No doubt we have all made a paper plane at one stage or another.
And then comes the fun to see how long we can make it fly, or how long it can stay in the air.
And those are exactly the two things that are the focus of the Sikorsky Australia's Plane Simple paper plane competition.
Who can fly the longest distance and stay in the air the longest.
The 2020 competition has been staged this week, although a bit differently, at numerous high schools throughout the district.
Usually the competition is staged at the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre in Bomaderry with all the various schools and other institutions coming together for a big day of competition where competitors can watch and acknowledge each others' efforts.
However, with COVID restrictions competitions this year have been restricted to individual school events, with all the scores recorded and then compared to find the overall winner.
While the kids involved are all having fun, at the same time they are being introduced to design and engineering principles and more importantly rubbing shoulders with many in the local defence industry circles, of which there is a thriving industry base in the Shoalhaven.
Sikorsky Australia, together with the Nowra Show Society, Shoalhaven Defence and Industry Group and Regional Development Australia Far South Coast have invited local schools to take part.
On Thursday competitions were staged at Nowra Christian School, Shoalhaven High and St John's Catholic halls while Bomaderry High accessed the indoor sports centre.
Vincentia and Ulladulla highs are also taking part in the competition.
The Sikorsky Australia's Plane Simple Challenge also aims to enable teamwork, creativity and problem solving while being an incredibly enjoyable way to learn a little bit about aviation and potential future career paths open to students.
The kids have obviously put a lot of work on design ideas from last year. The results and improvements have been outstanding - the planes are flying longer and lasting longer in the air.- Nowra Show Society member Robyn Nelson
As well as defence industry personnel taking part in the event, two research engineers from the the University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Industry 4.0 Hub were also present to talk to students about their designs.
The competition is open to three age divisions - Group 1 Years 7, 8 and 9; Group 2 Years 10, 11 and 12; and Group 3 tertiary students including higher education and vocational education and training (VET).
Teams of two to three students have to design and build paper planes all using standard 80gsm A4 paper.
Each school can enter up to two teams in the two categories to be contested at the finals - distance and time in air.
For the distance category, each team must throw their paper plane while spotters record distances in metres, with distances measured from the start line to the point where the plane first touches the ground (not the final resting place if it slides).
In last year's inaugural competition St John's claimed most of the major awards.
Bomaderry High's Ari Britton said the competition was fun but also educational at the same time.
Coming up with a design that will either fly the longest or stay in the air the longest is the goal. I've been working on a few things at home. We'll see how they go. Hopefully we'll fly further than the other teams.- Bomaderry High's Ari Britton
"Coming up with a design that will either fly the longest or stay in the air the longest is the goal," he said.
"I've been working on a few things at home. We'll see how they go.
"Hopefully we'll fly further than the other teams.
"I do believe a lot depends on how the plane is thrown from launch."
Nowra Show Society member Robyn Nelson who attended all of Thursday's competitions said she was amazed by the improvement on last year's inaugural event.
"The kids have obviously put a lot of work on design ideas from last year," she said.
"The results and improvements have been outstanding - the planes are flying longer and lasting longer in the air.
"The students and their teachers have really taken to the competition and have obviously been working on it and put a lot of work on improving their engineering and aeronautical skills."
Flight distances over more than 30 metres have been recorded.
The winners of the competition will be crowned at next year's 2021 Nowra Show.
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