Paper planes. We've all made one or played with them at one time or another.
But that playing was taken to a whole new level at the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Complex on Thursday, December 5, when the inaugural Plane Simple paper plane competition was staged.
An initiative of the Nowra Show Society, with support from the Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group and local business and various tiers of government, local high school students were putting their best fold forward.
Students from Shoalhaven, Bomaderry, Vincentia and St John's High and Nowra Christian School along with Shoalhaven Council Group of Home School Kids took part in the inaugural competition.
The task was simple to construct a paper plane and then attempt to register the longest distance flight, and the longest time in the air.
The world record longest flight is 69 metres and the longest time in the air is 29 seconds.
While none of the local students achieved near those world marks, they did take to the program with great gusto.
And it proved to be a great time for the St John's senior and junior teams which took out the distance divisions and Nowra Christian School's junior and senior teams who claimed the time in flight divisions.
Event co-ordinator Phil Guy and executive director of Mellori, which undertakes a number of intelligence-related projects with the Australian Defence Force, said it was great to see the kids involved.
"It's great to be involved and to have the wider Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group involved," he said.
"Being a school-based competition it also gets us, in the aviation industry, closer to the possible future generations of employees.
"While they were all having fun making their planes, they were also learning about avionics and also had the chance to see and meet some of the defence industries businesses established in the Shoalhaven.
"This is also a chance for local kids to see what jobs in the avionics industry are available and more importantly right here in the Shoalhaven."
Being a school-based competition it also gets us, in the aviation industry, closer to the possible future generations of employees.Plane Simple event co-ordinator and executive director of Mellori, Phil Guy.
The winners of each category, both juniors (years 7-9) and seniors (years10-11) received medals. Prizemoney of $6000 will also be presented to the winning schools at next year's annual Nowra Show.
Laurie Koster, of Shoalhaven Defence Industries Group, said the competition not only got children from various local high schools together, it also provided an opportunity to see what defence industry employment opportunities are available in the area.
"There are a lot of opportunities in our local area and this is a chance for the students to see first-hand what is out there while having some fun at the same time," he said.
Nowra Show president Mark Stewart said it was exciting for his organisation to be involved.
"This is something we've wanted to do for a number of years and it's great to see it come to fruition," he said.
"I'd like to thank all the students for taking part and all the organisers for all the time and effort.
"It's a fantastic initiative and it's great to be able to showcase not only the Nowra Show Society but also the Shoalhaven Defence Industries."
And there are plans to expand the competition next year to possibly also include years 5-6 primary school students.