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About Muthafuckin Paper Planes!

Life

№138 ~9 minutes

    In which Lucien and I fold and compete paper planes.

    I feel like these weekly updates are becoming an — actual — weekly thing. I don’t like that. I’m going to have to do something about it. Next week. Not this week, because this week finally marks the launch of our game Monorun! There’s also going to be a lot about muthafuckin paper planes.

    First of all. Some of you might already know this because… well… I wrote a post about it a few weeks ago but let’s for the sake of these sentences just assume you have no idea what I’m talking about.

    Beije and I made a game. We launched it today. It’s actually pretty awesome. Short and sweet and to the point. It’s called Monorun! And you should go play it right away. Don’t worry, there’s nothing to download, install or enable. It plays in your browser, on practically any device, which means if you’re reading this on e.g. an iPhone you can just click the link, play it a few times before you come back to finish reading this. After that you can play it some more again. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

    The promotional picture for Monorun! saying 'Stay positive'.
    Stay positive!

    See, I told you it was pretty sweet. That’s also all I’m going to say about Monorun! for now. Not to be secretive or anything like that but simple because I want to let it exist for a few days before I write about the development of it, and what not. Besides, beije wrote a nice post about it which you can totally read right away.

    Insert segue here.

    Aah. Paper planes. That delightful and most gracious of sports. Or… well… maybe not a sport but more of a hobby. Not really a hobby either when you think about it. More something you used to do when you were a child and since then have forgotten all about. Until Bob at the office throws a paper plane at you and all hell breaks loose, with blood everywhere from all the paper cuts. Oh, the ‘Nam flashbacks are too much!

    Am I being too dramatic again? You need to tell me these things otherwise I’ll never stop.

    Who am I kidding. I’ll never stop.

    Never, ever.

    But yeah, paper planes. I folded a paper plane. And my wife folded a paper plane. And they were both kind of shit. I tried to throw them but as all things not shaped like planes have a habit of doing, they didn’t fly. So here I was, wanting to show my son how much fun one can have with a simple paper, but unable to make anything spectacular with said paper because I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to fold a good paper plane.

    To the internet!

    A quick search of the phrase “awesome paper planes” resulted in 1,6 million links. Good, now we have something to work with. 30 minutes later, those two pathetic excuses for planes — later christened El Prototipo and The Shark #2 — have been joined by 4 more planes; The Rapier, Dragoon, Dr. Cobra and The Senko 808.

    All the different paper planes we folded, lying on the ground for comparison.
    The contenders hanging out before the competition. From left to right: Dr. Cobra, El Prototipo, The Shark #2, The Dragoon and The Rapier. Senko 808 was in the bathroom when the picture was taken.

    Yeah, I like naming things.

    My son was excited and so was I. At this point in time there was really only one obvious course of action… obviously we had to go outside, stick a destination flag in the ground and call it “Official Paper Plane Race Day”. As men, we needed to take this harmless childhood memory and sully it with a competition and metrics. No, actually we just went outside and threw paper planes around a lot, and I snuck in some hard scientific observations when no one was looking. Everyone wins, right?

    Which of these magnificent beasts of aerodynamics will be victorious in my three tiered competition. Step right up, don’t be shy! Place your bets now! And then read on.

    The tiers were as follows;

    1. Long Distance
    2. Diving
    3. Speed

    I hope you’re done calling your bookie because the results are in.

    In fifth — who are we kidding, it’s Last — place I give you, The Shark #2. My personal contribution to the competition was a sad, sad plane. Made even sadder by its complete inability to fly. Any throw made with this design resulted in a nose dive. There it was, taunting me with its sad ass sticking up from the grass. I suppose that’s what you get with ridiculously sharp nose and a surprisingly small wingspan.

    In — actual — fourth place we have The Rapier. Aka The Pirate.
    Despite putting a lot more effort into this plane than my wife put into her El Prototipo, its oddly heavy nose and wide straight wings makes for a bad plane. This thing just didn’t perform badly enough to be funny or well enough to win. A very unmemorable name despite its tongue-in-cheek name. Instructions here.

    All the paper planes lying on the grass, far away from the intended destination.
    The circle. Yeah, that one. That's where they were supposed to go.

    In third place, El Prototipo, the plane with a mind of its own. This thing will not go straight or in any other direction you want it to go. Regardless of the speed at which it is thrown it will just go belly up, spin around in multiple directions and then glide slowly towards the ground. In the Diving tier this design did pretty well, flying up with the best of them but then decided to not participate and instead — whilst spinning around itself — flew so far away it almost left our yard.

    Dr. Cobra
    The plane that nightmares and internet memes are made of. It’s a snake… on a plane… good, right? A nice and solid design that flew incredible in the Long Distance tier and then acted as if though the competition was over. Didn’t do badly in anything else but just seemed like it had given up. Instructions here.

    And finally the plane design that doesn’t have it all, but 2 out of 3 is enough to win the competition. The Dragoon, it failed pretty badly at the Long Distance tier, performing only on par with most of the other losers but kicked ass in everything else. This design excelled in the Diving Precision tier by being the only plane that actually went straight up, and then dropped straight down which was the point of tier Two anyway. It only missed its target by ~50 cm when the some of the others had difficulties just hitting the ground. Very impressive. And in the Speed tier, when other planes thought “speed” meant “how quickly you crash into the ground”, The Dragoon flew across the entire length of our yard and into the wall. Instructions here.

    A robust and fast looking paper place we named the Dragoon.
    10 points and a parrot badge if you recognise the logo.

    At this point, there just isn’t any doubt about who the winner is. Give a big round of applause for The Dragoon.

    Then there was of course the Senko 808, an okay contender, that in the Diving tier went straight up, changed course at its peak point and flew into a large tree in our yard. The plane is still perched nicely there despite the rough winds we have had today. But failing to land back on ground meant that the Senko 808 design was disqualified from the competition.

    An F15 Eagle Jet Fighter paper plane.
    Presenting the F15 Eagle Jet Fighter.

    And finally a paper plane that is actually also a plane, I give you the F15 Eagle Jet Fighter Paper Plane. I’ve nicknamed it The Horn in honour of friend whom I recently found out, likes planes and boats and shit. The Horn looks out of this world. I mean seriously look at that beautiful bastard. Can’t fly worth shit though. It’s laughable how badly it flies. Also any plane that takes 30 minutes to fold is barred from entering “Official Paper Plane Race Day”.

    A normal paper plane next to F15 Eagle Jet Fighter paper plane.
    To give you a sense of the scale we're talking about. El Prototipo to the far left is from a normal A4 paper.

    Now you can feel free to play some more Monorun!

    The next entry comes out in 13 days.

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