The most popular belief about when the first paper airplane was flown is attributed to the Chinese, who flew paper airplanes about 2,000 years ago.
Two French brothers, Jacques and Joseph Montgolfier, made a hot air balloon out of paper on Sept. 19, 1783. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, the brothers eventually piloted their invention, making it the first hot air balloon flight the same year.
Orville and Wilbur Wright used paper airplanes to gain insight for wing structure and airfoils executed in wind tunnels to help with the design which led to the first human-carrying powered plane on Dec. 17, 1903.
The second World War caused wood, plastic and metal to be scarce and toys were not made due to wartime restrictions. In 1944, as a marketing ploy, General Mills offered to send children two model paper airplanes for two Wheaties box tops and five cents.The paper models were small replicas of the World War II fighter planes. A child could collect all 14 models.
The celebration of National Paper Airplane Day was the idea of Raymond Bailey, Lane’s Coordinator of Library Circulation Services. The planning committee includes volunteers from the library, Student Life and Leadership, Academic Technology and the Writing Center.
Planning committee members were distracted by the fun of making and flying paper airplanes at the meeting — details of the event were a challenge to plan.
“The paper airplane’s were flyin’!” library assistant Cynthia Kocsis said.
This is the library’s first National Paper Airplane Day event and took a month of planning. The celebration is taking place on the eve of the holiday due to the long weekend. The actual holiday is on May 26.
“We hope students, faculty and staff have a fun and relaxing time! Who doesn’t like paper airplanes?” Kocsis said.
Prizes are plane themed and participants have a chance to win within several categories. Some of the categories included are: best design, longest flight distance and “will it fly?”
The National Paper Airplane Day celebration will take place in the Center Building in front of the library on the second floor on Thursday May 25. Construction of airplanes begins at 11:30 a.m. and supplies will be provided. The competition begins at 12:30 p.m.