Aircraft

US team breaks Guinness World Record for highest paper airplane flight

US team breaks Guinness World ...
A view of Earth captured from the paper airplane at 96,563 feet (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
A view of Earth captured from the paper airplane at 96,563 feet (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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A view of Earth captured from the paper airplane at 96,563 feet (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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A view of Earth captured from the paper airplane at 96,563 feet (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
Commander Maj John Fletcher poses with airplane after recovery (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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Commander Maj John Fletcher poses with airplane after recovery (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
The GPS track log of the balloon and paper airplane (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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The GPS track log of the balloon and paper airplane (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
Launching the balloon and paper airplane from Kankakee, IL (Photo: Manda Larson)
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Launching the balloon and paper airplane from Kankakee, IL (Photo: Manda Larson)
Lift-off and climb-out of the balloon and paper (Photo: Manda Larson)
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Lift-off and climb-out of the balloon and paper (Photo: Manda Larson)
Cadets and Senior Officers preparing aircraft for launch (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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Cadets and Senior Officers preparing aircraft for launch (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
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For most people, paper airplanes are something you launched across school classrooms as a kid. A team of US Air Force auxiliary volunteers, however, has been taking it far more seriously. The team launched a paper airplane from a high-altitude balloon at 96,563 ft (29,432 m), taking the world record in the process.

In a press release on its website, the US Fox Valley Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol, reports that the paper airplane was launched from Kankakee, Illinois, and landed 82 miles (132 km) away, Southwest of Rochester, Indiana. The flight took just under 2 hours and 7 minutes.

Commander Maj John Fletcher poses with airplane after recovery (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
Commander Maj John Fletcher poses with airplane after recovery (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)

The paper airplane, designed by the cadets themselves, is said to have a traditional shape and is made out of paper board. It is 30 inches (76 cm) long with a wingspan of 14.5 in (36.8 cm). It weighs in at 424 g (15 oz). The plane was fitted with a GPS tracking system, temperature sensors, barometric pressure sensor, flight computer, batteries, solar panel and HD video camera for recording its flight.

In order to launch the plane, it was attached to a large helium balloon that carried it up to altitude before bursting. When the balloon burst, the plane's flight computer cut itself away in order to begin its descent.

The GPS track log of the balloon and paper airplane (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)
The GPS track log of the balloon and paper airplane (Photo: 1st Lt Gary Brown)

Assuming the record is verified by Guinness, the Fox Valley Composite Squadron will claim the title from the UK-based PARIS team and its Vulture 1 paper airplane. The PARIS team set the existing record in October 2010, having met and organized its project through tech blog The Register, which has reported the news and hinted that the PARIS team may seek to reclaim the title.

Source: Fox Valley Composite Squadron

View gallery - 6 images
11 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is way cool. I like the design of the paper airplane.
Slowburn
Not the paper airplane design I would use.
David Clarke
Shame there wasn't a video to go with this article! It says the plane was made from paper board. This sounds more like cardboard and not paper (or am I being picky?)
Satweavers
The video is available at (if we're allowed to post links):
http://www.foxcap.org/content/nearspaceballoon
Albert Feyen
David Colton Clarke, you are being picky. Cardboard is made of several layers of paper. But I agree it would have been cool to see a video of the whole flight.
ivan4
As several of us noted over at The Register, was it in fact a paper aeroplane as it didn't have a pilot as did PARIS.
Bob
Did it break the sound barrier? It could well have been the fastest paper plane ever to fly(drop) through the sky.
Graham Hanson
What about the paper plane flight from 31,849 m in UK last December, as far as I know 31,849 m is quite a lot higher than 29,432 m
http://ava.upuaut.net/?p=650 and http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=1469
Graham
pmshah
Money and energy that could have seen better use. So what is next ? A paper plane mounted chemical bomb or a biological weapon that can't be detected by radar ?
Muhanned Mohammed
WOW!!