An incredible new record for the farthest flight of a paper aircraft has been broken in South Korea.
Three people teamed up to tackle this record attempt; Kim Kyu Tae (South Korea), with the support of Shin Moo Joon (South Korea) and Chee Yie Jian/Julian, (Malaysia).
Together, they achieved a jaw-dropping distance of 77.134 m (252 ft 7 in) in Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea on 16 April 2022.
In total, eight throws were measured, with 77.134 m being the farthest and 71.813 m being the shortest.
Even with their shortest throw, the "Shin Kim Chee Team" would have broken the previous record of 69.14 m (226 ft 10 in) achieved by quarterback Joe Ayoob and paper airplane designer John M. Collins (both USA) on 26 February 2012.
"I was so happy when we finally got the official record. I think our trio made a beautiful result with intense collaboration." – Shin Moo Joon
Each of the three had their own area to focus on; Shin (a paper aircraft veteran) formed the trio and folded the powerful plane, Kim was the thrower and Chee was the designer.
"I felt confident that Shin and Kim can easily break the record," Chee shared.
"We made a 78 m indoor test flight two months before the official attempt. Our goal was to fly at least 75 m so it wouldn't be easy for potential contenders," added Shin.
Of course, there was a big consideration for this attempt - the type of paper used.
"Former distance record holder John M. Collins used Conqueror CX22 100GSM, which is one of the stiffest and highest quality 100GSM papers in the world. Thus, we also used CX22 for the record attempt."
"My design coupled with Shin’s wing mods/adjustments and Kim’s 'rocket arm' is a winning combination, so I wasn't worried." - Chee Yie Jian
"The community in Korea also started noticing my design, so we wanted to quickly get it in the record books, and we did!"
Despite his paper airplane design being the key to breaking this record, Chee wasn't actually there to see the record-breaking plane soar in Daegu – in fact, he’s never met Shin or Kim in person.
"The paper airplane community is small yet global, in that everyone knows one another online," explained Chee.
"I have known Shin close to a decade now and we’ve been constantly discussing new ways to fly higher, further, and longer via email and social media."
Chee came close to breaking Joe Ayoob and John M. Collins’ record in 2019, but was around 20 feet short.
However, due to work and school commitments, Chee couldn’t continue his record-breaking quest. Enter Shin!
"Shin was the only person who knew my design and he introduced me to Kim with the plan to break the record."
Shin had met Kim five years prior, and valued his skill.
"Kim was one of the best paper aircraft thrower in Korea. I highly evaluated his consistent and powerful throwing," said Shin.
"Knowing that one of my gliders has made it to the record books is a great feeling. But it’s also rewarding that the three of us got it to work in a quick fashion." - Chee Yie Jian
For as long as he can remember, Chee has been fascinated by origami and paper panes.
"Origami means a lot to me. It’s a kid’s version of engineering and art and it brought so much joy to my childhood."
"Anything is possible and there is always room to design something new from the same sheet of paper."
"The concept of flying seemed very alien to me and as a kid, anything that flew truly captivated me. I doubt there's a hobby out there with a lower barrier of entry than origami. All I needed was paper, and the rest is history."
The accessibility of origami and the varied paper materials that can be used, coupled with the countless designs you can create, meant that Chee learnt some important lessons about experiment variables and persistence from a young age.
"Since it’s a lot faster and cheaper to make something from old mail (or an exam paper that I never want to see again), there’s a lot of trial and error."
"Every throw is an experiment to learn from, and that’s incredibly important for any kid still trying to figure out how the world works."
In comparison, Shin came to the hobby later in life.
"I was totally inspired in 2010, when I first watched Takuo Toda’s attempt for the longest flying paper aircraft (duration). Right then I became a paper aircraft enthusiast," said Shin.
Chee’s biggest piece of advice when creating your own design is figuring out the goal of the paper airplane first, then working backwards from that.
"Whether its staying aloft for as long as possible, or to fly the farthest, designs can vary greatly with an infinite combination of paper type, weight, geometry, and balance."
"Type of paper is very important," added Shin.
"In Korea most of competitions generally uses 80GSM high quality paper such as double A. If you want to enjoy the paper airplane, I recommend double A 80GSM paper for general purpose."
While the type of paper has a big impact, the shape of the design will dictate how the plane moves through the air.
"Some distance planes are precise skinny darts, and some are gliders that fly slower but tend to have a mind of their own," said Chee.
Chee created the prototype for the record-breaking plane during his freshman and sophomore year, but now believes he has the knowledge to come up with a superior variant.
So what does the future hold for Chee, Shin and Kim?
The three seem to be agreed on one thing - that working as a team, they will break this record again.
"I believe our team can exceed 80 m for the same record if we can access a more spacious venue," said Shin.
We’re sure it won’t be long before the triumphant trio reattempt this record - and go for the longest flying paper aircraft (duration) record while they’re at it.
Shin has already proven it's within reach for them, having allegedly thrown a plane that stayed aloft for 26.7 sec, just 2.5 sec less than current record holder Takuo Toda (Japan).
The first recorded Guinness World Records title for the farthest flight of a paper aircraft was set in 1985 by Tony Felch at La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA. He managed a distance of 58.82 m (193 ft).