Paper Airplane World Record Flight Attempt Foiled By Real Airplane

What is it with planes lately? First a prolonged airplane lavatory stay caused a national scare—again—and now another plane is responsible for ruining a world record attempt for, well, another plane. One made of paper. Updated.

It wasn't just any paper airplane though. It was one created and thrown by paper airplane master Takuo Toda during the second of ten Guinness World Record attempts in Japan this weekend.

The record for a paper airplane thrown by a human hand is 27.9 seconds aloft, you see, and when Toda let loose with his second throw of the day, he appeared well on his way to breaking that record. Then a parked plane, a real live one—made of metal and electronics and probably a bathroom—got in the way and ruined everything. Contact with the plane disqualified the throw, and with it any chance of breaking the record. Toda can take some solace in the fact that he currently holds that 27.9 second record. I guess.

Nevertheless, after nine qualified throws, Toda was still able to break the record for a paper-only airplane with a 26.1-second flight (his earlier disqualified one was for a plane with tape. Confused?). His technique is simple: Throw upward, not outward, and let the plane's simple origami-inspired design slowly bring it back down to earth in something of a spiral.

Update: Here's some video from May of Toda demonstrating his earlier world record attempt in an empty hangar. I absolutely love the sound the little plane makes when he chucks it up into the rafters:

Next on Toda's to-do list is a rather lofty goal, one far beyond 30-second trips around an airplane hangar with tiny planes made from sheets of paper and the occasional piece of tape. He wants to head into space, and once there he'd like to launch a paper airplane into the ether and down onto earth. He's been working with JAXA, Japan's space agency, on a specially designed, heat-resistant model that he believes can withstand a violent, super hot reentry into our planet's atmosphere. Just don't let that one hit any planes. Please. [Boston.com]