Ground control to pilots

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Forget cockpits, jet engines and the sweet smell of kerosene. All the equipment needed is an ordinary sheet of paper. But the recipe for success also requires a strong dose of exceptional folding abilities as well as creativity, imagination, and a strong grasp of basic aeronautic rules.

More than 46,000 self-trained pilots have already put their extraordinary skills to the test in 535 tournaments across four continents to see who will make it to the world’s top paper plane contest.

Those lucky and skilled enough to qualify to the finals and represent one of the 80 countries in competition will put their skills to the test once more at Hangar-7 to compete amid the world’s most spectacular flying machines on display.

The World Finals are a truly global sports event with the largest participation of countries known to a single event and 197 participants.

A star-studded jury has already picked the regional winners in some categories going into the May finals with the 2015 record for distance at 57.7m , set by Canada’s Addison Asuchak. Fellow Canadian Steven Jones holds the record for airtime with 9.91s while Germany’s Jasmin Geschke leads aerobatics with 30 points.

Whether it is paper plane legends and world record holders such as John Collins or Ken Blackburn, both of whom are returning judges to the competition, or double Olympic champion sailor Hans Peter Steinacher, daredevil wing walker Peggy Walentin or social media sensation Zach King. All five judges are true experts in what they do.

Fold it, calibrate it and check the aerodynamics before releasing the plane for a place in the record books and a chance to dethrone Lebanon’s Elie Chemaly, who won with the longest airtime of 10.68 seconds in 2012.

Tomas Beck, from the Czech Republic is the title holder when it comes to distance with a flight of 50.37 meters. Ryan Naccarato and Poland’s Tomasz Chodryra both shared the aerobatics world title last time.

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