, my brothers laughing as I turned to start the long walk to get it.
Adler explains the aerodynamic science behind the ring's almost magical ability to sail huge distances in a scientific paper published on the Aerobie website. He also speculates that a larger Aerobie could fly significantly farther than the original - but is unlikely to be produced as it would be too large to fit in toy store displays.
Thank heavens for that - personally I think a quarter of a mile is just about far enough to walk to get your flying disc back, and I'm sure Erin Hemmings would agree!