Two Australian 'paper pilots', Dylan Parker and James Norton, ahead of their Mumbai visit, tell us how they made the world take paper planes seriously
Ever imagined something like a paper plane as a tool to teach science? That’s what Australia's Paper Pilots Dylan Parker and James Norton have been doing that for nearly a decade now. Adman Parker, 27, and landscape architect Norton, 29, will soon be in Mumbai to give a crash course in paper plane making and flying, and through that, teach the science of flight. Since they founded the Paper Pilots in 2008, their sessions have toured the world, and their story has even inspired a film, Paper Planes, made by Australian filmmaker Robert Connolly.
“Paper Pilots came out of the necessity to put a name to what we do — pilot paper planes. Schools and communities (in Australia) were going crazy about how awesome paper planes were, so we needed to form a brand that people could make friends with. We also found that it was actually a great business idea, so having a name that people would know and love became important,” says Parker.
Between the two of them, they have folded and flown more than 25,000 papers. “We’ve even thrown one during skydiving,” Parker says. “We have found thousands of designs across the world and have even come up with some of our own. It’s about experimentation, being creative, and not worrying if you make a mistake — you can always fold another plane!” he adds.
Norton, as his partner tells us, is “really good at time-in-the-air planes. “He can keep his plane up for around 22.8 seconds (inside, without wind assistance). The world record is 29, so he’s getting closer.” Parker himself can throw a plane over 58 metres (the world record is 69 meters). “The guys who set the world distance record used some amazing innovations with their plane and throwing style. So, I’m finding new ways to think about how to get my plane to go further,” he says. While they have owned the skies around the world, their favourite moment was on home turf. “Launching paper planes from inside the roof of the Sydney Opera House was truly special,” Norton says.
This is his second time in India and first in Mumbai. “I can’t wait to see this amazing city. We love traveling to different countries. We’ve realised that whatever language, skin colour, religion or even gender students are, they are the same wherever we go. As for the workshops, we’ll be teaching students about aerodynamics, forces of flight, the history of flight, flying inventions, flight in nature and show them a few really amazing paper planes,” Parker signs off.
When: February 11, 3 PM - 4 PM
Where: C/o ATE Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. 4th Floor, Kala Ghoda