Richard Jeffcote of Canterbury University has taken out the Red Bull Paper Wings aerobatics section. This means he will be travelling to Austria to represent New Zealand in an all expenses paid trip to the Paper Wings World Finals alongside pilot Joshua Stuart of the distance section and Max Betteridge of the airtime section.
Paper Wings took flight at 8 universities across the country, with 496 pilots entering the competition with hopes of representing New Zealand in the Paper Wings world finals in Austria.
This unique event allowed students from universities all over New Zealand to enter one of three disciplines - longest distance, longest airtime or most aerobatic with one winner from each section across the country flying to Austria for the finals on the 4th and 5th of May.
The aerobatics section was the only section judged not by best score on the day, but by an online vote. Each universities winning aerobatics video was uploaded and judged by both public vote and with help from Chuck Berry (B.A.S.E Jumper and Wingsuit Flyer) and Steve Dunstan of Huffer clothing. The aerobatics section was based on creativity, flight performance and construction, and in the end, Richard Jeffcote could not be beat.
Chuck Berry said, “I like the combination of a reversal maneuver with a circuit, flown around a spectator finished off with a catch. This flight required precision & knowledge of the paper plane flight characteristics”.
Richard was “over the moon” after finding out he had won.
“My plane was based on a design I read from a book when I was younger. The first time I remember making a paper plane was when I won a craft comp in primary school” says Richard.
When asked about future alterations to his plane for the finals, Richard replied, “I’ll probably try and make something that’s a bit more consistent and interesting and get out there and win it”.
The overall winner of the distance section, Joshua Stuart from Otago, flew his paper dart a whopping 43.60 metres. A result that couldn’t be beaten by any other student, therefore securing him a spot in the World Final’s Team.
The current world record for distance is 226 feet and 10 inches, but Joshua isn’t phased. “It's all about the paper dart”, he says. “Mine's narrow like a javelin that can just be thrown as hard and fast as possible and it spins through the air like a bullet, keeping it going straight. The American's might be ahead so far but I'm sure with some practice the New Zealand team could give them some stiff competition.”
Winner of the airtime section, Max Betteridge from Palmerston North, kept his plane in the air for 6.82 seconds. “I just copied what I saw on YouTube this morning and practiced for about 3 hours after hearing about the event today”. He will be one of the three students representing New Zealand in the world finals, which he says is “unexpected but amazing”.
The three winners will be departing on Wednesday 2nd May to Austria in time for the World Finals at Red Bull Hanger 7.