In 2012 John “The Paper Airplane Guy” Collins and Joe Ayoob smashed the Guinness world record for paper airplane distance, pushing it from an already-impressive 207 feet to a mind-blowing distance of 226 feet. Their throw set a new benchmark for the category and inspired an entire generation of paper airplane enthusiasts. For over a decade their record remained unassailable. But this year a team of three paper airplane experts worked together to take a shot at the title, and on April 16, 2022, Kim Kyu Tae threw a paper glider 252 feet and 7 inches (77.134 meters), utterly shattering the record that stood for so long.
While it was Kim who threw the plane, the other team members (Shin Moo Joon and Chee Yie Jian (Julian)) also made vital contributions to the team’s incredible achievement. Chee, an aerospace engineer, designed the folding sequence for the world record paper airplane, and Shin, a paper airplane veteran, assembled the team and made modifications to the plane, improving its flight characteristics further.
The pursuit of the world record did not begin as a team effort, however. Chee chased the distance record on his own for years, refining prototype after prototype of the paper airplane that is now known as Cheetah. He made great strides toward his goal, achieving multiple throws over 200 feet, but he never broke the record. It was during this time that Chee taught Shin how to fold the plane. And while Chee became busy with his education, Shin continued to experiment with the design to great success. But, initially, Shin had no intention of breaking the record himself — he was waiting for his friend Chee to realize his aspirations on his own.
That all changed when Shin made what he describes now as an error in judgment. One day, when he was gathered with a number of paper airplane enthusiasts, he threw Cheetah in front of the crowd. They were amazed by its superior performance, and one individual began attempting to reverse engineer the design. His attempts were surprisingly successful, and a race was now on. If Chee didn’t break the record soon, the record might never be his!
Shin believed that, with Chee’s brilliant engineering, and his own modifications, Cheetah was good enough to break the world record. But to remove all doubt, they needed to enlist one more person — the best paper airplane thrower in all of Korea. The invitation was sent and accepted, with Kim now a member of the three-man team.
On the day of the world record attempt, Kim recorded eight official throws with Cheetah. It was a display of absolute dominance. Every throw surpassed the old record. Such consistency would have been thought impossible, and such distances unreachable. 252 feet. Incredible. Even so, the trio believes it’s possible to break their own record, stating that they’ve achieved greater distances in testing, and that conditions were imperfect on April 16. Who knows how far they will push the limits of paper flight before all is said and done?
You can find paper airplane content from each member of the team at the following links:
Kim Kyu Tae: https://youtube.com/channel/UCCkfzJC-Mh-O7QHSHTKr69g
Shin Moo Joon: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAAkdcy2std7BkM4YY-UZww
Chee Yie Jian: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf9O0bGVPI_mnZ607neci9w
And you can learn how to fold a prototype of the world record plane by watching the tutorial below.