British competitor comes second at world’s biggest paper plane throwing event OCN News

An aircraft designer representing Britain at the world’s biggest paper plane throwing competition has said he was “astonished” to have won second place.

Yicheng Sun, 32, was crowned second in the Red Bull Paper Wings World Super Final by throwing a paper plane a distance of 57.07 meters.

Great Britain’s Yicheng Sun celebrates with his team in the longest distance discipline during the 2022 Red Bull Paper Wings World Finals in Salzburg, Austria. (Red Bull Paper Wings)

Mr Sun, an aerospace vehicle design researcher at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, beat 60 competitors from 58 countries in the longest distance category.

“It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe it,” Mr Sun told the PA news agency.

“When the competition starts it’s really tough but I decided to take a risk and ended up with (the silver trophy).”

Competitors from around the world were challenged to come up with the best aerodynamic designs and techniques in three categories: longest distance, longest airtime and aerobatics.

The planes can only be modified by folding – no tearing, gluing, cutting, stapling or weighting of the plane is allowed, and the event was monitored by Guinness Book of World Records officials.

Paramedic student Billy Smith, who studies at Sheffield Hallam University, came sixth in the longest air time and competed wearing Union Jack shorts with a fake six pack of muscles.

Britain’s Billy Smith performs in the Longest Airtime discipline at the 2022 Red Bull Paper Wings World Finals in Salzburg, Austria. (Red Bull Paper Wings)

The 21-year-old even stepped in to entertain the crowd with his spontaneous dance after the event space was overheated and the competition was briefly interrupted.

Mr Smith told PA: ‘They had to turn on the air conditioning so I couldn’t launch my plane…so I was in the middle trying to entertain the crowd, dancing and doing all sorts of things .

“I don’t have muscles myself, so I thought I’d wear fake ones – a six-pack and good pecs – to use them to my advantage.

“I (wanted) to distract everyone so they don’t pitch so well in the competition.”

Connor Wynn, 25, from London, represented Great Britain in the aerobatic category and finished in seventh place.

Mr Wynn had 60 seconds to perform in front of three judges, including Italian aviation star Dario Costa, whose record-breaking ‘Tunnel Pass’ flight went viral last year.

Mr Wynn told PA: ‘It was amazing representing Great Britain and flying the flag here.

“I never represented Great Britain for anything…I lost my voice from shouting and supporting (my team-mates).

“Granted, it’s paper airplanes and it’s not the most athletic sport, but there’s still skill involved.

“The atmosphere was incredible all weekend, a real electric atmosphere.”

Although he did not win, Mr Wynn’s performance left a mark on Judge Costa who was impressed by the Briton’s decision to perform dressed as the superhero Batman.

“I really wanted to have a selfie with Batman,” Costa told PA.

“It’s a shame my son wasn’t there because he’s a big Batman fan and he would have loved it.

“Competitors use paper airplanes, which is something we all grew up with, especially when I think back to my childhood dreaming of being a pilot.

Aerobatics winner Seunghoon Lee of South Korea proposed to his girlfriend after being crowned champion. (Red Bull Paper Wings)

“It’s great that Red Bull is using this as a tool to bring people together from all over the world.”

Other highlights of the event saw aerobatic winner Seunghoon Lee of South Korea propose to his girlfriend after being crowned champion.

Mr Lee, who was dressed in a black three-piece suit, knelt down in front of the packed Hanger 7 crowd and asked his girlfriend to marry him, to which she said yes.