VMAC recently hosted its Second Annual Wild Wings Paper Airplane Contest on Thursday, July 26 at 11:00 am. Company workers competed in four categories: Furthest Distance Traveled, Longest Time Aloft, Most Ingenious Design and Most Creative Presentation. Trophies and other prizes were awarded in the contest of engineering, aerodynamics, origami, ingenuity and creativity using a paper airplane that was flight tested.
The competitors were judged by a panel of experienced pilots from the Nanaimo Flying Club, who have volunteered their flight - and paper airplane – expertise, with the addition of newly-minted officer pilot, Andrew Welte. Welte has just received a scholarship to study Aerospace Engineering at Royal Military College Kingston On, and selection as "Pilot" in the Canadian Forces. He became an official Canadian Forces Officer on July 25 and the VMAC Wild Wings Contest was his first official duty as a Pilot Officer.
In addition to the competition, there was demonstration-only flights for specialty craft and dozens of paper airplane entries created for competition flight. “This year we have a number of teams as well as individual pilots,” says Chris Larsen, Director of Engineering and a member of the Committee that organized the event. VMAC President Jim Hogan is enthusiastic about his chances this year and has been keeping his designs top secret. With Hogan’s aircraft engineering background, there is a lot of anticipation for his flights.
Every pilot and team is sure they have the secret to winning one of the coveted Wild Wings trophies. The designer of last year's winning disance entry, Dan Kowarski (piloted by Niel Van Zyl) was disappointed to learn that his pilot was out of commission for an appendectomy this year. “I need someone tall to fly the same plane that won last year,” Dan confides as he searched the company for a willing cohort. “Height’s the key!”
Judges Douglas Sowden (Nanaimo Flying Club Exec and pilot of a vintage 1946 Stinson) and Ken Welte (Nanaimo Flying Club Member and a pilot), in addition to Welte’s son, Andrew, all graciously donated their time and expertise to help determine the four category champions.